December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: R&D Bill Introduced in the House



R&D Bill Introduced in the House
Representatives Ron Estes (R-KS) and John Larson (D-CT) have introduced legislation to reverse the harmful tax provision requiring the amortization of research and development (R&D) expenses. The American Innovation and R&D Competitiveness Act would repeal the amortization requirement for R&D expenses retroactively to January 1, 2022, permanently enabling immediate expensing for R&D expenditures. This bipartisan bill currently has 65 cosponsors and joins bipartisan Senate measure the “American Innovation and Jobs Act,” S. 866, sponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Todd Young (R-IN).
To continue the showing of strong bipartisan support for the importance of acting to reinstate full R&D expensing, contact your members of Congress TODAY and call on them to support American manufacturers by passing this important reversing the R&D amortization provision and reinstating full expensing.
Click here and make your voice heard!



Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Under Final Review
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sent to the White House for review a final rule requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information. The White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) received the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulation on April 7, 2023. The review process typically takes up to 90 days but can be more or less depending on the action. In current litigation, OSHA has told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that it plans to release the final regulation by June 30.  
The Biden administration released a proposed rule in March 2022 that would amend the occupational injury and illness recordkeeping requirements, returning the regulation to requirements first put in place during the Obama administration.
Under current rules, which were narrowed by the Trump administration, companies with 250 or more employees as well as small employers with 20 or more employees in “designated industries”, including manufacturing, are required to annually submit OSHA Form 300A, a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses.
The proposed rule would require all companies in the high-hazard designated industries, including manufacturing, with 100 or more employees to electronically submit Forms 300, 301, and 300A to OSHA while removing the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees not in a designated industry to submit Form 300A.
One Voice has repeatedly raised concerns since the initial Obama-era rule was proposed in 2013, that the information, without proper explanation to the general public, will mislead them to believe that manufacturing facilities are unsafe. One Voice has asked the administration to reconsider this misguided rule that will not improve worker safety but will hurt manufacturers’ ability to recruit employees.



EPA Issues Proposed Car, Truck GHG Emissions Standards
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with proposed regulations to curb emissions from passenger vehicles and heavy trucks. The proposed rule covering passenger cars, light trucks, and some medium-duty vehicles, would set new multi-pollutant standards for model years (MY) 2027 to 2032 while the heavy-duty proposal would impose more stringent "phase 3" greenhouse gas emissions standards on trucks, such as delivery vehicles, school buses, dump trucks, and tractor trailers. It starts with revisions to certain MY27 standards, while also issuing new standards for MY28-32.
The heavy-duty proposal is scheduled to be formally published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2023, with the light-duty proposed rule expected soon after. EPA will hold public hearings for both rules in addition to the public comment period. The hearing on the emission standards for light and medium-duty vehicles will be held on May 9-10, a week after the public hearing for the heavy-duty proposed rule on May 2-3, 2023.



OSHA Heat Advisory Committee Meeting
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) Heat Work Group will be holding a meeting on April 27, 2023, to discuss proposed recommendations on elements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) upcoming heat illness and injury prevention rule. The NACOSH Heat Work Group has been in the process of developing proposals for regulatory action through the evaluation of stakeholder input following an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) as well as the examination of existing standards and resources developed by states and other groups.
Currently, only Minnesota and Oregon have permanent heat standards that cover indoor workers, with California, Maryland, and Nevada in the process of developing standards. California OSHA (Cal/OSHA) recently released a draft proposal to regulate indoor work environments. The proposed "General Industry Safety Orders Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment" would apply to indoor places of employment when the temperature reaches at least 82 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present. Employers subject to the standard would be required to have written heat illness prevention plans. A plan would be required to include access to water, “cool-down areas,” acclimatization for newly assigned employees, and emergency response procedures.  For indoor workplaces where the temperature or heat index reaches at least 87 degrees F when employees are present or workplaces where the temperature equals or exceeds 82 F and employees are wearing clothing that restricts heat removal or are working in areas with high radiant heat, employers would be required to implement assessment and control measures such as engineering controls, administrative controls or personal heat-protective equipment.



Legal Challenges to WOTUS Continue, Creating Patchwork of Enforcement
Despite the failure of the House of Representatives to override President Biden’s veto of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution rescinding the administration's regulation revising the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA), legal challenges to the WOTUS rule have halted implementation and enforcement of the rule in over half of the United States.
On April 12, Judge Daniel Hovland of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Dakota granted 24 states a preliminary injunction blocking the rule's implementation, following a Texas district court judge's ruling blocking its implementation in Texas and Idaho as well. While the  U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, denied the commonwealth’s motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case as a whole, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit blocked enforcement of the WOTUS rule in Kentucky, to provide the commonwealth time to appeal the District Court’s ruling. While the stay is only temporary, it brings the total number of states where the WOTUS definition has been blocked to 27.
The federal government and challengers to the rule continue to wait for the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Sackett v. EPA, a case that focuses specifically on federal authority over wetlands but could provide a vehicle for justices to narrow the tests for determining jurisdiction. The Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sackett on October 3, 2022, the first day of its current term, but has still yet to release its decision.