December 2, 2020

Washington Wire: Congress Set to Approve Increased Perkins Funding



Win for One Voice: Congress Set to Approve Increased Perkins Funding 

Congress will soon send a compromise Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 education funding bill to President Trump that contains increased funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant program. The Senate passed the compromise measure this week and the House will act when they return to Washington next week.

The FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill negotiated between the House and the Senate increases funding increase funding for Perkins state grants to $1.26 billion, $70 million above the current funding level.

While the House FY19 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill would have increased funding for Perkins state grants to $1.3 billion, $102 million above the current funding level, the Senate bill proposed to maintain current levels of funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at $1.192 billion. While One Voice hoped the compromise bill would fund the program at the higher level contained in the original House bill, the significant increase in funding is a major win.

Job recruitment, training, and placement, as well as advanced technical education, are critical to the future of manufacturing in America. One Voice succeeded in helping pass a new Perkins Career and Technical Education authorization bill into law this summer and now thanks to the efforts of our members, this vital increase in funding will ensure that those programs have adequate funding.




Trump Administration Announces Tariffs on $200 Billion of Chinese Goods
On Monday, the Trump administration announced it would impose 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods starting September 24th, known as “List 3.” Goods included on the 5,745 product list range from tools to machines to consumer goods (for the full list, click here). On January 1, 2019, the tariff rate will increase from 10% to 25% unless the two sides make progress in defusing the escalating trade war. Furthermore, President Trump warned the United States would impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods if China retaliates for this round of tariffs. The Chinese indicated they will retaliate imposing 10% tariffs on 3,571 U.S. products and 5% on 1,636 items also effective Sept. 24, reducing the likelihood of a resolution prior to the U.S. and China meeting at the G20 meetings in November.



House Committee Passes Tax Reform 2.0; Vote to Delay ACA’s “Cadillac Tax” Scheduled for Next Week 
On September 13th, the House Ways and Means Committee passed three bills commonly referred to as Tax Reform 2.0 because they modify last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Passed and signed into law at the very end of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act significantly changed the U.S. tax code for the first time in over 30 years and was a major lobbying victory for One Voice. The series of bills passed through committee last week seek to solidify these changes. While the Senate is unlikely to move any of the measures prior to the November congressional elections, it is important to continue the pressure on lawmakers to treat all businesses equally and provide stability for pass-through manufacturers.
The first bill, Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018 (H.R. 6760), makes the individual tax rate changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent. It also makes permanent the $10,000 cap to the state and local taxes paid deduction, the lower mortgage interest deduction, the expanded standard deduction and the child tax credit. It will also eliminate the personal exemption and extend the medical expense deduction to the 2020 tax year. Most importantly for One Voice members, it also makes permanent the “Section 199A” deduction on pass-through business income.
Although not as expansive as the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act, the other two bills passed by the Ways and Means Committee make targeted changes to the tax code. The Family Savings Act of 2018 (H.R. 6757) reforms and improves retirement accounts and also creates universal savings accounts, allowing individuals to contribute up to $2,500 into these accounts annually without having to pay taxes on withdrawals. The final bill, the American Innovation Act of 2018 (H.R. 6756), allows businesses to deduct up to $20,000 of their start-up costs.
In other tax news, the House announced it would vote on a bill that would delay the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac Tax” sometime during the week of September 24. Besides eliminating penalties to employers that do not provide health insurance for employees that work less than 40 hours a week, the Save American Workers Act of 2017 (H.R. 3798) will delay the “Cadillac tax” until 2023. The Cadillac tax is a 40% excise tax on the value of employer-sponsored health plans exceeding $10,200 per individual and $27,500 per family annually. This victory provides relief to the almost 22% of One Voice members who reported in 2017 that their current plans exceed the Cadillac tax threshold.






NLRB Proposes Rule Revising Obama Era Joint Employer Definition 
On September 14th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to make changes to the definition of joint employer. In 2015, the Obama NLRB issued a decision in Browning-Ferris Industries that extremely enlarged the definition of joint employer to include businesses that exercise “indirect control” over working conditions of another company’s employees, even if they merely reserve the right to do so. This action also affected manufacturers using temporary workers.
In its NPRM, the NLRB said its new regulation would consider an employer as a joint employer of a separate employer’s employees only if the two employers share or codetermine the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment, such as hiring, firing, discipline, supervision, and direction. More specifically, to be deemed a joint employer under the proposed regulation, an employer must possess and actually exercise substantial direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment of another employer’s employees in a manner that is not limited and routine.
One Voice applauds the NLRB’s decision to foster predictability, consistency and stability in the determination of joint-employer status. The comment period for the NLRB’s proposal closes on November 13, 2018.