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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit March 17, 2014

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES


Last Week
The House passed a resolution challenging the President's use of executive powers, which some believe has been used to a greater degree. In addition, the House tackled a nagging issue for the medical community. Formally known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR), or in Washington the "doc-fix," it is a budget cap passed into law in 1997 to control physician spending, but many believe it has failed to work. Since 2003, Congress has spent nearly $150 billion in short term patches to avoid unsustainable cuts imposed by the flawed SGR. The most recent patch will expire on March 31. Rather than just pass a simple patch to delay the SGR; House Republicans attached an amendment that would delay the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed 237-182 along party-line votes. The Senate easily passed a reauthorization of the Childcare and Development Block Grant, along with the House-passed legislation delaying premium hikes for flood insurance, and more than a dozen executive branch nominees.
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This Week
The House and Senate are in recess.
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Item of Interest
Last week, the President caught a number of members in the business community off guard by proposing revisions to overtime rules. According to The New York Times, he has ordered the Labor Department to overhaul its regulations under the 1938 law to:
  • Significantly increase the salary level below which workers automatically qualify for overtime. Currently employers cannot deny time-and-a-half pay for any salaried worker who makes less than $455 per week.
  • Require that employees perform a minimum percentage of "executive" work before they can be exempted from overtime pay. Currently a business needs only to declare that a worker's primary responsibility is executive, such as overseeing a cleanup crew. In other words, the playing field is tilted toward the employer who has a financial incentive to declare virtually anybody an overtime-exempt "professional" or "executive."

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Dan Hilton
Director of Government Affairs
American Supply Association
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NEWS FROM CAPITOL HILL


Business Stunned by Obama Overtime Move
The Hill
Business groups and congressional Republicans are blasting regulations President Obama announced that could extend overtime pay to as many as 10 million workers who are now ineligible for it. While liberals lauded the plan as putting more cash in the pockets of millions of workers, business groups warned it would damage the economy and Republicans said it was another example of executive overreach.
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Save US Jobs: Level Playing Field Between Brick-and-Mortar Stores, Online Retailers
Fox News
The old adage, "If something's too good to be true, it probably is," too often applies to bargain-basement prices for retail goods online. An often-ignored loophole in existing sales tax law is giving online retailers an unfair advantage over traditional brick-and-mortar stores, forcing thousands of local stores across the U.S. to close, and tens of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs.
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Republicans Search for Path to US Online Sales Tax Bill
Bloomberg
House Republicans are seeking a way to address the ability of Internet retailers and catalog companies to avoid collecting state sales taxes, a situation brick-and-mortar stores say is unfair to them.
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Here is Exactly What the Chamber of Commerce Thinks About Global Warming
NationalJournal
A Senate hearing Thursday on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline produced a clear piece of news: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn't especially fond of talking about humans' contribution to global warming. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez asked the Chamber's Karen Harbert whether the Chamber agrees that climate change is real and caused by humans.
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Washington Weekly
Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs, 703.328.5234
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Patrick McCoy, Senior Content Editor, MultiView, 469.420.2603  
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