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Senators Reach Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

Washington Update

Infrastructure Bill

On Thursday, June 24, President Joe Biden - joined by a bipartisan group of Senators - presented an outline for a compromise infrastructure package, the total cost of which is $1.2 trillion over eight years with $559 billion in new spending. Many of the details of the framework have not been released, but Republicans in the 10-member group dropped their proposal for tying the gasoline tax to inflation and putting a fee on electric vehicles, which the administration opposed. The negotiators also cut new broadband spending by $20 billion, according to an aide. Now, the Senators must get congressional leaders of both parties to support the legislation in order for it to pass. In order to get the backing of progressive Democrats in both chambers, assurance will be needed that a separate, more extensive package will be fast-tracked using reconciliation. According to White House aides and Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi, Democrats plan to pass other investments through reconciliation later.

Click here for the infrastructure deal.

White House Strategy to Combat Gun Violence

On Wednesday, June 24, President Biden announced a new five-point plan to combat gun violence that would crackdown on gun sellers who violate federal laws, with a new zero-tolerance policy; give additional support to local law enforcement to help with summer crime increases; invest in community violence intervention program; expand summer employment and services, particularly for teens and young adults; and help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities. On Tuesday, June 22, a senior administration official said that the Treasury Department will also inform states that they can use funds allotted by the American Rescue Plan to aid in reducing gun violence. Monies awarded via the COVID-19 relief law can be used to hire additional police officers and pay out overtime, as well as to assist in funding employment opportunities for youths and at-risk adults.

Click here to read the White House fact sheet.

DOL Nominations

On Thursday, June 24, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) filed a procedural motion to limit debate on the nomination of Julie Su to be deputy U.S. labor secretary, which would likely pave the way for a final confirmation vote. Su, who is California’s labor secretary, has waited nearly five months for the final Senate vote. The vote is still a couple of weeks away since the Senate is out for two weeks for the July 4th recess.

Apprenticeships to College Act

Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Jerry Moran (KS) are making a push for the Apprenticeships to College Act, which would boost efforts for workers to receive college credits for their apprenticeship training. The legislation would codify the Registered Apprenticeship-College Consortium, which is a network of colleges and businesses that have registered apprenticeship programs through the Department of Labor and have set up agreements to award college credits to those with apprenticeship certificates. The bill would also make improvements to the program to generate new agreements with two- and four-year colleges. The bill was introduced in the Senate last month and was passed by the House earlier this Congress as part of the National Apprenticeship Act.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending June 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 412,000 to 418,000. The 4-week moving average was 397,750, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,250 from 395,000 to 396,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent for the week ending June 12, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to read the full press release.

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