Beltway Buzz, October 22, 2021

Congress: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. After scuttling plans final month to vote on each a $1.2 trillion bipartisan “hard infrastructure” invoice that the U.S. Senate approved, 69–30, on August 10, 2021, and a proposed $3.5 trillion price range reconciliation package deal of social packages centered on “human infrastructure,” Democrats huddled this week to hammer out their variations concerning the scale and scope of the latter package deal. The present legislative schedule would convey each measures up for votes within the U.S. Home of Representatives earlier than the top of October 2021. There is no such thing as a phrase but on the standing of provisions rising and including penalties to varied federal labor statutes or on the contours of a proposed federal paid go away plan. As a result of Democrats are looking for to decrease the general prices of the human infrastructure laws, any paid go away plan would seemingly be much less beneficiant than what was included within the unique draft.

Office Security Replace. It was one other busy week within the office security coverage area.

  • ETS stays beneath evaluate. Because the Buzz goes to the press, the Occupational Security and Well being Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 emergency non permanent customary (ETS), which might require the vaccination or weekly testing of workforces of employers with 100 or extra staff, remains under review on the Workplace of Info and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). To this point, OIRA has held 64 stakeholder conferences on the vaccination ETS. After all, the OIRA course of is quite opaque and there may be nonetheless no signal as to when the ETS will difficulty, apart from “very soon.”

  • OSHA and state plan friction. This week, Performing Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Security and Well being James Frederick despatched letters to workforce companies in Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah, stating that OSHA would start proceedings to revoke approval of these states’ office security plans because of the states’ alleged failure to undertake OSHA’s healthcare ETS, finalized in June 2021. The standoff might foreshadow comparable authorized roadblocks that the administration may face when implementing its vaccination ETS. Certainly, a bunch of Republican attorneys normal has threatened to take legal action towards the ETS (and Arizona’s lawyer normal already has).

  • Senate to vote on assistant secretary. On October 25, 2021, the U.S. Senate is anticipated to vote on the affirmation of Douglas Parker to be assistant secretary of labor for occupational security and well being. Parker presently leads the California Division of Occupational Security and Well being (Cal/OSHA).

  • Warmth customary rulemaking begins? Whereas the vaccination ETS remained pending at OIRA, the company this week accomplished a evaluate of its request for data/advance discover of proposed rulemaking on a heat standard. The U.S. Division of Labor has referred to the motion each methods (as a “request for information” and as an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking”), however nonetheless the motion is styled, it should symbolize the very early phases of the rulemaking course of.

Republicans Ask for Dem Board Member Recusal. Buzz readers might recall the moral kerfuffle that surrounded the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in late 2017 and early 2018 regarding its dealing with of the joint-employer issue. Now an identical difficulty is being raised with regard to Democratic NLRB members’ ties to labor unions. In a letter launched on October 20, 2021, a bunch of 14 Republican members of the Senate and Home requested NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran to resolve potential conflicts of curiosity concerning members Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty, who beforehand served as in-house attorneys at associates of the Service Workers Worldwide Union (SEIU). The letter particularly focuses on potential conflicts that members Wilcox and Prouty might need with regard to points concerning the Board’s joint-employer rule, which the SEIU is presently difficult in federal court docket. The letter states, “Members Wilcox and Prouty cannot be neutral arbiters on cases involving issues or policies concerning the Final Rule. This conflict raises concerns that each will predetermine policy outcomes, and at a minimum, their involvement in such matters would create the appearance of a conflict of interest.” No phrase but on how Chair McFerran will reply.

Job Power Report on Encouraging Unionization Due. By October 26, 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh are scheduled to ship to President Joe Biden a report from the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. Actually, the report may arrive as early as this weekend. The report is anticipated to advocate ways in which the manager department may use its authority to extend union density. This may embody actions comparable to reviving a model of President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces govt order. Additional, based on then-candidate Biden’s campaign website, the duty drive (termed a “cabinet-level working group” on the web site) would:

  • “consider whether there are very specific areas where the federal government could waive preemption of the National Labor Relations Act to allow cities and states to pursue innovative ways to increase union organizing and collective bargaining without undermining current workers’ protections, like allowing for neutrality agreements and card check”; and

  • “work[] with unions and trade associations to further explore the expansion of sectoral bargaining, where all competitors in an industry are engaged in collective bargaining with a single or multiple unions.”

No matter it accommodates, the report is prone to be a highway map for future administrative motion.

Clear Water Act Anniversary. October 18, 2021, marked the forty ninth anniversary of the enactment of the Clear Water Act. Technically talking, the regulation is called the Federal Water Air pollution Management Act Amendments of 1972, and it amended the Federal Water Air pollution Management Act of 1948 (FWPCA), Congress’s first main effort at addressing water air pollution in the USA. Worsening environmental circumstances within the Sixties, culminating with the burning of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1969, sparked nationwide outrage that began the method that led to the 1972 amendments to the FWPCA. Although the amendments acquired bipartisan assist, President Richard Nixon vetoed the invoice, claiming that the laws’s $24 billion price ticket was too costly. Hours later, within the very early morning of October 18, 1972, Congress overrode the president’s veto and enacted the Clear Water Act.

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