Advocacy & Policy Update - November 30, 2020



The Senate is back in session. The House will be back in session on Wednesday, December 2. CR ends December 11.

Appropriations/Coronavirus Stimulus Package

On Tuesday, November 24, House and Senate appropriators reached a bipartisan agreement on funding allocations for 12 appropriations measures that are set to be lumped together in a massive omnibus package. Negotiators are not planning to release the 302(b) allocations until a bill is finalized. The $1.4 trillion spending package will prevent a government shutdown and avoids having to pass a continuing resolution. The Senate is back in session today but the House will not be back until the evening of Wednesday, December 2. Both chambers have just two weeks to finalize details of the package before the December 11th shutdown deadline. It’s unclear if any stimulus measures will be included in the omnibus. Senate Republicans believe President Trump is more willing to sign off on an omnibus rather than another continuing resolution.

Labor Secretary

The top candidates candidates for President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL) are Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Michigan Congressman Andy Levin, and Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Julie Su, who has been gaining momentum because of a desire for diversity in the cabinet.

Whoever does get the Labor Secretary nomination will face some monumentally hard tasks. Biden is inheriting one of the weakest labor markets in U.S. history and an estimated 12 million people will lose their jobless benefits on December 26 without another aid package from Congress. On Wednesday, November 25, the DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics reported jobless claims climbed for the second straight week to 778,000, evidence that many employers are still cutting jobs even eight months after the virus hit. Biden has promised additional relief money and a national strategy to address the coronavirus to get the economy back on track but many of his solutions require Congressional cooperation and even with a potential 50/50 Senate, that will be tough.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending November 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 778,000, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 742,000 to 748,000. The 4-week moving average was 748,500, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,500 from 742,000 to 743,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the week ending November 14, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

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Click here to read the entire November 30 weekly legislative update.

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