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WIOA Reauthorization Bill Passes House, USCM Action Alert Goes to Mayors

Washington Update

WIOA Reauthorization — A Stronger Workforce for America Act

On Tuesday, April 9, the House passed the bipartisan legislation A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWA - HR 6655), which reauthorizes the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  The bill passed on a vote of 378-26 with 26 Republicans voting against it and all Democrats voting in favor. The legislation’s future in the Senate is still unclear, as top Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee members have other legislative priorities to tackle. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (NC)  is hopeful that the House’s strong bipartisan support for the bill will put pressure on the Senate to move on reauthorization.

On Friday, April 12, USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran highlighted the passage of ASWA in his weekly newsletter, alerting mayors and city staff to our concerns in the legislation. He also outlined USCM’s Senate advocacy campaign, which will be led by USCM Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Standing Committee Chair Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, that will soon kick off with a mayors’ sign on letter, and focus on removing provisions in the bill opposed by USCM.

Click here for a fact sheet on ASWA.

Click here for bill text.

Click here for a bill summary.

Click here for a section-by-section summary. 

Click here to access Tom Cochran’s Action Alert on ASWA/WIOA Reauthorization.

Click here for the USCM ASWA concerns letter.


On Wednesday, April 10, the House Republican conference officially voted to ratify the GOP Steering panel’s recommendation that Congressman Tom Cole (OK) be the next chair of the lower chamber’s Appropriations Committee. Cole shared that his immediate next steps will include shoring up staff and working through a reshuffling of the subcommittee chairs, since he will be giving up his Transportation-HUD position. He will also abdicate his chairmanship of the Rules Committee, with Congressman Michael Burgess (TX) set to succeed him. This week Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (WA) said she expects FY25 funding negotiations to be even more difficult than those for FY24 — noting funding caps will increase by just 1 percent for defense and non-defense programs, as set in the 2023 debt limit deal.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee 

On Wednesday, April 10, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee unanimously advanced the bipartisan bill Allowing Contractors to Choose Employees for Select Skills Act (ACCESS Act, HR 7887), which would remove degree requirements and barriers for skilled job applicants who gained their expertise at a community college, apprenticeship or other skills training program. The legislation, introduced by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (SC) and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL), tasks the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with developing guidance for implementation, including instructions that agencies must make distinct justifications for each contract solicitation, and an encouragement to explore how alternative qualifications (such as industry certifications and work-based learning programs) could stand in for a four-year degree. Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin (MD) said he hopes to amend the bill before its floor debate to find carve-outs for some types of positions that still need a college degree, such as engineering and other technical fields. The bill will now go to the floor for consideration by the full House.

Click here to read a press release and access the full text of the bill.

Senate Joint Economic Committee Hearing

On Wednesday, April 10, the Senate Joint Economic Committee held the hearing “Building Blocks for Success: Investing in Early Childhood Education” to stress support for increased federal early childhood education funds. A new brief released by the committee highlights the economic impact of early learning, touting the Child Tax Credit, Head Start, Child Care and Development Block Grant and other federal programs as early learning funding streams that lead to economic benefits. Additionally, the brief says federal investments in early childhood education are necessary to help families access affordable early learning programs that, in turn, allow families to pay for necessities and contribute to their retirement savings. It also advocates for salary increases for Pre-K teachers and child care workers. 

Click here to access the brief.

Department of Labor Overtime Rule

On Wednesday, April 10, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it has finished its reviews of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) proposed expansion of overtime pay requirements, as well as stricter rules on certain retirement investment advice. Typically, OIRA clearance is the final step before regulations are publicly announced. The Administration is on a tight deadline to complete key rules so they will not be overturned by the Congressional Review Act (CRA) if Republicans regain control after November’s elections. According to experts on the CRA, regulations finalized this past May could be subject to the law’s ‘lookback period,’ which is designed to prevent presidents from pushing through controversial policies toward the end of their term.

In August, the Department proposed raising the threshold for time-and-a-half overtime pay so workers earning up to around $55,000 annually would qualify, compared to the $35,568 set during the Trump administration. Separately, DOL is seeking to increase protections for retirement savers by imposing fiduciary obligations on certain types of investment products, such as 401(k) rollovers and fixed annuities. It is still unclear when the two rules will be unveiled.

Joint Employer Rule

On Wednesday, April 10, the U.S. Senate approved a proposal to repeal the National Labor Relations (NLRB) ‘joint employer’ rule, which would treat companies as the employers of many of their contract and franchise workers and require them to bargain with those workers’ unions. The Senate passed the resolution in a  50-48 vote with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and independent senators Angus King (ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) all voting in favor. The resolution, which passed the House in January, was introduced under the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to repeal agency rules through a majority vote in both houses. President Biden is expected to veto the resolution repealing the rule. A two-thirds majority would be required to overcome a veto.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending April 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 211,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 221,000 to 222,000. The 4-week moving average was 214,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 214,250 to 214,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending March 30, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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