Build Back Better 2.0
ABMA continues to make the rounds on Capitol Hill talking with Senate offices on prospects for a modified Build Back Better package. National media are reporting on conversations between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about a deal that could pass the Senate. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had this to say this week at a conference in Washington on renewable energy tax credits, which will be at the heart of any package that comes together– “I am feeling actually pretty bullish about it at this very moment. We’re not going to see the whole Build Back Better agenda; we’ve got to be realistic about that. But I do think that at least some version of those tax credits is still possible.”
We attended an event for Senator Manchin this week in which he confirmed that he is speaking to Senator Schumer and that, if a package does come together, it will be relatively small and will be focused on energy tax credits for renewables (including wood and pellet stoves) as well as some fossil fuel incentives. We will keep you posted on discussions.
This week, the House Education and Labor Committee reported H.R. 7701, the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act of 2022. The bill passed committee on a party-line vote of 27-19. The measure would strengthen the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a number of ways, including:
- Requiring employers to provide detailed pay stubs to employees on a regular basis as well as access to the recordkeeping necessary to hold employers accountable in court for violating the FLSA;
- Prevents employers from exploiting mandatory arbitration and collective action waivers and protects an employee’s ability to pursue remedies for stolen wages under the FLSA;
- Increases civil monetary penalties and liquidated damages to deter wage theft and make certain that employers do not profit by unlawfully withholding from their employees.
According to the fact sheet distributed by Democrat leaders on the Committee, employers unlawfully withhold an estimated $50 billion per year from workers’ earnings by committing a variety of minimum wage, overtime, off-the-clock, tip, and meal-break violations. These practices, known as “wage theft,” disproportionately harm low-wage workers. For those with at least 10 years in the workforce, nearly 40 percent describe experiencing wage theft at some point in their careers.
While it was reported from committee and will likely pass the House, there does not appear to be a path forward in the Senate. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced a companion measure in the Senate, but it is not supported by any of her Republican colleagues. ABMA will continue to monitor action on this legislation and report on developments.