1. House Education and Labor Committee Held Markup on Pension ReformEarlier this week, the House Education and Labor Committee held a legislative markup on a collection of bills centered on elderly care and retirement. The main focus of the markup and point of contention was H.R. 397, Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the Butch Lewis Act. This legislation, which would offer a massive loan guarantee to plans currently facing insolvency in the multiemployer pension system, passed on party lines through the committee.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA remains committed to advocating for the inclusion of composite plans in any solution to the challenges facing the multiemployer system. In contrast to the committee’s partisan passing of the Butch Lewis Act, we encourage Congress to remain bipartisan as it has historically been when dealing with pension issues.
2. Cadillac Tax Repeal Bill Continues to Gain Bipartisan Support
The Cadillac Tax repeal bill, H.R.748 – the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019, has reached nearly 390 cosponsors in the House and remains a bipartisan topic in the Senate. With the legislation now garnering enough support to trigger a new House legislative rule known as the consensus calendar, which will allow for legislation with broad support to be brought to the floor on an expedited path, House leadership has begun to weigh their options as to how to best address the vote itself.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA continues to work with a broad coalition of associations, labor groups, and other employers to encourage both House and Senate leadership to repeal the onerous tax on companies who choose to do the right thing and offer top of the line health insurance to their employees.
3. House Defeats Amendment to Allow Grants for IRAPs
This week, the House voted on a “minibus” funding bill, H.R. 2740 - Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020. During the debate, over 100 amendments were offered, including a major amendment that would allow the use of grant funds for industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs), in an attempt to place those programs on the same level as Department of Labor registered apprenticeship programs.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA conducted outreach to all House offices and as a result was able to defeat Amendment #139 by a vote margin of 266 to 158. The overall bill represents six of the 12 funding bills that must pass to fund the government before the end of the fiscal year. The Senate is expected to make significant changes to all the funding bills passed out of the House. NECA will continue to provide updates on the status of government funding throughout the summer.