Weekly Legislative Update January 17, 2022

OSHA Large Employer (100) Vaccine Mandate Blocked by U.S. Supreme Court

As we have reported on previously, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires employees of employers with 100 or more employees either to get vaccinated or to test negative on a weekly basis.

 
On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order blocking the ETS. Unless a further order is issued by the Court, the ETS is blocked nationwide in its entirety.
 

 

TIA will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
TIA Pens Letter to Congress on FY 2022 Appropriations
 
Dear Congressional Leaders:
 
Our coalition of public and private sector stakeholders in the transportation industry first write to extend our appreciation for robust transportation infrastructure funding included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate played a critical role in the development and passage of this historic legislation that will benefit the entire country.
 
With that said, we can begin to fulfill the promise of the IIJA expected by the public only when full-year appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 becomes available. We recognize that the House and Senate have yet to resolve their differences to finalize negotiations for FY 2022 appropriations including for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) and now needs to rely on yet another Continuing Resolution (CR) through February 18, 2022. Without a full-year appropriations bill, we anticipate that states will not be able to access the IIJA’s roughly 20 percent funding increase for Highway Trust Fund formula programs, along with any new transportation initiatives that Congress may want to pursue. Instead, under this new CR that extends three months past the signing of the IIJA, the obligation limitation that dictates spending levels for many federal transportation programs will remain well below what is included in the legislation. We also note the programs hit the hardest by this lower obligation limitation are new formula programs—Carbon Reduction and PROTECT—which will force state and local governments to delay implementation of a key Congressional priority in the IIJA.
 
The signing organizations support a full-year appropriations bill and strongly advocate for such a measure. However, a delay of almost six months since the beginning of FY 2022 in providing the much-touted funding increases from the IIJA is wholly unacceptable and will cause significant project disruptions, reduced construction-related employment, and delays in delivering critical transportation infrastructure improvements—just when Americans were promised the most ambitious infrastructure package of our time. 
 
Given the hard work and effort that Congress put into the IIJA, we urge you to put the much-needed infrastructure and safety investments envisioned in this bipartisan package to work as soon as possible. If Congress again finds itself unable to finish the THUD Appropriations bill by February 18, 2022, we ask that Congress includes an anomaly to provide full obligation limitation levels in any future CR in order to fully honor the IIJA’s funding levels for transportation programs. 
 
Thank you for again for providing record-high levels of transportation appropriations in the IIJA and we ask that you pass the FY 2022 THUD Appropriations bill as soon as possible—or provide the necessary anomaly—in order to fully realize the full potential of this historic infrastructure legislation.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tire Industry Association and other trade associations
 
TIA Signs onto Business Community Letter Opposing Tax Hikes
 
Dear Congressional Leaders:
 
The undersigned business trade groups call on Congress and the Administration to end efforts to pass the multi-trillion-dollar tax increase included in the Build Back Better (BBB) bill and focus instead on the challenges confronting American families and businesses today – rising prices, labor shortages, and ongoing supply chain constraints.   
 
Last month’s Consumer Price Index report showing inflation rising at the fastest rate in forty years has our members understandably alarmed. Rapidly rising prices are a serious challenge to businesses of all sizes as they make purchasing inventory, supplies, and inputs such as heat and electricity more expensive. In many cases, our members are unable to pass these higher costs on to their customers. Some customers are unable to pay higher prices, while others are locked into long-term contracts that preclude price changes.    
 
These challenges are amplified by today’s constrained labor markets. NFIB’s member surveys rank the ongoing worker shortage as the number one challenge employers face. When businesses do find suitable workers, they often need to offer them higher wages to entice them to come to work. In ordinary times, this would be good for the workers, but as we have seen in recent months, inflation eats away at these nominal pay increases and real wages are actually down this year.      
 
The Administration argues that the Build Back Better bill will help to reduce prices, but those arguments are simply not credible. Our members believe the primary causes of the reemergence of inflation are the Federal Reserve’s continued easy money policies, massive amounts of deficit spending by Congress, and continued supply constraints, some tied to the Administration’s economic and Covid policies.  
 
Raising taxes on America’s family businesses in this environment moves us in the wrong direction. Recent estimates show that more than $500 billion of the Build Back Better’s cost will be shouldered by family businesses and the bill would impose top rates on these businesses exceeding 50 percent. As with increased spending, voters believe these tax increases will be inflationary.   

The Federal Reserve has recognized the challenge inflation poses to families and businesses and announced it will begin tapering its quantitative easing purchases in the coming months. Congress needs to make a similar adjustment, beginning by ending efforts to sharply increase federal spending while raising taxes on America’s employers. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Tire Industry Association and other trade associations