Finally: Congress Passes 2022 Government Funding Legislation (Beltway Buzz, March 11, 2022)

Published date15 March 2022
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Health & Safety, Employee Benefits & Compensation, Employee Rights/ Labour Relations, Employment and Workforce Wellbeing
Law FirmOgletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
AuthorMr James J. Plunkett

The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what's happening in Washington, D.C. could impact your business.

This week, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus funding bill (H.R. 2471), setting the table to fully fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2022. The appropriations package marks the first time that President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled legislative branch will put their imprimatur on federal government funding. Throughout all of 2021 and the first few months of 2022, the federal government has been operating on funding limits established at the end of 2020 and signed into law by former president Donald Trump.

The bill would provide the U.S. Department of Labor with $13.2 billion in funding (a $653 million boost over the FY 2021 enacted level) with the Wage and Hour Division receiving $251 million ($5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) getting $612 million ($20 million above the FY 2021 enacted level). The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received $420 million ($15.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level). Though modest, these increases would allow the administration to hire more attorneys, investigators, and other professionals to advance both its enforcement and regulatory agendas. Funding for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would remain flat at a little more than $274 million, relatively unchanged since 2014. The bill also maintains longstanding language that would prohibit the NLRB from using any appropriated funds in order "to issue any new administrative directive or regulation that would provide employees any means of voting through any electronic means in an election to determine a representative for the purposes of collective bargaining."

Zombie Blacklisting Revived. There is a saying in Washington, D.C., that no bad policy idea truly ever goes away. This trope helps explain why employers that contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may soon find themselves subject to a labor and employment law compliance reporting scheme. USDA is proposing to require federal contractors, upon accepting a government contract with the agency, to certify that they-as well as subcontractors at any tier-are in compliance with fifteen federal labor laws and executive orders, as well as equivalent state laws. Contractors would also be required...

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