Government Funding Deadline Pushed, House Speaker Removed
Just before midnight on September 30th, the Federal government narrowly avoided a government shutdown by passing a 45-day Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through November 17th. Included in the CR was a measure to extend FAA Authorization through December 31st and $16 billion in disaster aid for select states. This is being referred to as a ‘clean’ CR as it does not include extra riders like Ukraine funding or funding to secure the southern border. Unfortunately, the CR was not without its casualties.
On October 3, 2023, the House of Representatives, voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 216-210 as Speaker of the House. Eight Republicans joined with all Democrats in voting to remove him. This historic vote marked the first time in U.S. history a House Speaker has been removed. So far, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) have announced their intentions to run for Speaker. The Republican Conference intends to hold a candidate forum next Tuesday and the election for speaker next Wednesday. The successful candidate for Speaker will require a majority vote in the full House to win.
NECA's Take: NECA will be closely monitoring the race for Speaker as well as the progress of the 12 key appropriations bills as they move through both chambers. Right now, due to this abrupt halt in leadership, we do not anticipate the House will be able to complete all required funding bills before November 17th, which could trigger a government shutdown or lead to another CR. Until a Speaker is elected, the House cannot conduct official business, therefore putting several legislative priorities at risk.
PLA Final Rule Goes to White House for Review
Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council transmitted to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) final text of Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects. The NECA-supported rule directs federal agencies to make greater use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on construction contracts expected to cost $35 million or more. This Executive Order provides federal agencies with the tools and the flexibility they need to procure construction projects as they see fit and does not hamstring their options.
NECA's Take: NECA supports PLAs to increase the efficiency and quality of construction projects for the private sector as well as local, state, and federal government(s). This Executive Order is a valuable tool for advancing responsible federal procurement and for guaranteeing the timely, effective, and efficient delivery of taxpayer-funded projects. Once the final rule is implemented, federal agencies will require that every prime contractor and subcontractor on a federal construction project of $35 million or more performed within the United States to sign a project labor agreement as a condition of winning a contract, with some possible exceptions.
DOL Denies Request for Solar Installer Apprenticeship
U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship (OA) issued a determination that solar panel installation is not an “apprenticeable” occupation for which a registered apprenticeship program can be approved by OA or state apprenticeship agencies delegated authority by DOL to approve apprenticeship programs for federal purposes, including prevailing wage. Specifically, the notice states that “based on the current information available, [the OA] is not able to conclude that solar panel installation occupations are clearly identified and commonly recognized as distinctive occupations because the work processes and job activities involved in these occupations significantly replicate those of other existing apprenticeable occupations, such as electricians, iron workers, operating engineers, carpenters, and laborers.”
NECA's Take: As a result of the OA’s determination that solar panel installation is not “apprenticeable,” solar panel installation work could be performed by apprentices in accordance with a work process schedule associated with existing Registered Apprenticeship for electricians, iron workers, operating engineers, carpenters, and laborers. The full bulletin can be accessed here.
NECAPAC Total 10/9/23 - $591,490
Operational Fund Total 100/9/23 - $316,554
NECA On the Move
Over the past three weeks, NECA’s Government Affairs team met with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Aaron Bean (R-FL), Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA), Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. Will Timmons (R-SC), Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY), Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), and Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY).