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President Obama Nov. 2 signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314), which suspended the application of the debt limit until March 2017 and ensured that the United States would meet its financial obligations. The deal was approved by a bi-partisan group of legislators the Unites States Senate Oct. 30 and the House of Representatives on Oct. 28.

The deal, negotiated behind closed doors at the White House between the President and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Former Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.), includes a provision that gives all agencies with civil monetary penalties covered by the statute, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the authority to raise penalties annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. The provision also allows OSHA to have a one-time “catch up adjustment” in 2016 since the fines have not been increased since 1990. OSHA is expected to release an interim final rule on the size of the increase no later than August 2016.

The budget package also includes a provision supported by the business community that repeals the Automatic Enrollment Requirement under the Affordable Care Act. The requirement forced employers with more than 200 employees to automatically enroll new full-time equivalents into a qualifying health plan offered by the employer and to automatically continue enrollment of current employees.

ABC will continue to monitor the implications of the budget deal on the construction industry.