This vote was on an amendment by Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that would delete from the bill $300,000 in funding slated to go to the On Location Entertainment Industry Craft and Technician Training project at West Los Angeles College. The amendment was offered to the bill that funds the Labor, Health and Education departments in fiscal 2008.
The program is intended to create a first of its kind craft and technician college job training program to respond to the film and television industry's need for trained employees.
Hensarling said that education is always a worthy goal and that he believes the program can do good in its community. But in a time of significant deficits, he said, the country must tighten its belt.
"I really want us to focus upon the fact that although I have no doubt that good things can be done with these funds, all of government must be paid for. And so, again, I think we should use this debate as an opportunity to focus on who is paying the bill. And, again, as long as this Nation is running a deficit and it is down, thanks to the fact we are awash in tax revenues due to tax relief, we are still running a deficit. That means that any earmark, not just the gentlelady's from California, but any, is going to be raiding the Social Security Trust Fund as we continue, unfortunately, a practice from both parties of raiding the Social Security Trust Fund," Hensarling said.
Diane Watson, D-Calif., said the money would not go to the film industry, it would go to the college. She said there are many young people in her district -- which includes the poverty-stricken South Los Angeles area - who would benefit from such a training program. She said that technical jobs in the film industry are one of the backbones of the Los Angeles economy.
"The On Location program creates opportunities for Los Angeles young people while supporting the most important industry to the southern California economy. This program makes sure that kids of average means can get the technical skills they need to get good jobs working in film and television production," Watson said.
The amendment was rejected by a vote of 114-316. Of Republicans present, 110 voted for the amendment and 90 voted against it. All but four Democrats present voted against the amendment. The end result is that the measure went forward with funding for the job training program intact.