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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - July 18th, 2022

White House Hosts ARP and the Workforce Summit

Washington Update

White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce

On Wednesday, July 13, the White House hosted a half-day White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Workforce that featured remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. The event convened several state and local officials, as well as high ranking cabinet officials in the Administration, to highlight successful models to disburse ARP funds in workforce development. Overall, the American Rescue Plan invested $40 billion in workforce development across the country. The Summit focused on ARP investments across the areas of care and public health, expanding access to the workforce for underserved populations and expanding the workforce. During the event, White House Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling and Vice President Kamala Harris both expressed interest in a separate follow up session on care workers and public health workers to further explore working on equity and disparities, mental health and the disabled.

Click here to access the White House fact sheet on Summit highlights.

Click here to access Vice President Harris’ opening remarks.

Click here to watch Secretary Walsh’s remarks.

Competitiveness Bill

The Senate is likely to begin floor consideration this week on a narrow economic competitiveness bill that would provide $52 billion in funding for semiconductor manufacturing grants and investment tax credits for the chip industry. This comes after a conference committee that had been working since May on two broader House and Senate competitiveness bills — the House-passed Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act and the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition (USICA) Act stalled amid disagreement over trade and other controversial provisions that are likely to now be left out of the more limited measure.

Both the House and Senate bills include the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act (CHIPS for America Act) which, along with an investment tax credit, would invest $52 billion in semiconductor manufacturing incentives and research initiatives over the next 5-10 years to strengthen and sustain American leadership in chip technology (which is what’s now being considered in the narrower measure).

The conference committee negotiations ground to a halt after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) announced two weeks ago that Republicans would not support a bipartisan competitiveness bill as long as Democrats were pursuing a partisan budget reconciliation package. Senator McConnell offered more flexibility last week when he said his party would accept the House passing the Senate version — which both parties in the House rejected — or a stand-alone measure that spun off the semiconductor manufacturing grants.

It’s not yet clear whether McConnell would support what lawmakers are calling a “chips-plus approach” that would add the semiconductor tax credits, which were not in either the House or Senate versions of the broader bill. Nonetheless, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (NY) told senators to expect a procedural vote as early as tomorrow to begin the floor process on a limited competition measure that would include those two items. Senator John Cornyn (TX), a close ally of Senate GOP leadership, said his party is ready to advance legislation to provide the $52 billion in financial assistance to the semiconductor industry this week, suggesting a final vote could take place in the chamber as soon as next week.

USCM sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to complete negotiations and move competitiveness legislation last week.

Click here to read the letter.

Engage Every Student Initiative

On Thursday, July 14, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the Engage Every Student Initiative — a public-private partnership with five nonprofit and advocacy organizations that the department said will ‘encourage and support’ schools, governments, and community groups to use federal pandemic relief funds and other resources on out-of-school activities. This initiative is part of the Administration’s efforts to connect elementary and high school students with summer and after-school programs. The five organizations partnering with the Department of Education are The Afterschool Alliance, National Comprehensive Center, National League of Cities, National Summer Learning Association and AASA, the School Superintendents Association. They will organize and distribute information on particular interventions and programs, and work with upwards of 20 other organizations on the overall effort.

Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending July 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 244,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 235,000. The 4-week moving average was 235,750, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 232,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 0.9 percent for the week ending July 2, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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