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  • Mon, April 15, 2024 9:36 AM | Anonymous

    On April 10th, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution [H.J. Res 98], by a vote of 50-48 to nullify the NLRB’s joint employer final rule. CIRT had joined a large coalition that submitted comments urging rejection of the draft version of the rulemaking to no avail, leaving the Congressional path as a means to address the concerns. [See, CIRT Regulatory News story on January 11, 2024, for more details].

     The resolution passed the House in January, where it also enjoyed bipartisan support. It is now headed to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Unfortunately, the administration announced that the president intends to veto the resolution, which President Biden has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to do. If the CRA is vetoed, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to override the veto. If signed into law, or a veto is overridden, the NLRB’s final rule would be nullified, and the Board would be prevented from issuing any substantially similar rule in the future.

  • Mon, March 11, 2024 5:07 PM | Anonymous

    President Biden sent to Congress a proposed $7.3 trillion budget for fiscal year 2025, which will run from October 2024 through September 2025. It is reported to contain many of Biden's 2024 campaign promises, such as tax credits and increased taxes on the wealthy.  Not surprisingly, when unveiled the Republican members in Congress, particularly the majority leaders in the House, were critical of the enormous sum given current inflation issues, debt, and spending priority concerns.

    Background: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its semi-annual outlook on the federal budget, with its latest 10-year projection of annual federal budget deficits increasing steadily, to likely exceed $2.5 trillion by 2034, assuming current policies continue. Per a no surprises scenario, the federal government is projected to borrow an additional $20 trillion over the next decade. One driving factor is the impact of higher interest rates on the current $34 trillion (and growing) national debt. Back in 2021, interest expense in the federal budget totaled $350 billion, that is expected to increase to $860 billion this year, which is more than the defense budget. By 2034 annual interest expense is projected to be $1.6 trillion—more than one-fourth of all federal tax revenue.

  • Mon, March 11, 2024 5:07 PM | Anonymous

    The escalating yearly deficits and the growing unsustainable debt load over the next decade or two, may put the existence of a Highway Trust Fund in danger, if not in doubt. The Reason Foundation recently pointed out in an article that a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 10-year outlook report, showed “long-term bad news for the Highway Trust Fund;” due to gas-tax revenue shrinking at an ever-faster rate.  As a result, federal gas tax receipts are now projected to decline from $24 billion this year to less than $18 billion in Fiscal Year 2034 [with half of the Mass Transit Account funds coming from general budget money, as soon as 20226].

    With mounting pressure on the overall federal budget to find cuts to “non-essential” expenses, partly due to the spiraling interest costs on the debt service, the Highway Trust Fund could become a casualty.  To counter this potential, Reasons Foundation suggests one possible approach to protect and ensure needed funding is to: “Devolve highways and transit to state and local governments, to insulate them from the federal government’s financial meltdown.” Funding levels have long been a challenge to federal infrastructure programs, but even more important has been the will to prioritize such spending – this hurdle may be easier to overcome at the state and local level in the future.

  • Fri, March 08, 2024 5:05 PM | Anonymous

    During a session of the House of Representatives, Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) introduced House Concurrent Resolution (H. Con. Res.) 96. The “sense of the Congress” resolution expresses the view that design professional licensure (architects, engineers, surveyors) is critical to public health, safety, and welfare, by recognizing the role these professions play in our economy, while also sending a signal to states that they should not affect these professions in occupational licensing reform.  Although non-binding, its introduction makes a powerful statement on the matter of design professionals.

  • Thu, March 07, 2024 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    A broad cross section of business organizations and groups have urged Congress to adopted a proposed Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) recently finalized regulation/rule that changes the enforcement standard used for determining whether a worker is an employee or an “independent contractor” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new rule has been heavily criticized as a solution in search of problem – that is confusing, difficult to apply, and will invite unnecessary litigation and uncertainty for the tens of millions of workers that derive income as independent contractors.

    For details, SEE, Joint Letter to Congress.

  • Thu, February 22, 2024 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT has joined with a diverse group of associations, businesses, and other stakeholders representing employers called “The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity” (“PPWO” or “Partnership”) in support of the Overtime Pay Flexibility Act (H.R. 7367). The bill seeks to prohibit the Department of Labor (“DOL”) from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing its proposed rule that would change the overtime exemption standards for Executive, Administrative, and Professional by elevating the pay threshold to $55-60K regardless of location or market conditions. The propose change was published in the Federal Register on September 8, 2023.

    PPWO coalition is dedicated to advocating for the interests of its members in the regulatory debate on changes to the FLSA overtime regulations. PPWO’s members believe that employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes maximum flexibility in structuring employee hours, employees’ career advancement opportunities, and clarity for employers when classifying employees.

  • Thu, January 11, 2024 3:16 PM | Anonymous

    As a member of the Jobs and Career Coalition, CIRT joined others in the group to offer strong support to the U.S. House bill entitled “A Stronger Workforce for America Act” (H.R. 6655). The bill recognizes and seeks to assist in creating a workforce system that the nation needs to remain competitive and provide good jobs – by being attentive and innovative to employer challenges.  Key provisions include: (1) mandates that 50-percent of the funds allocated by the feds be spent specifically on skills development vs. administrative costs, etc., (2) demonstration or pilot program grants are designed to spur innovation, (3) creating a new critical industries skills fund to reimburse employers who prepare workers for employment in their state’s fastest growing economic sectors, (4) a new employer performance metric to measure local areas for the percentage of their workforce system participants enrolled in employer-driven programs, including on-the-job training and apprenticeships, (5) option for expanded incumbent-worker training, allowing funds to be spent more flexibly, and (6) using outcomes metrics to raise the bar for fundable training providers.     

    Many of these critical improvements to the scope, coverage, and process of the workforce bill came as a result of the coalition working closely with the House Committee on Education and Workforce as it developed the proposal.  With the widespread input and acceptance from the affected community, the proposed legislation was later passed out of the committee with robust bipartisan approval. The House Committee is hoping to bring the bill to the floor in coming weeks for passage.

  • Tue, December 12, 2023 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    CIRT joined with the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), composed of a wide cross-sections of organizations, to support the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pension plans to hold a hearing on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) overreach on critical labor-management issues. The hearing will focus on recent NLRA actions/positions that have radically altered the workplace relationship and balance, including examining the:

    (a) Employee Rights Act (ERA) (H.R. 2700), would guarantee workers the right to use secret ballots to choose whether or not to unionize. [For details, See: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/2700];

    (b) Modern Worker Empowerment Act (H.R. 5513), seeks to protect “independent contractors” by requiring the use of the longstanding common law test to determine a worker's appropriate classification as either an independent contractor or a traditional employee. [For details, See: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/5513/text?s=4&r=12&q=%7B%22search%22%3A%22stefanik%22%7D]); and

    (c) Save Local Business Act (H.R. 2826), will codify into law the traditional “joint employer” standard that requires employers have "actual, direct, and immediate" control over employees to be considered joint employers.  [For details, See: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/2826].

    The coalition supports introduction of these bills, which are designed to protect workers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and the economy from controversial steps by the NLRB.13

  • Wed, November 08, 2023 9:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On November 7th, U.S. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Speaker of the House, as well as U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader, introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new joint employer rule, which would radically expand the joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by specifying that either indirect or reserved control, may stand alone as basis for finding a joint employer relationship.

    The Congress may use the CRA to overturn final rules issued by federal agencies. Any member of Congress can introduce a joint resolution disapproving of a final rule.  Congress has only 60 days of continuous session from the date a rule is submitted to use the procedure.  A simple majority in both chambers is then needed to send the measure to the president’s desk. If vetoed, a two-thirds majority in both chambers is necessary to override; if signed into law or Congress overrides the veto, the rule is prohibited from either going into effect or continuing in effect.

  • Fri, July 28, 2023 1:28 PM | Anonymous

    Good news for design/construction firms doing business with federal military government entities.  A series of troubling potential “blacklisting” type amendments that were flagged by a coalition of construction industry organizations were not included in the rules package and none of the amendments were in the final version of the $886 billion “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

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