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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