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Advocacy & Policy Update - September 28, 2020




On Tuesday, September 22, in a vote of 359-57, the House passed legislation to fund the government through December 11, which includes funding sought by Republicans to help farmers and a Democratic-backed increase to nutrition programs to ensure children who normally receive free or reduced-cost meals at schools still have access while they are closed for in-person instruction. It also expands the expiring program providing low-income children with meals to include child care centers impacted by pandemic-related closures, and gives states continued flexibility for food stamp requirements for another year. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, just in time to avoid a government shutdown. The stopgap bill punts government funding fights to the lame-duck session after the November elections.  Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell went to Capitol Hill for three days of testimony to try and push Congress toward another coronavirus relief bill before Election Day. Powell has told lawmakers for months that significant COVID-19 aid is needed and soon. Powell warned that, without relief, millions of Americans may continue to suffer joblessness and homelessness despite a gradual improvement in the economy. Unfortunately, it seems Congress has abandoned COVID relief talks, despite Powell’s push and the still unstable economy.

Worker Flexibility and Small Business Protection Act

On Thursday, September 24, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and Sherrod Brown (OH), along with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT), introduced the Worker Flexibility and Small Business Protection Act, which aims to strengthen worker protections by addressing so-called worker misclassification and expanding joint employment liability. The legislation seeks to implement a “strong” version of the ABC test used to classify workers as either employees or independent contractors and would also change the federal test for joint employer status by imposing mutual liability for employment violations when two or more employers "directly or indirectly" control the same worker. The bill’s unlikely to receive a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Click here to access the bill. Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending September 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 870,000, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 6,000 from 860,000 to 866,000. The 4-week moving average was 878,250, a decrease of 35,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 1,500 from 912,000 to 913,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 8.6 percent for the week ending September 12, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's revised rate. 

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to read the entire September 28 weekly legislative update.

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