ISSA LARU – Senate Passes Sweeping Bill to Help U.S. Compete with China


Welcome to the ISSA Legislative & Regulatory Update (LARU), our biweekly roundup of the latest public policy issues impacting the cleaning industry. This update touches on the U.S. Senate addressing the technology threat from China, a U.S. House of Representatives committee passing a US$547 billion transportation bill, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issuing an emergency temporary standard as well as updated industry guidance, and more.

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Legislative

Senate Passes Bill to Address China Tech Threat
The Senate voted 68-32 to approve a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology, Reuters reported.

House Committee Passes $547B Transportation Bill
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a $547 billion package aimed at fixing the nation’s roads and transit systems while putting a bigger focus on the environment, according to The Washington Post.

Regulatory

OSHA Issues ETS to Protect Health Care Workers from Coronavirus; Releases New Guidance for All Industries
OSHA announced it will issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to “protect health care workers from contracting coronavirus.” The standard focuses on health care workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, both of which are aligned with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

Biden to Revive OSHA’s Stalled Infectious Disease Rulemaking
The Biden administration plans to revive a stalled occupational safety rulemaking that would protect workers against all airborne infectious diseases, not just COVID-19, Bloomberg Law reported.

SBA to Open Targeted EIDL Advance Grant to All Eligible Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will open its $25 billion Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance grant program to millions more small businesses in the coming days, according to the Cleveland Business Journal.

Biden Administration Announces Plans to Strengthen Supply Chains
The Biden administration announced a series of steps it will take to strengthen critical U.S. supply chains, building up domestic manufacturing capabilities for key products and addressing existing vulnerabilities, CNBC reported.

Biden Expands Trump’s List of Chinese Companies Banned from U.S. Investment
President Joe Biden has expanded a Trump-era ban on American investment in dozens of Chinese firms that Washington believes are linked to China’s military, according to CNN.

Weekly Trade: The Latest News in Global Trade Politics and Policy
Leaders at the G7 Summit 2021 largely focused on how to confront China, with the nations signing a joint communique agreeing to combat its forced-labor abuses, political repression in Hong Kong, and aggression towards Taiwan, Politico reported.

Judicial

Supreme Court Rules Against Immigrants With Temporary Status
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents, AP reported.

State News

3.7M Americans Will Lose Unemployment Benefits Early
Twenty-five states are ending their participation in federal unemployment programs before their expiration September 6, according to CNBC.

Small Businesses Cry Foul as States Tax Their Federal Bailouts
While the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not tax forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, 11 states—including California, Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington—have chosen to tax PPP loans or have been considering it. At least 10 other states reversed course earlier this year and decided not to impose taxes, BNN Bloomberg reported.

New York Hero Act Amendments Passed and Sent to Governor for Signature
On May 5, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act into law, permanently codifying COVID-19-related health and safety protocols. In a memorandum issued with the signing, Governor Cuomo announced that he had secured an agreement with the legislature for amendments to the act to address certain ambiguities and technicalities. On May 14, state legislators introduced bills to address some of the governor’s concerns. The bills recently passed in both legislative houses. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the amendments into law, according to JD Supra.

California OSHA Reverses Maskless Rule for Workers
Earlier this month, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CAL-OSHA) voted to allow fully vaccinated workers to go maskless in the workplace if all others in the facility are also vaccinated. The rule was to go into effect June 15, the same day the state loosened rules on masking and other COVID-19 precautions. However, CAL-OSHA’s decision faced backlash from state health officials, prompting one of them to write a letter to the board and leading to the scheduling of a special meeting last week. The board then voted to rescind the maskless rule, CMM reported.