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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - October 16, 2023

House Still Stalled as Speaker Race Continues

Washington Update

Appropriations/House Speaker

While Congress averted a government shutdown earlier this month, they only have until mid-November to agree on government funding. Meanwhile, the House is now entering its third week with no speaker, continuing its inability to legislate. On Friday, October 13, Congressman Jim Jordan (OH) won the conference’s nomination for speaker - the second Republican in three days to do so — however, his path to the gavel is no easier than that of previous nominee House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (LA), who dropped out on Thursday. On Monday, October 16, Republicans are set to meet behind closed doors at 6:30 pm to try to unite on a speaker. Amidst turmoil as the House tries to find a new Speaker, the divided discussion around more aid for Ukraine, and the prospect of funding for Israel, lawmakers will need to get on the same page fast.

On Tuesday, Jordan will have a floor vote, but it is still not clear if he will garner the support of the 217 Republicans necessary to win. In a secret-ballot vote on Friday, 55 House Republicans indicated that they wouldn’t back him. The results of Friday’s secret-ballot vote sent Jordan and his team into a full pressure campaign over the weekend, targeting Republicans he believed would not back him. Jordan’s weekend campaign seems to have backfired as moderate and swing-district Republicans are growing increasingly wary of his bullying tactics. Several Jordan supporters are even attacking potential challengers to try and secure support. It is becoming increasingly clear there are seemingly irreparable divisions among House Republicans.

On Sunday, October 15, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY) suggested that the Democratic leadership could get more involved in discussions, especially if Jordan does not secure the votes.

Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs

On Friday, October 13, President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced seven regional clean hydrogen hubs that were selected to receive $7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to accelerate the domestic market for low-cost, clean hydrogen. The Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub, which consists of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, will help unlock hydrogen-driven decarbonization in the Mid-Atlantic while repurposing historic oil infrastructure and using existing rights-of-way. The Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub plans to negotiate Project Labor Agreements for all projects and provide close to $14 million for regional workforce development boards that will serve as partners for community college training and pre-apprenticeships. This Hub anticipates creating 20,800 direct jobs - 14,400 in construction and 6,400 permanent jobs.

Click here to access the press release and learn more about the seven hubs.

CHIPS and Science Implementation and Oversight Hearing

On Wednesday, October 4, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation convened a full committee hearing titled “CHIPS and Science Implementation and Oversight” to focus on the implementation and oversight of the CHIPS and Science Act by the Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation. At the hearing, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and National Science Foundation Director Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan offered insight into investments to boost the country’s innovation, research and competitiveness through semiconductor manufacturing incentives and regional innovation programs established under the law. Secretary Raimondo pointed out that there will be a major increase in the need for semiconductor technicians and the United States needs to be prepared to educate and train individuals for these jobs. Raimondo said that technicians do not need a four-year college degree, so community colleges, or even high school plus an additional credentialing program, can prepare individuals for these careers. An emerging National Semiconductor Technology Center is expected to play a key role by coordinating an array of work between higher education institutions, companies, and the government. The Center will tackle workforce programs by scaling up ‘gold-standard’ education models, experiential learning and training programs. On Wednesday, October 11, a committee appointed the Center’s first board of trustees’ members.

Click here to learn more about the National Semiconductor Technology Center.

Click here to access more information about the hearing.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending October 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 209,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 207,000 to 209,000. The 4-week moving average was 206,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 208,750 to 209,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending September 30, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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