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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - September 19th, 2022

Government Shutdown Looms: Lawmakers Facing Down Deadline


Washington Update


Appropriations

The House and Senate are both in session today and Congress faces some big decisions on government funding and permitting reform this week. The Senate has not yet reached agreement on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open, and lawmakers have just two weeks left to negotiate a continuing resolution (CR) before the September 30 deadline. House and Senate Democratic leaders are looking for $12 billion in aid for Ukraine in a short-term funding bill, which would keep the federal government open until mid-December. Congressional leaders have recently said they are working on a budget plan but have yet to release any details. The White House has requested tens of billions of dollars in new Covid prep funding to cover the cost of tests, therapeutics and new vaccines; however, Republicans say the Biden administration should redirect money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to cover it. The White House has also sought money for dealing with the monkeypox outbreak and disaster relief as part of the CR. Republicans are also opposed to this new monkeypox funding but negotiations on disaster relief are still continuing. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (WV) made a deal that a permitting reform proposal from Manchin would be attached to the CR. Republicans are opposed to the Manchin plan though, as are a large block of progressive House Democrats. Nonetheless, Schumer is moving ahead with the permitting reform provision as part of the CR.

WIOA Joint Proposal

On Wednesday, September 14, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education announced that they are seeking public comment on a proposed definition for the final performance indicator used to report outcomes for the six Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core programs. The proposed change would use “Retention with the Same Employer” as the criterion to measure the effectiveness in serving employers. The indicator would assess the percentage of WIOA program participants with wage records who are employed with the same employer in both the second and fourth quarters after exiting the program. The proposed rulemaking is necessary to complete performance accountability requirements after a 2016-2020 pilot provided flexibility to states in assessing Labor’s WIOA core programs – Adult, Dislocated Worker, Youth and Employment Services – and Education’s WIOA core programs – Adult Education and Family Literacy program and the Vocational Rehabilitation program authorized under the Rehabilitation Act – on the effectiveness of their services to employers. The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.

Click here to submit public comments related to the publication of the notice announced today.

Click here to access the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

Click here to access the Department of Labor press release.

Higher Education Outlook

On Tuesday, September 13, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC) discussed her Responsible Education Assistance through Loan (REAL) Reforms Act as a key part of the future of Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization if Republicans win the House after midterm elections. The legislation, introduced in August, includes several student loan policies as well as a “Workforce Pell” plan that would give students the ability to use the Pell Grant for short-term job training programs. Foxx said the legislation is just a first part of the Republicans HEA reauthorization proposal and has vowed she would do everything possible to reauthorize HEA.

Senate Confirmations

On Wednesday, September 21, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold votes on several of President Biden’s labor nominees, including: Jessica Looman, nominee for administrator of DOL’s Wage and Hour Division; Karla Gilbride, nominee for general counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and Moshe Marvit, nominee for membership on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Click here to access the HELP Committee website.


Performance Pilot Partnerships

In August, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a notice inviting applications for selection as a performance partnership pilot for FY22 under the Performance Partnership Pilot for Disconnected Youth (P3) authority. The FY22 P3 authority enables pilot sites to blend FY22 federal funds and obtain waivers of program requirements, including statutory, regulatory, and administrative requirements that are barriers to achieving improved outcomes for youth-serving programs included in the authority. Under P3, pilots can test innovative strategies to achieve significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth using the flexibility provided by P3. Deadline for applications is Friday, October 7, 2022.

Click here to access more information on how to apply.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending September 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 213,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 4,000 from 222,000 to 218,000. The 4-week moving average was 224,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,000 from 233,000 to 232,000. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending September 3, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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