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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - September 26th, 2022

Stopgap Funding Bill Vote Expected Tomorrow


Washington Update


*Congress is not in session Monday and Tuesday due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Appropriations

The House is out of session on Monday and Tuesday, and the Senate is also out today but has a significant vote tomorrow on a legislative package that includes a short-term government funding bill. While the continuing resolution (CR) still hasn’t been released, it is expected to keep federal agencies open through mid-December when appropriators hope to have an omnibus spending package for the remainder of FY23 finished.

One remaining issue is Senator Joe Manchin’s (WV) permitting reform proposal, known as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) has pledged to attach the Manchin proposal to the CR, but there is opposition to the proposal from both sides. Manchin remains confident there is a “path to 60 votes for cloture on the motion to proceed to the legislative vehicle for the CR.” Nonetheless, Schumer will have to strip the Manchin proposal and move ahead if they can’t get to 60 votes as government funding runs out on Friday, and the CR must pass by the end of the week. Lawmakers are anxious to pass it and head home to hit the campaign trail, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) has warned members that the chamber will stay in session through the weekend if needed to avoid a government shutdown.

The text of the funding bill is expected to be released today. In addition to extending current funding levels for more than two months, it will also include $12 billion for Ukraine; reauthorization of Food and Drug Administration user fees which also expire September 30; Afghan resettlement funding; winter heating help; and disaster funds, including money to help alleviate the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.


Break the Cycle of Violence Act

On Thursday, September 22, on a vote of 220-207, the House passed the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (HR 4118) which would provide $1.5 billion over eight years for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs to help young people in communities affected by gun violence find work. Introduced by Congressman Steven Horsford (NV), the bill establishes multiple programs designed to interrupt cycles of violence and retaliation that have proven effective at reducing rates of community violences. The funding would be available to eligible community-based nonprofits, tribes, apprenticeship programs, community colleges and local governments, among others, and there would be a focus on connecting workers to in-demand occupations, as defined by WIOA.

Click here to read a press release on the bill.


Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program Final Rule


On September 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to rescind the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program, (IRAP). The Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register on September 26, 2022 and will go into effect on November 25, 2022. Beginning on the effective date, DOL will no longer recognize Standards Recognized Entities (SREs) or IRAPs.

This is the final step in the process, which began in February 2021 with President Biden signing an executive order revoking the Trump-era executive order that established the program and directed agencies to rescind any related regulations. The Trump-era rule allowed the private sector to control its own apprenticeship programs, whereas Registered Apprenticeships are regulated by the government. While Republicans and corporations felt IRAP gave employers needed say over which skills are necessary for their workers to have, Democrats felt it lacked important guardrails that left it vulnerable to misspending.

SREs and IRAP sponsors are encouraged to consider registering their programs with DOL or a State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA). Such entities are encouraged to reach out to the Apprenticeship Director in their State to receive technical assistance and explore such options further.

For more information click here to see the DOL Press Release.

Senate HELP Committee

The impending retirement of Senator Richard Burr (NC) has opened up the top GOP slot on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, though it is not clear who will replace him.

Senator Mike Braun (IN) is the ranking member of HELP’s subcommittee on employment and workplace safety and often stands in for Burr during hearings when he is unavailable, but Braun is considering running for governor in his home state. Senator Rand Paul (KY) is also in contention but so far he has not yet decided if he wants the lead role on the HELP Committee or the Homeland Security Committee.


Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending September 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 213,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 5,000 from 213,000 to 208,000. The 4-week moving average was 216,750, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,250 from 224,000 to 222,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.0 percent for the week ending September 10, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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