House passes another short-term funding extension four months into the fiscal year
On Feb. 9, the House passed H.R. 6617, a short-term continuing resolution to fund the federal government until March 11. The Senate is expected to pass this extension before the Feb. 18 deadline.
Biden signs Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for on Federal Construction Projects
On Feb. 4, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which requires the federal government to require project labor agreements on “large-scale construction contracts” costing $35 million or more (the current threshold is $25 million or more). A project labor agreement is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific project.
Based on fiscal year 2021 figures, this order could affect $262 billion in federal government construction contracting and nearly 200,000 workers on federal construction contracts. Additionally, the order directs the departments of Defense and Labor, along with the Office of Management Budget, to lead a training strategy for the nearly 40,000-person contracting workforce on the implementation of this policy. NRCA will send updates as they become available during the rulemaking process.
Capitol Hill staff unionization efforts gain steam
On Feb. 4, a group of congressional staffers announced plans to launch the Congressional Workers Union aimed to improve retention, equity, diversity and inclusion by starting a staffers union on Capitol Hill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed support for their efforts. In practice, it is unclear how this would work as it would likely require legislation, and it is unknown whether this only would apply if Democrats controlled the majority. Congress operates a bit outside the normal federal rules with many day-to-day operations being dictated by the party in power. These efforts to unionize were a result of a popular Instagram account where staff anonymously share their work experiences on Capitol Hill.
Deep Dive: House-passed COMPETES Act includes workforce provisions
On Feb. 4, the House passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act on a largely partisan vote of 222-210. This was the House’s version of the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act aimed to counter Chinese technological and economic gains. This massive piece of legislation contained a handful of provisions that could affect the roofing industry if signed into law, such as the National Apprenticeship Act, a version of the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act and the College Transparency Act.
NRCA has long advocated in support of the JOBS Act and the College Transparency Act, and both were major focuses of Roofing Day in D.C. 2019. The JOBS Act would expand access to federal Pell Grants for learners enrolled in fast, job-focused, noncredit education and training programs offered at community colleges—programs as short as 150 hours and eight weeks long. The College Transparency Acts would establish a national postsecondary data reporting system to provide information regarding college student outcomes, including completion and earnings. Although NRCA strongly supports apprenticeship, concerns remain that some provisions of the National Apprenticeship Act would benefit employers with union partners or a unionized workforce more than firms with no union ties, and we continue to support a more balanced approach.
The Senate and House bills have significant differences, and Congress now will appoint members to a conference committee to negotiate the final product. During this process, NRCA has continued its coalition advocacy to ensure this legislation is as beneficial as possible for the roofing industry.
Wordle goes viral—something we can all support
If you follow politicos, pundits and policymakers on Twitter, you will see a distinct pattern of colored squares—five across and six down. Millions of users are playing the daily word game of one puzzle per day, which gives you six chances to solve the mystery five-letter word. Wordle is the most recent game to go viral, with experts suggesting its popularity is because of a satisfying combination of problem-solving challenges and social connectivity. Take a mental health minute and try it here.
Reminder: Roofing Day in D.C. 2022 returns in person April 5-6
Registration for one of the largest advocacy events in Washington, D.C., now is open at www.nrca.net/roofingday. Join fellow roofing professionals on Capitol Hill as we advocate for our industry! Congress must see and hear from you to understand the critical issues we face. Together, we can make a difference.
View a tentative itinerary to learn more about Roofing Day in D.C. 2022.