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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - November 21st, 2022

Join Mayors for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Webinar


Washington Update


Join Mayors for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Webinar


November marks one year since the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), a historic federal investment in America's cities, economic growth, workforce, and infrastructure.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 29, at 2 pm ET for our next Local Infrastructure Hub session to celebrate the One-year Anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Workforce Opportunities and Strategies. We're honored to be joined by our featured speaker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.

The session will focus on workforce development opportunities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will improve job quality nationwide, outlining key strategies for local leaders to tap into workforce funding opportunities. We'll be joined by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester, MN, President and CEO of Jobs for the Future Maria Flynn, and mayors from across the country who will share critical insights on successful workforce programs and emerging best practices and partnerships that can drive effective workforce strategies at the local level. More information on speakers will be shared soon.

Click here to register for the webinar.

USCM’s Local Infrastructure Hub is a national program launched in July to ensure that all cities and towns can access federal infrastructure funding to drive local recovery, improve communities, and deliver results for residents.

Omnibus/Appropriations

Congress returned to Capitol Hill last week with a long to-do list during the ‘lame duck’ session that includes passing a massive $1.5 trillion government funding package. After a six-week break for mid-term elections, which left the Senate majority in Democratic hands and the House flipping to Republican control, lawmakers not only face passage of the omnibus spending package but also raising the debt limit, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) cited as ‘the number one’ issue Congress faces in the lame duck session. Democratic leaders want to raise the nation’s credit limit via bipartisan action rather than through the reconciliation process before the end of the year to prevent fiscal fights in 2023.

Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (VT) has said he and Committee Vice Chair Richard Shelby (AL) are close to an agreement on topline spending levels for defense and nondefense programs. Such an agreement would be the first major step toward finalizing a sprawling government funding deal, paving the way for talks on a dozen appropriations bills that will make up the so-called omnibus package. The Biden Administration wants the package to include nearly $38 billion in aid to Ukraine and $10 billion in emergency health funding - of which more than $9 billion would go toward Covid vaccine access, next generation Covid vaccines, long Covid research and more, all of which the GOP likely will not support. About $750 million would be spent on efforts to control the spread of monkeypox, hepatitis C and HIV. The White House also plans to request additional disaster relief in the coming weeks to help with hurricane and wildfire recovery.

Congressional Leadership

When Democrats hold their leadership elections on Thursday, December 8, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) plans to nominate Senator Patty Murray (WA) to the position of president pro tempore - making her third in line to the presidency. Senator Murray will also likely chair the Senate Appropriations Committee - effectively taking over both jobs from retiring Senator Patrick Leahy (VT).

On Thursday, November 17, Senator Bernie Sanders announced he was interested in leading the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee where he would focus on universal health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, increasing access to higher education, and protecting workers’ rights on the job. Senator Bill Cassidy is expected to be the next ranking member of the HELP Committee after Senator Richard Burr (NC) retires. Cassidy moved to the top spot after Senator Rand Paul announced he will take the ranking Republican seat on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) expressed interest in succeeding Senator Sanders as chair of the Senate Budget Committee if Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Ron Wyden (OR) stay on as chairs of the Agriculture and the Finance Committees. Amanda Lincoln, health policy director for Senator Collins (ME), is set to be the staff director for HELP Committee Republicans next Congress.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT) is also poised to be the ranking Democrat on the committee next year and has made it clear she has no plans to leave her position as top Democrat on the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee. Senate Nominations

During the lame duck session, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is expected to take up three labor nominees - Jessica Looman for Wage and Hour Division; Karla Gilbride for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and Moshe Marvit for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Last week the Committee abruptly put off a scheduled meeting intended to hold a vote on the nominations and has not yet announced a new date.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 222,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 225,000 to 226,000. The 4-week moving average was 221,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 218,750 to 219,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending November 5, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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