Legislative Updates – April 28, 2023
Julie Su’s nomination approved by the HELP Committee
DOL Deputy Secretary Julie Su’s nomination to become Secretary of Labor was approved by the HELP Committee this week on a party line vote, 11-10. Committee Republicans expressed concerns that Su has a strongly anti-business record, raised doubts about her management skills while California Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, and questioned whether she has the experience necessary for the position.
In contrast, Committee Democrats focused on Su’s personal story as a daughter of immigrants and advocate for low wage workers, whose entire life’s work has prepared her exceptionally well for the role of Secretary of Labor.
Attention now turns to the Senate floor, where Su faces an uphill battle for confirmation as several Democratic and Independent Senators have yet to indicate whether they will vote to confirm her on the Senate floor.
House passes massive debt limit bill
House Republicans narrowly passed a bill on Wednesday which increases the nation’s debt ceiling by a vote of 217 to 215, a major victory for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) after days of negotiations within the House Republican Conference. Four Republicans voted against the bill and no Democrats supported it.
Key components of the measure include:
- Raising the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, or through March 2024.
- Reducing the deficit by $4.8 trillion over the next 10 years.
- Cutting discretionary spending by $131 billion in FY 24 by returning overall funding to FY 22 levels and only provide for a 1% increase in each of the next nine years.
- Ending the student loan payment pause, blocking the Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan, halting proposed changes to income-driven repayment, and limiting the Department of Education’s authority to make revisions to the student loan programs.
- Rescinding climate related funding and clean energy tax credits in Inflation Reduction Act .
- Expanding existing work requirements for the SNAP, TANF, and implement new rules for Medicaid beneficiaries.
- Rescinding unobligated ARPA funding for UI modernization.
The bill is dead on arrival in the Democratic controlled Senate and opposed by the Administration, both of which continue to insist on passing a clean debt limit extension, as was done three times under the previous Administration. However, passage of the bill provides House Republicans with some leverage to push the Administration toward the bargaining table, as the House bill is the only piece of legislation to date that has passed either chamber of Congress that increases the debt limit.
Bipartisan House National Apprenticeship Act reauthorization bill introduced
House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the National Apprenticeship Act of 2023. The bill would create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship opportunities by investing more than $3.8 billion over five years. The bill includes 33 co-sponsors and is based on the bipartisan NAA bill passed in the House in 2021. Please find links to the fact sheet and section by section summaries of the bill. While this bill is not expected to be approved by the Republican led House, there is significant interest in developing a bipartisan National Apprenticeships Act reauthorization bill in the Senate this Congress.
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