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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - November 28th, 2022

Congressional Leadership Elections This Week

Washington Update

Congressional Leadership/Lame Duck Session

The Senate is set to return today to kick off Congress' lame-duck session with a cloture vote on a bill that would protect same-sex marriage rights at the federal level.

House Democrats are holding leadership elections on Wednesday and Thursday where they are expected to instill a new leadership team after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (SC) announced that they would not seek the three highest positions in the next Congress, clearing a path for new Democrats to take over the helm of the caucus.

Democrats will vote first for caucus chair, which Representative Pete Aguilar (CA) is running for unopposed. The California Democrat, who currently serves as vice chair of the Democratic caucus, announced his bid for the third-ranking role earlier this month. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY), the current chair of the Democratic caucus, is running unopposed for House Democratic leader, putting him in line to replace Pelosi at the top of the caucus. If Jeffries is elected to the spot, he would be the first Black leader in either party and either chamber in the history of Congress. Behind Jeffries, Representative Katherine Clark (MA), the current assistant Speaker, is running unopposed to be Democratic whip in the next Congress, which would make her the second-ranking lawmaker in the caucus.

On the Republican side, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) will continue his efforts to shore up support this week as he pursues the role as Speaker. Republicans are currently projected to control 220 seats in the House next year, giving them control of the chamber in the 118th Congress. Democrats are projected to hold 213 seats, and two races remain uncalled. With that slim margin, McCarthy can only afford to lose a handful of GOP votes and still win the Speakership.

A top priority for returning lawmakers will be to pass a spending bill - either an omnibus package or a continuing resolution - to keep the government running. President Biden has requested $40 billion in aid to Ukraine and $9 billion in COVID funding, the latter of which Republicans have vocally opposed. Also on the agenda is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual military funding bill that lawmakers are behind on this year.

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 tomorrow, 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.

Higher Education/Job Requirements

Companies across the country, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines Corp (IBM), are rethinking their educational requirements. According to the Wall Street Journal, the companies are instead focusing on skills and experience for some jobs. The movement follows Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement this year that his state would no longer require college degrees for some state jobs. Incoming Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro also campaigned on a similar initiative.

Student Debt Relief

On Wednesday, November 23, a group of GOP-led states, led by attorney generals of Missouri and Nebrasksa, pressed the Supreme Court to freeze President Biden’s student debt relief plan. President Biden announced the extension of the student loan payment pause into the first half of 2023 after the pending litigation over the forgiveness program is resolved and also called on the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the plan. The states claim that in rolling out the program, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went beyond the authority he has under law to cancel individual debts and that the Department of Education violated administrative law in how it launched the policy. It is not yet clear whether the Supreme Court will agree to take up the case.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 240,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 222,000 to 223,000. The 4-week moving average was 226,750, an increase of 5,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 221,000 to 221,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending November 12, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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