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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - October 12th, 2021

House to Vote on Stopgap Debt Ceiling Increase


Washington Update


Debt Ceiling

On Thursday, October 7, the Senate passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling through early December, with the House expected to vote today on the legislation that increases the ceiling by $480 billion — the amount the Treasury Department told Congress it would need to get to December 3. The deal came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a temporary stopgap measure to Democrats to avoid fiscal calamity. The two parties are still in disagreement over how to address the issue, with Republicans insistent Democrats must act alone through reconciliation while Democrats argue the issue is a bipartisan responsibility. Lawmakers on the Hill will only have a short time to now address the debt ceiling issue as well as the expiration of government funding.

DOL Nominees

On Thursday, October 7, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee questioned President Biden’s nominees to head the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Retirement Security Arms. The nominees, Jose Javier Rodriguez for the Assistant Secretary for ETA and Lisa Gomez for DOL Assistant Secretary of Employee Benefits Security, are one step closer to Senate confirmation but still face a committee vote before they are cleared for full floor consideration.

According to the Partnership for Public Service’s tracker of political appointees, just 27% of key positions at the Department of Labor have been filled by Biden’s nominees. At least one position is held by a holdover appointee from previous administrations and eight nominees are awaiting action by the Senate. The Chamber has a full agenda this fall, so it is possible nominees might not see movement anytime soon.

Click here to access a video of the hearing.

Unemployment Report

On Friday, October 8, the Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the September jobs report, which showed the economy added 194,000 jobs last month - not even half of what economists had expected and a troubling sign that COVID is still disrupting the economy. This is the second straight month in which the nation’s economy added far fewer jobs than expected. The unemployment rate declined to 4.8% - down from 5.2% in August. Joblessness declined across the board but the Black unemployment rate fell the most of any group from 8.8% in August to 7.9%.

Click here to access the full report.

Click here to read the statement Secretary Walsh on September’s Jobs Report.

Click here to read a blog post by Chief Economist Janelle Jones.

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