1. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced today that he will retire from Congress effective October 30th.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Boehner’s decision sets off a leadership scramble within the Republican Caucus. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is second in line and while he is expected to serve as the next speaker, he is likely to face a challenge from a faction of anti-establishment conservatives.
2. Government funding is set to expire on September 30th, and a dispute over defunding Planned Parenthood has prevented Congressional leaders from advancing a spending measure. However, following Boehner’s announcement, House Republicans agreed to pass a clean spending bill that will avert a shutdown of federal agencies.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The House will vote next week on a Continuing Resolution that funds the government through December 11th, and a separate measure to Repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. The latter will be considered as a budget reconciliation measure in the Senate, which requires only a simple majority and cannot be filibustered.
3. The Department of Labor on September 10, 2015, issued a final rule from the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that explicitly prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from firing or discriminating against employees for discussing, disclosing, or inquiring about their own pay or that of their co-workers. The rule allows job applicants and employees of federal contractors and subcontractors to file a discrimination complaint with OFCCP if they believe that their employer fired or otherwise discriminated against them for this reason.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The rule states that a provision barring compensation disclosure discrimination will be incorporated into the mandatory equal opportunity clauses currently included in government contracts. Of interest to NECA contractors, the rule requires contractors to include similar provisions in employee manuals or handbooks disseminated to employees and applicants. The rule establishes two defenses that contractors may use against allegations of pay secrecy violations—one based on legitimate workplace rules and the other based on the essential functions of an employee's job. The final rule implements Executive Order 13665, signed by President Barack Obama on April 8, 2014. Stemming from the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Executive Order 13665 amended OFCCP's existing legal authority under Executive Order 11246, which also prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin.