Vilsack Talks Farm Bill, RFS with Growth Energy
September 10, 2013 by John
There’s an old Chinese proverb that’s also considered a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” This morning, members of the Growth Energy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. heard that from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as he explained how it’s “interesting” that Congress seems to have its priorities turned around, with lawmakers working to change Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while doing nothing to pass a farm bill.
vilsack1“We believe (the RFS) is working,” said Vilsack, pointing to the EPA already making adjustments to reflect market conditions. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work. There’s no need for Congress to intervene in this.”
Vilsack says, in his opinion, the oil companies are behind the efforts to derail the RFS, mostly because they need the octane they get from ethanol but want to pay pennies on the dollar to get it. “What they (Big Oil) would really like to happen is for this industry (ethanol) not to succeed, so all those production facilities could be made available for 10 cents on the dollar. That’s what Big Oil’s interest is.”
Vilsack made the tie between the showdown with Syria, the RFS and the farm bill, as he looked at Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and Growth Energy co-chairman. “When and if Congress makes a decision to authorize military action, when and if the President implements that decision, who is going to implement it? It’s going to be a kid from rural America,” pointing out that rural Americans make up only 16 percent of America’s population but 40 percent of our military.
Vilsack urged Growth Energy members to send a strong message to Congress this week. “When you go and talk to your members of Congress to support the RFS, an additional message is, ‘We’ve been waiting a long time for the farm bill; don’t be sending our young men and women into harm’s way and not give them a decent opportunity back home. Get your work done.’”
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Concludes Employer Ban on Use of Photos and Videos in the Workplace Is Unlawful
Brendan G. Dolan
James R. Glenn
J. Kevin Hennessy
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The NLRB Division of Advice recently released an Advice Memorandum that opined that an employer policy that prohibited employees from photographing or video recording the Company's premises, processes, operations, or products including confidential information without the Company's permission violated the National Labor Relations Act. This is a common handbook policy that many employers likely have in place. Although the Memorandum is not binding on the Board, it reflects the thinking of a majority on the Board. Employers in represented environments or who may face organizing may, in particular, want to carefully consider whether and under what circumstances to maintain such policies.
The General Counsel relied upon a comparison between Sullivan, Long & Hagerty andFlagstaff Med. Ctr. In Sullivan, Long & Hagerty, the Board concluded management failed to rehire an employee because of his union activities, which included carrying a tape recorder onto the jobsite in connection with a DOL investigation into union election irregularities. 303 N.L.R.B. 1007, 1013 (1991). Comparatively, in Flagstaff Med. Ctr., the Board concluded that a policy prohibiting the use of electronic equipment during work time including "[t]he use of cameras for recording images of patients and/or hospital equipment, property, or facilities is prohibited[,]" did not violate the Act. 357 N.L.R.B. No. 65, slip op. at 4–5. There, the Board found: The rule against photographing hospital property did not expressly restrict Section 7 activity; employees would not reasonably interpret the rule as restricting Section 7 activity; and there is no evidence suggesting the hospital enacted the rule in response to Section 7 activity or applied the rule to prohibit Section
Pelosi, Dems lining up behind diplomatic solution to Syrian weapons
Mike Lillis - 09/10/13 12:19 PM ET
House Democrats are lining up in support of a possible diplomatic response to Syria's alleged chemical weapons attacks.
Behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the lawmakers say they're hopeful a Russian offer to secure the international transfer of Syria's chemical weapons will preclude President Obama's proposal to launch military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces.
“I hope that it works,” Pelosi Tuesday said after a meeting where the Democratic Caucus was briefed by White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. “Our members were assured by the president's chief of staff that this [offer] — if it is serious, if it is credible, if it is real — will be given every consideration. And that's good news.”
She later said, “Let us pray that the Russian proposal is one that will avoid the use of force.”
The diplomatic approach, which evolved rapidly Monday from an offhand suggestion by Secretary of State John Kerry to a strategy backed by Syria, Russia and Obama, seems to have given the White House an exit to the Syria dilemma at a time when the president is struggling to rally even Democrats behind his proposal to strike the war-torn country in response to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), who's leaning against a use-of-force resolution, suggested the diplomatic approach allows skeptical Democrats to thread the needle between preventing Assad from using chemical weapons again and supporting Obama “without necessarily supporting military action immediately.”
“I'm putting my whole heart and soul into getting a diplomatic settlement because that's what I think the answer is,” Pascrell said after Tuesday's caucus meeting.
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), who also remains undecided on the Syria vote, echoed that message.
“There's a lot of hope that the Russia proposal … will be successful,”
Army Adds Wind Power To $7 Billion Renewable Energy Buy
The US Army Corps of Engineers has just announced that it has awarded contracts to 17 private companies to build wind turbines on Department of Defense facilities around the country. It’s the third in a series of four groups of renewable energy contracts for DoD that will eventually total $7 billion. Given the military’s avid pursuit of a more diversified fuel mix, it looks like certain members of Congress better get off the “drill, baby, drill” train once and for all if they really do support our troops.
The first two groups of contracts were geothermal and solar, and the last will be biomass. We’re especially interested in the military’s sudden interest in wind power, though, because not too long ago there were concerns about wind turbines interfering with radar systems. So, what changed?
Seventeen Wind Power Contracts For The US Military
The $7 billion DoD renewable energy initiative is basically the same kind of power purchase agreement (PPA) that is commonplace in today’s solar power market.
We taxpayers pay no money up front for the renewable energy facilities, which are constructed by private sector companies. We simply provide the real estate in the form of D0D properties, and agree to purchase power from the facilities. As with other PPA’s the idea is to save money by getting renewable energy at a lower price than the grid mix.
For the military, the additional benefit is smoothing out fossil fuel price spikes that can wreak havoc with budgets for training and other essential operations.
Army adds wind power to $7 billion renewable energy buy.
Wind turbine at Fort Huachuca courtesy of US Army MWR.
The seventeen contracts in the wind power round went to Acciona Energy North America Corporation, Cobra Industrial Services, Inc., Dominion Energy, Inc., Duke Energy, EDF Renewable Energy, Emerald Infrastructure, Enel Green Power North America, EverPower Wind Holdings, First Wind, Ibe
Industry to EPA on climate regs: Let’s talk
Ben Geman - 09/10/13 06:07 AM ET
Industry groups are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure they’re “actively included” as the agency crafts carbon emissions standards for power plants, a pillar of President Obama’s climate agenda.
In a new letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, groups representing manufacturers, coal producers, power companies, refiners, railroads, agribusiness and other sectors press for rules that are “economically achievable” using existing technology.
“[I]t is critical that carbon regulations are developed using the best available technical information to ensure that standards are set at achievable levels based on commercially and economically viable technologies and that new rules take proper account of potential impacts to the economy and jobs,” states the letter from groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Mining Association.
“As representatives of both companies that will have to meet carbon standards and manufacturers of technologies that can assist in reducing emissions, we are uniquely situated to provide useful input to the Agency as to what is economically achievable from available technologies,” the letter adds.
While the planned rules are about power plants, the groups say they will ultimately affect a wide range of industries that supply and transport fuel for power plants, use electricity, and sectors that could be regulated after utilities.
McCarthy has vowed outreach to a broad set of interests as the agency crafts regulations for new and existing power plants.
Here’s the full list of groups that signed the new letter:
American Chemistry Council
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
American Iron & Steel Institute
Association of American Railroads
Electric Reliability Coordinating Council
McCain: Add monitors to Syria military intervention resolution
Mario Trujillo - 09/10/13 08:15 AM ET
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday he is trying to amend a resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria to include a plan to dispatch international monitors to the country to secure its chemical weapons stockpiles.
McCain, who has long led the charge to increase U.S. military presence in Syria and arm the Syrian rebels, said he remains skeptical of any commitment by Russia to pressure Syria to give up its chemical weapons. But he said it is an avenue that needs to be pursued.
“Put me down as very skeptical, but I think we can find out very quickly if it is valid or not,” McCain said on CNN’s “New Day.”
McCain said the U.S could find out how serious Syria is about handing over its chemical weapons by calling for the country to allow international monitors to Syria's chemical weapons storage sites — a first step to secure them before dismantling. He said the initial action could take place immediately.
“There are a group of us who are working on — senators who are working on an amendment, or change to resolution, that allows for this kind of action and requires guidelines, reporting process and benchmarks that have to be met that would be in addition to the resolution,” McCain said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delayed a procedural vote initially scheduled for Wednesday on the resolution after the developments Monday.
According to the Associated Press, Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday that the country has accepted a proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control.
McCain said President Obama needs to send a decisive message in Tuesday night’s national address, but predicted it could be muddled and “not particularly decisive because of this new wrinkle.”
He said there is a degree of “incoherence” on the part of the Obama administration, jumping on Secretary of State John Kerry’
OPEC Sees Well-Supplied Oil Market, Lower Demand for Its Crude
By Grant Smith - Sep 10, 2013 5:20 AM MT
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said the global oil market is “well-supplied,” and trimmed demand estimates for its crude in 2014 as production outside the group increases.
OPEC will need to provide an average 29.6 million barrels a day next year, reducing its estimate “slightly” from last month, the group said today in its market report. OPEC’s 12 members pumped about 600,000 barrels a day more than this level in August. OPEC boosted forecasts for output from other producers amid supply growth in the U.S., Mexico and Norway.
“The market at present remains well-supplied,” the organization’s Vienna-based secretariat said. “Crude stocks should gradually begin to build as refiners head into maintenance at the end of the third quarter.”
Brent crude has advanced about 1.9 percent this year, trading at $113.19 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe in London today. Prices were boosted as the U.S. recovery gathers pace, Europe emerges from recession and Libyan supplies are crimped by protests. Unrest in Syria also threatens Middle Eastern oil exports. OPEC is next due to meet for a review of production targets on Dec. 4 in Vienna.
Inventories of crude and refined products in the world’s most industrialized nations are “comfortable,” equating to about 58.5 days of consumption, while rising stockpiles in emerging nations “should also provide a further cushion to the market, complementing existing and expanding crude production capacity,” according to the report.
The organization boosted projections for supplies from non-OPEC producers, by 130,000 barrels a day, as stronger-than-expected growth this year in the U.S., Mexico and Norway feeds into the 2014 forecast. Non-OPEC nations will bolster output by 1.2 million barrels to 55.2 million a day in 2014, according to the report.
OPEC said its production fell by 123,900 barre
Obama and lawmakers seize on Russian offer on Syrian weapons
Julian Pecquet - 09/09/13 08:41 PM ET
A possible deal to avoid a U.S. military strike on Syria emerged unexpectedly Monday when Russia, seizing on comments by Secretary of State John Kerry, called on President Bashar Assad to hand over his chemical weapons.
The dramatic development added to uncertainty over congressional votes on President Obama’s request for authorization of air strikes against Syria, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers saying Russia’s plan was a way to avoid military action and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) delaying a planned procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday.
Obama said the offer is significant and “a potentially positive development.”
He also took credit for the proposal, telling PBS he discussed the idea with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This is a continuation of conversations I’ve had with President Putin for some time,” he said.Facing possible defeat in the House and Senate, Obama said his preference had been to find a diplomatic solution but that Russia’s offer should be taken “with a grain of salt.”
“I think what we’re seeing is that a credible threat of a military strike from the United States, supported potentially by a number of other countries around the world has given them pause and makes them consider whether or not they would make this move,” he told NBC in an interview Monday.
“And if they do, then this could potentially be a significant breakthrough. But we have to be skeptical because this is not how we’ve seen them operate over the last couple a years.”
Russia’s move seemed calculated to avert a U.S. military attack while boosting Moscow’s diplomatic clout and embarrassing the Obama administration.
Syria’s government instantly welcomed the Russian initiative, saying it would “prevent American aggression.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, eager to stave off hostilities unauthorized by the body’s Security Council, sai
Ethanol group: Don’t believe ‘slick’ oil industry (video)
September 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
The nation’s largest ethanol trade group is launching a new television commercial and flooding Washington, D.C. in a three-day lobbying blitz aimed at warding off changes to an eight-year-old renewable fuel mandate.
About 150 members of Growth Energy are in Washington, D.C. for meetings with Obama administration officials, lawmakers and congressional staff on the issue. The goal, said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, is to counter the oil industry’s arguments that the renewable fuel standard is driving up the cost of gasoline and food.
“These meetings are designed to get the facts out there,” Buis told reporters. “Big Oil has done everything in its power to block competition and the use of clean renewable fuels, all to protect their market share and profitability.”
The group’s D.C. fly-in comes as lawmakers consider making broad changes to the renewable fuel standard and as oil refiners say they have run into a blend wall, a point where adding enough ethanol to gasoline to satisfy the requirements would result in blends exceeding the 10 percent cap approved for use in all vehicles.
First created in 2005 and expanded three years later, the renewable fuel standard requires refiners to blend steadily escalating amounts of biofuel into the nation’s gasoline supply. Most of the mandate has so far been satisfied by corn-based ethanol made in the United States or sugarcane supplies from Brazil.
But the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline approved for all cars and trucks is capped at 10 percent. A 15 percent blend is approved for cars and trucks made since 2001, but Toyota and other automakers say using the product will void vehicle warranties.
Payoff: Renewable fuel credits pay off for some refiners
Although a number of bills have been introduced to spike the RFS altogether, more modest changes are likely. Lawmakers on the House E
Targeting Ethanol Mandates Seen Hurting Cellulosic Growth
By Alan Bjerga & Mario Parker - Sep 9, 2013 10:52 AM MT
Efforts to roll back rules that nurtured the corn-based ethanol industry threaten to stunt other promising biofuels, according to a developer working on one of the nation’s first commercial plants that won’t use the grain.
Lower quotas for renewable fuel use are being considered as part of a plan to raise the federal borrowing limit by U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican. The move would threaten investments in a few next-generation plants, said Stephan Tanda, a managing board member at Royal DSM NV (DSM), a Heerlen, Netherlands-based manufacturer.
Targeting Ethanol Mandates Seen Hurting Cellulosic Fuel Growth
“The sprout’s coming out of the ground,” Tanda, whose company has joined Poet LLC, the world’s biggest ethanol maker, to build a next-generation plant in Iowa, said in a Sept. 5 interview. “You can’t step on it with your boots,” he said. In 2014, the $250 million factory in Emmetsburg will start making ethanol from such waste as corn cobs, leaves and husks.
Under the Renewable Fuels Standard passed by Congress in 2007, refiners including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) must mix a certain amount of renewable fuels into their gasoline each year. Advocates say this spurs domestic production and cuts greenhouse-gas emissions by reducing gasoline and diesel use. Critics say the rules contribute little to energy security, especially when increased U.S. oil and gas output from hydraulic fracturing is easing dependence on energy sources abroad.
The ethanol mandates, combined with a tax credit for blenders and a tariff on fuel imports, helped push production of corn-based ethanol to a peak of 13.9 billion gallons in 2011 from 3.9 billion in 2005. Under the 2007 measure, production of the biofuel is to reach 15 billion gallons by 2015. The corn-based mandate then levels off while
CFTC Seeks Comment on Potential High-Speed Trading Curbs
By Silla Brush - Sep 9, 2013 12:40 PM MT
The U.S. Commodity #$%$tures Trading Commission is seeking comment on whether to require registration for automated trading firms, taking a first step in potential restrictions on high-speed and algorithmic derivatives trading.
CFTC members voted unanimously to issue a concept release requesting input on more than 100 questions, including whether to expand testing and supervision of high-speed trading strategies. Today’s release, a step prior to a formal proposal by the top U.S. derivatives regulator, also considers ways to limit the maximum number of trading orders a firm can place in a given amount of time.
“Traditional risk controls and system safeguards, many of which were developed according to human speed and floor-based trading, must be evaluated in light of new market realities,” CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement.
Gensler’s agency, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, boosted scrutiny of high-frequency and algorithmic trading after May 6, 2010, when $862 billion in equity value was erased in 20 minutes before share prices recovered. The CFTC concept release was debated for more than a year.
More recent computer malfunctions, including a software error that halted Nasdaq Stock Market trading in thousands of stocks and options for three hours on Aug. 22, have raised questions about the reliability of electronic markets.
About 92 percent of exchange-trading volume in U.S. futures markets was executed electronically last year, according to the CFTC’s document. The industry is vulnerable to flawed algorithms and insufficient testing, according to the agency, which noted that CME Group Inc. (CME), owner of the world’s largest futures exchange, fined a firm for inadequately supervising and testing controls.
The CFTC should ensure regulations that promote stability and limit systemic risks, according to the #$%$
GOP bill would forbid ObamaCare fix for labor
Elise Viebeck - 09/09/13 02:15 PM ET
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced legislation on Monday that he says will prevent labor unions from getting a “backroom deal” on ObamaCare.
Unions are lobbying the White House to change the Affordable Care Act so that nonprofit, multi-employer healthcare plans can receive tax subsidies.
Republicans want to prevent the Obama administration from taking this step, and Thune’s bill would make it illegal for the so-called Taft-Hartley health plans to get tax subsidies.
Thune, who leads the Senate Republican Conference, introduced the measure Monday as members of the AFL-CIO met in Los Angeles for their annual conference.
“Union leaders are now awakening to the ugly reality of ObamaCare,” Thune said in a statement. “Now that the full consequences of the Democrats’ law are nearing, these same union leaders are seeking a special backroom deal from the White House.”
Union members’ multi-employer health plans are currently not eligible for the new tax subsidies offered under ObamaCare, which are designed to make health insurance more affordable. For-profit healthcare plans are eligible for the subsidies as part of the new insurance marketplaces that will launch Oct. 1.
Labor leaders fear that without the subsidies, employers will drop the multi-employer plans and shift union workers into the marketplaces, which could increase insurance costs for workers.
Enrollees who are eligible for subsidies, which would be based on the worker’s income, have two options for receiving them: they can either pay the full premium up front and receive a subsidy check at tax time, or apply for an advanced subsidy that will be paid directly to the insurance company.
The AFL-CIO is frustrated that religious and business interests have won ObamaCare “fixes” while the administration appears to set aside union concerns.
But Republicans like Thune argue that making multi-employer plans eligible for s
Canada’s Keystone pitch to US: Work with us on climate
Ben Geman - 09/09/13 02:52 PM ET
A top Canadian official visiting Washington, D.C. to lobby for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline said Monday that Canada wants to work with the U.S. to curb carbon emissions from oil development.
Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, spoke to reporters after meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on various energy topics, including the Keystone XL pipeline that’s under State Department review.
Oliver, at a press briefing, refused to discuss reports that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently wrote to President Obama urging joint action to reduce oil-and-sector emissions in an effort to gain approval of Keystone.
But he made clear that Canada is open to new efforts as it lobbies U.S. officials in favor of TransCanada Corp.’s project, which would bring oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.
“I will not comment on communications between the two leaders, but I can tell you that the government of Canada wants to work with the U.S. administration on a wide range of environmental and energy issues, including collaborative efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the development of North American conventional and nonconventional oil and gas reserves,” Oliver told reporters at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C.
But Oliver pushed back when asked whether Canada would offer “concessions” to gain approval of Keystone.
“We don’t regard the proposed policies as ‘concessions.’ It has been our objective to continue to make progress on environmental enhancement for two reasons. One, because we have a responsibility as global citizens, and two because we need to have the social license to continue to develop our resources,” he told reporters.
Oliver touted Canada’s joint energy work with the U.S. and said, “one of the critical focuses will be on reducing the environmental footprint of nonconventional oil extraction.” Oil sa
White House to take a 'hard look' at Syrian offer on weapons (video)
Justin Sink - 09/09/13 02:08 PM ET
The White House said Monday it would take a hard took at Syria’s offer to give up its chemical weapons but expressed skepticism that country was willing to do so.
Deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told reporters the White House would “welcome a decision by Syria to give up its chemical weapons” and was reviewing reports that Russia was urging Syria to do so.
But Blinken cautioned that it was “clear” Syria was making the offer because of the threat of a U.S. strike.
He also expressed doubt that Syria would follow up on its offer, noting that until Monday, Syria had denied having chemical weapons. And Blinken questioned the feasibility of the plan, saying it “would certainly take time, resources and probably a peaceful environment to deal with it.”
Blinken said the administration had not yet talked about the possible deal with Russia.
Blinken spoke in reaction to a series of developments that seemed to offer the Obama administration a separate path from its request for Congress to grant it authorization to strike Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London that the Syrian regime could avoid a military strike by turning over its chemical weapons.
“Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” he said. “Turn it over, all of it, without delay. And allow the full and total accounting for that, but he isn't about to do it.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seized on those comments, saying in a press conference that the Kremlin would “immediately” begin pressuring Assad to turn over his chemical weapons.
“If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus,” Lavrov said, according to The A
Feinstein: U.S. should consider Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons
By Ed O'Keefe and Aaron Blake, Published: September 9 at 2:36 pm
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday became the first senior lawmaker to voice support for a Russian proposal for Syria to give control over its chemical weapons to international monitors.
“I think it’s a very important proposal and I think it needs to get followed up very quickly,” she told reporters Monday afternoon after reading news reports about it.
She noted that United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and British Prime Minister David Cameron have already signaled support for the plan and suggested American officials should also take it under consideration.
“I think if the U.N. would accept the responsibility of maintaining these [chemical weapons] facilities, seeing that they’re secure and that Syria would announce that it is giving up any chemical weapons programs or delivery system vehicles that may have been armed, then I think we’ve got something,” she said.
Administration officials said Monday that they would review the proposal.
“We would have to take a hard look,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on MSNBC. “Any transfer of chemical weapons to international control would be a positive development.”
Another deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, said the Obama administration “would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons.”
But Blinken also expressed doubt that Syria would follow through.
A State Department official, Marie Harf, said the proposal was being treated with “serious skepticism.”
@taylorswift13 "What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair..."
Live in St. Paul, MN:
@SenatorReid The Senate will vote on Wednesday on the authorization for the use of force against Syria.
Labor presses for ObamaCare fix
Kevin Bogardus - 09/09/13 06:49 AM ET
LOS ANGELES — Union officials are pushing to raise the volume of their ObamaCare angst at the AFL-CIO convention.
The labor federation has been having internal deliberations in Los Angeles on how to best draft a resolution addressing unions’ concerns over President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment. Some senior union officials want to shed more light on the issue as labor presses the White House to fix the law.
“We think we ought to have the conversation about ObamaCare here. If not here, where? If not now, when?” Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), told The Hill.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters on Sunday that he expected the labor federation would consider a healthcare resolution.
“I think we will probably talk about healthcare at this convention, yeah. I think it will talk about all facets and our concerns. I think it will,” Trumka said.
Smaller AFL-CIO affiliates have passed resolutions that have spoken out against the law. Last month, the Nevada AFL-CIO passed a resolution urging Congress and the Obama administration to fix ObamaCare.
Labor’s biggest concern with the healthcare reform law is its impact on union members’ health plans, known as multi-employer or Taft-Hartley plans. Unions want these plans to be considered as qualified health plans and, thus, eligible for tax subsidies. But under the administration’s interpretation, the plans are not eligible for those subsidies.
That could hurt the multi-employer plans, as it may lead employers to drop those plans and force workers onto the new insurance exchanges, created by ObamaCare, with open enrollment beginning on Oct. 1.
“We need to talk about its potentially devastating effect on multi-employer health and welfare plans. We ought to have that debate,” said O’Sullivan with LIUNA.
Labor has grown more frustrated as other interests have lobbie
Nuke chief: Regulators moving ‘promptly’ to restart Yucca review
Ben Geman - 09/09/13 11:09 AM ET
The federal government’s top nuclear safety official will tell lawmakers Tuesday that regulators are moving “promptly” to comply with an August court ruling that revived the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman (NRC) Allison Macfarlane, in testimony to a House committee, walks lawmakers through the NRC’s steps to revive its licensing review of Yucca, the long-planned Nevada waste repository that President Obama has tried to kill.
But Macfarlane, in her statement to a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel that’s holding a hearing Tuesday on Yucca Mountain, puts the burden on Congress and the White House to ensure the review can be completed.
Her testimony reminds the committee that the NRC doesn’t have enough cash to complete the review of the Energy Department’s (DOE) Yucca Mountain license application, and that no additional funds are in the current fiscal year budget.
“The matter of whether or not funds are appropriated for the fiscal year 2014 is before Congress and the fiscal year 2015 budget development process is well underway. As the court noted in its decision, the underlying policy debate related to the matter of future funding for the NRC license review of [the Energy Department’s] Yucca Mountain license application is for Congress and the President to address,” her testimony states.
Check out the whole thing here.