Report
April 19, 2022

Member Legislative Update – January 28, 2022

FY2022 SCSEP & Workforce Programs Appropriations Update

Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats continue to struggle with Democratic party infighting over the Build Back Better and voting rights legislation. With regard to Build Back Better, Democrats have paused negotiations of this bill.  It is possible that parts of this bill will be put forward by Democrats at some point, but what parts and when is unclear.

As we enter February, since the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is funding the federal government will expire at midnight on Friday, February 18, 2022, House and Senate appropriators are working towards an Omnibus funding agreement. Yet, they have not reached agreement on overall funding levels for defense and nondefense programs which is the vital first step. It is unclear as of today whether there will be enough time between now and February 18th for appropriators to reach a topline funding agreement in order to proceed with an Omnibus funding bill.

Congressional Democrats who have been mired by intraparty fighting over the Administration’s Build Back Better and voting rights legislation. President Biden indicated he will nominate a Black woman to the bench before the end of February. While the Supreme Court nomination will eventually require significant time in the Senate Judiciary Committee and later on the Senate floor, Congressional Appropriators will be focused in the near term on passage of the FY 22 Appropriations process.  In addition to negotiations that need to occur on topline funding levels, Republicans and Democrats are also fighting over some tenured appropriations bill policy riders, such as a ban on federal funding for abortion.

Therefore, we anticipate that Congress will pass another short-term to give them time to complete the FY22 appropriations bills. However, a longer-term CR may be needed if Congress does not make much progress in the next week or two on the issues noted above.

For SCSEP

For SCSEP, a CR means that we continue to receive our PY2021 funding of $405 million.  However, if Congress does not complete a FY22 appropriations or Omnibus bill and institutes a year-long CR instead through September 30, 2022, then we lose the opportunity for the SCSEP budget to grow from its current $405 million to a new funding level.  Both the House and Senate appropriators recommended funding increases for SCSEP for FY22: the House recommended $450 million and the Senate $410 million.

Beyond SCSEP

Beyond SCSEP, other federal education and workforce programs operate on a July 1-June 30th funding cycle, with FY 22 fiscal year beginning this coming July. As long as the FY 22 appropriations bills are completed before July 1st, there will not be a substantive impact on these programs, though formula funding allocations may be delayed a bit in comparison to appropriations cycles that are completed within their normal timeframe.

And like SCSEP as noted above, if Congressional Appropriators are unable to agree on FY 22 funding and decide to enact a yearlong CR, it means that this coming July 1st, education and workforce (and other federal programs) would operate with the same funding and policy provisions as in FY 21.

Since Republican Members appear more interested in agreeing to fund the annual appropriations process than the Build Back Better bill, we are hopeful that appropriators will resolve their FY 22 bills.

For WIOA Reauthorization

For WIOA Reauthorization, leaders of the House Education and Labor committee hope to move the reauthorization bill through Committee sometime in the Spring.  We are expecting the bill to focus on improvements to the nation’s workforce development system rather than an overhaul.

The America COMPETES Act

Lastly, earlier this week House Democrats published a new bill, called the America COMPETES Act of 2022 with the intention of bringing the bill to the House Floor next week.  As a response to the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260), the America COMPETES Act is intended to booth research and manufacturing to improve US competition with China and is a bill worth watching as it contains elements of prior bills and key workforce and education components.

The America COMPETES Act includes:

  • the National Apprenticeship Act of 2022 which would expand Registered Apprenticeships to nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities over the next five years. It also authorizes funding for five years to carry out the grant activities beginning at $400 million in FY 2023 and increasing by $100 million annually to reach $800 million in FY 2027;
  • the Trade Adjustment Assistance Modernization Act of 2021 containing higher funding levels, expanded eligibility, and provisions that improve and modernize the TAA programs; and
  • funding for $9 billion in grants to community colleges (over 7 years) for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Community Colleges and Career Training Program (TAACCCT) through the Department of Labor.

Since passing China competition legislation is a priority of the Administration, Democratic leaders would like to get this bill passed within two months, but the bill’s complexity, along with considerable differences between the House and Senate bills, makes the timetable ambitious.

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