When the White House doesn’t like the policy options congressional legislation affords, it often uses agency regulations to accomplish its goals. When Congress doesn’t like Executive Branch actions, it has few counteracting tools at its disposal.
Except the most potent one of all: the power of the purse.
Thus the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, intent on rolling back some of President Obama’s most incendiary labor policies, is using the FY2016 federal appropriations process to deny funding to carry out several National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Department of Labor and OSHA initiatives.
A draft House appropriations bill would prohibit spending any federal money to implement:
- The NLRB’s “ambush election” rule that was adopted in April. The rule dramatically sped up the time between initial filing of a union election petition and actual balloting. A process that once took a month or more can now happen in as few as 13 days.
- An NLRB expansion of the definition of “joint employer” to include parent corporations of franchised businesses. The looser definition could greatly affect companies such as McDonald’s, which could become liable for unfair labor practices committed by franchisees.
- A DOL-proposed rule that would redefine the investment-advising responsibilities of benefit plan fiduciaries under the terms of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
- An OSHA policy allowing union representatives to accompany OSHA staff as they inspect nonunion workplaces.