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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - February 27th, 2023

Race to Replace Secretary Walsh Intensifies

Washington Update

Labor Secretary

The push for the next Secretary of Labor is intensifying as California Democrats, as well as their union allies, continue to advocate for current Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su to take on the role. While California Democrats continue their lobbying campaign in favor of Su, the California GOP delegation is petitioning against her appointment. In a February 17 letter to President Biden, the delegation cited her record overseeing the state’s unemployment insurance system and support for a controversial law affecting gig workers.

Another potential candidate is ex-Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, who former Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been pushing. On Thursday, February 23, several progressive groups sent a letter to President Biden urging him not to nominate Maloney. On Friday, February 24, The Washington Post reported that, in addition to Su, flight attendant union leader Sara Nelson is also being vetted by the White House as a potential replacement. Additionally, organized labor groups have shown support to outgoing National Football League Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith.

Click here to read the California GOP delegation letter.

Click here to read the letter from progressive groups.

EDA Recompete Pilot Program

On Thursday, February 23, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) published a Request for Information (RFI) on its Recompete Pilot Program - an economic development initiative that will provide grant funding to distressed communities across the country to create and connect workers to good jobs and support long-term comprehensive economic development by helping to reduce the high, prime-age employment gap. The program focuses on eligible geographic areas that are experiencing low labor force participations. The RFI is seeking public input about the program’s planning and design with one goal being identifying different interventions and approaches capable of making a discernible impact on prime-age employment and related indicators of economic distress. Click here to access the RFI in the Federal Register.

Click here to learn more about the Recompete Pilot Program.

House Committee on Rules

On Monday, February 27, the House Committee on Rules will vote on a resolution to roll back the Department of Labor’s recently finalized rule that gives more freedom to fiduciaries to weigh environmental, social and governance factors in their investment decisions for 401(k) plans and other vehicles. The legislation (H.J. Res. 30) is expected to pass the House, however, its chances of passing in the Senate is more unclear. Even though Senator Joe Manchin (WV) has expressed support, President Biden is likely to veto the measure. Last week, several House Democrats introduced legislation that would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to permit retirement plans to consider certain factors in investment decisions – codifying the ability to take ESG factors into account.

Click here to learn more about the House Rules Committee vote and H.J. Res. 30.

Click here to access the Democrats’ legislation.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending February 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 192,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 194,000 to 195,000. The 4-week moving average was 191,250, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 189,500 to 189,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending February 11, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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