By: Randy Johnson and Walt Mullon
Seyfarth Shaw’s new, leading Government Relations and Policy Group, which has already won the attention of national media outlets, is excited to offer regular updates to clients regarding the actions of Congress, administrative agencies, and other lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels. Comprised of Seyfarth attorneys with government relations and policy experience, the team will develop solutions for clients and provide ongoing education and advocacy on policy issues. Below is our round-up from what happened this week in Washington.
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House to Vote on Two Immigration Proposals Next Week. Speaker Paul Ryan defused a moderate Republican rebellion with a promise to hold high-stakes votes on two DACA related immigration bills next week. The floor votes will effectively stop the effort to bring up legislation through the discharge petition; Republican moderates reportedly fell two signatures short of the 218 needed to force votes.
The House will consider H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018,” a bill drafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), as well as a second compromise package, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” (still in draft form), which was assembled by Speaker Ryan in consultation with conservatives and moderates. House Leadership circulated this summary of the draft compromise bill. There are no guarantees that either bill will pass.
EEOC Reconvenes Sexual Harassment Task Force. Earlier this week, the EEOC held a public meeting to reconvene its Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. Task force members and witnesses addressed harassment in the workplace in the wake of the “#MeToo” movement and discussed how employers can continue their efforts to prevent and stop harassment, according to a press release issued by the agency. Acting EEOC Chair Vicki Lipnic was quoted as saying “Since last fall, the public’s demand for action has coalesced with this effort. The EEOC will continue to lead the fight against workplace harassment and to promote solutions to prevent it.” Just days after the meeting, the EEOC announced the filing of seven harassment lawsuits against various employers nationwide.
Business Groups File Joint Employer Petition with NLRB. On Wednesday, more than a dozen prominent business groups filed a petition with the NLRB as it begins its new rulemaking process to address the current joint-employment standard. The petition requested that the Board return to the previous standard that was in place (before the Browning-Ferris Industries decision), where a joint-employer determination was made on “whether a firm actually exercised direct and immediate control over the hiring, firing, discipline, pay and other key aspects of the terms of employment of another firm’s employees.” The petition is the start of what will most likely be a contentious debate during the Board’s rulemaking process. The Board plans to issue its proposed rule by the end of summer.
Next Week: EB-5 Visa Program Senate Hearing. On June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the EB-5 visa program, entitled “Citizenship for Sale: Oversight of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.” USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna is scheduled to testify before the Committee. Committee Chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has recently urged the administration to move forward with reforms to the EB-5 program, which offers green cards to foreigners willing to invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. commercial project. The hearing takes place at 10 a.m. in Dirksen 226.
Midterm Election News:
- Rep. Mark Sanford, one of President Trump’s sharpest Republican critics in Congress, was defeated by his primary challenger on Tuesday. He lost to Katie Arrington, a state lawmaker, making him the second House Republican to be defeated in a primary this year. President Trump endorsed Arrington in an unexpected broadside against Sanford just three hours before the polls closed. His defeat is likely to give Republicans more reason to pause before crossing the president. Sanford said his defeat will send a strong message to other Republicans about the consequences of calling out the president, stating “[t]hey don’t want the tweet that I got.”
- In other primary news, Corey Stewart won the Republican Senate primary in Virginia and the right to face Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November. Republican Rep. Ken Cramer of North Dakota was victorious last night and will challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. In Nevada, Democrat Jacky Rosen, a U.S. congresswoman, won her primary race and will face Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, who is seen as vulnerable.
- Organizing for Action, the political committee formed by former President Barack Obama, is preparing to target more than two dozen congressional races and several key state elections this cycle with a program aimed at turning out Democrat-leaning voters. Many of the 27 districts in the group’s sights were won by Trump in 2016. Organizing for Action has not been involved in U.S. House races before.