October 29, 2020

Washington Wire: Senate to Vote on a Targeted COVID Stimulus Bill Next Week

10/14/2020

Senate to Vote on a Targeted COVID Stimulus Bill Next Week  

 
On October 13, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate will vote on a targeted COVID stimulus bill next week. According to Senator McConnell, the bill will provide around $500 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as money for schools and hospitals. The bill will also include protections for businesses from COVID-related lawsuits.
 
Whether Senator McConnell’s bill can pass the Senate is an open question, not to mention that even if it does get through the Senate, the bill will be dead on arrival in the House. Not long ago, an approximately $500 billion relief bill received fifty-two votes from Republican Senators only to be blocked by Democrats.
 
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to talk in an attempt to reach an agreement. Last week, Secretary Mnuchin offered a $1.8 trillion aid package to Speaker Pelosi which was promptly criticized by many Senate Republicans. Even though some House Democrats asked Pelosi to take the deal, the Speaker signaled she would not come down from her $2.2 trillion bill passed in the House at the beginning of October. If you have not done so already, you can send a letter to your Senators and Representative asking them to take action now.

 

 

 
Research Project Reports 2020 Findings on Credentials
 
OThe Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) and Burning Glass Technologies recently released their new report: “Credentials Matter Phase 2: A 2020 Update on Credential Attainment and Workforce Demand in America.” The Phase 2 report expands on last year’s Phase 1 analysis on whether the credentials students earn line up with what is needed in the workforce and provides five main findings:
 
  1. Thirty-three states collect quantitative data on the attainment of credentials in K-12.
  2. Even though U.S. high school students earn hundreds of thousands of credentials each year, states do not have a consistent definition of what constitutes an industry-recognized credential.
  3. Even if required, employer job listings do not explicitly request credentials.
  4. Only eighteen percent of the credentials obtained by K-12 students are demanded by U.S. employers.
  5. Only four states submitted postsecondary student credential data, as most postsecondary systems do not currently collect or aggregate credential attainment data.
 
According to their findings, the report provides six state policy recommendations:
 
  1. States, along with business and industry at the table, must create clear definitions and criteria for credentials of value.
  2. Every state needs to collect data on industry credential offerings and attainment across K-12 and postsecondary systems.
  3. States should strengthen data quality.
  4. States should regularly evaluate and provide transparent reporting of student outcomes related with credential attainment.
  5. States need to expand access to and equity in high-value career pathway and credential offerings.
  6. States must clearly communicate to all stakeholders involved the value of credentials.
 
One Voice has worked with the Department of Labor, NIST, MEPs and other stakeholders to promote the importance of credentials, apprenticeships, and skills training. The lobbying team in Washington, D.C. is working with Congress on updating the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937 and the Higher Education Act.

 

 

 
Commerce Department Issues Affirmative Preliminary Antidumping Duty Determinations on Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from Eighteen Countries
 
On October 8, U.S. Department of Commerce issued its affirmative preliminary determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey. The investigation came about due to a petition from the Aluminum Association Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet Trade Enforcement Working Group. If the Commerce Department makes a final affirmative determination, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will make a final injury determination in the beginning of April 2021. Separate and in addition to the Section 232 tariffs, Commerce is considering imposing duties of up to 352% on Germany and 136% on imports from Brazil. Click Here for more information on this investigation.

 

 

 
USTR Launches Section 301 Investigation into Vietnam
 
On October 8, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued notice it has begun a Section 301 investigation of Vietnam’s acts, policies and practices related to the importation of illegal timber and currency valuation. While the one investigation mainly affects importers of wood products from Vietnam, the second Section 301 case alleging undervalued currency could result in tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions on other goods, like steel and aluminum, imported from Vietnam. Although USTR will not hold a public hearing due to COVID restrictions, it is accepting comments on this action until November 12. While the U.S. Government alleges a 5-8% currency undervaluation by Vietnam’s government, bringing a case under the same Section 301 used against Chinese imports is a step to imposing tariffs in the future on Vietnamese imports. One Voice will continue to monitor this situation not just as it relates to Vietnam but also efforts to combat illegal currency manipulation an issue on which the associations have been lobbying multiple presidential administrations to address.