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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - September 12th, 2022

Congress Plans for Continuing Resolution


Washington Update


Appropriations


The House is back in session this week along with the Senate for the first time since the end of the August recess. Lawmakers face a host of issues to contend with before they return to their districts next month to hit the campaign trail, but the biggest one is reaching agreement on legislation to fund the government past September 30.

Senators are preparing to vote on a continuing resolution (CR), possibly as early as next week, as the government shutdown deadline of September 30 fast approaches. At this point, the odds of Congress passing all 12 appropriations bills in both chambers is zero. Senators seem to be onboard with a stopgap measure that would fund the government through December 16, despite divisions over President Biden’s request for funding to respond to COVID-19 and the monkeypox outbreak. A possible roadblock to passage of the CR, however, is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (NY) pledge to add permitting reform legislation as requested by Senator Joe Manchin (WN) and promised in the Inflation Reduction Act negotiations, due to opposition from Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) and House progressives along with some Senate Republicans.

American Workforce Act


On Thursday, September 8, Senator Tom Cotton (AR) introduced the American Workforce Act which overhauls workforce education and provides high school graduates with a $9,000 workforce training voucher to prospective ‘trainees’ to be used to participate in education programs designed by employers for jobs in their industry. The vouchers would be paid for in part by taxing wealthy private college endowments. The bill would also offer an additional $1,000 bonus to employers for each trainee that is hired after completion of the workforce training program. It would also require participating employers to provide training for positions that paid at least 80% of the local median household income.


The legislation would allow the voucher to subsidize employer-led workforce training programs that offer a full- time, paid position combining on-the-job experience and skilled workforce training. It would give employers flexibility to build their own training programs or delegate the training to a valid third-party entity, such as a trade association, community college, high school, non-profit, or union.


Click here to access the press release.


Click here to access the bill summary.


Senate Confirmations


On Tuesday, September 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold confirmation hearings for two of President Biden’s nominees: Jessica Looman for the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division and Karla Gilbride for EEOC’s general counsel’s office. Looman was nominated in July following the failure of Biden’s first pick, David Weil, to pass the full Senate. Looman has been serving as acting administrator prior to her nomination and continues to be its top official. Gilbride, an attorney at the nonprofit Public Justice, was nominated in June and, if confirmed, would fill a vacancy that has lingered since March 2021 after Biden fired Sharon Sharon Gustafson.


Republicans have put up roadblocks on several other labor nominees still idling in the Senate, including: Jose Javier Rodriguez, nominated to run the Employment and Training Administration; Kalpana Kotagal, nominated to serve on the EEOC; Lisa Gomez, nominated to head DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration; Ernest DuBester’s confirmation to another term at the Federal Labor Relations Authority; and Kurt Rumsfeld, nominated to serve as FLRA’s general counsel.


Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative


On Thursday, September 1, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was joined by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to welcome the first group of 207 members of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative,which brings together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to modernize, strengthen, diversify and accelerate the use of Registered Apprenticeships to advance career pathways and equity during economic recovery. The Ambassadors discussed steps being taken to expand apprenticeship programs throughout the nation and promote the benefits of Registered Apprenticeships in numerous industries.


The Apprenticeship Ambassadors have existing Registered Apprenticeship programs in over 40 in-demand industries and have committed to expand and diversify these programs over the next year by collectively: developing 460 new Registered Apprenticeship programs across their 40 industries, hiring over 10,000 new apprentices, and holding 5,000 outreach, promotional and training events to help other business, labor and education leaders launch similar programs. Registered Apprenticeships provide a time-honored and proven “earn-as-you-learn” model to train workers for good paying, high-quality jobs across industries.

The Department of Labor has announced that National Apprenticeship Week will be held from November 14-20, 2022.

Click here to learn more about Apprenticeship Ambassadors.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending September 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 222,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 4,000 from 232,000 to 228,000. The 4-week moving average was 233,000, a decrease of 7,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,000 from 241,500 to 240,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending August 27, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.


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