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Advocacy & Policy Update - November 23, 2020



There is a CR until December 11.

Appropriations/Coronavirus Stimulus Package The current government funding legislation expires on Friday, December 11, and lawmakers have yet to pass an omnibus spending bill to avoid a shutdown. Top Republicans say the Trump Administration will accept a $1.4 trillion, full-year omnibus rather than a short-term continuing resolution (CR), however, many lawmakers still are unsure if they can trust Trump to sign such legislation. Both Republicans and Democrats feel a government shutdown is in the realm of possibility. On Wednesday, November 18, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows met with Senate Republicans and said Trump wants to keep the government funded, but he’s not ruling out the possibility of a year-end shutdown.

On Wednesday, November 18, the Senate left for Thanksgiving recess without passing much-needed coronavirus relief or a government funding bill. Currently, there are no conversations around Covid relief and a number of critical provisions will expire at the end of this year, including the pandemic emergency unemployment compensation, which gives 13 weeks of extra unemployment insurance to those who have run out of options. The pandemic unemployment assistance -- used by gig workers stops; the eviction moratorium ends; State and local funding stops; 2020 rebate checks end, as does student loan forbearance; small business debt relief ends, as well as other provisions. The GOP has continually rebuffed the Democrats' call for trillions of dollars in new spending, instead aiming for a bill along the lines of $500 billion.

National Apprenticeship Act On Friday, November 20, on a vote of 246-140, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 (HR 8294 (116)). The bill authorizes the investment of nearly $4 billion — $3 billion of which is via grants over five years — in the expansion of apprenticeships. The legislation would aim to build out existing registered apprenticeship programs, create new programs in sectors that traditionally don’t employ apprentices such as health care and child care, and make programs more accessible for employers. It would also encourage coordination between the secretaries of Labor and Education to work toward integrating apprenticeships into primary, secondary and higher education. It is estimated that the bill would create an additional 1 million registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeship programs and youth apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships historically have had bipartisan support but many Republicans opposed the bill over the exclusion of White House-requested language that would allow the funds to be funneled to President Trump’s Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP), which allows private employers to oversee apprenticeship programs. Democrats feel IRAP lacks sufficient oversight. The legislation is likely to stall in the Senate during the lame duck session, but Democrats will pursue it once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Click here to access the bill.

Congressional Leadership The competition for the powerful House Appropriations Committee chair is heating up between Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. DeLauro, a senior appropriator who oversees Labor-HHS-Education spending, has broad support across the Democratic caucus and has long-been considered the likeliest choice to take over the panel. However, allies of Wasserman Schultz - eager for generational diversity within leadership ranks - expect the Florida Democrat to pick up strong support from freshmen, moderates and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The Steering Committee will vote the week of November 30, with the entire caucus holding elections in early December.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 709,000 to 711,000. The 4-week moving average was 742,000, a decrease of 13,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 755,250 to 755,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.3 percent for the week ending November 7, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to read the entire November 23 weekly legislative update.

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