The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is accepting comments from supporters of the 25% and 7.5% tariffs on Chinese imports on whether to continue the Section 301 action. If USTR receives a request for continuation, as is expected, it will conduct a full review of the tariff actions where opponents and supporters of individual tariffs can weigh in.
During the debate over the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago, a manufacturing client of mine testified before the U.S. Congress that he was tired of being in the healthcare industry and just wanted to make parts.
In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new initiative targeting employee safety when the heat index exceeds 80°F. The National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards expands on the agency’s ongoing heat-related illness-prevention initiative by adding a targeted enforcement component, emphasizing compliance assistance and increasing outreach efforts.
Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), issued the following statement in response to the White House announcement of initial guidance to federal agencies implementing the Build America, Buy America Act. “We appreciate the commitment of the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that all federally funded infrastructure and public works projects use iron, steel and other products that are made in America,” Dempsey said. “As some federal programs do not apply Buy America requirements for the procurement of iron and steel products, we are pleased that today’s initiative begins the process to remedy this situation by providing clear guidance to federal agencies for adopting appropriate Buy America requirements for all federally funded infrastructure projects.”
On April 19, 2022, the White House Council on Environmental Quality took the first steps to revoke a Trump rule reforming the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the first time and revert it to its original 1978 state. NEPA is the most significant environmental regulation when it comes to approval of infrastructure projects from highways to oil and natural gas, and even solar and wind. The Trump rule sought to reduce the environmental review period down to two years and limit the filing to 150 pages, down from 300 under the original NEPA, which could take five years.
There are few things in Washington, D.C. on which Democrats and Republicans can agree on these days. The issues on which both parties are even willing to work together are so few most of us can predict the outcome of a bill before it hits the floor for a vote. The one exception to this unfortunate rule is apprenticeships.
In 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) put the business community on notice that it intended to increase the overtime exemption threshold, which determines the salary level for when employees are eligible to time and a half based on a 40-hour workweek. In 2019, the Trump administration announced an increase in the overtime threshold from $23,660 to $35,568. Sources indicate the Biden administration could potentially raise the level to $53,000-58,000, with some outside advocacy groups calling for figures exceeding an $80,000 annual salary.
The U.S. Senate took steps on Monday, March 21to formally move forward with the House-passed America COMPETES Act, paving the way for a formal negotiating conference between the two chambers. The Senate last June passed its bipartisan version of the massive China competition bill, spending over $250 billion to incentivize domestic semiconductor production, research and development for emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing, as well as billions for job training.
In an unprecedented step, the U.S. Congress is exploring legislation to revoke Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for Russia in an effort to remove them from the 164-member World Trade Organization (WTO). Legislation to effectively end all trade with Russia and Belarus has bipartisan support and would ban the little oil the U.S. imports from Russia and authorize the White House to impose tariffs on Russian-made goods. This is in addition to roughly $11 billion in direct financial support for Ukraine the U.S. Congress is expected to pass in the coming week.