Congress Considers Major Spending Bill

Congress has until Dec. 11 to pass an omnibus spending bill to keep the government running. Congressional Republican and Democratic negotiators remain in private negotiations in an effort to reach an agreement on the omnibus bill and avert a government shutdown, but time is running short. 

Because the omnibus is a "must-pass" piece of legislation, policymakers are actively trying to insert unrelated policy riders into the package. This includes language pushing back against Obama Administration priorities that will adversely affect NATSO members, including labor initiatives (such as the Department of Labor's "Joint Employer" rules), energy regulations and rules governing the financial services industry.

Additionally, in light of the ISIS attacks in Paris last month, Republicans who control both the House and Senate are trying to include a measure to tighten the vet­ting pro­cess on Syr­i­an refugees seeking to enter the United States. Democrats are also expected to offer their proposals to the deal. 

It remains unclear how many extraneous "policy riders" will be in the final legislative package, but NATSO is actively working to ensure its priorities are considered.

The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which NATSO is a member, sent a letter to Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.),Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, supporting a provision that would stop the National Labor Relations Board from implementing the recently announced dramatic changes to the joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 

CDW urged Congress to incorporate the provision in the 2016 omnibus spending package. 

The joint employer standard is used by the NLRB to determine when two separate companies share collective bargaining obligations and unfair labor practice liability under the NLRA. 

For the last three decades, a business had to exercise direct and immediate control over the terms and conditions of employment of another company’s employees in order to be considered a joint employer by the Board. Under the NLRB's new standard, simply possessing the authority to dictate employee actions can lead to joint employer status, even if that authority is not actually exercised. 

An expanded joint employer standard would expose more companies to legal liability for how their subcontractors, staffing agencies and franchisees treat their employees.

Congressional leaders have said they want to finish a bill by Dec. 11 but are open to a short-term bill only if necessary. The lead House Republican negotiator, Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), has said he’s trying to wrap up the negotiations and get a bill posted early this week. The omnibus is expected to be the last item of business before Congress leaves for the holidays and closes out this year’s session.





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