LAWMAKERS AT ODDS ON FOURTH STIMULUS
On Tuesday, April 21, the Senate passed a $484 billion coronavirus relief bill that sets the stage for negotiations on an even bigger package - one that will possibly be in the trillions. With three coronavirus relief bills now passed, and little to no relief aimed directly at local government, congressional leaders are discussing what a fourth bill might look like and how it will provide fiscal relief to state and local governments. Democrats have identified multiple funding priorities for the next major legislative package, including states, local governments, mail-in voting, hazard pay for health care workers and the Postal Service. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has made it clear that lawmakers will not pass “Phase Four” legislation by unanimous consent, so it will have to wait until the Senate reconvenes. McConnell has expressed his concern over the growing amount of debt the U.S. is adding.
Secretary Scalia Joins Special G20 Meeting on COVID-19
U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia participated in a virtual meeting of the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers to discuss the G20 members’ labor and employment response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary Scalia emphasized President Trump’s swift response to the hardships faced by American workers, as well as the Administration’s actions to lay the groundwork for an economic rebound once the virus is turned back. Secretary Scalia added: “As we look forward, following this period of exceptional and essential government intervention, we in the States will bear in mind also the policies underlying the robust economy we have recently enjoyed. Those were policies that recognized the value of free markets and free people.”
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Second Chance Pell
On Friday, April 24, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced 67 more colleges that will participate in Second Chance Pell — the experimental initiative that allows incarcerated students to receive Pell Grants to pay for their education. Roughly 130 schools in 42 states and D.C. are currently participating in the effort. This increase would more than double the number of colleges permitted to enroll incarcerated students using the program.
Click here for the full list of schools.
On Thursday, April 23, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the jobless claims were 4,427,000, a decrease of 810,000, in the week ending April 18. The previous week’s level was revised down by 8,000 from 5,245,000 to 5,237,000. The 4-week moving average was 5,786,500, an increase of 280,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 5,506,500 - down by 2,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 11 percent for the week ending April 11, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
Click here to read the DOL BLS report.
Click here to read the April 27 weekly legislative update.