ABC-VA Blog

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Biden COVID Plan, ABC and CDW Action on Reconciliation, PRO Act Letter to Mayors, Anti-"Salting" Bill, and TPS Extension

President Biden to Announce Six-Part Plan to Combat COVID-19

 

At 5pm this evening, President Biden will unveil a six-part plan to combat coronavirus, which will include signing an executive order to require COVID-19 vaccinations for federal workers, including contractors that do business with the federal government.

 

The Wall Street Journal has also reported and the White House posted on its website that the President’s plan will also require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines for their workers or require testing at least once a week and will be required to provide paid time off for receiving vaccinations. Vaccines will also be required for health care workers at hospitals and facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements. The information states the Labor Department in the coming weeks plans to issue an emergency temporary standard implementing the new requirement, which will cover 80 million private-sector workers, officials said. Businesses that don’t comply can face fines of up to $14,000 per violation.

 

ABC is closely monitoring the announcement and will provide updates on the proposed requirements for employers.

 

REMINDER—ABC Action Alert:

 

Earlier this week ABC issued an action alert opposing the House’s efforts to move forward with the partisan budget reconciliation process that could result in tax hikes and far-reaching labor requirements for ABC members. Please urge your representatives to oppose this package this week as House Committees continue to mark up their sections of the package.

 

ABC Letters to Ways and Means Committee:

 

This week, ABC also sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee expressing concerns with the tax proposals and paid leave mandate ahead of the committee’s mark-up today. ABC also joined coalitions in three additional letters addressing stepped up basis, Section 199A deduction, and Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.

 

House committees have begun formulating legislative text that is in line with their budget resolution instructions. The tentative mark-up schedule puts all 13 House committees on track to hit the Sept. 15 deadline for drafting the full reconciliation bill. That would then enable the House to bring the reconciliation bill to the floor before it votes on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, on Sept. 27.

 

CDW Statement on Budget Reconciliation:

 

Today, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of more than 600 major business organizations, released a statement in response to the draft budget reconciliation bill from the House Education and Labor Committee, which includes provisions from the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, including excessive penalties, unnecessary restrictions negatively impacting opportunities for gig workers and limiting employer free speech, and $5 million aimed at replacing secret ballot in union representation elections with phone-based voting— which would expose employees to union intimidation.

 

You can also view more information on the civil penalties included in the package in this write up from Littler. ABC will continue to provide additional updates on this proposal as it progresses through Congress.

 

President Biden also reaffirmed his support for restrictive labor policies and the PRO Act in an address to labor union yesterday.

 

CDW PRO Act Letter to Conference of Mayors:

 

Last month, The US Conference of Mayors passed a resolution "support[ing] the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and other federal legislation to protect public employee collective bargaining." It was sponsored by 15 mayors. Today, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace responded to the resolution in a letter authored by ABC’s Kristen Swearingen that urges the United States Conference of Mayors to reconsider its support of the PRO Act.

 

ABC-Supports Anti-“Salting” Legislation in U.S. House:

 

On Sept. 8, Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced the ABC-supported Truth in Employment Act, H.R. 5178. This legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act to protect small businesses and their employees from the coercive tactic used by big unions known as “salting,” which makes small businesses targets of harassment campaigns designed to increase forced unionization. ABC issued a statement on the legislation and has long opposed the detrimental impacts of salting abuse and will continue to work with the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to educate Congress about the negative effects that the practice has on small businesses.

 

TPS Extension:

 

In a document scheduled to be officially published tomorrow September 10, 2021, the Federal Register has announced a 15-month automatic extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all current beneficiaries of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Nepal and Sudan.

 

OFCCP Issues 2021 Corporate Scheduling List for Construction Contractors

 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued the latest Corporate Scheduling Announcement List for construction contractors for fiscal year 2021, which includes 400 federal contractors, federally assisted contractors and subcontractors. Read more.

 

Statewide Vaccination Mandate Tracker:

 

Littler Mendelson has put together this chart tracking statewide vaccination mandates, which covers directives that affect public or private entities as employers, including state contractors.  The chart also indicates states where local vaccine mandates may be applicable. ABC National will continue to share this and other resources tracking state and local mandates as they are issued.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: ABC Action Alert and Reconciliation

Yesterday, ABC issued an action alert opposing the House’s efforts to move forward with the partisan budget reconciliation process that could result in tax hikes and far-reaching labor requirements for ABC members. Please urge your representatives to oppose this package this week as House Committees continue to mark up their sections of the package.

ABC also joined a coalition of organizations in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee opposing efforts to cap the Section 1031 like-kind exchange tax provision currently in law. ABC also plans to provide committees with several other letters highlighting concerns with the reconciliation package and its potential to impact the construction industry.

Today, the Ways and Means Committee released a significant portion of the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill dealing with universal paid family and medical leave, retirement, childcare, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Medicare and more and posted the legislation on its website here. The Ways and Means Committee markup is scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m. to address these provisions while the tax portions of the bill will be considered next week. 

CAMMU Press Release on Steel Prices:

Last week, the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU), of which ABC is a member, released a statement calling for the complete elimination of the Section 232 tariffs. The release highlights the record high steel prices for U.S. manufacturers and notes the “shortage of steel in the United States that will only worsen if and when Congress passes an infrastructure bill,” and calls on the Biden Administration to eliminate the Section 232 tariffs. The release also included the CAMMU steel price chart can be found here.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint

Budget Reconciliation Outlook:

Last week, all 220 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a $3.5 trillion budget resolution embedded in a House rule that also sets a Sept. 27 deadline for a House vote on the Senate’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. The deal was punctuated with a statement from Speaker Pelosi, memorializing the mutual understanding of the terms, and a nominal commitment from Pelosi to only vote on a reconciliation bill "that can pass the Senate," though progressive Democrats in the House pushed back, reiterating threats to vote against the bill unless they first vote for the reconciliation package, adding to the pressure to negotiate, draft, vet, and whip the bill in a matter of weeks.

House committees will begin marking up their portions of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package bill this week and plan to assemble the full package by mid-September ahead of the promised infrastructure vote. Congress is faced with critical deadlines at the end of September including the expiration of the current surface transportation authorization and government funding for federal agencies. Today, ABC sent a letter to the House Small Business Committee outlining concerns with the reconciliation package, including potential tax increases and labor requirements for small construction companies.

Also last week, ABC sent a letter to the House opposing the reconciliation package and expressing concerns about the impact of the partisan proposal’s tax hikes and labor requirements on the nation’s construction industry.

Of note, key votes for Senate Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have made clear their opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag on the current budget proposal, while progressives have called the $3.5 trillion proposal a compromise. These opposing views will lead to further discussions among Democrats on a viable proposal that can pass through both chambers and support the president’s policies.

 

ABC Tells OSHA Not to Expand COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard to Construction:

On Aug. 20, the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, of which ABC is a steering committee member, submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Occupational Exposure to COVID-19; Emergency Temporary Standard interim final ruleRead more.

 

EEOC Announces New Filing Deadline for EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection for 2019 and 2020:

Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 on business operations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Aug. 18 that the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection filing deadline has been extended to Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. The deadline was previously extended from July 19 to Aug. 23. Read more.

 

NLRB’s New General Counsel Issues Memorandum Outlining Priorities:

On Aug. 12, the National Labor Relations Board’s new general counsel, Jennifer A. Abruzzo, issued Memorandum GC 21-04 to all NLRB regional offices, which outlines the priorities of the Office of the General Counsel. Read more.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: House Democrats Push Forward with Budget Reconciliation

House Democrats Push Through Budget Framework for Reconciliation:

Yesterday, all 220 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for a $3.5 trillion budget resolution embedded in a House rule that also sets a Sept. 27 deadline for a House vote on the Senate’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. The measure provided passage of the budget resolution that moves the partisan budget reconciliation process forward and also included a commitment to ensure consideration of the Senate’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that quelled the concerns from a group of ten House Democrats that held talks with Democratic leadership this week after urging for a vote on the IIJA before considering passage of the budget resolution. Speaker Pelosi has continued to call for passing the completed budget reconciliation bill before or in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure proposal.

ABC sent a letter to the House yesterday opposing the reconciliation package and expressing concerns about the impact of the partisan proposal’s tax hikes and labor requirements on the nation’s construction industry.

Of note, key votes for Senate Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have made clear their opposition to the $3.5 trillion price tag on the current budget proposal and their opposition will likely lead to further discussions among Democrats on a viable proposal that can pass through both chambers and support the president’s policies.

House committees will begin marking up their portions of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package bill next week and plan to assemble the full package by mid-September ahead of the promised infrastructure vote. Congress is faced with critical deadlines at the end of September including the expiration of the current surface transportation authorization and government funding for federal agencies.

The House yesterday also passed H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, House Democrat’s proposal to restore provisions on minority voting originally enacted as part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court several years ago. Unlike the ABC-opposed, so-called For The People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1), this legislation was narrowly focused on the judiciary and avoided larger election reform issues supported by Democrats.

 

Potential Labor Provisions in $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill:

There are also reports that there will be some labor provisions included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, the two most discussed possibilities have been increased penalties for violations of the National Labor Relations Act and deductibility of union dues. Democrats might also look to include new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and additional financial support for striking workers. The provisions would need to pass the scrutiny of the budget reconciliation Byrd Rule that prevents extraneous measures from passing through the reconciliation process, though Democrats believe the employer penalties and tax provision should be deemed germane to the federal budget. ABC will continue to provide critical information on the progress of the reconciliation package.

As a reminder, the Senate wrapped up their final votes before leaving town for August recess, passing their budget resolution in a 50-49 vote that will set the stage for a proposed $3.5 trillion partisan spending bill through the budget reconciliation process. The Senate concluded its “vote-a-rama” on amendments to the budget resolution, which included several GOP amendments on issues from taxes to immigration. ABC, as part of the Main Street Employers coalition, also issued a statement of support for an amendment from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., that would prevent changes to the 199A tax deduction for small businesses, and also joined a coalition in support of an amendment by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., to preserve Section 1031 of the tax code affecting like-kind exchanges.

 

REMINDER – 2021 Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit

ABC National Government Affairs has posted this year’s Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit in the abc.org academy, and it is also available on National Connections. Members are encouraged to review and utilize this comprehensive resource with the latest legislative updates during the August recess period. Included in the toolkit are the 116th Congress Eagle Award recipients and their staff contact information.

Please contact Patrick McCarty ([email protected]) for any questions or feedback regarding the Grassroots Toolkit. Please contact Shreya Kanal ([email protected]) with any questions related to Eagle Awards.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Nine Democrats Call for Infrastructure Vote

House Democrats Push for Infrastructure Vote:

Late last week, a group of nine moderate Democrats in the House authored a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urging for a vote on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support in a 69-30 vote. In part the letter states:

“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months – until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree. With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package.”

Speaker Pelosi has called for passing the completed budget reconciliation bill in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure proposal, which would likely not occur until later this Fall. Pelosi can only afford to lose three Democratic votes on the reconciliation package as it is expected to be opposed by all Republicans in the House. Speaker Pelosi also somewhat called the bluffs of the nine members in her caucus with a scheduled rule vote next week, and on a call with staff said, "This is no time for amateur hour” referring to the nine members and stated further, “There is no way we can pass those bills unless we do so in the order that we originally planned.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer informed House members earlier this month that they would be returning from recess early next week on Aug. 23. The House was not scheduled to return until Sept. 20 but are now planning to take up the $3.5 trillion budget resolution in August along with H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

It remains to be seen if the nine Democrats will oppose Pelosi and vote against a planned rule next week that would cover the budget resolution, voting rights legislation and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Democratic leadership only plans to bring the budget resolution and voting rights legislation up for a full vote and are only “advancing” the infrastructure bill through the rule, not voting on passage.

You can view ABC’s statement on the passage of the infrastructure bill and section by section summary. You may also view ABC’s priorities and wins included in the bill as well as concerns with several labor provisions and potential executive action from the White House.

 

AAF Study on Impact of PRO Act on RTW States:

On August 13, the American Action Forum released a report on the economic impact the PRO Act would have on the 27 states with Right-to-Work (RTW) laws in place. The major findings are:

  • Three major PRO Act provisions – repealing right-to-work legislation (RTW), reclassifying independent workers as employees, and broadening the joint-employer standard – would bring significant economic costs in an effort to increase union power at the expense of worker freedom and small businesses. 
  • Between 2000 and 2015, RTW states saw a 13.3 percent increase in the number of businesses in their states, while non-RTW states only saw 4.1 percent growth in businesses. 
  • The PRO Act’s independent worker reclassification provision alone could cost as much as $57 billion nationwide.  
  • The joint-employer changes would cost franchises up to $33.3 billion a year, lead to over 350,000 job losses, and increase lawsuits by 93 percent. 
  • State-by-state analysis of these provisions indicate that the RTW states that would be most negatively affected by the PRO Act are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 

ABC’s Kristen Swearingen as part of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace released a statement on the report that can be read here.

 

Potential Labor Provisions in $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill:

There are rumors that there will be some labor provisions included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill making its way through the House. The two most discussed possibilities have been increased penalties for violations of the National Labor Relations Act and deductibility of union dues. Democrats might also look to include new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and additional financial support for striking workers. The provisions would need to pass the scrutiny of the budget reconciliation Byrd Rule that prevents extraneous measures from passing through the reconciliation process, though Democrats believe the employer penalties and tax provision should be deemed germane to the federal budget. ABC will continue to provide critical information on the progress of the reconciliation package.

As a reminder, the Senate wrapped up their final votes before leaving town for August recess, passing their budget resolution in a 50-49 vote that will set the stage for a proposed $3.5 trillion partisan spending bill through the budget reconciliation process. The Senate concluded its “vote-a-rama” on amendments to the budget resolution, which included several GOP amendments on issues from taxes to immigration. ABC, as part of the Main Street Employers coalition, also issued a statement of support for an amendment from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., that would prevent changes to the 199A tax deduction for small businesses.

Additionally, a key vote for Senate Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement on his vote to move the budget process forward, expressing serious concerns about the proposals price tag and impact on the future of the U.S. economy, stating in part, “I have serious concerns about the grave consequences facing West Virginians and every American family if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 trillion.” Manchin’s statement shows the tough path ahead for this reconciliation package, as it will need his support along with all Democrats to pass the Senate. You can view his full statement here.

 

New NLRB General Counsel Issues Advice Memo Outlining Priorities:

On August 12, Biden’s newly-placed NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued Memorandum GC 21-04 to the NLRB’s regional offices identifying issues and cases that she wants directed to the NLRB for review. Some of the more than 40 issues and Trump-era decisions she flagged for review are:

 

We will be watching the Board closely as it moves forward on these issues and cases.

 

NLRB Decision on “Scabby the Rat”:

On July 21, the NLRB issued a decision saying unions can put banners, displays, and the 12-foot-tall inflatable rat nicknamed “Scabby the Rat” at neutral locations so long as they don’t “threaten, coerce, or restrain” the neutral party.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Democrats Make Progress on Reconciliation Package

Democrats Pass Budget Resolution to Set Stage for $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Package:

Early this morning the Senate wrapped up their final votes before leaving town for August recess, passing their budget resolution in a 50-49 vote that will set the stage for a proposed $3.5 trillion partisan spending bill through the budget reconciliation process. The Senate concluded its “vote-a-rama” on amendments to the budget resolution, which included several GOP amendments on issues from taxes to immigration. ABC, as part of the Main Street Employers coalition, also issued a statement of support for an amendment from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., that would prevent changes to the 199A tax deduction for small businesses.

The Daines amendment passed by voice vote, along with other critical tax amendments from Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to protect businesses against stepped up basis, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., that would maintain the current tax treatment of like-kind exchanges, and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., that would prevent tax increases on those making less than $400K a year. Although these amendment votes are non-binding, it puts Democrats on the record and shows how difficult it could be to obtain yes votes from all Senate Democrats for the tax increases proposed by President Biden and other top Democrats in Congress. The Democrats’ budget resolution calls for $1.75 trillion or more in higher taxes over the next 10 years.

Additionally, a key vote for Senate Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement on his vote to move the budget process forward, expressing serious concerns about the proposals price tag and impact on the future of the U.S. economy, stating in part, “I have serious concerns about the grave consequences facing West Virginians and every American family if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 trillion.” Manchin’s statement shows the tough path ahead for this reconciliation package, as it will need his support along with all Democrats to pass the Senate. You can view his full statement here.

Reports have also indicated that Democrats will seek to insert harmful labor provisions in the reconciliation package, which could include exempting union dues from taxes and monetary penalties for employers that interfere with workers’ union rights. Democrats might also look to include new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and additional financial support for striking workers. The provisions would need to pass the scrutiny of the budget reconciliation Byrd Rule that prevents extraneous measures from passing through the reconciliation process, though Democrats believe the employer penalties and tax provision should be deemed germane to the federal budget. ABC will continue to provide critical information on the progress of the reconciliation package over the next weeks and months.

 

House Cuts Recess Short:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer informed House members yesterday that they would be returning from recess early on Aug. 23, the House was not scheduled to return until Sept. 20, but are now planning to take up the $3.5 trillion budget resolution in August along with H.R. 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Democrats could consider additional legislation but it does not appear to be taking up the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that just passed the Senate, until the Senate also passes a reconciliation package later this fall.

 

Democrats Discharge S. 1, Federal Takeover of Elections Law:

Additionally this morning, Democrats passed the Motion to Discharge the ABC-opposed, so-called “For the People Act” (S.1) from the Rules Committee by a vote of 50-49. The bill is now discharged from committee to the full Senate, though it would still require 60 votes to pass the Senate. Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer forced a vote on the motion to proceed to S. 1, which ABC KEY VOTED against and which failed to gain the 60 votes needed.

 

ABC Requesting Feedback on Issues Affecting Federal Contractors

Today, ABC member contractors received a survey link to gather feedback on various executive actions and proposed rulemakings from the Biden administration that affect federal contractors and the federal procurement process. These issues include government-mandated project labor agreements, local hire requirements, prevailing wage requirements, a proposed increase to the minimum wage of federal contractors, COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements for on-site federal contractors and more.

We are asking federal contractor members to provide their thoughts on these issues so that ABC can use these insights to respond to various rulemakings and to provide feedback on other executive actions affecting federal contractors. We are asking members to respond to this survey by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 16.

 

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3) Announces Retirement:

Yesterday, long-time Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3) announced that he will not seek a 14th term in the U.S. House of Representatives next year , telling reporters, "I've run out of gas" after 13 terms in office. It is still unclear if Rep. Kind will now seek a statewide bid, by entering the already crowded democratic primary to challenge Sen. Ron Johnson in 2022, although that seems unlikely at this point. Rep. Kind’s retirement, however, is certainly a boon for House Republicans chances to regain the House majority in 2022.

 

The move opens one of only seven US House seats that voted for ex-President Trump (51.5 - 46.8%) in 2020 while electing a Democrat to the House, thus giving Republicans a chance to convert a key district.  Derrick Van Orden (R), the retired Navy SEAL who held Rep. Kind to a 51-49% win last year, is again running and raised over $750,000 for his campaign since the year began.  Rep. Kind had won reelection in 2018 by nearly 20 points.

Because the 3rd District lies in the southwestern corner of the state, it is not expected to change much in redistricting.  Therefore, we can expect a highly competitive open seat battle here next year.  There are now 16 open seats for the 2022 election cycle, not including the three in special elections this year.  Of the 16, eight come from each party.

 

New York Governor Cuomo (D) to Resign: 

On Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo (D) announced his resignation as Governor of New York. The resignation follows the release of NY state Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) investigation that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo’s resignation will take effect in two weeks.

This means that Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will ascend to the Governorship and be eligible to run for a full term in 2022. Whether she receives Democratic primary opposition is difficult to project at this point, but the chance of a contested primary forming looms large. Regardless of that outcome, however, when Hochul is sworn in, she will become the first woman in history to occupy New York State’s top office.

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) is already the party endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate; however, the political consensus is that any race without a politically wounded Cuomo as the Democratic nominee will make the victory path much more difficult for Zeldin, the Republican challenger in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican state-wide since former Governor George Pataki’s three terms from 1995-2006.

 

REMINDER – Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Passes Senate:

Yesterday, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support in a 69-30 vote, with 19 Republicans joined all 50 Senators in the Democratic caucus to approve the legislation. You can view ABC’s statement on the passage of the bill and section by section summary.

You may also view ABC’s priorities and wins included in the bill as well as concerns with several labor provisions and potential executive action from the White House.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Infrastructure Bill Passes Senate and Reconciliation Begins Again

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Passes Senate:

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed the U.S. Senate today with bipartisan support in a 69-30 vote, with 19 Republicans joined all 50 Senators in the Democratic caucus to approve the legislation. You can view ABC’s statement on the passage of the bill and section by section summary.

You may also view ABC’s priorities and wins included in the bill as well as concerns with several labor provisions and potential executive action from the White House.

ABC remained neutral on the legislation, neither opposing or supporting the bill. After the bill passed in the Senate, ABC sent a news release that notes the bipartisan accomplishments of the bill, while raising concerns over the implementation of the bill should it be signed into law and actions the administration has signaled it could take to limit participation from merit shop contractors. While the bill passed the Senate, it is not guaranteed to pass the House as Speaker Pelosi continues to insist on pairing with budget reconciliation at the demands of progressive Democrats that are essentially withholding votes for passage.

 

Democrats Begin Budget Resolution Process, Release Reconciliation Instructions:

Today, the Senate also began its “vote-a-rama” after Democrats voted to proceed to the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. Yesterday, Democrats proposed a $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, and Majority Leader Schumer also released reconciliation instructions for Senate committees to write different sections of the final spending bill as it relates to their policy areas. The budget resolution will give committees specific caps on how much they can increase or decrease the deficit to fund programs and raise revenue within their jurisdiction. The resolution provides a target date of Sept. 15 for the committees to submit their reconciliation legislation.

Senate Democrats released the budget resolution, planning on approving it before adjourning for the August recess. If passed, this would be the first significant step to write and pass a detailed $3.5 trillion budget, which under reconciliation, only requires a simple majority for passage. The resolution will need to pass Congress with only Democratic votes, as Republicans are expected to vote solidly against the bill which they will not be consulted on, and is expected to include the tenets of President Biden’s American Families Plan, such as significant tax increases on corporations and individuals while implementing several expansive social policies.

Reports have also indicated that Democrats will seek to insert harmful labor provisions in the reconciliation package, which could include exempting union dues from taxes and monetary penalties for employers that interfere with workers’ union rights. Democrats might also look to include new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and additional financial support for striking workers. The provisions would need to pass the scrutiny of the budget reconciliation Byrd Rule that prevents extraneous measures from passing through the reconciliation process, though Democrats believe the employer penalties and tax provision should be deemed germane to the federal budget.

Republicans are offering several amendments to push back on Democrats’ tax and spending plans and you can view these amendments through the Republican Policy Committee amendment tracker.

 

ABC Requesting Feedback on Issues Affecting Federal Contractors

Today, ABC member contractors received a survey link to gather feedback on various executive actions and proposed rulemakings from the Biden administration that affect federal contractors and the federal procurement process. These issues include government-mandated project labor agreements, local hire requirements, prevailing wage requirements, a proposed increase to the minimum wage of federal contractors, COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements for on-site federal contractors and more.

We are asking federal contractor members to provide their thoughts on these issues so that ABC can use these insights to respond to various rulemakings and to provide feedback on other executive actions affecting federal contractors. We are asking members to respond to this survey by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 16.

 

REMINDER – 2021 Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit

ABC National Government Affairs has posted this year’s Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit online, which is also available on National Connections. Chapters and members are encouraged to review and utilize this comprehensive resource with the latest legislative updates during the August recess period. Included in the toolkit are the 116th Congress Eagle Award recipients and their staff contact information.

Please contact Grassroots Manager Patrick McCarty ([email protected]) for any questions or feedback regarding the Grassroots Toolkit. Please contact Shreya Kanal ([email protected]) with any questions related to Eagle Awards.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Infrastructure Update, Recess Toolkit, and ABC Comments to DOL

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Update:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is setting up a Saturday cloture vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal in the Senate, which should lead to a final vote to approve the legislation either later this weekend or earlier next week. Once infrastructure is completed in the Senate, they could then move on to the budget resolution to set up the budget reconciliation process before Senators leave town for August recess, setting the stage for consideration of a partisan, trillion-dollar reconciliation bill when they return in September.

You can view the legislative text of the  bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and section by section summary.

ABC also released a statement on the bill earlier this week, which you can view here, and additional information on ABC’s priorities and wins included in the bill as well as concerns with several labor provisions and potential executive action from the White House. The ABC document could change as amendments are still being considered, and we will continue to update you on the bill’s progress and any additional action ABC takes.

 

2021 Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit

ABC National Government Affairs has posted this year’s Congressional Recess Grassroots Toolkit online, which is also available on National Connections. Chapters and members are encouraged to review and utilize this comprehensive resource with the latest legislative updates during the August recess period. Included in the toolkit are the 116th Congress Eagle Award recipients and their staff contact information.

Please contact Grassroots Manager Patrick McCarty ([email protected]) for any questions or feedback regarding the Grassroots Toolkit. Please contact Shreya Kanal ([email protected]) with any questions related to Eagle Awards.

 

ABC Comments on the Draft Department of Labor FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan:

Today, ABC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on its strategic plan for the next 4 fiscal years. The comments focus on ABC’s support for industry and market driven apprenticeship programs, fair and open competition for federal construction projects, career opportunities in construction, workplace safety, and prevailing wage concerns.

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Infrastructure Update

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Update:

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to progress through the Senate, though at a somewhat slow place, as out of the more 400 amendments filed only 13 have been considered over the past few days, 5 have been approved. The amendments have all been subject to a 60-vote threshold. However, Democrats and Republicans are working to come to an agreement on additional amendment votes, which could speed along the process and wrap up amendments by Saturday, leading to a cloture vote and possible passage early next week.

Of note for construction, the Senate passed an amendment offered by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., by a vote of 97-0 that would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure public-private partnership projects using Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) financing have appropriate payment and performance security and are sound federal investments by requiring a surety bond. A recent Construction Executive article from last November highlights some of the issues surrounding surety bonds that you may view here.

ABC also released a statement on the bill earlier this week, which you can view here. We will continue to update you on the bill’s progress and any additional action ABC takes.

 

Federal Tax Credits Now Available When Certain Employees Use Emergency Paid Leave to Help Others Obtain or Recover from COVID-19 Vaccine (Littler Mendelson):

The federal Internal Revenue Service has announced that certain employers can claim federal tax credits when employees use emergency paid leave to accompany an individual to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination and/or to care for an individual recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to the vaccine. This credit is available for certain private employers with 499 or fewer U.S. employees, and certain public employers, that are voluntarily providing employees emergency paid leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Read the Littler article to learn more

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ABC Beltway Blueprint: Infrastructure Legislative Text Released

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Legislative Text Released:

Late last night, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was formally introduced. The 2,702 page bill is the product of the work of 22 bipartisan U.S. Senators who crafted the deal that is set to pass the Senate later this week after passing critical procedural hurdles last week.

The bill provides major new investments in the nation’s infrastructure, including $110 billion for roads and bridges, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail, $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure, and billions for airports, ports, broadband internet and electric vehicle charging stations.

The core bipartisan group of U.S. Senators released a statement following the finalization of the bill text for introduction: U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Jon Tester (D-MT) issued the following statement:

“Over the last four days we have worked day and night to finalize historic legislation that will invest in our nation’s hard infrastructure and create good-paying jobs for working Americans in communities across the country without raising taxes. This bipartisan bill and our shared commitment to see it across the finish line is further proof that the Senate can work. We look forward to moving this bill through the Senate and delivering for the American people.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said a final vote could be held “in a matter of days.” Though Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has called for a robust, open amendment process – not one cut short by artificial timelines. ABC is still reviewing the legislation but has identified two sections of concern that we have notified Senate offices about.

First, section 41101 in the bill would require Davis-Bacon wages on any construction project funded under Division D of the bill—Energy and going forward any existing program, regardless of funding source, that is amended in Division D. Importantly, though, the expansive prevailing wage provisions are not included in other sections of the bill, like broadband.

Second, section 25019, implements a “local hiring preference for construction jobs.” Though the language does no implement a mandate for local hire, or encouragement for agencies to require local hire agreements, it states that “a recipient or subrecipient of a grant provided by the Secretary under title 23 or 49, United States Code, may implement a local or other geographical or economic hiring preference relating to the use of labor for construction of a project funded by the grant, including prehire agreements, subject to any applicable State and local laws, policies, and procedures.”

 

ABC is pursuing potential amendments to modify these sections of the bill.

We have also heard additional concerns from members regarding the inclusion of certain superfund site fees as a pay-for for the legislation. Under the bill, the superfund excise taxes on chemical manufacturers, which expired in 1995, would be implemented for the next 10 years at approximately twice their prior levels for a $1.211bn/year cost. The American Chemistry Council commented on this provision in the bill here.

Though it seems likely the bill will pass the Senate in due time, it then faces the obstacles in the U.S. House where Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has vowed not to take up the bipartisan package without also voting on a partisan reconciliation bill and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., pushing for a conference committee on the bipartisan Senate package to include measured of the partisan House-passed $715 billion transportation bill.

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