Appropriators Reach Bipartisan Omnibus Agreement
On Friday, December 16, President Biden signed a stopgap spending bill that gives lawmakers one more week to finalize the $1.7 trillion FY23 omnibus funding package. The continuing resolution (CR) passed the Senate in a 71-19 vote and the House in a mostly party-line vote of 224 to 201. Appropriators have reached a bipartisan agreement on an omnibus package, setting up a vote this week as lawmakers passed a CR last week giving themselves until December 23 to avoid a partial government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said lawmakers will likely attach legislation changing the Electoral Count Act, which is designed to avoid a repeat of the January 6th Capitol attack, to the omnibus package. Staff spent the weekend finalizing the legislative text of the package with the goal of releasing the massive funding measure as early as Monday, December 19. A handful of Senate conservatives aren’t making any promises about letting the omnibus through easily. Fiscal conservatives want Republicans to punt until next spring, when they have more leverage in the House.
House Education and Labor Committee
Representative Tim Walberg (MI) is still running to lead the House Education and Labor Committee, despite the fact that Representative Virginia Foxx (NC) — the current ranking member — is eligible to enter the race. Contested races won’t be settled until after the House speaker’s race is resolved, likely on January 3. Both Foxx and Walberg will present their priorities for the panel to the Republican Steering Committee before the chairmanship decision is made. According to his office, Representative Walberg is expected to prioritize school choice, address learning loss and bolster the rights of parents in education.
Foxx’s priorities include aggressive oversight of the Biden administration’s student loan relief efforts as well as spending on K-12 COVID relief. Otherwise, Walberg’s priorities align with Foxx’s and are in keeping with the GOP’s “Commitment to America” agenda. They both emphasize school choice and parental rights as top priorities. Congressman Walberg’s office also indicated he wants to ensure there is oversight on the administration’s actions on Title IX and student loans, as well as student privacy protection, pandemic-related school closures and the use of COVID-19 funds. The congressman is also a champion of career and technical education, education pathways beyond a four-year degree, and apprenticeship programs.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending December 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 211,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 230,000 to 231,000. The 4-week moving average was 227,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 230,000 to 230,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending December 3, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.
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