Legislative Advocacy

Recent News

Congress Passes Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

Recently, Congress has approved a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government open until December 16, avoiding a looming government shutdown at midnight that allows lawmakers to go home for the entire month of October ahead of the elections in November. The temporary spending package was passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives by a vote of 230-201, after being approved by the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 72-25. The legislation also includes an additional $12.3 billion in aid for Ukraine, reauthorizes Federal and Drug Administration user fees through 2027, and provides $2 billion for natural disaster relief efforts. Earlier this week, a contentious energy permitting reform provision championed by Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was removed from the spending bill after it became clear that it lacked support and could ultimately tank efforts to keep the government open.

When Congress returns after the elections in November, they will have just five weeks to negotiate the final details of a broader omnibus spending bill that will fund the government through fiscal year 2023. The political dynamics affecting the negotiations could change by then depending on the results of the election and whether Republicans take control of either the House or Senate.

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OSHA Expands Severe Violator Enforcement Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has expanded criteria for placing employers in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which focuses the agency’s inspection resources on employers who either willfully or repeatedly violate federal health and safety laws or demonstrate a refusal to correct previous violations. In addition to being included on a public list of the nation’s severe violators, employers are subject to follow-up inspections. The changes broaden the program’s scope and updates several procedures and criteria. Specifically, the updated criteria include the following:

  • Program placement for employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations or who receive failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.
  • Follow-up or referral inspections made one year – but not longer than two years – after the final order.
  • Potential removal from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards. In the past, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
  • Employers’ ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years, if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes use of a safety and health management system with seven basic elements in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

The updated program instruction can be found here and replaces the 2010 SVEP instruction.

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NLBMDA, WBMA and Franklin Building Supply Host U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

On August 30, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) joined the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) and the Western Building Material Association (WBMA) for a tour of Franklin Building Supply’s headquarters in Boise, ID. 

Before touring their store, lumber yard and manufacturing plants, Senator Crapo met with company leaders to discuss tax policies that improve access to affordable housing, and the need for substantial infrastructure investments in Idaho to maintain a growing and thriving economy. The tour was led by Franklin Building Supply CEO Levi Smith, Boise Store Manager Tom Mosgrove, and Boise Yard Manager Amber Hall.

“It was great to visit Franklin Building Supply’s largest and oldest location in Boise,” said U.S. Senator Mike Crapo. “As an employee-owned business, Franklin Building Supply has provided quality jobs for their employees and value to their customers during their 46-year history. I will continue to support tax policies that encourage companies who do right by their employees through promoting Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).”

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House Approves $3.5 Trillion FY 2022 Budget Resolution

Recently, the House voted to approve a FY 2022 budget resolution on a party-line vote of 220-212. Passage of the budget resolution is the first step in the budget reconciliation process which directs legislative committees in the House and Senate to begin drafting a bill that could spend up to $3.5 trillion on several legislative initiatives supported by President Biden and congressional Democrats. In order to secure enough votes for the resolution in the House among moderate Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has agreed to hold a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill by Sept. 27, 2021.

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