Senate Deadlocked on S. 1:

Following a mark-up of S. 1 by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, the ABC-opposed For the People Act, failed to move forward with a 9-9 tie for and against the bill by committee members. The tie means Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) likely would have to use a Senate procedure to bring the legislation to the floor, and the failure of the final vote, as well as a key manager’s amendment by Democratic Chairwoman Sen. Amy Klobuchar, showed the difficult task Democrats will have in getting the bill through the evenly divided Senate.

ABC sent a letter to the committee, highlighting the association’s concerns with the legislation. Like H.R. 1, that passed the House earlier this year, ABC believes that S. 1 is a direct threat to associations like ABC and our ability to inform and engage our members on the issues critical to their livelihoods and the construction industry. Additionally, the bill would seek to impose disclosure requirements on ABC members, opening them up to undue targeting and harassment that could intrude on their businesses and private lives.

ABC believes that it is critical to ensure the continuation of our constitutionally protected freedom of association and the privacy of our members.


Infrastructure Talks Continue:

Following the meeting yesterday between the White House and top Congressional leadership from both parties, questions remain on a bipartisan path forward for a significant federal infrastructure proposal. While Republicans unveiled a $568 billion plan earlier this month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has since stated that the proposal could be as much as $800 billion. However, questions surrounding what is included in a potential final package, how much it costs, and how it is paid for remain unanswered.

While Democrats have proposed increasing the corporate tax rate to pay for the infrastructure proposal, McConnell (R-Ky.) said following their meeting “We're not interested in re-opening the 2017 tax bill. We both made that clear with the president. That's our red line.” Speaker Pelosi also reiterated her intention to pass a bill in the House by July 4, following the meeting.

Another meeting today between Senate Republicans and President Biden kicked off on a positive note with the president indicating his willingness to compromise on his $2 trillion proposal.

Additionally, today the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced that the committee is writing final language on a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that will be “a little bit north of $300 billion.” ABC advocated for a bipartisan process in drafting this bill and the inclusion of language to prevent PLA mandates on federal projects. We will be reviewing the legislation for any provisions having an adverse effect on the merit shop construction industry.

Earlier this week, ABC sent a letter to the White House with more than 900 signatures from chapters and ABC member companies from 47 states and DC. The letter highlights concerns with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and recommendations for improvements to assist the construction industry, including opposition to the PRO Act, eliminating burdensome regulations, streamlining the permitting process, and supporting bipartisan workforce development efforts. The letter was also shared with congressional leadership and members of Congress.

ABC also urges members to use ABC’s resources to highlight our concerns about government-mandated PLA’s in an infrastructure package including:

  1. www.BuildAmericaLocal.com
  2. FEA website on PLAs/FOCA includes a social media kit, fact sheets, op-eds, letters, research and a donation page:  https://freeenterprisealliance.org/foca/
  3. www.TheTruthAboutPLAs.com (https://twitter.com/truthaboutplashas and https://www.facebook.com/TheTruthAboutPLAs on social media) has historical research, news and analysis about our fight against GMPLAs since 2009
  4. This PLAs & Labor page on the password protected National Connections has resources for chapter staff to fight GMPLAs as well as other Labor Relations toolkits: https://nationalconnections.abc.org/Political-Advocacy/PLAs-Labor
  5. Finally, for those of you looking for ideas to push back on state and local GMPLAs with public-facing advocacy, CLRF supported a campaign for ABC VA which produced this statewide website in 2020 for a state legislative fight and then a related microsite in 2021 to fight a local GMPLA ordinance:
    1. https://buildvalocal.com/fairfax/

 

Treasury Encourages PLAs on Federally Funded Water, Sewer, and Broadband Projects:

Earlier this week, Treasury released guidance on $350 billion worth of federal funding for state and local fiscal recovery allocated in the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

As part of the interim final rule, Treasury released a fact sheet detailing how this money can be used to offset state and local budget shortfalls, support COVID-19 response efforts and address economic stabilization for households and businesses.

Unfortunately, there is pro-PLA language and other pro-union terms in the interim final rule, stating:

“Treasury’s Interim Final Rule also encourages recipients to ensure that water, sewer, and broadband projects use strong labor standards, including project labor agreements and community benefits agreements that offer wages at or above the prevailing rate and include local hire provisions.”

While the guidance does not mandate tying PLAs to federal assistance, it is a sign of the efforts this administration is taking to support PLAs and other costly labor provisions. You can view an overview of the guidance here, and ABC will be providing additional information on our plans to push back on these requirements and will update members.

 

ABC Urges Revisions to OSHA’s Latest FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Reactions:

On May 10, ABC, as a steering committee member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, wrote to U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urging it to review and revise its recently issued Frequently Asked Questions on whether employers must record adverse reactions caused by COVID-19 vaccinations that are required and/or recommended by employers. Read more.

 

CDC Guidance for the Fully Vaccinated:

Per the CDC: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”