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Walberg Statement: Hearing on “Legislative Reforms to the National Labor Relations Act: H.R. 2776, Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act; H.R. 2775, Employee Privacy Protection Act; and, H.R. 2723, Employee Rights Act”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:00pm

Our first subcommittee hearing of the 115th Congress was focused on the need to restore balance and fairness to federal labor policies. This has long been a priority for House Republicans, and today, we are taking the next step in our efforts.
The National Labor Relations Act was signed into law more than 80 years ago to protect the rights of workers in union elections. Congress understood workers deserve the opportunity to make fully informed decisions on union-related matters, and that employers deserve a level playing field with labor leaders.
The NLRA established important protections. It also created a neutral arbiter — the National Labor Relations Board — to serve as a fair and objective referee over labor disputes.
But that’s certainly not the NLRB we’ve come to know in recent years. Instead, over the last eight years, the board launched an activist agenda aimed at tilting the balance of power toward powerful special interests.
Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the hardworking men and women who keep our economy moving. Decision after decision by the NLRB restricted the rights of workers and employers.
Make no mistake; both Republicans and Democrats respect the right of workers to join a union. But workers also deserve the right to make a free and informed decision in the matter.
That means workers should have the chance to hear from both sides of the debate. And I hope we can all agree workers deserve to make a decision in an environment free of threats, coercion, or intimidation.
However, the NLRB’s actions over the years sent a different message. For example, in 2015, the board implemented a rule designed to rush employees into union elections.

The board dictated that workers should only be afforded as few as 11 days to   make a decision on whether or not to join a union. That’s roughly a week and a half to consider all the facts and consequences before casting a vote on a personal issue that directly impacts an employee’s job and paycheck.

Meanwhile, employers were given just seven days to find legal counsel and prepare their entire case before an NLRB hearing officer. That’s nearly impossible for most employers, let alone a small business owner.

With such a short time frame, employers hardly have a chance to communicate with their employees. But limiting debate and stifling employer free speech for the sake of speeding up union elections was precisely what the board had in mind. It’s no surprise that union elections have been organized 38 percent faster since this new rule took effect.

To make matters worse, the rule jeopardized the privacy of workers and their families. The NLRB forced employers to hand over the private information of their employees to union organizers, including home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, work locations, and work schedules.

At the same time, workers and employers have been hit with a micro-union scheme that empowered union leaders to gerrymander the workplace. This new standard has created division in workplaces across the country, buried small businesses in red tape, and undermined job creation.

It’s long past time to put an end to these misguided policies. That’s why I was proud to introduce the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act to restore the rights of workers and employers in union elections.

My colleague Representative Joe Wilson has also introduced the Employee Privacy Protection Act. This important legislation will safeguard the privacy of America’s workers and give them greater control over their personal information.

In addition, Dr. Phil Roe introduced the Employee Rights Act to ensure workers aren’t stuck in unions they no longer support. The bill would modernize the union election process, require periodic union-recertification elections, and give workers more control over how their union dues are spent.
These are all commonsense proposals that will protect the rights of workers and restore balance and fairness to the rules governing union elections.


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Nelson Statement on Rosenworcel Nomination

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued the following statement on the nomination of Jessica Rosenworcel to the Federal Communications Commission.

“Hallelujah, better late than never,” Nelson said in reaction to the news.  “The Senate should now move quickly to confirm her and fulfil the promise that was made two years ago.”

“Kokesh v. SEC”: Its Wide-Ranging (and Mostly Good) Implications for Disgorgement Actions

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 12:14pm
Guest Commentary By Andrew J. Morris, a Partner with Morvillo LLP. Mr. Morris authored a March 10, 2017 WLF Legal Backgrounder, Is the Clock Running out on SEC’s Unchecked Pursuit of Disgorgement Penalties? In Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the US Supreme Court ruled that SEC actions for disgorgement are governed by the five-year statute […]
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A Cautionary Tale: A Review of SBA’s Failed 2014 Agency Restructure

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 11:00am

On Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., the Committee on Small Business will meet in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building for a hearing titled, "A Cautionary Tale: A Review of SBA’s Failed 2014 Agency Restructure."  The Committee will examine how the Small Business Administration implemented its Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment authority in FY 2014.

1. Hearing Notice
Witness List
3. Hearing Memo


Mr. Hannibal “Mike” Ware
Acting Inspector General
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Mr. Joseph Loddo
Chief Operating Officer
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC 

Good morning.  Self-driving

Good morning.  Self-driving vehicles have the potential to make transportation smarter, safer, and more accessible.  A little over a year ago, we held the first hearing ever in Congress focusing on this technology and had the opportunity to see some of these new vehicles in action.

Today, we will be discussing the great potential of this technology, but also the numerous policy questions we will need to address in order to facilitate the testing and safe deployment of these vehicles without delay.

Self-driving vehicles are poised to bring enormous disruption to our transportation networks that will improve our lives and our society.  Indeed, the CEO of General Motors has said that she envisions more change in the auto industry in the next five years than have occurred in the last 50.  

For many Americans, that change can’t come soon enough.  In 2015, over 35,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States – or nearly 100 people per day.  That includes car and truck drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.  Worldwide, we lose on average 3,500 people per day.

With more than 90 percent of those deaths attributable to human error, self-driving vehicles – which, after all, can’t fall asleep, use drugs or alcohol, or get distracted by texting – have the potential to reduce these tragic numbers dramatically.  Drunk driving, in particular, has been a significant challenge, and I appreciate Mothers Against Drunk Driving for being here today to discuss this issue.

Self-driving vehicles also have the potential to improve mobility for many Americans and fundamentally change the way many of us get around.

Offering new means of accessible transportation, including for our nation’s seniors, and lessening congestion will improve productivity and efficiency in all of our lives.  Strategy Analytics and Intel predict self-driving technology will enable a new global passenger economy worth $7 trillion by 2050, representing an incredible transformation of the world economy.

Self-driving vehicles are no longer a dream of science fiction.  The stepping stones to self-driving vehicles are already in cars on the road today – technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane keeping are proving their worth.

While technology challenges still exist, manufacturers are becoming increasingly confident that the technology for fully self-driving vehicles will be ready by 2021, just a few short years away.  In fact, just last week, I rode in a level 3 Audi A7 prototype.  The company plans to release a level 3 vehicle to the public next year.

Manufacturers are asking for regulatory certainty now so that, when the time comes, they will be able to deploy these vehicles.These great changes are coming fast, and the federal government must be ready to keep pace.

As other countries devote significant attention and effort to stimulating this technology, strong federal leadership will be necessary to maintain our position as a global leader of this innovation.

There are several hurdles to achieving this goal, and Senator Peters, Ranking Member Nelson, and I are working together on possible legislative solutions.  Just yesterday, we released principles for bipartisan legislation to guide this effort.

The transportation laws and regulations currently on the books did not contemplate the concept of self-driving vehicles.

Current federal motor vehicle safety standards do not address automated technologies, and in some cases directly conflict with them.  We are looking for ways to address these conflicts in dated rules without weakening the important vehicle safety protections they provide.

We also must be careful to avoid picking winners and losers in this space.  Self-driving vehicles may employ different technologies, and their deployment may follow varying business models.  So, it is important for Congress not to favor one path before the market figures out what really works best.

While we look for ways to help self-driving vehicles get on the road quickly, we need to make sure that safety remains our number one priority.

Industry must find ways to show the technology is safe and reliable to address public skepticism.  The federal government must also recognize that it does not have all the answers.  Instead, it must seek outside technology expertise to begin the hard work of updating existing standards and setting new rules.

As I’ve said before, government needs to challenge itself to overcome the traditional 20th century conception – and regulation – of a car and a human driver.

AVs will – over time – bring changes to jobs, insurance, law enforcement, infrastructure, and many other things we cannot yet foresee.  Similar to when the car was first invented, these challenges are not insurmountable.  I remain committed to a thoughtful discussion with today’s panelists, who share my goal to maintain American innovation leadership and make safety paramount.

I look forward to working with my colleagues as we move forward with potential legislation, and I now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for his opening statement.

SBC Reviews Failed Retirement & Restructure Programs at SBA

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Small Business Committee reviewed the Small Business Administration's (SBA) failed attempt to restructure the agency, particularly its use of the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) Programs. The VERA and VSIP programs were created to help agencies restructure or downsize their workforce.

“The Office of Inspector General conducted an audit of SBA’s management of its VERA-VSIP program.  In its audit released just a couple of weeks ago, the OIG determined that SBA failed to achieve any of its goals.  It did not address workforce competency and agency skill gaps.  It did not decrease the average age of the agency’s workforce.  It did not address budgetary constraints to avoid a reduction in force.  In fact, apparently, the agency was facing no real threat of a reduction in force,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

“The VERA and VSIP options are supposed to help agencies restructure and reshape their workforces.  Yet, SBA’s workforce was left almost completely unchanged,” noted Chairman Chabot. 

A Cautionary Tale: A Review of SBA’s Failed FY 2014 Agency Restructure
Witness Testimony

“We found that while SBA made limited progress in restructuring and reshaping the workforce, it did not accomplish its stated goals of the VERA-VSIP program. As a result, SBA paid $2.1 million for early retirements for positions that were not restructured following VERA-VSIP. Overall, SBA may have been more successful in achieving its goals had it properly managed the VERA-VSIP program by developing specific and measurable VERA-VSIP goals,” said Mr. Hannibal “Mike” Ware, Acting Inspector General of the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General.

“As the Inspector General’s audit report indicates, SBA did not carry out the 2014 VERA-VSIP properly,” said Joseph Loddo, Chief Operating Officer at the United States Small Business Administration.

“We will document the lessons learned, including in the areas of planning, implementation, results and recommended improvements. We will include all stakeholders in the process,” Loddo added.

You can view the full video of today’s hearing HERE and read the full witness testimony HERE.


Senators Release Bipartisan Principles for Self-Driving Vehicles Legislation

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) released principles for bipartisan legislation on self-driving vehicles in advance of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, “Paving the Way for Self-Driving Vehicles.” The hearing will explore automated vehicle technology and hurdles for testing and deployment in the United States.

WLF Garners Fifth Consecutive US Supreme Court Victory with “Baker v. Microsoft”

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 11:32am
On June 12 in Microsoft v. Baker, the US Supreme Court unanimously rejected a class-action litigation tactic that created an unfair advantage for plaintiffs in such suits. Both Justice Ginsburg in her majority opinion and Justices Thomas in his concurrence embraced arguments made in Washington Legal Foundation’s victorious amicus brief. WLF had also filed an […]
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DOL Withdraws Guidance Documents

Office of Advocacy - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 10:00am

On June 7, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on independent contractors and joint employment.  Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1 discussed the factors that make a worker an independent contractor or an employee, and under this guidance more workers were considered employees.  Administrative Interpretation No.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

DOL Proposes to Rescind “Persuader” Rule

Office of Advocacy - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 9:55am

On June 12, 2017, the Department of Labor released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to rescind the final rule titled, “Interpretation of the `Advice' Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.”  “Persuader” activity pertains to labor-relations advice and services to influence employee unionizing and collective bargaining, and this rule expanded the type of activity that must be reported by employers and their outside consultants. This proposed rule was effective on April 15, 2016.  However, the U.S.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

See Spot Sue?: Eleventh Circuit’s Bar on Dog Defendants Exemplifies Problems with Allowing Animal Plaintiffs

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 9:24am
By Jordan Fowler, a 2017 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at Washington Legal Foundation who will be entering her third year at Texas Tech University School of Law in the fall. You can sue your grocer, you can sue your policeman, you can even sue your neighbor John, but can you sue neighbor John’s dog? In […]
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Tuned in to the First Amendment: Court Upholds Satellite Radio’s Right to Choose Advertisers

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 3:44pm
Business entities have endured increasingly strident criticism of their free speech rights in recent years. Thankfully, the US Supreme Court and most lower federal courts have declined to embrace critics’ ideologically-driven perspective that the First Amendment does not protect corporate speech. Such judicial respect for a business’s speech rights was recently on display in an […]
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Nomination Hearing

Click to view livestream.



We are here today to the consider nominations for positions within the Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

I welcome the nominees: Mr. Derek Kan, Mr. David Redl, and Mr. Robert Sumwalt to the Committee today and thank them for their willingness to serve.

Derek Kan

The Committee has recent experience with Mr. Derek Kan having considered the nomination for his current position on the Amtrak Board of Directors in 2015. He was reported out of this Committee favorably and confirmed on the Senate floor with bipartisan support on a voice vote on December 15, 2015.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Kan’s family here who I understand drove across the country just to be here and truly experienced our nation’s transportation infrastructure firsthand.

Mr. Kan previously served as a policy advisor to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, chief economist for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and as a Presidential Management Fellow at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, a Master’s of Science from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

If confirmed, Mr. Kan will be a top policy advisor to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as the Administration pursues a significant infrastructure package and FAA reauthorization.

David Redl
Mr. Redl is well-known here on Capitol Hill after his stint at the House Energy and Commerce Committee where he served as Chief Counsel on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

As a former member of that Committee in the House, I have witnessed first-hand Mr. Redl’s commitment to working toward bipartisan consensus on telecommunications issues.

And he witnessed first-hand my questioning of the previous NTIA Administrator on the EagleNet debacle in my home state of Colorado—so I hope you’re not too nervous sitting in that spot today, David.

Prior to his service on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Redl worked as a lawyer in the telecommunications industry advising on regulatory, broadband, and spectrum issues among many others.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Pennsylvania State University—University Park and earned his JD in Communications Law at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law.

If confirmed, Mr. Redl will serve as the President’s chief adviser on telecommunications and information policy.

Robert Sumwalt

Mr. Robert Sumwalt has been a Member of NTSB for nearly 11 years and on March 31, 2017, the President announced his intention to reappoint Mr. Sumwalt and to serve as Vice Chair for two years. Mr. Sumwalt currently serves as Acting Chairman of the NTSB.

During his time, he has served as Chairman for multiple NTSB hearings and forums and has been a Board Member on Scene for more than two dozen transportation accidents.

Prior to his tenure at NTSB, Mr. Sumwalt has a long career in aviation having served as a pilot for U.S. Airways from 1981 to 2004. He followed up by managing the corporate flight department of SCANA, a major energy company.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s of Aeronautical Science specializing in Aviation and Aerospace Safety Systems and Human Factors in Aviation Systems from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

If confirmed, Mr. Sumwalt will continue his service in ensuring that our nation’s transportation and infrastructure is among the safest in the world.


Again, we thank you all for being here today and your willingness to serve. We look forward to your testimony and answers to any questions.

Chairman Chabot Responds to Passage of the Financial CHOICE Act

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 12:00am
WASHINGTON – House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) released the following statement after passage of H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, to end taxpayer-funded bailouts and replace it with common-sense reforms that will help grow small businesses.  

“Dodd-Frank has failed our country. For the last seven years, it has only made it more difficult for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs to get the credit and capital they need.  In contrast, the Financial CHOICE Act will hold Wall Street accountable, end taxpayer-funded bailouts, and free community banks from unnecessary regulations so they can provide loans to small businesses to grow and create more jobs,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).  


Supreme Court Observations: Kokesh v. Securities & Exchange Commission

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 1:13pm
Featured Expert Contributor – Corporate Governance/Securities Law Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can seek a wide range of sanctions against those who violate the federal securities laws, including various monetary penalties. Most of these causes of action are subject to […]
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Committee to Explore Testing and Deployment of Self-Driving Vehicles in the United States

The hearing will explore automated vehicle technology and hurdles for testing and deployment in the United States. The hearing will also examine state and federal roles to ensure safety while promoting innovation and American competitiveness.

6/7/2017 - Full Committee Markup

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business will hold a markup on legislation to improve statutorily-authorized programs within the Small Business Administration. The markup will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The items that will be marked up include:

· H.R. 2763, the “Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017

· H.R. 2594, the “Small Business Payment for Performance Act of 2017

· H.R. 2333, the “Small Business Investment Opportunity Act of 2017

· H.R. 2364, the “Investing in Main Street Act of 2017

· H.R. 2056, the "Microloan Modernization Act of 2017"

FAA Reauthorization: Administration Perspectives

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will testify on key aviation issues before the Department and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


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