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The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to block implementation of the Obama administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, commonly referred to as “blacklisting,” through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The bill (H. J. Res. 37) was passed by a vote of 236-187 after ABC sent a letter to the House urging lawmakers to support it. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a similar resolution the week of Feb. 13. 

Implementation of the blacklisting rule’s reporting and disclosure requirements was temporarily blocked on Oct. 24, 2016, when a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Texas ruled in favor of ABC’s lawsuit and granted a preliminary injunction against the reporting provisions of the rule, which were scheduled to take effect Oct. 25, 2016. Under the CRA, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to prohibit a federal agency from implementing a rule without congressional authorization with a majority vote in both houses of Congress. If President Trump signs the CRA resolution into law, it will block the blacklisting rule from taking effect and prevent future administrations from promulgating a similar rule—essentially permanently eliminating the rule.

ABC is encouraging all members to call on their Senators to support the Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 12), introduced Jan. 30 by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) along with 10 other senators.

“Associated Builders and Contractors has vigorously fought the Obama administration’s illegal blacklisting rule, which would have treated frivolous accusations of wrongdoing as grounds to prohibit qualified contractors from performing federal work," said ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. "ABC commends the leadership of Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) for taking action to protect contractors and taxpayers from the blacklisting rule’s burdensome and duplicative reporting requirements that would have discouraged qualified firms, particularly small businesses, from pursuing federal contracts, while also increasing costs to taxpayers.

“As the district court ruled in its preliminary injunction, treating non-adjudicated claims the same as actual wrongdoing denies federal contractors their due process rights,” said Brubeck. “ABC supports policies that increase fairness and competition in government contracting and looks forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress to pursue commonsense policies that hold bad actors accountable while attracting the best companies and trained workforce to rebuild America.”

On Aug. 24, 2016, the FAR Council issued the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule, commonly referred to as blacklisting regulations, implementing President Obama’s EO 13673, signed July 31, 2014. The rule was accompanied by a guidance document from the DOL and a White House amendment to Executive Order 13673. ABC issued a press release slamming the final blacklisting rule immediately afterward and for two years has been working with a coalition of business groups and federal contractors to find legislative, regulatory and legal solutions to overturn the flawed blacklisting regulation.

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