1. Congress returned to Washington after the August recess on September 8 with a busy schedule and limited time to take action on several tough issues, including how to fund the federal government beyond September 30, 2015.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA will press Congressional leaders to take action on a variety of priority issues, including: a long term surface transportation bill, a deal on tax reform that would fund infrastructure projects and extends tax breaks set to expire on December 31 through the end of 2016, and sweeping energy policy legislation. NECA will also continue to educate and solicit support from Members of Congress for support to repeal the 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans and pension reform.
2. On Labor Day, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) requiring federal contractors to offer their employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The EO would grant approximately 300,000 people working on federal contracts that commence after January 1, 2017, the new ability to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave each year. The requirement stipulates that workers will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Our first read of the EO is that the requirement extends to all employees, both collectively bargained and non-bargained. The EO breaks long standing federal labor policy by requiring contractors to provide this sick leave in addition to vacation and other fringe benefits already required by the Davis Bacon Act. NECA will continue to review this EO and will comment on any proposed rules implementing the EO.
3. NECA-supported Darin LaHood (R-IL), a Republican state senator and son of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, easily won a special election Thursday to replace former Rep. Aaron Schock, sending a familiar name to Washington, D.C., from Illinois.
NECA Look Ahead: Rep.-Elect LaHood’s victory brings the number of U.S. House members back to 435 and he is expected to be sworn into office next week.