ACA ‘repeal’ bill eases employer requirements, faces uphill battle in Senate

Now that the House has passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare—the ball is in the Senate’s court. And while Senate Republicans say they won’t adopt the House’s version wholesale, most of the provisions easing requirements on employers are likely to appear in the Senate’s bill as well.

The measures in H.R. 1628 that affect employers are relatively uncontroversial, according to Eric Schillinger, a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney at Trucker Huss. Senate Republicans probably will push back against some of the changes affecting Medicaid and the individual market, Schillinger said, but “the employer provisions aren’t attracting the same controversy.”

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‘Religious liberty’ order leaves LGBT nondiscrimination provisions intact

On May 4, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that, unlike a draft version, leaves intact Obama-era LGBT nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors.

The EO, which one expert described as largely hortatory, addresses tax exemptions for religious organizations and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. But it includes little affirmative movement, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider.

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Modified Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passes House

May 04, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a squeaker of a vote, a modified version of the American Health Care Act passed the House 217-213 on May 4. The vote was cleanly split along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the legislation and 20 Republicans voting against it.

In March, the bill was pulled prior to a vote when it became apparent that it did not have enough support to pass. Since then, President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have been working within the GOP to generate support for the legislation and tweak it to satisfy disparate party factions.

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House passes comp time bill; White House voices support

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow private employers to offer workers compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 will now go to the Senate. However, despite having the White House’s support, the bill could face obstacles.

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Senate confirms ‘proemployer’ Gorsuch to Supreme Court

April 07, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. Because Gorsuch is known for adhering to the letter of the law, his confirmation likely is good news for employers, experts say.

Democrats initially filibustered Gorsuch’s confirmation, but Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” and changed the Senate rules to allow them to break filibusters of Supreme Court nominees with only 51 votes. Previously, that required 60 votes. On April 7, the Senate confirmed Gorsuch 54-45.

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Trump puts final nail in the coffin: Blacklisting rule ‘gone forever’

March 28, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump has signed a resolution voiding an Obama-era regulation that would have required federal contractors to disclose employment law violations to agencies that award contracts. His signature was the final step in the repeal process. “It was the stake through the heart of the blacklisting regs,” according to H. Juanita Beecher, of counsel with Fortney & Scott and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider.

The move is a welcome one for federal contractors, which expected the so-called blacklisting rule to be incredibly burdensome, Beecher said. The rule was issued to implement President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which directed agencies to consider employment law disclosures when awarding contracts.

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GOP ‘still has options’ after pulling ACA repeal bill

March 27, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

On March 24, Republican lawmakers pulled their proposal to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it became clear they didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.

The American Health Care Act would have, among other things, effectively voided the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires large employers to offer workers affordable health insurance. It also would have delayed the “Cadillac tax” on high-value health plans and made a few small changes to employer plans. Employers’ reporting requirements, however, generally would have remained. (For a full review of the bill’s provisions, see “ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains.”)

Support for the bill dwindled as lawmakers tried to make concessions, according to Eric Schillinger, an associate at Trucker Huss and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Each time Republicans amended the bill to appease one group, they alienated another, creating a tug-of-war, he explained. Instead of allowing the bill to come up short on the House floor, Republicans pulled it to save face, he said.

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‘Breathtakingly radical’: Acosta questions legality of any overtime threshold

March 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor has questioned whether the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to set any salary threshold for overtime pay—not just the pending increase that would raise the threshold to $47,476.

Alexander Acosta volunteered that concern twice during his March 22 confirmation hearing, despite no questions from lawmakers to that effect. A former DOL economist who worked under President Barack Obama called Acosta’s statements “breathtakingly radical,” noting that an overtime threshold has been in place since 1938.

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Trump proposes ‘substantial’ DOL budget cut

March 17, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would see a nearly 21 percent reduction in funding under the White House’s proposed 2018 discretionary spending budget, which was released March 16.

“A 21 percent cut is very substantial,” according to H. Juanita Beecher, of counsel with Fortney & Scott in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. It’s unclear, however, which DOL subagencies will be affected, she said.

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CBO: Fewer employers would offer insurance under Obamacare replacement

March 14, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 13, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate of the effects of the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace legislation.

Deficits down, but number of uninsured up

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