1. Hearing Held to Reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act
On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the Higher Education and Workforce investment Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act. The National Apprenticeship Act, originally passed in 1937, will be amended to expand the apprenticeship system to include broader forms of apprenticeship programs. This discussion is centered around how to modernize the Act and bring apprenticeships into the 21st century.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Preserving these valued apprenticeship programs is a priority. NECA continues to work closely with legislators while this bill is being shaped.
2. NLRB Chairman and General Counsel to Testify Regarding Funding
Next week, the Chairman and General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board are scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations committee. This hearing is anticipated to be contentious with lawmakers inquiring as to the reasons behind the Trump Administration’s request to lower the board’s funding by 10%. At the same time, the NLRB’s regional offices are plagued with under-employment and the board itself is dogged with hearings and legal challenges over ethical conflicts of interest.
NECA’s Look Ahead: While historically the National Labor Relations Board has been a contentious and often politicized place, this hearing is expected to highlight the new level of dysfunction that now riddles the Board. NECA believes that lawmakers should continue to fully fund the NLRB and encourage their leadership to expedite the hiring of their regional offices.
3. Congress Passes Coronavirus Funding Bill
NECA’s Look Ahead: This bill addresses the critical funding issues surrounding the U.S. response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The bill includes the following:
$4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available
$2.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a robust response, including:
- $1 billion exclusively for state and local response efforts
- $300 million for CDC’s Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund
- $20 million to administer disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by the virus.
- $1.25 billion for the State Department and (USAID)
- $264 million to evacuate Americans and maintain consular operations overseas