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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - April 8, 2024

House to Vote on WIOA Reauthorization Bill


Washington Update


WIOA Reauthorization — A Stronger Workforce for America Act

On Tuesday, April 9, A Stronger Workforce for America Act (ASWA - HR 6655), the bipartisan legislation which reauthorizes and revamps the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), is set to be brought to the House floor for a vote.  The bill is expected to be taken up for a vote under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. In December 2023, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the legislation on a 44-1 vote, with Representative Bob Good (VA) being the sole opposing vote. Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC) is optimistic the bill will retain that same bipartisan support on the House floor. The bill’s future in the Senate is still unclear, however, as top lawmakers on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee are focused on other labor priorities.  

Last month, Foxx and Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA) were on a bipartisan panel hosted by the Business Roundtable, and discussed modernizing the nation’s workforce development system and showing support for ASWA as well as the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act.

Click here to access the press release from the Business Roundtable event.


Appropriations

On Tuesday, April 9, the House GOP Steering committee will meet to recommend a successor to retiring House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (TX). The current favorite to replace Granger is Congressman Tom Cole (OK), the committee’s vice chair and head of the Transportation-HUD subcommittee. Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Chair Robert Aderholt (AL) is also said to be considering a run for the position.


Department of Education

On Wednesday, April 10, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will testify before the House Appropriations Committee on President Biden’s proposed FY25 budget for his agency. President Biden’s $82 billion request for the Department of Education is a 3.9 percent increase from FY23 and includes $8 billion for academic recovery, among other things.


Click here to access the livestream of the hearing.


Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act

On Wednesday, March 13, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chair Bernie Sanders, along with Senator Laphonza Butler (CA), introduced the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, which would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours without a reduction in pay. While iterations of the legislation have been around since the 117th Congress and Sanders’ bill is gaining buzz, it is unlikely to become law anytime soon.

Click here to read a press release on the bill.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

Click here to read a summary of the bill.


Unemployment Rate

On Friday, April 5, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the March unemployment report, which showed the U.S. labor market added 303,000 jobs last month — exceeding economists’ expectations and a sign of continued acceleration for the resilient labor market. The unemployment dropped slightly to 3.8% while the labor force participation rate moved higher 50 62.7%, a gain of 0.2 percentage points from last month. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% and are up 4.1% over last year. Health care saw the biggest job gains with 81,300 followed by the government with 71,000. Unemployment has now been below 4% since February 2022, more than two full years.

Click here to access the report.

Click here to read Acting Secretary of Labor Su’s statement on the January jobs report.

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