Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Package
On Thursday, March 10, on a vote of 68-31, the Senate passed the massive $1.5 trillion FY22 omnibus spending package which contains all 12 fiscal 2022 spending bills and $13.6 billion in supplemental appropriations of aid to Ukraine, but did not include the billions of dollars in COVID-19 aid requested by President Biden. It allows for almost equal increases in defense and nondefense spending with a $46 billion, 6.7 percent, increase for nondefense programs and a $42 billion, 5.6 percent, increase for defense – something the GOP aggressively pushed for in the bill. The chamber also passed a four-day continuing resolution that would extend stopgap funding through March 15, which provides time for the omnibus to be sent to Biden to sign.
The FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill provides $213.6 billion, an increase of $15.3 billion – 7.7 percent – above 2021 levels.
Department of Labor
The spending bill provides a total of $13.2 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Labor, an increase of $653 above FY21 enacted levels. Of this, the package includes:
$9.8 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, an increase of $412 million. Included in that is:
$2.9 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants, an increase of $34 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
Adult - $870.6 million for adult employment and training activities.
Dislocated Worker - $1.075 billion for dislocated worker employment and training activities.
Youth - $933 million for youth employment activities.
$95.4 million for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, an increase of $1.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
$102.1 million for the Reintegration of Ex-Offenders, an increase of $2 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
$235 million for Registered Apprenticeships, an increase of $50 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
$99 million for YouthBuild, an increase of $2.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
$50 million, an increase of $5 million over the FY 2021 enacted level, to continue and expand Strengthening Community College Training Grants to help meet local and regional labor market demand for a skilled workforce by providing training to workers in in-demand industries at community colleges and four-year partners.
$1.749 billion for Job Corps.
$405 million for the Senior Community Service Employment for Older Americans Program.
$2.9 billion for operation of the Unemployment Insurance program, an increase of $285 million above the FY 2021 enacted level. The bill also includes contingency funding to help States if there is a spike in unemployment claims.
$80 million for Foreign Labor Certification, an increase of $2 million above the FY 2021 enacted level. Funds will help support Federal oversight and enforcement of regulations and assist States in reviewing and conducting oversight of processing applications.
$1.8 billion for Worker Protection Agencies, an increase of $42 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
$60.5 million for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, an increase of $3 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
Department of Education
The omnibus provides the Department of Education with $76.4, an increase of $2.9 billion, and includes an increase for low-income school districts and Pell Grants. President Biden’s initial request for the Department of Education funding was $102.8 billion. Pell grants for low-income students saw a $400 increase and Title I received a $1 billion boost in funding. The bill provides:
$17.5 billion for Title I schools.
$14.5 billion for special education, an increase of $448 million from the FY21 enacted level. This amount includes $13.3 billion for Part B grants to states, and $31 million for Special Olympics education programs.
$75 million, an increase of $45 million over FY21, for full-service community schools to provide comprehensive services.
Under the Interior Department, the Bureau of Indian Education will get $1.28 billion, an increase of $44 million over enacted funding.
Higher education programs received $3 billion, an increase of $452 million.
$400 more for Pell grants, increasing the maximum award to $6,895.
The Federal Work-Study program was also increased by $20 million, bringing the funding up to $1.21 billion. The Democratic proposal to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients access to federal aid was defeated.
$885 million, an increase of $96 million, for minority-serving institutions. Historically Black colleges and universities are set to get $363 million; Hispanic-serving institutions will receive $183 million; and $44 million will go to Tribal Colleges and Universities.
$1.1 billion, an increase of $40 million, for TRIO, which invests in college readiness for low-income, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.
$65 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, an increase of $10 million.
$11 billion for Head Start, an increase of $289 million from FY21 enacted levels. Senate Democrats said the funding increase would pay for cost-of-living pay raises for the program’s teachers and staff.
$6.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $254 million from FY21 funding levels.
$290 million for Preschool Development Grants, an increase of $15 million.
The funding bill provides $2.1 billion for technical and adult education programs – an increase of $61 million from current funding levels. This includes:
$1.38 billion for CTE state grants, an increase of $45 million from the 2021 enacted level;
$690 million for adult education state grants, an increase of $16 million.
The omnibus allots $111 million to Education Department school mental health grants that can help districts hire specialized personnel - a $95 million increase over the 2021 enacted level.
A $530 million increase to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services also includes:
$120 million for the Project AWARE youth mental health awareness and training program, a $13 million increase.
$81.8 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, an increase of $10 million above FY21 levels.
$10 million for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, an increase of $2 million.
Click here to read the summary for the Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies portion of the bill.
Click here to read the one-pager for the Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies portion of the bill.
Click here to access the full text of the spending package.
Click here to access a full summary of the 12 appropriations bills.
Click here to access the section-by-section summary of the FY22 Omnibus.
Cybersecurity Workforce Development
On Wednesday, March 9, President Biden’s National Cyber Director Chris Inglis announced that the White House will convene a summit in the coming weeks to discuss ways to improve the government’s cyber workforce education programs. During a briefing for members of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, Inglis said his goal was to make sure that every agency with some responsibility for cyber education and talent development understood how it fit into the administration’s high-level goals. He said he would evaluate each agency’s role and try to “better connect them to the whole,” in addition to evaluating “what’s missing in that fabric” of responsibilities. In February, the National Academy of Public Administration released the report “A Call to Action: The Federal Government’s Role in Building a Cybersecurity Workforce for the Nation" that urged Inglis to overhaul the government’s cyber workforce strategy. The Biden administration wants to focus on a cybersecurity model in which agency leaders focus on the actions and metrics with the most impact, and it is pushing to adopt zero-trust networking practices – which are meant to limit a hacker’s ability to cause harm after a breach. Inglis is focused on aligning different agencies’ roles and responsibilities to ensure that federal IT policies reflect the right security priorities. Eventually, Inglis said, his office will focus on software resilience, especially for open-source software, and “people resilience,” by which he means both teaching people more about cyber and changing what's required of them when they apply for jobs. His long-term focus is on ensuring that investments such as those in the bipartisan infrastructure law are “cyber-aware.” Click here to access the report.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending March 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 227,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 215,000 to 216,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,250, an increase of 500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 230,500 to 230,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending February 26, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.
Click here to access the report.