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BPAA Biweekly Federal Policy Updates - June 15, 2019

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MINIMUM WAGE AND LABOR NEWS

  • House Hearing Offers Preview of Legal Fight on Overtime Rule:
    • Lawmakers continued making their arguments for and against a Department of Labor proposal to expand overtime pay protections at a Congressional hearing June 12.
    • The proposal from President Donald Trump’s administration would make about a million employees newly eligible for time-and-a-half overtime rates for each hour beyond the standard 40 a week. An earlier proposal by the Obama labor department—which was blocked by a federal judge in 2016 and remains tied up in court—would have covered about 4 million workers.
    • The labor department is still in the earliest stages of reviewing public comments and formulating the details of eventual rule. Nonetheless, Democrats have already signaled their opposition and an intent to delay implementation via laws like the Congressional Review Act—which allows for a simple majority of both the House and Senate to pass a disapproval resolution
    • Read more at Bloomberg Government

 

  • House to vote on $15 minimum wage by August
    • The House will vote on the first federal minimum wage increase in over a decade this July, The Hill has confirmed
    • The legislation to be considered is the Raise the Wage Act backed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). It would more than double the $7.25 minimum wage to $15 by 2024. The current minimum wage has been in place since July of 2009.
    • Congress actually passed that wage hike in 2007.
    • The Democratic caucus has been divided on whether to advance a $15 minimum wage bill or one that would provide for regional differences to create a tiered minimum wage. As a result, the bill could divide some Democrats when it comes to the floor.
    • Read more at The Hill

 

  • Centrist Democrats raise concerns over $15 minimum wage push
    • House Democrats are moving forward with legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, despite concerns from centrist lawmakers about the impact on lower-cost areas.
    • Democratic leaders say they’re close to clinching the 218 votes needed to pass the bill, which they expect to bring to the floor in July.
    • All but 29 of the 235 Democratic lawmakers in the House have cosponsored the measure. Many of the holdouts are moderates who are concerned that a significant wage boost in a short period of time could have an unintended effect in more rural settings.
    • The legislation would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 within five years and index future increases to median wage growth.
    • Raising the minimum wage has been a staple of Democratic policy for years. But Congress has only voted twice in the past two decades to increase the minimum wage, and it has been stagnant at its current rate since 2009.
    • Read more at The Hill

 

TAX NEWS

  • GOP leader concedes tax cuts may not pay for themselves as 2019 deficit grows
    • Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), a lead architect of the GOP tax bill, suggested Tuesday the tax cuts may not fully pay for themselves, contradicting a promise Republicans made repeatedly while pushing the law in late 2017.
    • Pressed about what portion of the tax cuts were fully paid for, Brady said it was “hard to know."

“We will know in year 8, 9 or 10 what revenues it brought in to the government over time. So it’s way too early to tell,” said Brady at the Peterson Foundation’s annual Fiscal Summit in Washington D.C.

  • The federal government’s deficit typically shrinks during strong economic times, but the deficit is up nearly 40 percent so far this fiscal year, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office report released Friday.
  • Trump vowed to eliminate the debt in 8 years. He’s on track to leave it at least 50 percent higher.
  • Read more at Washington Post

 

  • Tax Breaks Congress May Renew This Year: BGOV OnPoint
    • Leaders of the congressional tax writing committees are discussing plans to address temporary tax breaks
    • They may renew expired breaks while extending those scheduled to expire after 2019
    • Debate remains on whether, and how, tax extenders should be addressed
    • Many legislators want to eliminate some and make others permanent
    • House Democrats want them to be offset by new revenue
    • This presentation reviews:
      • Prospects for the extenders to be renewed
      • The provisions that will expire during or after 2019
      • The energy, cost recovery, individual, and other breaks that expired after 2017 and 2018
    • (See attached PDF for presentation)

 

MUSIC LICENSING

  • DOJ PRESS RELEASE: Department of Justice Opens Review of ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees: As part of The Department of Justice’s ongoing review of legacy antitrust judgments, the Antitrust Division today announced that it has opened a review of its consent decrees with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).  For more than seventy-five years, these decrees have governed the process by which these two organizations license rights to publicly perform musical works.  The purpose of the Division’s review is to determine whether the decrees should be maintained in their current form, modified, or terminated. ASCAP and BMI are the two largest performing rights organizations in the United States.  Their primary function is to pool the copyrights held by their composer, songwriter, and publisher members or affiliates and collectively license public performance rights to music users such as radio and television stations, streaming services, concert venues, bars, restaurants, and retail establishments.  The Antitrust Division first entered into consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI in 1941 and they have since been modified – the ASCAP decree most recently in 2001 and the BMI decree in 1994.  The decrees require ASCAP and BMI to issue licenses covering all works in their repertory upon request from music users.  If the parties are unable to agree on an appropriate price for a license, the decrees provide for a “rate court” proceeding in front of a U.S. district judge.  Neither decree contains a termination date.
    • “The ASCAP and BMI decrees have been in existence in some form for over seventy-five years and have effectively regulated how musicians are compensated for the public performance of their musical creations,” said Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division.  “There have been many changes in the music industry during this time, and the needs of music creators and music users have continued to evolve.  It is important for the Division to reassess periodically whether these decrees continue to serve the American consumer and whether they should be changed to achieve greater efficiency and enhance competition in light of innovations in the industry.”  
    • The Antitrust Division has posted an invitation for public comment on its public website (https://www.justice.gov/atr/antitrust-consent-decree-review-ascap-and-bmi-2019), inviting interested persons, including songwriters, publishers, licensees, and other industry stakeholders to provide the Division with information or comments relevant to whether the ASCAP and BMI decrees should be modified, terminated, or retained unchanged.  The period for public comment ends on July 10, 2019.
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Attachments

  1. TemporaryTaxBreaks.pdf 6/17/2019 10:37:45 AM