In this week’s roundup MMG explores what the NLRB’s shifting political balance means for the joint employer standard, retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan’s pledge to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank, and President Trump’s evolving stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
New NLRB Appointment Shifts Balance Toward Republicans
The Senate confirmed John Ring’s appointment to a seat on the National Labor Relations Board this week, WSJ reports. Ring, a Republican attorney for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP who focuses on employment law, was approved by a party-line vote of 50-48. With Ring’s confirmation, the NLRB is now tilted in favor of Republicans by a 3-2 majority.
While this will likely influence the board’s decisions going forward, there’s at least one area where it may not have an impact: the so-called joint employer standard, which holds that an employer can be liable for another company’s employees under certain circumstances.
A ruling on the standard was recently reverted to the more expansive Obama-era definition, following a determination that Republican board member William Emanuel should have been recused from the case. Because of Emanuel’s recusal, a new vote on the issue would likely yield a split 2-2 decision, even with Ring’s appointment.
As a result, the Obama-era decision will remain in place for now, making franchisers and contractors (among others) potentially liable for labor law violations for employees over whom they have no control. It is unlikely, however, that a Republican-majority NLRB would take action over any such labor law violations.
As a result, the Obama-era decision will remain in place for now, making franchisers and contractors (among others) potentially liable for labor law violations for employees over whom they have no control.
Paul Ryan Retires, Pledges to Repeal and Replace Dodd-Frank
In what has been considered a rather odd claim during a Fox News interview on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “We’re going to be repealing and replacing Dodd-Frank,” Politico reports.
Generally, it is assumed that he was referring to the current Senate Banking Committee bill that is working its way through the House, although the bill is more likely to refine the financial regulation law, rather than repeal and replace it.
Ryan, who pushed through the landmark Republican tax reform bill last year, announced this week that he will be retiring from Congress. Though he has pledged to stay on through the end of his term, the GOP leadership will likely want him out sooner to avoid a leadership battle during the months of Republican campaigning leading up to midterm elections, which are increasingly projected to be tilted in favor of Democrats. Majority Whip Steve Scalise and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are the two top contenders for Ryan’s position.
It is likely that Ryan’s rhetoric on Dodd-Frank is largely political posturing heading into midterms.
President Donald Trump is considering rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a landmark trade deal that the U.S. brokered with 11 countries under President Obama. The current administration withdrew the country from TPP, a move that frustrated free trade proponents and pleased protectionist voters in rust-belt states like Ohio who elected Trump. The Hill reports that Trump has said he would only consider reentering the agreement if a “substantially” better deal was struck. It appears that his thinking on the issue was influenced by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and more recently by discussions surrounding trade tariffs on Chinese goods, Politico reports. China has refused to enter into the TPP.
Remember, much of this is hearsay, and there’s always room for drastic movements in either direction. But it’s clearly on the president’s mind.
Ben Marsico is ACG Global’s manager of legislative and regulatory affairs.