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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - April 4th, 2022

Committee to Markup WIOA Bill on Tuesday

Washington Update

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Reauthorization

On Thursday, March 31, the House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (VA) and Higher Education Workforce Investment Subcommittee Chair Frederica Wilson (FL) unveiled their legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (HR 7309). Initial discussions of reauthorization began as bipartisan but recently Democrats and Republicans have been divided over funding levels, among other things. Markup of the legislation is currently scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at 10:15 a.m. (ET).

Click here to access the markup webpage.

Click here to read a one-page summary of the legislation.

Click here to read a section-by-section summary.

Click here to access the full legislation.

Click here to read the USCM WDC’s WIOA Reauthorization policy priorities paper.

Click here to read the USCM WDC’s comments on the discussion draft.

Build Back Better

Senate Democrats are making one last effort to reach a deal with Senator Joe Manchin (WV) on a party-line tax and spending package as they try to rebuild the Build Back Better bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said the party-line spending bill is a ‘high priority’ for Democrats. Senator Manchin is open to a smaller bill that is focused on raising taxes on the rich and big corporations, and including prescription drug reform and climate spending. He wants about half of any new revenues from the bill to go toward deficit reduction. Manchin has not given any indication how feasible it is for them to come to an agreement. To get any legislation passed Democrats will need to use the budget reconciliation tool, which means they need complete party unity in the Senate and can only lose five votes in the House to succeed.

Senate Confirmations

On Wednesday, March 30, the Senate voted 53-47 against David Weil’s nomination to head the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Senators Joe Manchin (WV), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Mark Kelly (AZ) all opposed the nomination. Weil, who held the same position in the Obama administration, also faced opposition from Senate Republicans who thought he would impose overly burdensome regulations affecting small businesses and independent contractors. Business groups expressed opposition to Weil as well for his belief that corporations should be liable for actions by franchisees. Weil was the first Biden nominee to be defeated on the Senate floor.

Unemployment Rate

On Friday, April 1, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the unemployment report for March, which showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 431,000 and the unemployment rate declined to a new pandemic-era low of 3.6%. Job gains were lower than economists predicted but still showed a strong first quarter for the US labor market with an average monthly gain of more than half a million jobs. According to the BLS, the economy is 1.6 million jobs - or 1% - short of where it was in February 2020 - meaning the country is on pace to bounce back from the pandemic recession almost eight years faster than it took to recover from the Great Recession.

Click here to access the report.

Click here to read Secretary Walsh’s statement on the jobs report.

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