ABC-VA Blog

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Reconciliation Bill & Minimum Wage, ABC Support for QBI Tax Deduction, and PRO Act and FOCA Reminders

Democrats Hit Speedbumps on Reconciliation and Minimum Wage:

Tonight, the House is set to pass a $1.9 trillion reconciliation package to provide funding to state and local governments, direct payments to individuals, and funding to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans have criticized the legislation for not focusing on COVID relief, instead including hundreds of billions of dollars to bailout pension funds and state and local governments.

Democrats have also hit some speedbumps on the package after the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the $15 minimum wage hike would fall in violation of the Senate’s Byrd Rule for reconciliation. Though the House still plans to pass the package with the $15 minimum wage included, Democrats are scrambling to include alternative language that could pass Byrd Rule requirements for reconciliation.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is considering whether to add a provision that would penalize large corporations that don’t pay workers at least a $15 hourly wage, and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden outlined the idea of a penalty tax earlier today. If framed as a penalty, however, the tax might not necessarily qualify under reconciliation rules, congressional experts said. Wyden’s proposal would impose a tax on larger U.S. companies on their total payroll that would start at 5% and increase over time if any workers earn less than a certain amount, though Wyden didn’t specify the amount or the size of companies affected. He said he would provide a benefit to “the smallest of small businesses,” with an income-tax credit equal to 25% of wages, up to $10,000 a year per employer, to those that pay their workers higher wages.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders on Thursday night also proposed a plan, stating large corporations should lose their tax breaks if they don’t pay a $15 an hour wage, and smaller companies should get incentives to pay higher wages.

ABC Supports Tax Permanence for Small Business:

ABC joined a coalition of small business organization in a support letter for H.R. 1381 and S. 480, the Main Street Tax Certainty Act of 2021, to make permanent the 20-percent deduction for qualified business income included in Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Job Act, signed into law in 2017. Section 199A is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2025.   

Led by Representatives Jason Smith (MO) and Henry Cuellar (TX) in the House, and Senators Steve Daines (MT), Bill Cassidy (LA), Tim Scott (SC), and Rob Portman (OH) in the Senate, this bipartisan legislation will help ensure permanent tax parity for the millions of employers organized as S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships.
 

House Set to Vote on PRO Act in March—ACTION NEEDED:

With the PRO Act (H.R. 842) at 209 cosponsors, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced on Twitter that the House will be considering the PRO Act the week of March 8. You can view a list of current cosponsors here and a view of last year’s recorded vote here.


Additionally, the Senate bill (S.420) has been officially reintroduced with 44 original Democratic co-sponsors, including several Senate Democratic freshmen: Ossoff (Ga.), Warnock (Ga.), Hickenlooper (Colo.), Lujan (N.M.), and Padilla (Calif.). Only five moderate Democrats in the Senate are not yet signed on to support the PRO Act: Kelly (Ariz.), King (Maine), Manchin (W.Va.), Sinema (Ariz.), and Warner (Va.), and it is critical that members continue to contact these offices to urge their opposition to the bill.


ABC is leading the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) in launching a full campaign to educate lawmakers and the public about the devastating consequences of this bill and its dozens of radical policy provisions. This includes the sign-on letter discussed below. If the bill passes the House, CDW will hold House members who voted in favor of the bill accountable for their votes and target Senators who may be on the fence.

 

ABC also encourages chapters and members to sign-on to this letter opposing the PRO Act. This coalition sign-on letter to the House and Senate in opposition of the PRO Act needs as many organizations on this letter as possible, so please email cdwreply@abc.org by Monday, March 1, if your organization would like to join the letter.

 

It is also critical that members reach out to their members of Congress to oppose this legislation and online resources, including the PRO Act petition, are available below:

 

PRO Act Website – with fact sheets, op-eds, and coalition activity against the PRO Act

PRO Act Petition

PRO Act Score Card

ABC Action App Information (PRO Act petition, site, and voting record on app)

Chapter Specific Resources: PRO ACT RESOURCES & MATERIALS

 

REMINDER—ACTION NEEDED—The Fair and Open Competition Act Introduced in Congress:

FOCA has been reintroduced in the 117th congress by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) (Sen. Young press release) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) (Rep. Budd press release): H.R. 1284 in the House, and S. 403 in the Senate. This ABC-supported priority legislation was introduced in the Senate this week along with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and with the support of 37 original cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please see the bill link above for list of cosponsors.

 

After the bill was introduced, an ABC-led coalition of 17 construction industry and business associations sent a letter to congress in support of the bill, urging them to immediately pass this common-sense legislation.

ABC Chapters and Members can take action to urge their representatives to sign on as a cosponsor in the 117th Congress here.

 

In an ABC press release sent Wednesday, ABC applauded the introduction of the bill that would encourage more qualified construction companies to compete for federal and federally funded construction projects, providing value for hardworking taxpayers while benefiting the construction industry. ABC also encourages members to share posts on social media with the press release and retweet ABC Gov Affairs post here.

A National Taxpayers Union-led coalition of a dozen taxpayer, free market, and consumer advocate groups also sent Congress a letter of support for FOCA:

 

FOCA was introduced as the Biden administration is signaling its support for more government-mandated project labor agreements on our nation’s construction projects. FOCA would prevent federal agencies and recipients of federal funding from requiring contractors to sign controversial PLAs as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. 

ABC also sent a Feb. 4 letter to President Biden expressing concerns about government-mandated PLAs and the “expansion of existing policies that needlessly limit competition and increase costs on taxpayer-funded federal and federally assisted construction projects.”

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Congress Reintroduces Fair and Open Competition Act & PRO Act House Vote

The Fair and Open Competition Act Introduced in Congress:

Today, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) (Sen. Young press release) and Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) (Rep. Budd press release) introduced the Fair and Open Competition Act. (House Bill) (Senate Bill). This ABC-supported priority legislation was introduced in the Senate this week along with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and with the support of 37 original cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

After the bill was introduced, an ABC-led coalition of 17 construction industry and business associations sent a letter to congress in support of the bill, urging them to immediately pass this common-sense legislation.

ABC Members can take action to urge their representatives to sign on as a cosponsor in the 117th Congress here.

 

In an ABC press release sent today, ABC applauded the introduction of the bill that would encourage more qualified construction companies to compete for federal and federally funded construction projects, providing value for hardworking taxpayers while benefiting the construction industry. ABC also encourages members to share posts on social media with the press release and retweet ABC Gov Affairs post here.

FOCA was introduced as the Biden administration is signaling its support for more government-mandated project labor agreements on our nation’s construction projects. FOCA would prevent federal agencies and recipients of federal funding from requiring contractors to sign controversial PLAs as a condition of winning federal or federally assisted construction contracts. 

ABC also sent a Feb. 4 letter to President Biden expressing concerns about government-mandated PLAs and the “expansion of existing policies that needlessly limit competition and increase costs on taxpayer-funded federal and federally assisted construction projects.”

List of Original Cosponsors of the House FOCA bill:

Reps. Rick Allen (GA-12), Brian Babin (TX-36), Jim Banks (IN-03), Jerry Carl (AL-01), John Carter (TX-31), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Tom Cole (OK-04), James Comer (KY-01), John Curtis (UT-03), Matt Gaetz (Fl-1), Andy Harris (MD-1), Kevin Hern (OK-01), Jody Hice (GA-10), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Darrell Issa (CA-50), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Mike Johnson (LA-04), Trent Kelly (MS-01), Bob Latta (OH-05), Billy Long (MO-07), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Ralph Norman (SC-5), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Scott Perry (PA-10), Tom Rice (SC-07), Matt Rosendale (MT-AL), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Jason Smith (MO-08), Greg Steube (FL-17), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Randy Weber (TX-14), Joe Wilson (SC-02), and Rob Wittman (VA-01).

 

PRO Act Floor Action in March:

With the PRO Act (H.R. 842) at 209 cosponsors, House Democratic Leadership plans a floor vote on the bill during the week of March 8, according to a statement from House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer. You can view a list of current cosponsors here and a view of last year’s recorded vote here.

It is critical that members reach out to their members of Congress to oppose this legislation and online resources, including the PRO Act petition, are available below:


PRO Act Website – with fact sheets, op-eds, and coalition activity against the PRO Act

PRO Act Petition

PRO Act Score Card

ABC Action App Information (PRO Act petition, site, and voting record on app)

Chapter Specific Resources: PRO ACT RESOURCES & MATERIALS

 

Equality Act:

 

This week, the U.S. House is set to pass the Equality Act. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act, to explicitly ban LGBTQ discrimination in the workforce, housing, education, credit, jury service and other areas of American life. the House passed the bill last Congress on May 17, 2019 in a bipartisan 236-173 vote.

 

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also effectively banned bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, protecting gay, lesbian or transgender employees from being disciplined or fired based on their sexual orientation. Two of the court’s Republican appointees, Neil Gorsuch and John Roberts, joined the court’s Democratic appointees to deliver the 6-3 vote.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: PPP Update, COVID Relief Package, and OSHA Guidance

PPP Update:

 

This morning, the White House released its reforms to target PPP loans to underserved businesses. Beginning Wednesday morning, Feb. 24, and ending March 9, the U.S. Small Business Association will only accept Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications from businesses with fewer than 20 employees. The reforms to the program will also change PPP eligibility rules so sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals receive more funds, and eliminate restrictions on business owners with non-fraud felony convictions and those delinquent on their federal student loans.

 

Construction continues to benefit from PPP loans in 2021, obtaining 13 percent of all loans this year, receiving more than $16 billion: Paycheck Protection Program Report: Approvals through 02/15/2021 (sba.gov). Even with significant PPP funds remaining and Congress set to approve another $7 billion through the Democrat’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan that is expected to pass under budget reconciliation in March, the White House isn’t taking a position on whether the PPP should be extended beyond the March 31 deadline authorized by the bipartisan COVID relief deal in December.

 

House Sets up Passage of COVID Relief Bill:

 

This week, House Democrats plan to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, though it does not seem to have the support of any Republicans at this time. The House Budget Committee will meet this afternoon to tee up the legislation for a floor vote on Friday or Saturday. Unemployment benefits expire March 14, and Democrats in the Senate are hoping to finalize the legislation ahead of the deadline.

 

Republicans in Congress have expressed concerns over the package that they feel is not targeted enough towards COVID relief, specifically questioning the bill’s $15 minimum wage hike and $350 billion for state and local aid. Additionally, the bill has received scrutiny for seeking to provide a fix for multiemployer pension plans in distress, that would provide troubled pension plans with enough financial assistance to keep it solvent and funded for 30 years—with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries. Plans that previously cut benefits would have to restore them to the retirees who earned them. In exchange, each plan would have to comply with certain conditions and report to PBGC. However, even if the House is able to pass, it is unclear if the Senate parliamentarian will rule these provisions in order under reconciliation rules.

 

Congress has already enacted roughly $3.7 trillion in COVID relief since last March to develop and distribute vaccines, save small businesses and fund schools in previous packages. As of last week more than $1 trillion of that assistance remains unspent or is still in the process of being disbursed, including $183 billion for another round of the PPP, $199 billion for health care, $136 billion for expanded unemployment insurance and $46 billion for direct stimulus payments.

 

With a slim majority and without Republican Support, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to ensure that moderates and progressives in her party toe the line and support the package.

 

ABC General Counsel Provides Overview of OSHA’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance

 

On Jan. 29, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued “Protecting Workers:  Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” which provides updated guidance and recommendations for employers and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA states, “The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.” ABC’s general counsel, Littler Mendelson P.C., also published an article that discusses OSHA’s new COVID-19 guidance. 

 

Read more here.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: ABC PRO Act Webinar for Chapter Presidents & COVID Relief Update

ABC PRO Act Webinar Next Wednesday:

ABC National plans to hold a webinar next Wednesday, February 24, on the PRO Act and strategies moving forward to push back on efforts in the House and Senate to pass this legislation into law. The link here will be live on Wednesday for Chapter Presidents to join.

 

SBA Roundtable on PPP and Employee Retention Tax Credit:

Today, the SBA Office of Advocacy held a Small Business Virtual Tax Roundtable on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Tax Issues and Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Update. Attached is the PowerPoint presentation from the rountable along with a comment letter that ABC submitted to SBA and Treasury on the recent PPP rulemaking.

 

House Prepares for Vote on COVID Relief Reconciliation Package:

 

House Democrats are aiming to pass their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan before the end of the month in an effort to beat the March 14 deadline to extend federal unemployment programs. The House Budget Committee will meet Monday to combine the separate aid bills advanced by other House Committees into the all encompassing reconciliation package. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has told members to prepare to work through next weekend to pass the final bill.

 

The plan would increase enhanced unemployment payments from $300 to $400 per week through Aug. 29, and would also send $1,400 direct payments to most Americans and up to $3,600 per child to households over a year. Additionally, it would put $20 billion into a national vaccination program, $350 billion into state, local and tribal aid and $170 billion into K-12 schools and colleges for reopening and student aid costs.

 

Republicans have criticized the relief effort for not doing enough to assist small and main street businesses that are struggling and provides billions in funding with no strings attached to states. If passed by the House, the bill will then go to the Senate where its provisions will be under Byrd Rule constraints that will prevent extraneous measures from being included in the package. Any changes made to the bill in the Senate will then force the bill to pass the House again before it may be signed into law by the president.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Biden Rescinds IRAP EO and Immigrations Bills Drop in House and Senate

February 18, 2021

 

Biden Rescinds Trump IRAP Executive Order:

 

Yesterday the President rescinded the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13801, which promoted industry recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs), though the final rule on IRAPs excluded the construction industry.

 

The President and Vice President also met with labor leaders and reaffirmed their dedication to the registered apprenticeship system in the United States. In a fact sheet released from the White House, President Biden expressed his support for the House passed and ABC opposed National Apprenticeship Act and called for reinstating the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships.

 

House and Senate Introduce President Biden’s Immigration Proposal:

 

Today, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced their proposals to overhaul the immigration system in the United States. Named the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, the bill was unveiled on Thursday by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., and includes:

 

  • Establish a new eight-year pathway to citizenship for people in the country unlawfully who arrived by Jan. 1 of this year
  • Provide an expedited three-year pathway to citizenship for Dreamers (DACA recipients), TPS holders, and some farmworkers
  • Raise the per-country caps on family and employment-based legal immigration numbers
  • Repeal the penalty that prohibits undocumented immigrants who leave the country from returning to the U.S.
  • Increase funding for technology at the southern border

 

ABC is concerned that the proposal largely ignores the drivers of illegal immigration and the enforcement needed to prevent the circumvention of our nation’s borders and immigration laws over the coming years. ABC believes that it is critical that any comprehensive immigration reform includes necessary improvement to our country’s visa system that anticipates the future flow of immigrants to the United States and eliminates incentives for individuals to illegally enter the country in search of work opportunities. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on our industry, construction continues to face worker shortages that have numbered in the hundreds of thousands each year. Providing employers with a flexible visa system that allows sufficient access to permanent and temporary foreign workers must be included in any final proposal to fix our immigration system. This would allow us to better address the needs of our nation’s growing economy while providing jobs through legal avenues and discouraging illegal immigration. ABC will continue to provide updates on any progress the bill makes in Congress.

 

PRO Act Gains Cosponosrs:

 

The PRO Act now has 207 cosponsors, just 11 away from a majority in the House, and now includes three Republicans – Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Smith (NJ-4), and Van Drew (NJ-2). It is critical that members reach out to their members of Congress to oppose this legislation and online Resources, including the PRO Act petition, are available below:

 

PRO Act Website

PRO Act Petition

PRO Act Score Card

ABC Action App Information (PRO Act petition, site, and voting record on app)

Chapter Specific Resources: PRO ACT RESOURCES & MATERIALS

 

ABC General Counsel Provides Overview of OSHA’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance

 

On Jan. 29, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued “Protecting Workers:  Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” which provides updated guidance and recommendations for employers and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA states, “The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.” ABC’s general counsel, Littler Mendelson P.C., also published an article that discusses OSHA’s new COVID-19 guidance. 

 

Read more here.

 

REMINDER -- House Majority Whip Outlines House Floor Action for Coming Weeks:

 

In a dear colleague to members, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer set the House’s plan to vote on key legislation in the coming weeks. Of note, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief measure, which is moving under the budget reconciliation process to allow for a simple majority vote in the Senate, is set to come to the House floor late next week. The House will also be considering a wilderness package and the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In the last Congress, eight Republicans joined Democrats in a 236-173 vote to pass the Equality Act.

 

In the first week of March, the House is also expected to vote on H.R. 1, the Democrats bill to overhaul the U.S. election system and campaign funding, is one of House majority leadership’s top legislative priority. The bill would implement government funding for federal elections, enact new federal voter registration laws, support DC statehood, and impose new requirements on engaging in the political process. ABC opposed the bill in the 116th Congress and will again oppose this legislation. ABC believes this bill would severely limit the ability of our members from engaging in the political process and prevent Americans from exercising their first amendment rights. Additionally that week, the House will consider the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House passed last June with 3 Republicans supporting, and seeks to address racial bias in law enforcement. 

 

The second week of March is currently reserved for a potential second vote on COVID relief, if amended by the Senate and sent back.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Biden Nominates NLRB General Counsel, PRO Act Resources, Hoyer Outlines House Floor Action, and Joint Employer Update

February 17, 2021

Biden Nominates Jennifer Abruzzo As Next NLRB General Counsel:

Today, President Joe Biden nominated Jennifer Abruzzo to be General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, the independent federal agency vested with the power to “safeguard employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative.”

Abruzzo currently serves as Special Counsel for Strategic Initiatives for the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Prior joining CWA, Abruzzo severed in several different roles at the NLRB, including former acting General Counsel. The powerful NLRB-agenda setting position of General Counsel requires Senate confirmation with a simple majority.

This nomination comes weeks after President Biden fired former NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb his deputy, Alice B. Stock on inauguration day. The termination was unprecedented at the independent agency, as Robb left the NLRB with 10 months left in his term.

 

PRO Act Gains Cosponsors:

 The PRO Act now has 207 cosponsors, just 11 away from a majority in the House, and now includes three Republicans – Fitzpatrick (PA-1), Smith (NJ-4), and Van Drew (NJ-2). It is critical that members reach out to their members of Congress to oppose this legislation and online resources, including the PRO Act petition, are available below:

 

PRO Act Website

PRO Act Petition

PRO Act Score Card

ABC Action App Information (PRO Act petition, site, and voting record on app)

Chapter Specific Resources: PRO ACT RESOURCES & MATERIALS

 

House Majority Whip Outlines House Floor Action for Coming Weeks:

 

In a dear colleague to members, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer set the House’s plan to vote on key legislation in the coming weeks. Of note, the $1.9 trillion COVID relief measure, which is moving under the budget reconciliation process to allow for a simple majority vote in the Senate, is set to come to the House floor late next week. The House will also be considering a wilderness package and the Equality Act, which would broaden the definition of protected classes under the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. In the last Congress, eight Republicans joined Democrats in a 236-173 vote to pass the Equality Act.

 

In the first week of March, the House is also expected to vote on H.R. 1, the Democrats bill to overhaul the U.S. election system and campaign funding, is one of House majority leadership’s top legislative priority. The bill would implement government funding for federal elections, enact new federal voter registration laws, support DC statehood, and impose new requirements on engaging in the political process. ABC opposed the bill in the 116th Congress and will again oppose this legislation. ABC believes this bill would severely limit the ability of our members from engaging in the political process and prevent Americans from exercising their first amendment rights. Additionally that week, the House will consider the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House passed last June with 3 Republicans supporting, and seeks to address reforms to law enforcement. 

 

The second week of March is currently reserved for a potential second vote on COVID relief, if amended by the Senate and sent back.

 

NLRB Denied Motion for Reconsideration in Browning-Ferris:  

 

On February 11, the NLRB denied a motion for reconsideration of its Browning-Ferris Industries decision, which reinstated the traditional joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.

 

The divided NLRB rejected a union request to reconsider its ruling that Browning-Ferris Industries isn’t jointly liable for workers at a California recycling facility that the company hired through a staffing firm. The National Labor Relations Board’s Republican majority said that it already weighed arguments from an International Brotherhood of Teamsters affiliate prior to its decision last July with Board Members Ring and Kaplan writing in the decision that the charging party “has not identified any material error or demonstrated extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration.” Chair McFerran wrote a lengthy dissent.

 

We expect this will head to a federal court of appeals soon and will keep our eye on its progress.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Senate Votes to Acquit Trump, Earmarks Coming Back, and Apprenticeship LTE Reminder

February 15, 2021

 

Senate Votes to Acquit Trump:

 

While the Senate dealt with some last minute hurdles to the conclusion of the impeachment trial that could have extended the trial for weeks with both sides calling witnesses, the path to call witnesses was abandoned and the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump of the impeachment article. The vote failed to acquire the 2/3 vote in the Senate, though seven Republican Senators voted in favor of conviction in the final 57-43 vote. Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bill Cassidy (La.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) all voted that Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

 

Though he voted to acquit the former president, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to express his anger with Trump on Saturday afternoon, stating that Trump was responsible for the insurrection, but the Senate was not constitutionally able to convict because he is no longer in office, though he seemed to indicate a criminal or civil case against the president could present an option in the future, stating "We have a criminal justice system in this country," and "We have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one."

 

Without conviction, the effort to ban Trump from running for president again failed, and now Washington should be focused entirely on the consideration of President Joe Biden’s request for $1.9 trillion in COVID relief funding by March 14, when Congress is scheduled to go into the Easter recess.

 

Democrats Plan to Reinstate Earmarks:

 

Reports today are indicating that Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), are planning to reinstate earmarks, also known as “member-directed spending.” It remains to be seen what parameters will be put on including earmarked spending in the new appropriations bills but Democrats said details of each earmarks, including who requested it, and which entity would get the money will be made publicly available, and that earmarks will be limited to state and local governments and nonprofits, not private companies or other for-profit institutions.

 

In the past, earmarks were used as both a carrot and a stick to get members of Congress to vote in support of government spending bills. However, earmarks were also seen as a source of political scandal, and Republicans banned the use of earmarks when they took control of the House in 2011.

 

2021 ABC Action App Update

Now available on the App Store and Google Play is an updated version of the ABC Action app. The recently published version features results from the 2020 elections, enhanced legislator profiles, and other new content like the Free Enterprise Alliance PRO Act site.

 

Download the latest version on your device today and help spread the word about ABC’s advanced advocacy tool. Please reach out to Patrick McCarty with any questions or feedback. 

 

DOL Helping Small Business Owners and Their Employees Save for Retirement Webcast

 

On Feb. 24, the U.S. Department of Labor will be holding a webcast titled “Helping Small Business Owners and Their Employees Save for Retirement”. The webcast aims to teach small businesses and their CPAs ways to save for retirement, discuss retirement savings options available for small businesses, and  provide practical information and helpful tips to compare the options and determine what is appropriate for each business.

 

The Small Business Administration and the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) will join DOL on the webcast.

 

More information regarding the event and registration can be found here.

 

REMINDER—Apprenticeship Bill Letters to the Editor:

 

Last Friday, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act and the attached LTE explains how it would not achieve its goal of expanding apprenticeship opportunities, further restricting small businesses’ ability to access federally registered apprenticeship programs, limit job opportunities in the construction industry and create additional obstacles for the construction workforce. Feel free to customize the attached LTE with your chapter’s local representative and state’s statistics to send to local media.

 

ABC key voted against the apprenticeship bill that passed by a vote of 247-173, with 28 Republicans voting to support. If your Representative voted for the passage of the bill, we encourage you to use the LTE. It is critical that they hear from their state and local chapters and local ABC members about the impact this bill would have on apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Apprenticeship Letter to the Editor & PRO Act Resources

Apprenticeship Bill Letters to the Editor:

 

Last Friday, the House passed the National Apprenticeship Act and the attached LTE explains how it would not achieve its goal of expanding apprenticeship opportunities, further restricting small businesses’ ability to access federally registered apprenticeship programs, limit job opportunities in the construction industry and create additional obstacles for the construction workforce. Feel free to customize the attached LTE with your chapter’s local representative and state’s statistics to send to local media.

 

ABC key voted against the apprenticeship bill that passed by a vote of 247-173, with 28 Republicans voting to support. If your Representative voted for the passage of the bill, we encourage you to use the LTE. It is critical that they hear from their state and local chapters and local ABC members about the impact this bill would have on apprenticeship opportunities in the construction industry.

 

PRO Act Resources:

 

As the PRO Act continues to build momentum in the House, attaining 200 cosponsors and potentially scheduled for a vote on the House floor ahead of the Easter recess next month, ABC has a litany of resources available for members and chapters on the dangers the PRO Act will pose to the construction industry.

 

Online Resources:

PRO Act Website

PRO Act Petition

PRO Act Score Card

ABC Action App Information (PRO Act petition, site, and voting record on app)

 

Chapter Specific Resources: PRO ACT RESOURCES & MATERIALS

 

The PRO Act resources include:

 

ABC and CAMMU Letter to Biden Administration on Section 232 Tariffs:

 

ABC as part of the Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU), which represents more than 30,000 U.S. manufacturing companies and more than one million American workers, released a letter yesterday sent to President Joe Biden requesting the immediate termination of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports enacted under the Trump administration. Imposed almost three years ago, the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs have damaged U.S. consuming industries that employ more than 6.8 million workers, compared to 140,000 in the U.S. steel industry. They also feed current steel supply shortages and high prices at a time when U.S. manufacturers face significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Read the full text of the letter here.

 

Labor Secretary Nominee Mayor Marty Walsh Approved by Senate Committee:

 

Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 18-4 to approve the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

The full Senate will now move to consider the nomination with an up-or-down vote expected in the coming days, although the exact timing of the vote remains unclear at this time.

 

Please see ABC’s statement on the Committee vote.

 

House Committees Issue Budget Reconciliation Directives:

 

As Democrats in Congress prepare their next COVID relief package, the House committees are releasing their proposals for inclusion in the new package.

 

Of note, the House Small Business Committee’s proposal contains provisions affecting the Paycheck Protection Program including:

 

  • Most 501(c) nonprofit organizations would gain access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), not just 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6).
  • The “affiliation rules” would be lifted for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations. This means that an organization’s headcount would be considered “per physical location” rather than in-total and across all locations. As such, a 501(c)(3) with more than 500 employees and/or a 501(c)(6) with more than 300 employees – but at multiple locations – would be eligible for PPP.
  • An additional $7.25 billion would be made available to the PPP.

 

However, the proposal does not extend the PPP’s current March 31 deadline. As Democrats hope to pass the COVID package by mid-March, the subsequent and very short timeframe before PPP expiration could prove challenging for new applicants and organizations that need a second loan.

 

The House Education and Labor Committee proposal includes a number of labor provisions, including a federal minimum wage increase that would elevate the federal floor to $15/hour by 2024 and eliminate the separate minimum wage for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.  Additionally, the bill provides $150 million to the Department of Labor (DOL) for worker protection programs -- $75 million of which is specifically allocated to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The proposal also provides nearly $130 billion to help schools take the steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure students and educators can return to the classroom safely. The proposal passed the Committee on a party line vote, with no Republicans voting in favor.  Republicans offered over 30 amendments during the course of the markup, all of which were rejected by Democrats. 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced by a vote of 39 to 25 a proposal with more than $40 billion in aid for the transportation sector as part of House Democrats’ Covid-19 stimulus package. The Measure would provide $30 billion for transit, $8 billion for U.S. airports, $3 billion for aviation manufacturing jobs, and $1.5 billion for Amtrak.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Democrats Reintroduce PRO Act, & ABC Opposed Apprenticeship Bill Passes the House

Friday, February 5, 2021

 

Democrats Reintroduce PRO Act:

 

As noted in yesterday’s update, Senators Murray (D-WA) and Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Scott (D-VA) reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The members released text of the bill, a section-by-section analysis, and a fact sheet. The bill has 195 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 842), including two Republicans – Smith (NJ-4) and Fitzpatrick (PA-1). This bill includes over a dozen radical provisions drastically altering federal labor law and will devastate the economy during an already difficult time. ABC’s news release on the PRO Act can be viewed here and the ABC-led Coalition for a Democratic Workplace’s statement on the bill can be viewed here.

 

ABC is working to oppose the bill including solidifying the bill’s opposition in the Senate where the bill is currently subject to the 60-vote threshold and educate new House and Senate members about the dangers this legislation would pose to the construction industry, especially as we seek to maintain businesses and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC urges members to reach out to their US Senators, Representatives and President Biden through the ABC Action Alert opposing the PRO Act.

 

FEA has created a website dedicated to opposing the PRO Act with resources for chapters and members including: a PRO Act fact sheet, social media tool kit, and educational videos.

 

Democrats’ Apprenticeship Bill Passes the House:

 

ABC key voted against today’s apprenticeship bill on the House floor that passed by a vote of 247-173, with 28 Republicans voting to support. The bill will now be referred to the Senate where it will be subject to a 60-vote threshold to pass. ABC has been reaching out to key Senators to express concerns about the bill and seek support on blocking its passage as currently written in the upper chamber.

 

Additionally, ABC is supported an amendment to the bill introduced and made in order by Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) that would eliminate a requirement in the bill for entities to partner with labor or joint labor organizations to be eligible grant funding under a new apprenticeship grant program. The amendment unfortunately failed by a vote of 186-236, with 2 Democrats voting for and 19 Republicans voting against.

 

Business Community Rallies to Defend NOL Relief:

 

On February 2nd dozens of Democratic Senators and Representatives called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to retroactively repeal the net operating loss (NOL) relief included in last year’s CARES Act. Their letter claims the NOL relief was a “special-interest” giveaway that was “tucked” into the CARES Act. Neither of these claims is true, as made clear in the most recent business community letter released today and signed by ABC along with more than 80 trade associations. The provision was requested by the business community, it was widely discussed and understood prior to any votes in the House or the Senate and, far from being targeted at special interests, the relief it provides is broad-based and available to all businesses who lost money in the past three years. 

 

COVID Relief Bill & Budget Reconciliation:

 

The House and Senate have now both passed a joint budget resolution outlining $1.9 trillion in spending for COVID relief that could be passed through budget reconciliation that requires only a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress and is not subject to the 60 vote threshold in the Senate. Last night and into the early morning the Senate held a vote-a-rama on budget resolution amendments ranging from immigration, to energy and taxes.

 

While Republicans forced some tough votes on Democrats, all amendments, at the end of the vote-a-rama were wiped out by what’s called a “substitute” amendment, offered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). By its nature, Schumer’s amendment replaced everything in the bill that had been adopted and rejected during the overnight amendment votes and replaced it with new budget resolution text. On the second to last vote of the vote-a-rama, the Senate adopted the Schumer substitute amendment, 51-50 with VP Harris casting her first tiebreaking vote. A few moments later, the Senate adopted the entirely new budget by another 51-50 vote, with Harris casting her second tie-breaking vote.

 

Today, the House passed the Senate passed budget resolution by a vote of 219-209, setting the stage for the passage of COVID relief legislation through the budget reconciliation process.

 

Tenney Wins in New York:

Former Republican Representative Claudia Tenney beat Democrat Anthony Brindisi to reclaim her upstate New York seat, the Associated Press reported, citing a New York judge’s ruling. Tenney’s victory cuts into the Democratic majority to 221-212 in the House of Representatives, down from a 232-197 majority going into the election.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Beltway Blueprint: Democrats Reintroduce PRO Act, & ABC Opposed Apprenticeship Bill on the House Floor Tomorrow

Democrats Reintroduce PRO Act:

 

Today, Senators Murray (D-WA) and Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Scott (D-VA) reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The members released text of the bill, a section-by-section analysis, and a fact sheet. The bill has 194 cosponsors, including two Republicans – Smith (NJ-4) and Fitzpatrick (PA-1). This bill includes over a dozen radical provisions drastically altering federal labor law and will devastate the economy during an already difficult time. CDW’s statement on the bill can be viewed here.

Additionally, in a POLITICO article published today on the PRO Act, ABC VP of Legislative and Political Affairs was quoted responding to the bill’s introduction: “Congressional Democrats are attempting to implement Obama-era labor law policies that were rejected by the judicial system, opposed on a bipartisan basis and/or abandoned by the agencies asked to enforce them,” said Kristen Swearingen, chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The group represents some 500 trade associations including the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “At a time when thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and employees retained during the COVID pandemic, this bill would force businesses to close permanently and cost workers their livelihoods,” she said.

During the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on the nomination of Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston, to serve as the Secretary of Labor, several members discussed the PRO Act. Chair Murray announced the reintroduction of the bill and said it would “bring the National Labor Relations Act into the 21st Century.” Several Republicans raised concerns with the bill.

 

Sen. Scott (R-SC) said the bill undermines secret ballots, threatens businesses through its changes to the joint employer standard, and throws out twenty-eight state’s Right to Work laws. You can watch a video of Sen. Scott’s PRO Act opposition here.

 

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, Walsh said he was supportive of the PRO Act.

 

ABC is working to oppose the bill and educate new House members about the dangers this legislation would pose to the construction industry, especially as we seek to maintain businesses and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC also urges members to reach out to their US Senators, Representatives and President Biden and urge them to oppose the PRO Act.

 

Reminder – Democrats’ Apprenticeship Bill on the Floor Tomorrow:

 

House Democrats plan to hold a vote on their National Apprenticeship Act affecting federal apprenticeships program tomorrow. ABC opposed the bill last Congress when it passed the House with 20 Republican votes. Ten GOP lawmakers have also signed on as cosponsors to the bill: Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), David McKinley (R-W. Va.), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio).

 

It is expected that the House will vote on this bill on Wednesday or Thursday this week and ABC is again key voting against the bill and urges Chapter Presidents and members to reach out to their Representatives, particularly those Republican cosponsors, to oppose this legislation.

 

ABC sent an Action Alert on the bill.

 

Additionally, ABC is supporting an amendment to the bill introduced and made in order by Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) that would eliminate a requirement in the bill for entities to partner with labor or joint labor organizations to be eligible grant funding under a new apprenticeship grant program.

 

Liability Protection:

 

ABC joined a coalition of more than 580 organizations in urging Congress to enact liability protections for businesses in the next COVID relief package. You may view a copy of the final letter here.

 

Paycheck Fairness Act:

 

During the Walsh hearing, Chairwoman Murray also expressed her support for the reintroduction of the Paycheck Fairness Act. ABC has previously opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act in previous Congresses and believe it would prohibit many legitimate, non-discriminatory practices that employers use to attract and retain the best qualified employees. Specifically, under the Paycheck Fairness Act, a court could find pay discrimination when the differences in pay are based on professional experience, education, shift differentials or hazardous work, as well as pay differentials based on local labor market rates or an organization’s profitability.

 

COVID Relief Bill & Budget Reconciliation:

 

While Democrats are moving forward with their plan to pass a $1+ trillion COVID relief package through budget reconciliation, skirting the 60-vote threshold for passing legislation in the Senate. President Biden has said he is open to limiting the eligibility for direct payments.

 

With the Democrats choosing budget reconciliation for COVID relief, they have opened the door to the budget resolution amendment “vote-a-rama”, and GOP senators are preparing hundreds of amendments to be introduced in an upcoming vote-a-rama to protest Democrats’ efforts to avoid a Republican filibuster on the COVID relief package with the reconciliation process. With more than 750 amendments already filed, senators are bracing for long votes through the night. “Senate Republicans will be ready and waiting with a host of amendments to improve the rushed procedural step that’s being jammed through,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in floor remarks yesterday.

Read the rest of entry »

Pages: Previous1234567...22NextReturn Top
Subscribe To Our Blog

Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.

Archives