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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - March 27th, 2023

Senate Committee Considers DOL Nominees


Washington Update


DOL Nominations

On Tuesday, March 28, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will consider a number of Biden’s labor nominees (with the exception of acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and Javier Ramirez to be Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service). They include: Jose Javier Rodriguez to be assistant labor secretary for the Employment and Training Administration; Kalpana Kotagal to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Moshe Marvit to serve on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission; Linda Puchala and Deirdre Hamilton to be members of the National Mediation Board.

Additionally the HELP Committee will vote again on Jessica Looman to serve as DOL’s Wage and Hour Division administrator. Looman’s nomination was last voted on in February, but she did not make it out of committee when Senator Bob Casey (PA) was unable to attend the meeting in person and cast a tie-breaking vote for her.

Appropriations

On Tuesday, March 28, the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a budget hearing called "Fiscal Year 2024 Request for the Department of Health and Human Services." HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify and discuss the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget for his department including funding to expand the healthcare workforce, significant investments in behavioral and mental healthcare, increased investment in childcare/early childhood education, and TANF.

Click here to read his testimony.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Hearing

On Tuesday,March 28, at 10:15 a.m. the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Unleashing America’s Opportunities for Hiring and Employment,” which will examine how current economic conditions are impacting employment for workers and job creators.

Click here to learn more about the hearing.

H-1B Visas

On Monday, March 20, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers released the annual Economic Report of the President, which indicated that increasing immigration might be a crucial element in keeping the U.S. workforce, as well as economic growth, afloat amid a labor shortfall. Last week, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders drafted a recommendation, based on the challenges H-1B visas face when they lose their jobs, that the grace period be extended from 60 to 180 days. If accepted and implemented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the recommendation would allow laid off H-1B visa holders more time to search for a new job before having to leave, as well as maintain lawful status in the country. The proposal follows a recent series of layoffs in the tech industry, which employs a significant share of foreign workers. The grace period extension is not yet finalized but advocates are hopeful USCIS will make an official announcement in coming months.

Click here to access the full report.

Initial Jobless Claims


In the week ending March 18, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 191,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 192,000. The 4-week moving average was 196,250, a decrease of 250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 196,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending March 11, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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