Lawmakers Return from Recess to Looming Shutdown
Build Back Better Act
With lawmakers returning from recess this week, Senate Democrats will continue work on President Biden’s social spending package, the Build Back Better Act – hopefully reaching an agreement by Christmas. A provision that would let millions of undocumented migrants continue to live and work in the United States is facing a review from the Senate's parliamentarian, who has struck down two other attempts to provide them legal status from the package. It also seems highly likely that Senator Joe Manchin (WV) will force Democrats to remove an expanded paid family leave program and alter clean energy provisions. There is also division over changes to the cap on state and local tax deductions. Any changes made by the Senate will send the package back to the House for passage.
Following Thanksgiving recess, Congress only has a few days to prevent a government shutdown ahead of the Friday, December 3, deadline. Democrats are preparing a temporary funding fix to keep the government open into 2022. The House could vote as early as Wednesday on a stopgap measure that could potentially fund the government into mid- or late January. Originally, Democrats considered a short-term stopgap that would expire before the new year, but Republican leaders have shown no inclination to participate in those talks. A longer stopgap would give Democrats time to focus on passage of President Biden’s social spending package – the Build Back Better Act – before Christmas. The debit limit issue is not expected to be addressed in the developing stopgap. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned lawmakers that the nation could default on its loans by December 15 if Congress doesn’t act to raise or waive the cap on how much the country can borrow. The Biden Administration has pressured congressional leaders to begin talks on a sweeping government funding deal.
Initial Jobless Claims
In the week ending November 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 199,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 15, 1969 when it was 197,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 268,000 to 270,000. The 4-week moving average was 252,250, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 272,750 to 273,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent for the week ending November 13, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate.
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