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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - JULY 19, 2021

Democrats Announce $3.5 Trillion Budget Resolution Package


WASHINGTON UPDATE


Budget Resolution Package

On Tuesday, July 14 the Senate Budget Committee announced a $3.5 trillion budget deal that includes major investments in climate initiatives, funds universal pre-K, and extends the child tax credit expansion. Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said he wants the caucus to come to a final agreement on the $3.5 trillion package by this Wednesday, July 21, which is the same day he plans to force a vote on the accompanying bipartisan infrastructure deal. The package is expected to include parts of President Biden’s $1.8 trillion ‘families’ plan and $2.3 trillion ‘jobs’ plan that are not included in the separate bipartisan infrastructure deal, including paid family and medical leave, funds for child care, worker safety measures, expanded unionization protections and more. On Tuesday, July 13, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA) and Senator Patty Murray (WA) held a call with reporters to underscore the importance of using this partisan package to invest in child care. Biden’s plan includes $200 billion on universal pre-K and another $225 billion into the broader child care sector.

The package also includes new tax breaks for wind, solar and other renewable energy, as well as electric vehicles, a ‘methane reduction fee’ and funding for a civilian climate corps, modeled after New Deal-era programs, to create jobs in addressing climate change and conservation, according to lawmakers. The plan does not specify how much money will be allocated to the various programs. To offset costs the plan is to tap three major areas: health care savings, including on prescription drugs; tax code changes for high-income individuals and corporations; and long-term economic growth. The plan says it prohibits tax increases on families making under $400,000 a year, small businesses and family farms.

Appropriations

On Thursday, July 15, the House Appropriations committee, on a vote of 33-25, approved its Labor-HHS-Education bill outlining FY22 funding. On Wednesday, July 14, DOL Secretary Marty Walsh testified before the Senate on FY22 spending before the Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee. The bill provides a total of $14.7 billion in discretionary funding to the Department of Labor, an increase of $2.2 billion above the FY21 enacted level, including $11.6 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, an increase of $1.6 billion.

The bill’s total funding for the Department of Education is $102.8 billion, a 41 percent increase over FY21 enacted levels. The proposal would boost Title I spending by $36 billion, increase special education funding by $3.1 billion and raise the maximum Pell grant award by $400. The measure also expands federal student aid eligibility to undocumented students who are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhoods Arrivals program.

The bill now heads to the full House, where the bill is expected to be included in a seven-bill spending package House Democrats are planning to bring to the floor in two weeks. On Thursday, July 15, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) said in a letter to colleagues that the full House will take up that appropriations minibus starting the week of July 26. Senate appropriators have not yet begun releasing their proposals for funding the government, and some top Senate leaders have suggested that Congress will likely rely on a stopgap funding bill to fund the government beyond September.

Opening Doors for Youth Act

On Tuesday, July 13, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA), along with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Congressmen Mondaire Jones and Chuy Garcia, introduced the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2021, which they will work to incorporate into the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The legislation expands opportunities for the nation’s at-risk youth by putting youth to work and supporting community efforts to keep youth connected to school and training by authorizing $6.75 billion over six years.

Click here to access a fact sheet of the legislation.

Click here to access a section-by-section analysis.

Click here to access the full legislation.

Department of Labor Confirmation

On Tuesday, July 13, the Senate voted along party lines to confirm Julie Su to serve as Deputy Labor Secretary - nearly three months after the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee approved her nomination. Fifty Democrats voted in favor while 47 Republicans opposed her nomination. In her most recent role as head of California’s labor department, Su oversaw the implementation of some of the most progressive labor policies in the country, including those dealing with workplace safety and worker classification. Many GOP lawmakers opposed Su’s nomination over concerns about California’s struggle with unemployment insurance fraud, among other things.

Click here to read a press release from the Department of Labor on Su’s confirmation.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending July 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 360,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 13,000 from 373,000 to 386,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,500, a decrease of 14,500 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,500 from 394,500 to 397,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending July 3, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the full report.

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