Legislative Round-up for Oct. 1, 2015

legislative-buildingSenators rally effort for housing finance reform

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was joined by Senate colleagues Mark Warner (D-Va.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), all members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, in September to reintroduce legislation to spur substantive and structural housing finance reform.

The “Jumpstart GSE Reform Act” would prohibit any increase in the guarantee fee — which is required to be charged by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — from offsetting other government spending while also prohibiting the sale of Treasury-owned senior preferred shares in the GSEs without congressional approval and structural housing finance reform.
“There is an overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral consensus that congressional action is needed to reform our housing finance system and it is hard to imagine that anyone truly wants to return the GSEs to the failed model of private gains and public losses,” Corker said. “While comprehensive reform is my preference, we must not allow a small minority to prevent us from making any progress at all. I will continue to look for ways to move us closer to a long-term solution for our housing finance system and am pleased to have Senators Warner, Vitter, and Warren join me in this effort.”

The act would help ensure the ultimate resolution of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is determined by Congress. The legislation would prohibit any increase in the guarantee fee — which is required to be charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — from being used by lawmakers to offset other government spending while also prohibiting the sale of Treasury-owned senior preferred shares in the GSEs without congressional approval and structural reform of our nation’s housing finance system.

Business groups condemn ‘joint employer’ ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Small business owners and business groups are urging Congress to pass legislation introduced in September by senior Republican lawmakers to roll back the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “joint employer” decision.

The Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act, introduced in September by Senate Labor Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), would roll back the recent NLRB “joint employer” ruling and reaffirm that an employer must have “actual, direct and immediate” control over an employee to be considered a joint employer — the same standard that was in place decades before the NLRB’s Browning Ferris Industries decision last month.

Alexander and Kline said, “The NLRB’s new joint employer standard would make big businesses bigger and the middle class smaller by discouraging companies from franchising and contracting work to small businesses. Our commonsense proposal would restore policies in place long before the NLRB’s radical decision — the very same policies that served workers, employers, and consumers well for decades.”

Groups representing small business owners and job creators across the country are voicing their support, including the International Franchise Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, National Retail Federation, National Restaurant Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Association of Home Builders, Associated Builders and Contractors, Coalition to Save Local Businesses, and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Corker applauds Pope’s address to Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement Sept. 24 after attending His Holiness Pope Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress.

“It was an honor to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to our nation’s capital today and hear his historic address to Congress,” Corker said. “His address was one of hope and unity, and I was particularly pleased to hear his message about the fight to eliminate modern slavery. As Pope Francis conveyed, ending modern slavery will not come easy. It will require cooperation from people of all faiths, backgrounds, and nationality. But together, we can end it.”

Pope Francis said, “In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.”

On Feb. 26, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, which will charter a 501(c)(3) non-profit grant-making foundation based in Washington, D.C.

The foundation will fund programs outside the United States that:

  • Contribute to the freeing and sustainable recovery of victims of modern slavery, prevent individuals from being enslaved, and enforce laws to punish individual and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery;
  • Set out clear, defined goals and outcomes that can be measured; and
  • Achieve a measurable 50 percent reduction of modern slavery in targeted populations.

See a summary of the legislation at bit.ly/CorkerSummary, and read the full text of the final bill at bit.ly/CorkerFullText.