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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - November 13, 2023

Government Shutdown Deadline Friday; Possible Movement on WIOA Reauthorization

Washington Update


Government funding is set to run out this Friday, November 17, and House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (LA) two-step plan to keep the government open will face some hurdles in House. This weekend, Johnson introduced the plan to pass a ‘clean’ stopgap bill that would fund a portion of the government until January 19 and the rest until February 2. The two-step plan doesn't include Republican demands for steep budget cuts, a border security proposal or funding for Israel or Ukraine. The plan needs to first pass the Rules Committee today then will go to the House floor for a vote. Several far-right conservatives have already spoken out against the proposal, which will require bipartisan support to pass. The current short-term funding proposal includes a 1-year extension of the Farm Bill with no reform and current policies and funding levels.

This week, the House Rules Committee is set to consider the Labor-HHS-Education FY24 funding measure. There have been more than 330 amendments filed for the Labor-HHS measure, including one that would reduce OSHA head Doug Parker’s salary to $1, block the NLRB’s joint employer rule and bar funds for vaccine mandates. 

Click here to learn more about the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations measure.

WIOA Reauthorization

The House is expected to introduce a bipartisan bill for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) reauthorization by the end of the year as negotiations are expected to move forward in the next month. A House Democratic aide said both Republicans and Democrats on the Education and the Workforce Committee are in agreement on $2 billion funding over 10 years for individual training accounts for workers and incorporating legislation targeting disconnected youth. A Republican aide said Committee GOP members are focused on “redirecting taxpayer dollars away from bloated bureaucracy and towards upskilling America’ workers.” The aide says there is common ground on this with Democratic counterparts on the Committee. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee are said to have had internal discussions but Chair Bernie Sanders (VT) does not seem to have plans to take it up.

On Thursday, November 9, a coalition of employers and education providers sent a letter to House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA) that outlines priorities such as digital literacy to better align training with in-demand jobs. There is also a chance legislation allowing Pell Grants for short-term education programs is introduced by the end of the year as well.

Click here to acces the letter.

Higher Education Act Reauthorization

Last week, House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC) indicated to reporters that she is hoping to pass several bills and lump them together in an attempt to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). On Tuesday, November 8, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act, which Foxx said is the first in a series of bills aimed to reform HEA. Foxx said it is going to be a “reauthorization with real reform” and that future bills will be coming soon.

Click here to learn more about the DETERRENT Act.

Child Care

On Wednesday, November 8, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of the Administration’s request for $16 billion in child care stabilization funds. There is support from Senate Democrats for the additional funding with Chair Patty Murray (WA) urging Republicans to work with Democrats to address the child care crisis. On Tuesday, November 7, the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers released a new working paper that pushes the positive impact billions of dollars would have on the child care industry. 

Click here to access a video of the committee hearing.

Click here to access the White House paper.

Unemployment Insurance

On Tuesday, November 8, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the report “Insights and Sucesses: American Rescue Plan Act Investments in Unemployment Insurance Modernization” that indicated more than three-quarters of ARP funds to improve state unemployment insurance systems have been allocated to state and local goernments. According to the report, states are using the funds to increase administrative staffing, enhance protections against fraud and streamline the application process. Approximately $783 million has been disseminated, out of a total funding pot of about $1 billion.

Click here to access the report.

Proposed Overtime Rule

On Tuesday, November 7, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC) and Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chair Kevin Kiley (CA), along with fourteen other Committee members, submitted a comment letter to Department of Labor (DOL) Acting Secretary Julie Su urging the Department to withdraw its proposed overtime rule. The letter says the rule will have a negative impact on workers, small business, nonprofits, colleges, and universities. On October 20, 2023, Chairwoman Foxx sent a letter to Acting Labor Secretary Su requesting that DOL extend its comment period on the proposed overtime rule. 

Click here to access the comment letter.

Click here to access the October 20th letter.

Congressional Review Act Resolution

On Thursday, November 9, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (LA), House Committee on Eudcation and the Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx (NC), Congressman John James (MI), and U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Joe Manchin (WV), and Mitch McConnell (KY) introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new joint employer rule.

Click here to access the CRA resolution.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending November 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 217,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 217,000 to 220,000. The 4-week moving average was 212,250, an increase of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 210,000 to 210,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending October 28, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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