1. Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act Introduced; House Ways and Means Addresses Infrastructure
On March 5, 2019, Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Representative Don Young (R-AK), and Representative John Katko (R-NY) introduced the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019. In related news, the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) held a hearing focused on infrastructure entitled, “Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure and the Need for Immediate Action.”
NECA’s Look Ahead: This much needed NECA supported legislation addresses America’s crumbling wastewater infrastructure and local water quality challenges by authorizing $20 billion in new federal funding for the Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund (CWA SRF). Hundreds of wastewater treatment facilities and storm water management projects have been constructed with CWA SRF dollars over the past 30 years. The significant increased funding of the CWA SRF called for in the bill has the potential to create over 500,000 quality construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs over the next five years. NECA will continue to work with the members of Congress to address the infrastructure crisis facing this country and work towards meaningful legislation to address it.
2. HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Multiemployer Pension Crisis
On March 7, 2019, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions held a hearing titled “The Cost of Inaction: Why Congress Must Address the Multiemployer Pension Crisis.” The hearing covered numerous topics and points of contention surrounding the multiemployer pension arena. While subcommittee hearings tend to receive less interest, this hearing drew a large crowd and heated discussion.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA continues to remain a strong advocate for the adoption of the innovative composite plan design. While we understand the need for reform to address the crisis faced by those plans in critical status, NECA knows that in order to better insure the survival of our plans in the future, we must implement this design.
3. DOL Proposes Regulation to Raise Threshold for Overtime Rule
Reports have begun to trickle out of the Department of Labor (DOL) that it is close to proposing a new regulation to update the overtime threshold which would require businesses to pay overtime wages for all employees who work more than 40 hours per week. The DOL is expected to propose a threshold raise from $24,000 to $35,000 per year after an Obama-era proposal to raise the threshold was blocked in federal court.NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA supports the anticipated adjustment to the overtime threshold and looks forward to working with the Department of Labor on their implementation process. Our NECA contractors provide superior support for their workers and this rule will allow other employers to follow suit.