NAW Spring 2015 Legislative Update for NBMDA

NBMDA is a member of the Washington DC-based National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), whose primary purpose is to represent the wholesale distribution industry before Congress, the White House, and the judiciary on issues that cross the industry's many lines of trade. 

As an NBMDA member, you can access the latest NAW report, the Spring 2015 NAW Update. In this update, you can receive information on health care reform, marketplace fairness, taxes and more. 

In this update:

  • A Report Card on Washington at the End of Its First Quarter under the New GOP Congress Health Care Reform
  • Health Care Reform
  • Paycheck Fairness
  • Marketplace Fairness
  • Regulatory Agenda
  • Taxes

A Report Card on Washington at the End of Its First Quarter under the New GOP Congress

  • The President has generally been unwilling to work with the GOP Congress. Two weeks after the election the President issued an executive order providing temporary legal status to and delaying deportation of millions of illegal immigrants.
  • The President and his agencies and departments have taken executive actions to impose workplace regulations regarding discrimination and affirmative action, wages and salaries, and numerous labor law provisions; to impose more stringent environmental regulations; to remove public lands from energy production; to delay implementation of clearly-written provisions of the Affordable Care Act; to make environmental deals with China and extend diplomatic relations to Cuba; to pressure the Federal Communications to treat broadband service providers as regulated utilities; to change Federal policy on education, on retirement plans and the list goes on.
  • As we enter the second quarter of the year, there is no indication that the Administration is considering trading executive action for legislative cooperation. As of March 31, President Obama had vetoed two bills, and issued veto threats on 17 additional pieces of legislation.

Health Care Reform

  • NAW and their allies in the employer community are working in various issue or subject matter-specific coalitions (principally Affordable Coverage Project, Affordable Health Benefits Coalition, Small Business Coalition for Affordable Health Care, StartOver!, and Stop the HIT Coalition) in the health care space to fix some of the Affordable Care Act’s most serious flaws. Among the issues in the legislative mix are bills to replace the ACA’s 30 hours per week definition of “full time employee” with a 40 hours per week standard (HR 30/S 30); repeal the health insurance tax (HIT) on fully insured coverage (HR 928/S 183); to repeal the ACA’s redefinition of “small group market” to include groups up to 100 (HR 1624); and to protect self-funded health plans by excluding stop-loss insurance coverage from the definition of health insurance coverage (HR 1423/S 775).

Paycheck Fairness

  • On March 25, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Senate bill (S 862) is cosponsored by 14 Democratic Senators four of whom (plus Senator Mikulski) are members of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to which the bill is referred.
  •  The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for discussing/sharing pay information with one another. It would place the burden on employers to show that any disparities in pay for workers who do the same job are based on a “bona fide factor other than sex.” And it would provide punitive damages when the worker shows “that an employer has acted with malice or reckless indifference.” Thus, employers are concerned that the Paycheck Fairness Act will breed discontent in the workplace and will lead to costly litigation.

Marketplace Fairness

  • On March 10, Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) re-introduced the MFA (S 698) while acknowledging the need for the House to move a bill first in this Congress.
  • In a development that is both interesting and helpful to this effort, US Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (who was a member of the Quill court and concurred in its opinion) recently wrote in his concurring opinion in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl that Quill “is now inflicting extreme harm and unfairness on the States … with a concomitant unfairness to local retailers and their customers who do pay taxes at the register.” Justice Kennedy went on to call for reconsideration of the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in the Quill case.

Regulatory Agenda

  • In response to the regulatory threat in the labor area, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) – the business coalition organized to oppose card check legislation which NAW helps manage – has committed extensive time and resources to fighting the regulations and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case decisions that threaten employers’ ability to manage their own places of business. To increase their effectiveness, the coalition retained labor counsel to follow the regulatory agenda and coordinate the filing of comments and amicus briefs in response to agency rulemaking and to take our case for regulatory restraint to court.
  • To access additional detailed information on this regulatory agenda here.

Taxes

  • The key tax-writing players in the new Congress have all changed. Former House Budget Committee Chairman (and Vice Presidential candidate) Paul Ryan (R-WI) has taken the reins at the House Ways and Means Committee. Former Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (DOR) is now that Committee’s Ranking Democrat and veteran Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is the new Senate Finance Committee Chairman. All agree on the need for comprehensive tax reform. Chairman Ryan outlined the tax reform that is needed in his previous House Budgets. Senator Wyden has twice offered bi-partisan tax reform proposals, once with former NH GOP Senator Judd Gregg and then with Indiana GOP Senator Dan Coats. And in December Senator Hatch released a lengthy (340-page) “Comprehensive Tax Reform for 2015 and Beyond.”
  • The President would also repeal LIFO, impose a one-time tax of 14 percent on all US corporate earnings kept abroad and a 19 percent tax on future foreign earnings, eliminate stepped-up basis on inherited assets, increase the capital gains tax, impose a bank tax, and cap investments in tax-deferred retirement accounts. And he continues to demand that tax reform raise significant new tax revenue.

For complete details on these and other topics that NAW is working on, please see the Spring 2015 NAW Update.

NPTA is a member of NAW, whose primary purpose is to represent the wholesale distribution industry before Congress, the White House, and the judiciary on issues that cross the industry's many lines of trade. NAW encompasses over 100 national line-of-trade associations, including NPTA.

IMPORTANT: THIS NAW LEGISLATIVE UPDATE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL OR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OF ANY KIND. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR COMPANY'S LEGAL/EMPLOYEE BENEFITS COUNSEL FOR ADVICE REGARDING THE APPLICABILITY OF THIS INFORMATION OR ANY PROVISION THEROF TO YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION.

Action Alerts generated by NAW are sent to you as a member service of NPTA. For additional information on the issues outlined on this update or any other issue being monitored by NAW, please contact NAW at: 1325 G Street, NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005 / (202)872-0885 / naw@naw.org

 

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