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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - September 18, 2023

House Committee to Hold Hearing on WIOA

Washington Update


Congress has less than two weeks’ of legislative time left to resolve several September 30 deadlines. Legislators in both chambers need to agree to a continuing resolution to head off the most significant deadline — funding the government once fiscal year 2024 starts. Major initiatives like the Farm Bill — which includes SNAP reauthorization — are also at risk of lapsing.

On Sunday, September 17, House Republicans unveiled a stopgap funding measure that would avoid a partial government shutdown and provide border security measures sought by the Freedom Caucus. Passage of the measure is already in doubt, however, even in the GOP-controlled House. The draft continuing resolution (CR) would extend current funding through October 31, cut 8.1 percent from all nondefense accounts except for the Department of Veterans Affairs and disaster relief, and include border provisions. It would omit a provision that makes additional funds available for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The bill does not include the aid for Ukraine or disaster relief money sought by President Biden. The legislation includes many GOP provisions to secure the southern border including restricting asylum eligibility for migrants, reinstate family detention, heighten penalties for visa overstays and restart border wall construction, among other things.

The House Rules Committee plans to take up the stopgap measure today. GOP leaders are confident it will pass the House but passage is not guaranteed given the razor-thin margin, and some GOP hard-liners have already spoken against the bill. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, issued a statement Sunday criticizing the GOP measure. A government shutdown is seeming even more likely.

Click here to access the full text of the House GOP stopgap bill.

House WIOA Hearing

On Wednesday, September 20 at 10:15 am ET, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, chaired by Congressman Burgess Owens (UT), will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers.” WDC Board member CareerSource South Florida Executive Director Rick Beasley will provide witness testimony during this hearing.

Click here to learn more about the hearing and access the livestream.

Child Care Stabilization Act

On Wednesday, September 13, Senator Patty Murray (WA), Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), Representative Katherine Clark, Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT), Representative Bobby Scott, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR), along with other Democratic lawmakers, introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend federal child care stabilization funding and ensure that child care providers can keep their doors open. The $24 billion in funding for the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program, created under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is set to run out September 30. If approved, the legislation would provide $16 billion each year for the next five years to continue the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program – a total of $80 billion into the child care industry. The Century Foundation estimates that around 70,000 child care providers are at risk of closing, affecting over 3 million children. The legislation faces a tough road but Senator Murray said she would use ‘every opportunity’ to move it forward.

Click here to learn more about the legislation.

Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2023

On Friday, September 15, House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA), along with Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Ranking Member Frederica Wilson (FL), Congressman Chuy Garcia (IL) and Education and the Workforce Committee Vice Ranking Member Jahana Hayes (CT) reintroduced the Opening Doors for Youth Act of 2023 (ODYA). The bill aims to address the challenges facing youth who have become disconnected from both school and work by investing $6.75 billion over six years to help opportunity and at-risk youth gain their first employment opportunities and develop opportunities to successfully transition from school to work. USCM has signed on in support of the legislation.

Click here to read more about the legislation.

House Committee Markup

On Thursday, September 14, the House Education and the Workforce Committee advanced nine bills. The bills passed include the Department of Labor Succession Act (HR 4957), which clarifies federal law to ensure that the tenure of an Acting Secretary of Labor is subject to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 as well as the RETIRE Act (HR 5339), which clarifies that financial institutions must base decisions on an investment solely on economic factors.

Click here to access video of the markup and read more about all nine bills passed.

Committee Report on AI

On Monday, September 11, the Senate Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Democrats released a new report titled “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence Through Public Investment and Workforce Development.” The report comes in the midst of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (NY) bipartisan AI Insight Forums — the first of nine was held last week. The AI Insight Forums are closed-door gatherings with top tech executives and labor and civil rights advocates to bring experts from the private sector together with U.S. lawmakers to help them understand the industry before they strive to regulate AI. The first meeting, held Wednesday, September 13, included Google CEO Sundar Pichai; former Google CEO Eric Schmidy; Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg; OpenAI CEO Sam Altman; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang; X (formerly known as Twitter) CEO Elon Musk; AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and CEO Maya Wiley; and AI accountability researcher Deb Raji.

Click here to access the new report.

House Committee Hearing

On Wednesday, September 13, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing titled “The Impact of Biden’s Open Border on the American Workforce.” Witnesses for the hearing included Robert Law, Director of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration at the America First Policy Institute; Dr. Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies; Daniel Costa, Director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute; and Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum.

Click here to learn more about the hearing.

Initial Jobless Rate

In the week ending September 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 220,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 216,000 to 217,000. The 4-week moving average was 224,500, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 229,250 to 229,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending September 2, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the full report.

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