By: Randy Johnson and Walt Mullon
OFCCP Director to Step Down. Earlier today, reports surfaced that the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Ondray Harris, would be stepping down from the role at the end of this week. Harris lasted less than 8 months on the job after being appointed to the position last December. Craig Leen, the deputy director at OFCCP, will serve as director on an acting basis. Leen is expected to continue the agency’s recent “business-friendly” approach when analyzing the pay practices of federal contractors as well as the office’s increased focus on apprenticeships.
Committee on Multiemployer Plan Solvency Holds Hearing. The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans held a hearing yesterday to examine how the multiemployer pension system affects stakeholders. Several experts detailed the dire financial state of the multiemployer system in their respective testimonies and urged Congress to intervene. It was announced during the hearing that much of the staff would continue to work on potential solutions during the August recess in the hopes that there would be a viable solution for the Committee to consider before the midterm elections.
Paid Leave Hearing in the House. On Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on H.R. 4219, the “Workflex in the 21st Century Act.” The bill, introduced late last year by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), would provide employers who voluntarily offer scaled paid leave and flexible work arrangements with an ERISA-like preemption of state and local laws already on the books which deal with those benefits. Several witnesses provided a spirited defense of the bill, while Committee Democrats argued that it did not go far enough. In the Senate, Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) long awaited paid leave proposal has still yet to be formally introduced.
August Recess for the House; Senate Stays in Session. With some unfinished business still on the table, the House officially adjourned for its August recess today. It will be back in session after Labor Day on September 4.
As previously reported, the Senate will stay in session for most of August in order to work on spending bills and confirmations. Senators are still expected to go to their home states for the first week of August before returning to Washington for the rest of the month. Some see the decision as purely political to keep senators in DC and not campaigning for reelection back home. Senate Democrats are defending 26 seats in the upcoming election (10 of which are in states President Trump won in 2016), compared to only 9 seats being defended by Republicans.
Midterm Election News:
- On Tuesday, the bitter primary runoff for Georgia’s gubernatorial race came to an end, with Secretary of State Brian Kemp soundly defeating Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, 69% – 31%. On July 13, a poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the race within the margin of error, with Kemp ahead by 3 points. Following an endorsement from President Trump and a rally headlined by Vice President Pence just 3 days before the election, Kemp’s poll numbers soared, easily securing him the victory.
- According to recently filed campaign finance reports, Democrats have outraised Republicans in key Senate battleground states, stockpiling millions more dollars and a substantial lead. The DSCC slightly outraised the NRSC last month, bringing in nearly $5.9 million compared to the NRSC’s haul of $5.7 million. Overall, the DSCC currently has $36.7 million in the bank, a significant advantage compared to the NRSC’s $18.8 million.
- In the House, political analyst Larry Sabato’s “crystal ball” currently predicts that the Democrats now have a slightly better than 50% chance of taking over the House. Sabato moved 17 House races in favor of the Democrats while David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report also recently moved 11 races toward Democrats.
Randy Johnson is a Partner in Seyfarth Shaw’s Washington, DC office and chairs the firm’s Government Relations and Policy Practice Group (GRPG). Walt Mullon is the Senior Manager of Government Affairs and Policy for the GR