CHN: House Votes to Roll Back Worker Protection Rule
The House voted (236-187) on Feb. 2 to repeal the regulations implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order previously issued by President Obama. The order requires federal contractors to disclose any violations of worker protection laws before receiving new government contracts, and advocates believe it is necessary to protect workers’ wages and safety and to encourage violators to comply with labor and civil rights laws. CHN supports this executive order and signed a group letter urging members of Congress to oppose efforts to repeal it. The resolution to undo the order is viewed by advocates as anti-worker, anti-taxpayer, and anti-law-abiding business. The Senate is expected to vote on it the week of Feb. 6.
The “resolution of disapproval” to roll back the order was passed by the House under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Under the CRA, Congress has 60 legislative days to review and override major regulations enacted by federal agencies, with only a simple majority vote in the Senate. The CRA also prevents agencies from enacting similar regulations again in the future unless specifically authorized by a subsequent law. President Obama issued the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order in July 2014. The regulations implementing the order were finalized in August 2016 and the rule was slated to go into effect in October 2016, but a court order is preventing implementation. For more information on the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act, see this piece from the Center for American Progress and this piece from the National Employment Law Project.
A number of other rules and regulations put into place in the last several months of the Obama Administration are being targeted by Republicans in Congress and the new Trump Administration for the chopping block. Advocates fear that multiple regulations that help low-income and other disadvantaged populations could be at risk. This includes a requirement that employees of federal contractors be allowed to earn paid sick days, consumer protections on prepaid debit cards and environmental protections, and Congress has already begun the process of rolling back many environmental protections rules and regulations. For more information about other rules and regulations under threat and the process for undoing these, see the January 17 Human Needs Report.