Mandatory Arbitration Ban Bill
This week, the House is set to pass legislation that would prohibit mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, consumer, and other contracts. The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (H.R. 1423) would invalidate a predispute arbitration agreement if it requires arbitration of an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute and is broader than and Obama-era rule under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was narrowly voided by the Senate last Congress.
The House is preparing to take up a stopgap funding measure this week to avoid a government shutdown. Reports indicate the bill would provide a continuing resolution until November 21st, setting a new funding deadline right before members leave town for the Thanksgiving recess. Reports have also said the bill would reject the White House’s request to include legislative language to allow border fence construction, which could set up a fight with the President and Republicans in the Senate. The Senate, meanwhile, stumbled in its attempt to move forward with two appropriations bills last week but will try to advance a trio of bills before the end of this week.
The heads of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) will testify in front of the House Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. The members of the Subcommittee may focus on EEOC’s decision not to continue collecting certain data from employers, according to a Sept. 11 notice in the Federal Register. The EEOC says the burden to collect the data—known as “Component 2" of the EEO-1 report—is higher than previously estimated, and deserves additional examination before the agency seeks White House approval for more pay reporting.
On Wednesday, the president’s Labor Secretary nominee Eugene Scalia will have his nomination hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The hearing will set up a vote from the committee to send the nomination to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.
While the U.S. and China are set to continue trade negotiations in October, the implementation of tariffs effecting electronics, shoes, diapers, dairy, meat and more earlier this month have escalated the trade fight. President Trump also plans another tariff increase on October 15th if negotiations fail. Some GOP Senators have expressed their concerns, including Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis), that the President’s actions could slow economic growth and inject uncertainty and instability in the market.
On the USMCA, Democrats are looking to push a vote until 2020 and are demanding stronger labor and environmental protection in the deal.
The House will take up several bills this week aimed at decreasing offshore drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. While these bills should pass the House with mostly Democratic support, they will likely stall in the Senate.
House Republicans are also set to hold their annual retreat in Baltimore at the end of the week to discuss their agenda for the remainder of the year. President Trump is expected to attend the retreat on Thursday.