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Gov't Affairs News

Advocacy Top Three 6/23/17

Jun 23, 2017

1. On June 21, 2017, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced a bill that would be the vehicle to reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through FY2019. The bill would also start the process of separating Air Traffic Control from the FAA.

NECA’s Look Ahead: The plan to make Air Traffic Control privatized by an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental entity was endorsed by both President Trump and Speaker Ryan (R-WI). NECA, as a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC), sent a letter urging the House and Senate committees to increase investment in the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and to lift the cap on passenger facility charges (PFC). The bill faces challenges with House Democrats and a few Republicans. The House bill is expected to be marked up in committee next week and, pending the outcome, the House could vote on it sometime in July. The Senate is expected to unveil its FAA bill today, minus any air traffic control spinoff language. The FAA authorization expires at the end of September.

2. On June 22, 2017, the Senate released its long awaited revised plan to the House health care bill. The plan calls for the repeal of most Obamacare taxes - but not the Cadillac Tax, a revamping of subsidies to insurance customers based on their incomes, and the phase out of Medicaid's expansion program. This bill will have a number of hurdles to cross before it is sent back to the House for conference.

NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA continues to advocate for the removal of the onerous Cadillac Tax. Although the Senate bill proposes a nine-year delay to implementation of the 40 percent excise tax on employer sponsored healthcare, the looming tax remains a key concern to NECA and its contractors who provide the employees with top-notch healthcare.

3. To cap off his “Workforce Development Week,” President Trump issued an executive order designed to expand apprenticeships. The plan was touted by the Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, who praised the apprenticeship model of the building trades and encouraged others to replicate it. This executive order requires the Department of Labor, among others, to study the current structure of apprenticeships, create a task force on the issue, and to then provide a plan for expanding these vital institutions across the country.

NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA issued a statement in support of the EO. The President’s interest in the structure of apprenticeships is extremely encouraging for NECA and our partners in labor. Our industry faces a shortfall of labor and efforts like this are necessary in order to meet our workforce needs.