Labor-Education-HHS Appropriations Bill Moves to Full House Vote
On Thursday, June 30, the House Appropriations Committee held a full committee markup of the FY23 appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies and approved the legislation on a 34-32 vote - sending it to the House floor for consideration in July. The bill would provide $15 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Labor (DOL) - an increase of $1.9 billion over FY22 and $125 million more than President Biden’s request. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) would see a $1.3 billion increase from FY22 - appropriating $11.8 billion to ETA for FY23. That includes $3.1 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs; $1.8 billion for Job Corps; $303 million for registered apprenticeships; and $150 million to help former prisoners reenter the workforce. The bill would give $319 million to the National Labor Relations Board — including $1 million to create a system for the agency to hold union elections electronically. It would also spend $3.2 billion on unemployment insurance, which matches the White House’s request at $334 million more than fiscal 2022. That does not include additional contingency funding to states in the event benefit claims spike. The funding bill would also provide $86.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education - a $10.3 billion, or 13 percent, increase over FY22.
GOP members oppose the bill over spending levels and ‘poison-pill policy riders.’ Prior to its approval, the Democratic majority voted down several labor-related Republican amendments - including one that would funnel funds to the Trump-era Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs. A manager’s amendment from Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (CT) was adopted that adds language that encourages the Bureau of Labor Statistics to “conduct robust market research to identify potential new market entrants.” The Health Resources and Services Administration was urged to “address the skilled care workforce needs of seniors through existing workforce education and training programs.” The amendment would also appropriate $45 million for workforce development in the Appalachian, Delta and Northern Border regions, among other things.
The funding bill would provide $86.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education - a $10.3 billion, or 13 percent, increase over FY22. It calls for increases to a wide range of K-12 and higher education programs, but in some cases they do not go as far as President Joe Biden had proposed. The plan excludes some of the major increases to mandatory spending that the Biden administration had proposed as part of its goals to double the Pell Grant and triple Title I funding to low-income school districts. It calls for increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $500, from the current $6,895 to $7,395, for the 2023-24 school year. It would increase funding to $20.5 billion for low-income school districts under Title I – a $3 billion increase from FY22 levels. The plan would increase federal funding for special education by $3.2 billion, to $17.8 billion. It also proposes $1 billion of new school safety funding to help school districts “directly increase the number of mental health and child development experts in schools,” according to a summary released by Democrats. House Democrats rejected several GOP education amendments, including one that would have blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its new, more restrictive policies on charter schools as well as one aimed at blocking the administration from carrying out mass student debt cancellation.
The bill now heads to the full House for a vote. The Senate has not yet begun work on their appropriations bills.
Click here to access the video of the markup.
Click here to access the committee report on the bill.
Click here to access Chair Rosa DeLauro’s statement at full committee markup of FY23 Labor-HHS-Education funding bill.
Economic Competitiveness Legislation
On Thursday, June 30, several higher education and research groups, including the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, pressured lawmakers to pass economic competitiveness legislation by the end of July. Lawmakers are still negotiating final terms of the America COMPETES Act (HR 4521) and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S 1260), which would both authorize major new research initiatives. They urged Congress to add $10 billion in supplemental appropriations for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology as part of a final bill. They also want to keep language that appropriates $52 billion for the domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry. Senate Republicans are not happy with Democrats’ pursuit of a reconciliation deal and threatened to sink a competitiveness bill if they move forward with reconciliation.
Click here to read the letter.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending June 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 231,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 4,000 from 229,000 to 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,750, an increase of 7,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,000 from 223,500 to 224,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 0.9 percent for the week ending June 18, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate.
Click here to access the report.