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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - March 18, 2024

Lawmakers Still Negotiating DHS Bill With Shutdown Deadline Days Away


Washington Update


Appropriations

Legislative language for the final six-measure minibus which would finally bring the FY24 appropriations work to a close is unlikely to be unveiled today, as congressional leaders continue to finalize negotiations on that package.  Lawmakers changed course on how to fund the Department of Homeland Security over the weekend after a last minute request from the White House for $1.56 billion in border-related funding. Even if a compromise is reached in short order, bill text typically takes hours to vet and finalize before a final rollout. Initially, appropriators planned to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a yearlong stopgap measure that was expected to be packaged with the five remaining FY24 appropriations bills, however lawmakers have now decided to rewrite the DHS bill. Congress will be on a tight timeline to clear legislation before the Friday, March 22, midnight deadline. The White House rejected an offer for a continuing resolution (CR) for DHS from House Speaker Mike Johnson (LA), arguing a CR would be insufficient to meet existing needs. Meanwhile, Republicans rejected the new White House request, saying it was not sufficiently tied to border protection and immigration enforcement. Ultimately, both sides decided to shift back to a regular, fully fleshed out DHS bill. 

The situation will be down to the wire, but if negotiators manage to finalize text of the massive six-bill funding bundle by Tuesday, it could tee up a vote in the House on Friday, allowing Speaker Johnson to give his conference the full 72 hours necessary to review the legislation that would fund most of the federal government. If it passes in the House, which will surely require considerable Democratic support, the Senate will need approval on an agreement to speed up votes with consent from all 100 senators, butting right up against the partial shutdown that would strike after midnight on Saturday morning.  In addition to DHS, the package includes Labor-HHS- Education, Defense, Financial Services, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Operations spending measures. 


House Education and the Workforce Committee

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC) is coming to the end of her tenure leading the committee and recently shared her goals for the final months as Chair. Foxx said she is still very much focused on reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and passage of the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act, which expands Pell grants to cover short-term programs.


Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending March 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 209,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 7,000 from 217,000 to 210,000. The 4-week moving average was 208,000, a decrease of 500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 3,750 from 212,250 to 208,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending March 2, unchanged from the previous week's revised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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