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Beltway Buzz, January 11, 2019

Shutdown Stalemate. Today marks day 21 of the partial federal government shutdown. Assuming that no deal is struck today, by tomorrow the shutdown will be the longest in our nation’s history. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the political public relations gambits from earlier this week have done much to bring the opposing sides any closer to agreement. Members of the business community are now weighing in, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging legislators to reopen the government, and even use the current crisis as an opportunity to strike a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and temporary protected status programs.

Beltway Buzz, January 4, 2019

2019 Ushers in the 116th Congress. Happy 2019 from Washington, D.C., where January 3 marked the start of the 116th Congress (now under new management). As the Buzz has discussed in recent weeks, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) will chair the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. Scott will undoubtedly use his new authority to scrutinize policymaking at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labor (DOL), as well as to further legislative debates on matters such as the minimum wage, paid leave, and sexual harassment. On the other hand, the Republican-led Senate will likely continue to focus on nominations, many of which expired with the adjournment of the 115th Congress. The Buzz looks forward to keeping its readers up to date on these important issues as the new Congress gets underway.

USDOL Opinion Letters Remind All That Nuances Matter

Despite most of the government being occupied with the "shutdown" dilemma, the unaffected USDOL has remained busy and gifted us with two opinion letters today: an enlightening one regarding certain volunteers and a simple reminder that for FLSA purposes the rate is all about the math.

Beltway Buzz, December 21, 2018

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory. Many Representatives on Capitol Hill were already heading home after the Senate passed a continuing resolution this week to keep the federal government open until early February. Now, however, because the House reinserted funding for the president’s desired border wall on its version of the bill, the funding issue has devolved into chaos. Thus, barring a Festivus miracle, it appears that we are heading for a partial government shutdown at midnight tonight (though this is a very fluid situation so things could change at any moment). This is why we can’t have nice things.

How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting Your Workplace

Because Congress and the president could not approve a stopgap funding bill by midnight on December 21, the federal government partially shut down, with no compromise in sight. What will this mean for employers across the country? Because of the peculiarities of the federal budget process, this shutdown has not hit the nation’s employers as hard as prior shutdown events. Read on to get a better understanding of which federal agencies are impacted and what to expect in the coming days (or weeks).

EEOC Launches Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) to “provide [their] customers timely, accurate, and bias-free data and information to prevent and remedy unlawful employment discrimination, and improve organizational performance.” EEOC Director and Chief Data Officer Samuel C. “Chris” Haffer leads the OEDA.

How will the Partial Government Shutdown Affect Employers, Especially Federal Contractors?

After a tumultuous week on Capitol Hill, Congress adjourned Friday evening without reaching a deal to fund portions of the U.S. government, resulting in a partial government closure when funding lapsed at midnight. President Trump indicated he would not sign any bill that did not include roughly $5 billion to pay for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, creating a political impasse. Although negotiations to fund nine federal departments and several smaller agencies could resume next week, it is not possible to predict how long the government will remain partially closed. In the meantime, many employers are wondering what this means for their operations.

Beltway Buzz, December 14, 2018

Joint-Employer Extension. This week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) further extended the deadline for submission of comments in response to its proposed joint-employer rulemaking. Comments had been due on December 13, 2018, but now comments will be due on January 14, 2019. We suppose folks who are drafting comments might be thankful for the extra time, but the further extension (this is the second time the Board has extended the comment period) certainly does not benefit the business community. This is because while this proposal is pending, the ambiguous joint-employer standard set forth in Browning-Ferris Industries remains the law of the land.

‘Tis the Season for Budget Negotiations: What is the Potential Impact of Another Government Shutdown?

With less than a week left on the December 21st deadline to reach a spending deal and avoid another government shutdown, tensions are high in Washington D.C. On Tuesday, President Trump stated he would refuse to sign a spending bill that did not contain a $5 billion allocation for a border wall. It is questionable, however, whether such a bill would pass in the House or Senate. Thus, it is possible we will see the third shutdown of certain government agencies in this presidential term.

Beltway Buzz, December 7, 2018

Shutdown Shelved (For Now). In a rare demonstration of unity, Congress punted on this week’s government funding debate out of respect for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush (more on the former president’s legacy below). The two-week continuing resolution will avoid a partial government shutdown today and extend funding until December 21, 2018. Whether this unity will last, however, is doubtful, as funding for President Trump’s desired border wall still remains a major issue.