NUCA Political Insiders Report for November 25, 2019
CDW Opposes Overreaching PRO Act
On November 20, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) wrote to the U.S. House and Senate opposing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474/S. 1306), which would diminish employees’ rights to privacy and association and threaten a wide range of industries.
The PRO Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would implement several contentious policies from the Obama administration that have been struck down by courts, opposed on a bipartisan basis in Congress, or have been abandoned by the federal agencies charged with implementing them. These include (but not limited to) codifying the Obama-era “jointemployer” standard into law, banning right-to-work laws, forcing union representation without an election, and undermining independent contractor status.
According to CDW, the letter to Congress “outlines only some of the nefarious provisions the PRO Act imposes on the American workforce. This bill tramples on rights and ignores the consequences of dangerous policies on our economy. CDW urges the House to reject emphatically and unequivocally this bill.”
While NUCA’s membership includes union and non-union companies, the provisions included in the PRO Act are not in the interest of the vast majority of NUCA members.
The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace letters to Congress can be found here: https://myprivateballot.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/House-PRO-Act-Letter-11-20-19.pdf and
Legislation Introduced to Require Open Competition in Infrastructure Projects
In late October, Reps. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) and Brian Babin (R-Texas) introduced the Sustainable Municipal Access to Resilient Technology in Infrastructure (SMART Infrastructure Act, H.R. 4687), along with Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). The SMART Infrastructure Act would require open competition among suppliers of construction materials for infrastructure projects that receive federal funding and establish a task force to report on procurement processes and open competition for construction materials.
Under current law, many municipalities restrict the types of materials available for use in a range of infrastructure projects, such as the use of plastic pipe in water and wastewater systems. These regulations are said to have increased costs and obstructed the adoption of innovative technologies. While supplier members could be affected by this bill, other NUCA members will not be directly impacted by this issue. However, it is important to keep the entire industry informed of legislation that may affect projects.
The National Taxpayers Union has weighed in on this, estimating that open competition for construction materials could save more than $371 billion on water infrastructure improvements alone. According to Rep. Rouda, the SMART Act “is capitalism at work – encouraging open competition and removing burdensome regulations while saving American taxpayers billions of dollars,” and as “the federal government continues to fund critical infrastructure projects and Members on both sides of the aisle seek to increase that investment across the country, we should encourage modern, resilient solutions that use taxpayer dollars responsibly.”
Read Rep. Rouda’s press release on the SMART Act: https://rouda.house.gov/media/press-releases/reps-rouda-and-babin-introduce-bipartisan-smartinfrastructure-act
Congressional Calendar: 2019 and 2020
Congress is scheduled to spend two weeks in December finishing up its first session work, and is scheduled to adjourn Dec. 13. However, it will have to decide on FY2020 government funding by Dec. 20, as that is when the present continuing resolution is set to expire. Both houses may stay in session the week of Dec. 16 to avoid a government shutdown, as they have done before their winter holiday work break.
The U.S. House Majority Leader released their 2020 Congressional calendar in mid-November. The first day back at work in the 116th Congress’ Second Session is January 7, 2020. Of note is their May calendar, which coincides with NUCA’s annual Washington Summit, scheduled for May 19-21. Registration for the NUCA Summit opens in early 2020. We hope to see you in Washington this spring!
The Senate has not yet released its 2020 calendar. The House calendar can be found at: https://www.majorityleader.gov/sites/democraticwhip.house.gov/files/2020CALENDAR.pdf