By: Randy Johnson and Walt Mullon
Rubio Introduces Paid Family Leave Bill. Earlier today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) unveiled new legislation aiming to provide paid family leave for new parents. The Economic Security for New Parents Act would allow parents to draw up to six months of early payments from their Social Security benefits. In return for receiving Social Security payments early, parents would defer their retirement benefits for three to six months, or the amount of time necessary to offset the cost of their parental benefits. The proposed legislation includes a 3-year sunset provision, meaning the program would expire if Congress didn’t renew it. The bill has already come under fire from Democrats claiming that the legislation does not go far enough to help working families while also placing additional strain on the Social Security system.
OSHA Scraps Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule. Last Friday, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its proposed rulemaking to revise (and essentially rescind) the electronic injury and illness reporting regulation originally issued by the Obama administration. The 2016 rule requires employers with 250 or more workers to electronically submit injury data to OSHA. OSHA stated that this proposed change will maintain safety and health protections for workers while also reducing the burden to employers of complying with the current rule.
See Seyfarth’s recently published blog post for more information on the proposed rule.
Trump Administration Moves to Finalize Short-Term Health Insurance Rule. On Wednesday, the Trump administration released its final rule on short-term, limited- duration insurance plans. The rule loosens restrictions on short-term medical insurance—or low-cost plans that cover a limited period with less-expansive benefit offerings, which aren’t subject to as many consumer protection regulations. The rule would reverse an Obama administration decision to limit the duration of short-term plans to no more than 90 days in order to make them less attractive to consumers. Insurers will soon be allowed to sell these policies for just under a year. The rule is slated to go into effect in 60 days.
Midterm Election News:
- With less than 100 days until the midterm elections (96 to be exact), Tennessee holds several closely watched primaries today, the chief among them being the Republican gubernatorial primary. With four major candidates vying for the nomination (Rep. Diane Black, Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell and Bill Lee), President Trump did not endorse a candidate, instead choosing to remain neutral. However Vice President Pence did weigh in on the race, throwing his support behind Rep. Diane Black. The polls close at 8pm ET with first results expected at 8:15pm.
- On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama announced his endorsement of 81 Democrats running in the upcoming midterm elections. The list included candidates from 14 different states, nearly half of whom are running for down-ballot seats in state legislatures. The endorsement list only features challengers (i.e., no incumbents) and is the first of two separate waves of endorsements former President Obama has planned.
- Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington will hold their primaries next Tuesday, August 7. However, the most notable race that day is expected to be held in Ohio, where the special election for the 12th district will take place. Republican Troy Balderson maintains a slight lead in polling over Democrat Danny O’Connor (44-43), with both political parties investing heavily in the race. It is the last special election before the midterms and both sides believe it could set the tone heading into November.
- Politico reported earlier this week that business groups are taking steps to rebuild the political center by taking a fresh look at moderate Democrats. The article cites examples from the American Bankers Association, the International Franchise Association, the Koch Network, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Robert Cresanti, President of the International Franchise Association, was quoted as saying “[w]e really need more members of Congress that are in the middle and are willing to listen to both sides.”
August Recess. With the Senate joining the already adjourned House in recess next week, Policy Matters will be off as well. Look for our next weekly download on August 16.