United States: Congress Sprints To The Finish (Beltway Buzz, November 30, 2018)

Last Updated: December 5 2018
Article by James J. Plunkett

The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what's happening in Washington, D.C. could impact your business.


Congress Sprints to the Finish. Congress is back after its Thanksgiving break, and it will be a busy few weeks before it adjourns (as we previously mentioned, Congress is scheduled to adjourn on December 14, 2018, though that date is flexible). Here is what to look out for, at least with regard to labor and employment policy:

  • Government funding runs out when the clock strikes midnight a week from today, December 7, 2018. While some appropriation bills have been passed (including the bill funding both the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)), there is still significant work to be done. The big issue is how much congressional negotiators are going to fight over funding for the proposed border wall. Could other immigration-related matters be on the table as part of these negotiations? (See below.)
  • Nom, nom, nom. This isn't just the sound of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) eating his Thanksgiving turkey last week, but it's also likely what his priorities will be during these last few weeks. We know that the nominations include candidates for the federal bench (over 30 judicial nominees await a Senate floor vote), but we will be watching to see if this also includes a deal to fill vacancies at the DOL, NLRB, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Multiemployer Pension News. Also sprinting to the finish is the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, which has a deadline of [squints at notes] today (November 30, 2018) to propose a solution to the multiemployer pension plan crisis. A memo that leaked details of a potential solution to the Washington Post sent retirement policy wonks into a pre-Thanksgiving tizzy. According to the Post article, the committee's proposal includes taxpayer subsidies to underfunded pensions, cuts to benefits, and increasing premiums. On issues like this, the Buzz looks to Milwaukee Brewers' announcer Bob Uecker for guidance, who famously noted: "The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up." There may be many twists, turns, and last-minute changes before anything final comes out of the Joint Select Committee (including postponement of today's arbitrary deadline), so we will avoid speculation and instead wait for the issue to stop rolling before we pick it up.

Elections' Impact on Paid Leave. Paid leave will likely continue to be a hot-button issue in 2019, particularly with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives. But the results of this month's elections have altered this landscape a bit. Republican Mimi Walters of California was the primary sponsor and champion of the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, but she lost her reelection bid. This means that business groups will have to find a new champion to support the bill, which encourages businesses to offer employees both paid leave and workplace flexibility.

Republicans Eye H-2B Expansion. This week the Washington Times reported that Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House have agreed to a deal that would increase the number of H-2B visas issued annually from 66,000 to 132,000. In recent years, demand for the visas has far exceeded the 66,000 annual cap. According to the report, in exchange for the increased visa allotment, employers would be required to clear these workers through E-Verify. The report further indicates that the legislators may try to attach their changes to the end-of-year funding package mentioned above. If successful, this would be a significant victory for proponents of expanding employment-related visa programs.

DOL Watchdog Critical of Performance. Recently the DOL's Office of Inspector General issued a report entitled, "Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of Labor." The report details the "most serious management and performance challenges facing the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL)." The report contains some interesting findings, particularly for workplace safety and immigration experts. For example, the OIG concludes:

  • "OSHA and MSHA face challenges in determining how to best use their resources to help protect the workers' safety and health, particularly in high-risk industries such as construction, forestry, fishing, agriculture, and mining. These challenges are exacerbated by underreporting of injuries by employers. Without reliable data regarding workplace injuries, OSHA and MSHA lack the information needed to effectively focus inspection and compliance efforts on the most hazardous workplaces."
  • "OIG's investigations have shown the FLC [foreign labor certification] programs, in particular the H-1B program that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, to be susceptible to significant fraud and abuse, often by dishonest immigration attorneys, employers, labor brokers, and organized criminal enterprises."

Yowzers. Sounds like a call for more regulation. The Buzz will be watching.

Rock Won't Get Rolled. It's been a tough week for Michiganders. First, the University of Michigan's football team suffered a humiliating loss to Ohio State. Then, the Detroit Lions' historical ineptitude was the subject of a question on "Jeopardy!" Fortunately, the news hasn't been all doom and gloom for residents of "The Wolverine State." Recently, one of its native sons—Robert James Ritchie of Romeo—successfully defended himself from a complaint filed by the Federal Election Commission's Office of the General Counsel. Ritchie, who is better known by his stage name, Kid Rock, was accused of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by allegedly becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2017 without filing the proper paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The complaint alleged that Ritchie violated the act by creating a website at "kidrockforsenate.com" and selling "Kid Rock for U.S. Senate" merchandise. Like every other American, however, the FEC was quick to figure out that Ritchie wasn't actually serious and that this was a publicity stunt to promote an album and tour, ruling that "we do not believe the record in this matter — the sale of concert themed merchandise by a musician who explicitly disclaimed candidacy — implicates concerns which are central to the Commission's regulatory mission or deserving of its resources." Presumably, Bloomfield Hills native and current Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-UT) did everything by the book prior to launching his campaign(s).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions