The midterm elections in 2011 were historic is some ways. Republicans did take over the House and the Democrats still control the Senate. Though jobs and the economy are still high on everyone's agenda, Congress needs to make some decisions soon on the budget and other key training legislation items. ASTD will continue to monitor legislation and keep members posted on the latest news.

At Congressional Conversations for Chapter Leaders this fall, ASTD members advocated on two specific issues. How will the new Congress respond and move forward with them?

First, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) which ASTD has been hoping would have been reauthorized by now might be first up by the House Education and Labor Committee. ASTD has been in contact with staff leaders on both sides of the aisle and feels that the time is right for a bill to be introduced early in 2011. We have been tracking HR 4271, introduced by Congressman Guthrie (R-KY) who serves on the committee, which would reauthorize WIA and make some significant changes. We will be meeting with the Congressman Guthrie's staff sometime soon to further discuss this bill. On the Senate side, we have been working with Senator Murray (D-WA) and her staff on WIA and will be in contact with them also when Congress returns.

Second, we have been monitoring and advocating for a change in Section 127 of the IRS tax code. ASTD is advocating a permanent change to the IRS tax code for this important educational assistance program. This section of the tax code was extended last time as part of the original "Bush Tax Cuts" and is currently part of the discussions in this area. ASTD is tracking two bills that were introduced in this session of Congress that would make this a permanent part of the tax code: HR 5600 by Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), although he lost his reelection bid in the House and S2851 by Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Current ASTD is working with a coalition to help move this legislation forward.

ASTD will be following latest updates and news as the 111th Congress reconvenes and ends and 112th Congress begins.

Please keep an eye on the Public Policy pages on the ASTD web site for more information and this blog post.