June 26, 2019

Washington Wire: One Voice Weighs in on Steel 232 Investigation, Tariffs, Import Quotas


One Voice Weighs in on Steel 232 Investigation, Tariffs, Import Quotas  

On May 31, One Voice requested the Department of Commerce not impose unilateral import tariffs or quotas on steel products as part of its Section 232 investigation announced in April on the impact of steel imports on national security. One Voice members recall all too well the injury inflicted on manufacturers during the 201 steel tariffs more than a decade ago that raised the price of steel by 30 percent virtually overnight. While the administration has until next year to act on recommendations following conclusion of the 232 investigation, sources indicate they will move quickly and decisively. This is a major concern for all steel consuming industries and their millions of workers whose livelihoods are jeopardized when their largest raw material input is taxed and its availability limited.  
One Voice also asked that should the Trump administration move forward with taxing or restricting steel imports, that they exclude certain materials essential to One Voice manufacturers and national and economic security. One Voice included cut to length plate steel for tooling and dies as part of its exclusion request to help members avoid compounding a situation that recently saw the U.S. Government reverse thirty-five years of precedent and impose combined duties of over 200% on tool steel. Metalworking manufacturers around the country struggle to secure not only tool and die steel on a timely basis at global prices but also specialty metals from stainless steel to heavy gauge metals. One Voice is helping lead the way with the administration, on Capitol Hill, and the media to educate policymakers about the need to globally priced and readily available steel.



OSHA Delays Electronic Recordkeeping
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced it will delay the July 1 compliance date for the electronic submission of the 2016 Form 300A which would require manufacturing and other targeted businesses to file reports electronically on recordable injury and illness incidents that OSHA will publish online. One Voice strongly opposed the record-keeping rule that requires employers with 250 or more employees to file quarterly Forms 300, 300A and 301 and employers with fewer than 250 employees but more than 20 submit Form 301 one a year electronically. This rule will hurt efforts by manufacturers struggling to recruit new employees into the industry. So far there is no sign of how long the delay will last, but experts agree the underfunded and understaffed agency still lacks the electronic infrastructure for employers to submit this data.



House Education and the Workforce Committee Approves Perkins CTE Bill
The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the One Voice-endorsed Perkins reauthorization bill, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by unanimous voice vote. The legislation is nearly identical to the reauthorization that passed the full House last year 405 – 5, but did not receive Senate consideration.  
Minor changes to this year’s version include: additional clarifications concerning the involvement of both secondary and postsecondary educators, the use of evidence-based practices, and the offering of dual and concurrent enrollment and articulation agreements. Reauthorization of the Act is a solid start towards aligning federal workforce training programs with employers’ needs. This support for CTE comes despite the President’s request for a 15% cut to Perkins funding. One Voice will continue to push for passage in the House and building support in the Senate.



Regulatory Reform Bills Clear Senate Committee
On May 17th, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved several regulatory reform measures, including the Regulatory Accountability Act. This bill will hold federal agencies more accountable and create a more straightforward rulemaking process, as well as guarantee federal agencies execute the laws passed by Congress in the manner expected by elected representatives.  
Other bills approved by this committee include: 
  • The Midnight Rules Relief Act – disapproving agency regulations in the last 60 days of a session of Congress during the final year of a President’s term;
  • The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act – revising provisions relating to congressional review of both major and nonmajor agency rules;
  • The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act – modifying the rulemaking requirements of agencies under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act; and
  • The Early Participation in Regulations Act – directing agencies to publish advance notice of a proposed rulemaking 90 days before publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking for a major rule.  
In addition, One Voice saw progress on another priority when Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) re-introduced legislation to revoke National Labor Relations Board’s micro-unions rule allowing as few as two employees or more to organize. The Representation Fairness Restoration Act restores the long-established standard that unions should represent all workers in a class or craft and already has 11 Co-sponsors.