Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
By Ben Penn
June 13 — The Senate will likely approve a Republican-backed bid to weaken the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order through the defense authorization process, but the issue is far from resolved.
When the Senate takes a final vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, it will almost certainly include language exempting most defense contractors from the order. But Democrats are now strategizing about new ways to restore the executive order's applicability to all federal contracts.
They're considering introducing a bill to counter the NDAA language by codifying the order, and they also want to try to remove the defense contractor provision when the bill gets to conference committee, a Democratic staffer told Bloomberg BNA June 13.
It's too soon to determine whether the new bill might be standalone legislation—which the Republican majority could stall—or attached to another bill, such as an appropriations measure, that the GOP wants to pass.
The White House has already issued statements objecting to the House and Senate bills' inclusion of the defense language related to Executive Order 13,673. But advocates for the executive order are hoping for a stronger veto threat to provide leverage for Democrats heading into the NDAA conference.
Signed by President Barack Obama in 2014, the order requires businesses seeking government contracts worth more than $500,000 to disclose violations of 14 federal labor and employment laws—and state-law counterparts—for the previous three years.
Democrats and worker advocacy groups have called the defense authorization measure an effort to “gut” the EO because defense accounts for about two-thirds of all government contracting.
Senate Democrats are pivoting after they had initially attempted to strike the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces language via an NDAA amendment introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in May. Blumenthal announced on the Senate floor June 9 that his amendment would not receive a vote.
“My hope is that we can work with colleagues and overcome the potentially harmful effects of this provision” to exempt DOD contractors, Blumenthal said June 9. “I look forward, in fact, to a collegial effort to make sure that we provide longterm protection to American workers through this executive order.”
Republicans and business lobbyists refer to the order and its implementing regulations as “blacklisting” rules. They criticize the administration for imposing what they call unnecessary burdens on law-abiding contractors when there already exists a mechanism to suspend and debar law-breaking companies from federal procurement.
The House version of the NDAA, passed in May, includes an amendment exempting the DOD and the National Nuclear Security Administration from the executive order. The Senate measure, which could receive a final vote June 14, contains slightly different language, meaning the variance will need to be sorted out at conference committee.
That's where Democrats may have the best shot at restoring full applicability of the EO, as a veto threat from Obama would weigh heavily on lawmakers who have no option but to pass an NDAA for fiscal year 2017.
Asked if Republicans will make a strong push to ensure the DOD remains exempted from the final NDAA, a spokeswoman for House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans told Bloomberg BNA June 13, “The president’s executive order creates an unnecessary, redundant, and burdensome new layer of bureaucracy that will threaten the resources our Armed Forces depend on to keep this country safe.”
“That’s why we’ll continue to do everything possible to block this harmful regulatory scheme, and we’ll continue to encourage the administration to protect workers by enforcing the current suspension and debarment process,” the spokeswoman added.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Penn in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)