January 4, 2019
Partial Government Shutdown Enters 14th Day, House Passed Legislation to End Shutdown
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- Yesterday evening the House, under the new leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, passed legislation that would end the partial government shutdown, which has now entered its 14th day. The House's spending package would provide updated funding for eight federal departments – including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Treasury – through September 30 and separately would fund the Department of Homeland Security at fiscal 2018 levels through February 8. (PoliticoPro, January 3) According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the spending package would not receive the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate. (The Hill, January 4) Earlier today Congressional leaders from both parties met for the second time with the President to discuss an agreement to end the budget impasse over funding for the proposed border wall, but it does not appear that the meeting produced any tangible progress. Stay tuned to our newsletters and blog for updates on budget and appropriations.
- An article in Bloomberg notes that although Congress appropriated $16 billion for disaster mitigation through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program last February, the Administration has yet to approve and publish the rules governing these funds, a step that allows states to access these urgently needed grants. Last April HUD released a breakdown of how the $16 billion would be allocated based on the extent of damage sustained in previous disasters: $8.3 billion for Puerto Rico, $4.3 billion for Texas, $1.2 billion for Louisiana, $774 million for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $550 million for Florida. In the article, Enterprise Community Partners’ Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Senior Advisor for Resilience Marion McFadden notes that “in the more than 15 years I have been working on disaster recovery, I’ve never seen so much time go by between HUD’s announcement of funding awards to specific jurisdictions and publication of the rules that allow a state to use the dollars.” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget earlier this week calling for approval of rules for the $4.3 billion in mitigation funding appropriated to Texas last year. (Bloomberg, January 3)
- Today the Labor Department announced that the U.S economy added 312,000 jobs in December, which marks the largest monthly gain since 324,000 jobs were added last February. The unemployment rate rose from 3.7 to 3.9 percent in December – largely due to more workers entering the workforce, and the labor force participation rate – which shows what proportion of a country's population is employed or actively looking for employment -- rose to 63.1 percent. Average hourly earnings in December rose 0.4 percent month-over-month and 3.2 percent year-over-year. Overall, the economy added an average of 220,000 jobs a month in 2018, surpassing previous year’s pace of 182,000 per month. (WSJ, January 4)
- On Thursday, January 17, Enterprise Community Partners will host a webinar on “Opportunity360 Overview and Q&A.” This webinar will go through Opportunity360 tools and resources, including the Measure Tool that can be used to create and download a 25-page Measurement Report for any census tract in the country and the Opportunity Zone Explorer Tool that enables users to obtain data-rich views of every Opportunity Zone across the country. Register here for the webinar.
- Also, on January 17, Enterprise Community Partners will host a webinar on “Creative Placemaking: Perspectives of Artists and Developers.” This webinar will discuss the experiences of two community developers who joined forces with a theater artist and writer to elevate their community engagement approach. Register here for the webinar.