Congress Averts Government Shutdown
The House and Senate recently passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at existing levels through Nov. 17, 2023. The CR also included $16 billion in disaster relief and extended funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the end of this year. Congress will now have less than 40 days to negotiate a long-term appropriations agreement that funds the government through next September or risk another shutdown.
House Removes Kevin McCarthy as Speaker
Following passage of the short-term government funding bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) offered a “motion to vacate” resolution on the House floor to formally unseat Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker. The motion to vacate was successful as eight Republicans joined every Democrat to remove McCarthy as speaker.
The House will now have to elect a new speaker in the coming days before the chamber can move forward with any further votes or official business. Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) won an internal House Republican vote to be the leading nominee to be elected speaker. However, as of this writing, he has not yet secured the 217 votes needed on the House floor to be elected speaker.
Biden Administration Proposes New H-2B Regulations
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently proposed new regulations for the H-2A temporary agricultural and the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker programs (H-2 programs). Under the proposed regulations, employers who violate H-2B program requirements, including employers who fail to demonstrate an ability and intent to follow the program requirements, may be ineligible for the limited number of available visas.
The proposed rule would also clarify prohibitions on employer-imposed fees. It strengthens the prohibition on, and consequences of, such prohibited fees being collected by employers or recruiters at any time from H-2 workers. Further, DHS is proposing greater flexibility for H-2 workers by extending grace periods for seeking new employment, preparing for departure from the United States, or seeking a change of immigration status.
OSHA Releases New Resources on Heat Illness Prevention
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released an updated fact sheet that addresses how to recognize and respond to heat illness symptoms, the risk factors for heat illness, and methods to mitigate heat hazards in both indoor and outdoor workplaces. The fact sheet also includes information on elements of a heat illness and injury prevention program (HIIPP). A HIIPP is an ongoing system that plans for and ensures workplace heat safety.