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Legislative Updates – October 27, 2023

House Education & Workforce Hearing on Overtime Rule Postponed

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections was scheduled to hold a hearing, “Bad for Business: DOL’s Proposed Overtime Rule”, on Tuesday, October 24, but the hearing was postponed and no new hearing date has been announced.

National Apprenticeship Week and Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Sprint

National Apprenticeship Week is November 13-19. Each day has a theme, and DOL is encouraging partners to submit an event and proclamation. More details are here.

The Advanced Manufacturing Sprint kicked off earlier this month and aims to promote the registered apprenticeship models. More details are here.

Speaker Mike Johnson

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 22 days after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the position.

Speaker Johnson is a social and fiscal conservative, an ally of former President Trump, and previously served as chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is comprised of an overwhelming majority of the House Republican Conference.

Vice Chair of the House Republican conference since 2021 and a member of Congress since 2017, Johnson was an unexpected choice, and is beginning to build relationships with White House and congressional leadership. Yesterday, in a series of meetings, Speaker Johnson met with President Biden, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He also spoke by phone with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

While the one-person threshold to call for a motion to vacate the speakership remains in place, Speaker Johnson is expected to be given some breathing room, having unified the Republican conference behind him.

Speaker Johnson is expected to focus his efforts on passing appropriation bills over the next few weeks and will need to negotiate a new Continuing Resolution (CR), as the current CR expires on November 17. Next week’s scheduled House recess has been canceled in order to accommodate his ambitious appropriations agenda.

Shortly after Speaker Johnson’s election, the House resumed consideration of the FY 24 Energy-Water appropriations bill, passing the bill along party lines on Thursday. The House has now passed five of its 12 FY 24 appropriations bills.

This week, Speaker Johnson plans to bring the Legislative Branch, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD bills to the House floor for consideration.

In his campaign for Speaker, Johnson proposed discharging the FY 24 Labor-HHS bill from Committee and taking it up on the floor the week of November 13.

Speaker Johnson would like a new CR to run through either mid-January or mid-April, while House Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) prefers a CR into December. Johnson said Freedom Caucus Members are considering conditions for passing another CR. Keep in mind that the one-percent across the board cut if the FY 24 bills are not enacted by the end of the year does not actually get implemented until April 30, providing some wiggle room.

Meanwhile, the Senate reached an agreement for floor consideration of its three-bill minibus package, including the Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD appropriations bills.

The White House has requested $106 billion in supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and security at the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition, the White House is also seeking another $56 billion in supplemental funding for domestic priorities, with nearly half going to disaster relief and $16 billion to support the child care industry.

Separately, several House Members have told us over the past week they hope with the Speaker’s race settled there will be an opportunity to legislate over the next few months. WIOA reauthorization is one such bill, with the hope of crafting a bipartisan bill. Dr. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) would still like to mark up the bill before Thanksgiving and bring the bill to the floor before Christmas. House Democrats are pleased with the bipartisan progress on the bill to date. However, the sheer scope of such a reauthorization effort may require additional time to be completed.

ED Releases Final Consumer Protection and Ability to Benefit Rule

The Department of Education announced final regulations to enhance oversight and accountability for institutions of higher education and strengthen protections for student borrowers. The final rules cover four areas: financial responsibility, administrative capability, certification procedures, and Ability to Benefit. The regulations will be published in the Federal Register on October 31 and will go into effect on July 1, 2024.

House Ways & Means Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on Pandemic Fraud

On Thursday, October 19, the House Ways & Means Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on, “Investing Pandemic Fraud: Preventing History from Repeating Itself”. The hearing is available here.

House Oversight Hearing on Apprenticeships

On Wednesday, October 25, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing on, “The Power of Apprenticeships: Faster, Better Paths to Prosperous Jobs and Less Waste in Higher Education”. The hearing is available here.

House Ways & Means Hearing on Educational Freedom and Opportunity

On Wednesday, October 25, the House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on, “Educational Freedom and Opportunity for American Families, Students, and Workers”. Chair Jason Smith (R-MO) discussed ways to hold institutions accountable, expand school choice, and expand 529 accounts to cover other educational costs such as books and supplies, tutoring, and skilled trade or licensing programs. The hearing is available here.

Senate HELP Subcommittee Hearing on AI

On Tuesday, October 31, the Senate HELP Committee’s Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety will hold a hearing on, “AI and the Future of Work: Moving Forward Together”. The hearing will be available here.

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