1. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released its long-awaited final rule designed to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA has been working with our coalition partners to communicate to OSHA that the silica exposure limits set in the rule are unworkable unless our contractors shoulder the cost of implementing a host of prescribed engineering and work practice controls. Even if they implement these costly controls, commercial laboratories have not been able to measure workplace silica levels with accuracy or consistency, making it nearly impossible for employers to determine if they are in compliance. NECA will review the new final rule on silica, which was announced on Thursday, and provide an overview of the impacts to our members and contractors in the near future.
2. NECA joined a coalition of leading business organizations to call on Congress to restore tax rate parity for all U.S. businesses. In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress’s tax-writing committees, the House Ways & Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, Parity for Main Street Employers urged lawmakers to enact tax reform that is comprehensive, restores tax rate parity for all businesses, and reduces or eliminates the double tax imposed on corporations.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Working within coalitions of like-minded business groups is another way NECA continues to advocate the need for comprehensive tax reform. In related news, the Tax Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held the first in a series of hearings on how lawmakers should fundamentally reform the tax code to create jobs, increase paychecks, and expand opportunities for the American people. During the hearing Representatives Devin Nunes (R-CA), Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Rob Woodall (R-GA) made the case for moving our primarily income-based tax system to a cash-flow or consumption-based system. Under these plans, instead of being taxed on what they make, hardworking Americans and businesses will be taxed on the money they spend. The next hearing will be held on April 13th and will be focused on fundamental reforms within the context of our current income-based tax system.
3. President Obama extended the legislative authority for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to July 15. This short-term extension gives the government the authority to continue collecting roughly $40 million per day in aviation taxes and fees levied that pay for construction projects and air-traffic control.
NECA’s Look Ahead: After July 15, Congress will be out for much of the rest of the year because of the election, making the short-term deadline a “drop-dead” date for a longer-term bill. Contentious issues such as air-traffic privatization, drones, and consumer rules, must be resolved in order to advance long-term legislation.