Weekly Legislative Update Aug. 8, 2022

Senate Democrats' Pass Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 With Amendments
 
A little after 3 PM Sunday, the Senate passed H.R. 5376, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, on a party-line vote. With the Senate casting 50 Democrat and 50 Republican votes, Vice President Kamala Harris broke the tie.
 
On a bill providing for budget reconciliation in the Senate, unlimited amendments are allowed before final passage. A large number of amendments were offered and some passed.
 
Given that newly-passed amendments must be added to the bill, final text isn’t available now.
 
Senator John Thune’s (R-SD) amendment, to reduce the 15 percent minimum tax on adjusted financial statement income for certain corporations with profits exceeding $1 billion, passed with support of senators from both parties. However, Senator Thune’s success was followed by an amendment of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) which restored the revenue lost by the Thune amendment. The vote on Warner’s amendment was 51-50, the Vice President breaking the tie.
 
The foregoing Corporate Minimum Tax is the largest tax in the bill, originally estimated to raise $300 billion over ten years.  
 
H.R. 5376 will now be finalized and sent to the House for final passage. The President said he will sign the bill.
 
Speaker Pelosi says she’ll soon call the House in session to pass the bill, which will be a perilous undertaking because Democrats can’t afford to lose more than four votes if Republicans solidly oppose.  
 
Cohesion among House Democrats is questionable at present, for a month they’ve been watching the Senate and many are unhappy—especially about voting to raise taxes, which is seen as a kiss of death. 
 
Should the House pass H.R. 5376 in a different version from the Senate’s, the bill will likely be returned to the Senate, where we can renew working with the Finance Committee to elevate employment programs which have gotten lost in the current bill. Neither the Department of Labor nor the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
 
We have plenty of work to do wrapping up the Senate bill and turning to September- October—the last real business months before elections—when members of Congress will be campaigning.
 
Finally, turn to the bill to fund the government for FY 2023, beginning October 1. We expect a continuing resolution passing till after the elections, and depending on poll results, Congress will either pass a must-do Omnibus appropriations bill before Christmas, or delay till the 118th Congress is sworn into office on January 3rd.
     
 
House Passes Transportation Appropriations Bill for FY 2023
 
On July 20, the House of Representatives passed FY 2023 appropriations legislation that combined into one bill 6 of the 12 annual appropriations bills, including the transportation-housing bill. The vote on the overall package was a straight party-line vote of 220-207. 
 
The two parties are in disagreement on the overall level of appropriations and on the division of that total between defense and non-defense accounts. Due to that disagreement, passage of FY 2023 appropriations by Congress is not expected until after the November elections and possibly not until next year. 
 
As to transportation appropriations specifically, the House-passed bill fully supports funding of all authorized funds from the Highway Trust Fund for FY 2023 and for highway and bridge investments for FY 2023 included in the new infrastructure law. 
 
The House-passed FY 2023 appropriations bill also includes some funding (mainly for project earmarks) for highways above-authorized levels. Earlier this year, in presenting its budget, the Administration supported some funding above authorized levels for transportation, but none of that was for highways. 
 
TIA wrote to both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging that funding for transportation above authorized levels should include funding for highway investments.
 
TIA will continue to advocate for full funding of the highway funds in the new infrastructure law and for appropriated funds for highways above-authorized levels.
     
 
EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace
 
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its guidance regarding COVID-19 workplace viral screening testing.
 
The EEOC's original position on COVID-19 workplace viral screening testing was that it always met the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") standard for conducting medical examinations. However, the EEOC explained that going forward, "employers will need to assess whether current pandemic circumstances and individual workplace circumstances justify viral screening testing of employees to prevent workplace transmission of COVID-19."
 
The EEOC's guidance now provides that an employer, as a mandatory screening measure, may administer a COVID-19 viral test "if the employer can show it is job-related and consistent with business necessity." 
     
 
Final COVID-19 OSHA Regulation Covering Healthcare Employers Is on OSHA's Agenda for Issuance in September 2022
 
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA's) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring healthcare employers to adhere to numerous regulatory requirements addressing COVID-19 was largely withdrawn in December 2021.
 
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its regulatory agenda forecasting that employers in healthcare settings can anticipate that OSHA will roll out permanent COVID-19 regulations in September 2022.
 
It is expected that many of the requirements in the ETS will be resurrected in the new final rule. The healthcare ETS required employers to develop and implement COVID-19 plans that included paid time off for vaccination, social distancing, personal protective gear, physical barriers, ventilation, patient and employee screening, employee training, recordkeeping and reporting.
     
 
Support TIA’s Government Affairs Efforts in Washington
TopGolf Challenge
 
TIA has organized a golf outing at TopGolf Las Vegas to benefit TIA’s government affairs efforts. The fun-filled day will include reserved bays, two-hours of golf, food, drinks and fun!
 
TIA serves a vital role representing all aspects of the tire industry at the state and federal levels of government protecting its members’ interests. TIA takes leadership positions on legislative matters that could impact our member’s bottom line including taxes, general business and employment issues, right to repair laws, and health
care reform.
 
Join us for a fun-filled afternoon of golf, laughter and networking for a worthy cause. There’s no pressure –whether you’re an avid golfer or have never swung a club, TopGolf is the spot for you. We hope you can join us for this afternoon of fun to support the association.
 
Sunday, October 30, 2022
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
TopGolf Las Vegas
 
CLICK HERE for more information and sponsorship opportunities.