United States Capitol building at night

Legislative Updates – September 25, 2023

GAO Report on Julie Su’s Legality of Service

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) declared, in a five-page report, that DOL Acting Sec. Julie Su is lawfully serving and can stay in the role indefinity. GAO opened its review in July in response to a request from House Education & the Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

More Setbacks as a Government Shutdown Looms

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) suffered more setbacks this week. The prospect of a government shutdown come October 1 looks increasingly likely, and both the House and Senate are expected to be out until Tuesday.

McCarthy entered this week eager to pass the FY 24 defense spending bill in the House and hoping to see House Republicans unite around a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) package to send to the Senate. However, on Tuesday, McCarthy was forced to pull a procedural vote on a CR to keep the government funded and, separately, conservative Republicans helped defeat a procedural measure to advance the defense spending bill to a final vote.

On Wednesday, House Republicans met for two and half hours and leadership rallied around a new proposal for a 30-day CR which would set government spending at $1.471 trillion (the same level as in their bill to address the debt ceiling, the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which House Republicans passed in April before the House passed the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act in May, which included higher discretionary spending caps), include Republicans’ border security legislation, create a bipartisan commission to address the debt, and include an agreement to set full-year topline spending levels at $1.526 trillion (about $64 less than in the bipartisan debt ceiling deal).

The proposal could not pass the Senate, but would strengthen the House’s negotiating position. The Senate wants funding levels agreed to in the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act, and in addition supplemental funding, including aid for Ukraine.

With a CR proposal in place, the idea was the House would vote on the defense appropriations bill on Thursday and pass the bill on Friday. Subsequently, the House hoped to vote on the CR on Saturday. However, five conservatives voted against moving the defense funding bill to a final vote, the second time such a procedural motion was defeated this week. Given the division in the House Republican conference, the weekend CR vote was scrapped.

The House Rules Committee is expected to meet this afternoon. Next week, the House may try to pass more FY 24 funding bills, having passed one of the twelve appropriations bills thus far. The House may bring up the Defense, Homeland Security, State-Foreign Operations, and Agriculture-FDA bills under one combined rule, and then vote on each bill individually.

A few moderate Republicans have discussed working with Democrats to pass a CR, but if Speaker McCarthy were to bring up a CR the Senate eventually passes, or pass a CR with Democratic votes, it is likely to lead to a motion to vacate vote that could risk his speakership.

The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of moderate members of both parties in the House, have their own proposal for a CR through January 11, with funding for Ukraine and disaster relief, a bipartisan border solution, and a fiscal commission on deficits and the debt.

The Senate was unable to find a way forward this week on the three-bill “minibus” package that includes the FY 24 Military Construction-VA bill, Agriculture bill, and Transportation-HUD bill. Several senators sought amendment votes, and conservates senators appear content to block what has been noteworthy bipartisan progress thus far while the House tries to find a path forward.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer is meanwhile readying a CR bill for Senate action next week, given the House is unlikely to pass its own short-term funding stopgap. The CR will include funding for Ukraine and disaster relief and should be bipartisan, though Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) intends to use procedural tactics to slow down the bill as it would include Ukraine funding.

House WIOA Hearing

On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, Chaired by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), held a hearing on “Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers”. The hearing was the Subcommittee’s second on WIOA this Congress, following its May hearing on workforce challenges and ways to improve skills development. Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) hopes to produce a bipartisan bill this Fall. Our memo on the hearing may be accessed here. The House Republican recap may be accessed here.

Not a member? Join today.

Members of the American Workforce Coalition gain access to exclusive content and events, including:

  • Monthly Jobs Reports
  • Legislative Analyses
  • Peer-to-Peer Collaboration
  • Access to Experts & Innovators
Become a Member

Already a member? Login