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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - October 10, 2023

Appropriations Stalled While House Decides on a New Speaker


Washington Update


Appropriations

Senator Roger Marshall (KS) dropped his hold on the Senate’s $280 billion ‘minibus’ that combines Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD, which could now pave the way for Senate passage of the package. Senator Marshall’s hold, which was in place because he was demanding a vote on his bill related to credit card swipe fees, prevented the upper chamber from passing the three-bill spending package before senators were forced to pivot to the stopgap bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) says his chamber will continue consideration of the minibus when it returns the week of October 16.

On Wednesday, October 4, Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference and member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Shelley Moore Capito (WV), joined 19 of her GOP colleagues on a letter to Schumer urging him to present a plan for passing all the bills on the floor and conferencing them “with the House in a manner that respects an open amendment process and which does not end in a December omnibus spending package.”

Negotiations on government funding can’t move forward until the House has put a new speaker in place, which has halted work on appropriations bills in the lower chamber. Even when a new speaker is decided, it is not clear if he or she can get the GOP votes needed to pass spending bills, so support from Democrats could be necessary to prevent a funding lapse on November 17.

Click here to access the letter.

Short-Term Pell

In July, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee postponed markup of the bipartisan Jumpstarting Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, and movement on the legislation is still pending. Senator Tim Kaine (VA), a lead sponsor of the JOBS Act, is hoping it will be considered in an upcoming business meeting. The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Mike Braun (IN), would allow students to use Pell Grants to cover the costs of training programs at community or technical colleges that are as short as eight weeks long.

Click here to access the press release when the bill was first introduced.

White House Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint

On Friday, October 6, the Administration hosted a White House convening to officially start its Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint and launch its third Investing in America tour. The Sprint is an intensive drive to build a diverse, skilled pipeline of workers for good jobs, including union jobs, in advanced manufacturing. The multi-week, Administration-wide tour will highlight how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is benefiting communities across the country and will feature President Biden, Vice President Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Cabinet members, and Senior Administration officials making dozens of stops in the coming two weeks. President Biden and Administration leaders are expected to make major announcements around infrastructure over the course of the tour.

Click here to access the White House Fact Sheet on the tour.

Unemployment Rate

On Friday, October 6, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the September unemployment report, which showed nonfarm payrolls increased 336,000 last month with the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.8%. The increase, led by the leisure and hospitality industry with 96,000 added jobs, was the most in eight months - indicating persistent labor market strength that could give the Federal Reserve ammunition to raise interest rates again. Click here to access the report.

Click here to read Acting Secretary of Labor Su’s statement on the August jobs report.

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