Chapter Corner

Newsroom & Insights: Legislative Updates

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Affirmative Action Rules Updated for Federal Contractors

Last week, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued two final rules changing existing contractor and subcontractor requirements for the hiring of disabled individuals and veterans under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 4212 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

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Worker Notification Requirements Under ObamaCare to Kick in October 1

Despite a one-year delay of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act for larger businesses (with 50 or more employees), all employers will still be required to notify their workers of available healthcare exchange options by October 1 of this year. IEC members employing 50 or fewer full-time employees are not required to offer coverage themselves but must inform employees about open enrollment for state and federal insurance exchanges created by the new healthcare law.

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House Holds Symbolic Vote on Healthcare Repeal Bill

On Thursday, May 16, the House of Representatives held a largely symbolic vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The bill (H.R.45), sponsored by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), passed by a vote of 229 to 195 with only two Democrats, Representatives John Matheson (D-UT) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), dissenting to vote for repeal with their Republican colleagues. The Senate is not likely to take up a vote on the bill – if it does, the legislation will be struck down by the Democratic majority.

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Second Court Finds NLRB Appointees, Subsequent Board Actions Unconstitutional

On Thursday, a second appeals court joined the D.C. Circuit in ruling that President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violated the Recess Appointments Clause of the Constitution. In its 2-1 decision on NLRB v. New Vista Nursing & Rehabilitation, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that the presidential recess appointment power is limited to breaks between sessions of Congress – not when the Senate is meeting in a pro form session as it was at the time President Obama appointed three members to the Board in January of 2012.

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Senate Committee Votes to Advance Perez Nomination for DOL Secretary

In an expectedly party-line vote of 12-10, the Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) endorsed Thomas Perez for the position of Secretary of Labor, vacated by Hilda Solis in January of this year. The vote brings the White House nominee one step closer to approval for the cabinet position, with the full Senate set to vote on Mr. Perez in the coming weeks.

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Senate Unveils Immigration Reform Bill

On Wednesday, the bipartisan so-called “Gang of Eight” of U.S. Senators unveiled their immigration overhaul package, a product of months of closed-door negotiations with business groups and big labor. The bill is intended to address the status of millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the country, provide new enforcement measures, and restructure our nation’s guest worker program. The proposal has received a lukewarm reception at best, with some business groups concerned about the bill’s ability to meet their workforce needs.

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IEC Reacts to New NLRB Nominations

Yesterday, President Barack Obama nominated two Republicans and renominated an existing Democrat member to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The nominations come as the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on legislation this week that would prohibit the Board from taking major actions or issuing decisions until it has a legally operating, Senate-confirmed quorum of members.

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House to Vote on Bill to Limit Further NLRB Actions Without Quorum

On January 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that two appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made by President Obama without Senate confirmation in January of 2012 were unconstitutional. The Court’s ruling raises questions to the validity of decisions or rules made by the NLRB over the past year that would require a quorum, creating great uncertainty for employers and employees struggling to stay in compliance with labor law.

On March 13, Congressman David Roe (R-TN) introduced H.R.1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, to prohibit the NLRB from taking actions which require a quorum on the Board until this controversy is resolved by Senate confirmation of the appointees, a Supreme Court ruling, or the expiration of the terms of the three recess appointees with the adjournment of the 113th Congress.

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IEC Legislative Brief: Potential Impacts of the Sequester on IEC Members

On March 1, 2013, federal agencies will see an across-the-board automatic spending reduction take effect. The initial cut of $85 billion will occur immediately and apply equally to defense and non-defense spending, with cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over a 10 year period. However, many large mandatory programs (such as Social Security, Medicaid, veterans benefits, and low-income services) are exempt from the cuts. As a result of these cuts, federal agencies may be forced to reprioritize, down-size projects and staff, and even terminate programs.

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Recess Appointments to the NLRB Unconstitutional

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court ruled unanimously that President Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he appointed members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during a Senate recess. IEC actively opposed the appointments and applauds the Appeals Court’s decision.

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