Thursday, February 2, 2017

Congress Issues Joint Resolution to Block Government Contractor Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces Rules

Last Monday, Rep. Virginia Foxx introduced a joint resolution of disapproval of the recently implemented (and more recently temporarily suspended by a Federal judge) of the so-called Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces rules. This joint resolution is provided by the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA allows Congress a limited period of time in which to overrule a regulation through use of a joint resolution, essentially giving Congress a legislative veto. The resolution needs to be passed by both houses and then signed by the President or passed over the President's veto by two-thirds of the House and Senate.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces rules have been controversial from the start and is commonly referred to as the "Blacklisting" rule because it requires contractors to report "alleged" labor violations that have not been adjudicated. For example, a "preliminary determination" by some obscure Governmental agency could prevent a contractor from being awarded a contract.

Given that both houses of Congress and the President are controlled by the same party, it seems likely that the resolution will pass. If it does pass, federal agencies will not be able to issue a substantially similar rule without specific authorization from Congress.

Last October, a Federal judge issued a temporary injunction halting the implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces regulations. You can read more about that injunction here.

The text of the Joint Resolution reads as follows:
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation published at 81 Fed. Reg. 58562 (August 25, 2016), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

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