Appropriations Subcommittee Approves FY23 Labor-Education-HHS Funding Measure
On Wednesday, June 22, the House Appropriations Committee approved 302(b) funding totals for the twelve FY23 spending bills. In total, House Democrats are assuming a FY23 funding ceiling of $1.6 trillion, after adopting that budget limit on the floor earlier this month to match President Biden’s request. The spending limits will be used as a framework for marking up FY23 funding legislation and the allocations will likely change substantially once a bipartisan deal on funding totals is made that would pass both chambers. The odds are high that Congress will resort to a stopgap spending bill in September.
On Thursday, June 23, the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee approved the Labor-Education-HHS funding bill for FY23 via voice vote. 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. Some of the labor policy provisions include a prohibition on the privatization of job search functions offered through the employment service system, as well as a block on Trump-era apprenticeship programs overseen by the private sector.
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.
Funding for higher education programs, including direct aid to minority-serving institutions and college prep programs, would collectively increase by nearly $1 billion. The proposal would expand federal student aid to undocumented students who are shielded from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or the Temporary Protected Status program. The Biden administration has urged Congress to adopt such a change. In addition, Democrats included a plan to further restrict federal funding to for-profit colleges. The bill would tighten the cap on how much revenue for-profit colleges can derive from federal sources from the current 90 percent to 85 percent.
Republicans made it clear they did not support the measure. The funding bill heads to the full committee, which plans to mark it up at 10 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, June 30.
Click here to access the press release, which includes a bill summary and draft bill.
Wagner-Peyser Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
On Friday, June 24, Representatives Virginia Foxx (NC) and Marianette Miller-Meeks (IA) wrote a letter to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh urging him to back off a proposed rule requiring all states to employ merit staff to provide services funded by the Wagner Peyser Act. The letter says the “one-size fits-all approach” would impede local governments’ ability to meet the needs of job seekers and prospective employers. The DOL proposal would restrict the ability of a handful of states — namely Colorado, Michigan and Massachusetts — who currently have waivers from these requirements to continue to do so, as well as cut off the opportunity for others to circumvent these strictures. The issue has come up during Secretary Walsh’s recent hearings with some Democratic lawmakers in the affected states who said they didn’t agree with the move and argued that these alternative models were providing services effectively and did not need to be fixed. USCM has also sent a joint letter to Congressional leaders in opposition to the proposed rule.
Click here to access the USCM/Big 7 joint Wagner-Peyser letter.
Click here to access the letter to Secretary Walsh.
Brownfields Job Training Grant Funding
On June 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that approximately $12 million in funding for environmental job training grants is now available under the Fiscal Year 2023 Brownfields Job Training Program. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 25 grants nationwide at amounts up to $500,000 per award. Applications are due by August 2, 2022.
Click here to access the Request for Applications notice.
Click here to access a copy of the FY23 Guidelines and other application resources.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending June 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 229,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 229,000 to 231,000. The 4-week moving average was 223,500, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 218,500 to 219,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 0.9 percent for the week ending June 11, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.
Click here to access the report.