ISSA LARU—Last Call to Register for ISSA’s Clean Advocacy SummitMarch 18, 2022
Welcome to the latest ISSA Legislative & Regulatory Update (LARU), a biweekly roundup of the latest public-policy issues impacting the full spectrum of the cleaning industry. This update touches on the last call to call register for the 2022 ISSA Clean Advocacy Summit, ISSA requesting regulatory relief from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to supply chain constraints, ISSA urging the White House to preempt disruptions at the nation’s busiest ports, and more.
Last Call to Register for the 2022 ISSA Clean Advocacy Summit
Register now for the 2022 ISSA Clean Advocacy—IOPFDA Workplace Solutions Summit, March 30-31, in Washington, DC, as part of National Cleaning Week. During this two-day event, participants will get up to speed on the pressing public-policy issues for the full cleaning supply chain and sharpen their advocacy acumen. Participants will then apply their new knowledge and skills by meeting with lawmakers and other Washington insiders to advance the industry. The registration cut-off date is March 23; reserve your seat today for this premier ISSA advocacy event!
ISSA Asks EPA for Regulatory Relief Due to Supply Chain Constraints
ISSA, along with the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries and the Household and Commercial Products Association, requested that the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs and Antimicrobials Division establish an expedited procedure for registrants to address ongoing shortages of active and inert ingredients that hinder the formulation and marketing of pesticide products.
ISSA Urges White House to Preempt Disruption at Busiest Ports
To ensure that current challenges to operational fluidity are not compounded, ISSA signed on to a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris imploring their “early and persistent engagement in the impending contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).” The letter states that a “timely and satisfactory resolution that advances the needs of both the workers and the ports is imperative to avoiding further backups, delays, and higher costs.”
Congress Passes $1.5 Trillion Spending Bill
A massive spending bill for the current fiscal year is headed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s desk after the Senate cleared the legislation for his signature, Roll Call reported. Despite bipartisan support for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), the US$1.5 trillion bill doesn’t reinstate the ERTC. ISSA continues to strongly advocate for ERTC reinstatement. Take action: Using ISSA’s Advocacy Action Center, please take a moment to tell Congress to restore 2021 fourth-quarter access to the ERTC to provide small businesses with the certainty that they need to keep their doors open.
Small Business Administration Behind in Reimbursing PPP Loan Payments
If you borrowed money to pay your employees during the pandemic through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and still have not been reimbursed for your payments, even though your loan was forgiven, you are not alone, Cleaning & Maintenance Management reported. The SBA failed to meet the deadline for the agency to submit more than $66.4 billion in PPP forgiveness payments to lenders, according to a report released last week by the Office of the Inspector General.
OSHA to Increase Heath Care Facility Inspections
Environmental services workers in hospitals and long-term care centers will be on their toes in the next few months due to increased inspections, according to Cleaning & Maintenance Management. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an enforcement memorandum for a short-term increase in inspections directed at hospitals and nursing care facilities that treat COVID-19 patients.
New OSHA Program Targets Loud Workplaces
To reduce workplace dangers and promote programs to protect workers’ hearing, a regional office of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a program to target inspections of workplaces at high risk of noise exposure to raise awareness among employers of required safety measures, Cleaning & Maintenance Management reported.
New Rule Aims to Boost Biden’s ‘Made in America’ Program
U.S. President Joe Biden announced more actions to honor his “Made in America” commitments for federal procurement, according to Nextgov. The White House shared details of a pending final rule that will update the Buy American Act. The law, which dates back to 1933, pushes federal agencies to procure materials and products made in the United States. The new rule would build on the Biden administration’s “Made in America” efforts, first announced in a January 2021 executive order.
Inflation Rose 7.9% in February
The consumer price index, which measures a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, increased 7.9% over the past 12 months, a fresh 40-year high for the closely followed gauge, CNBC reported. Higher energy prices helped push up the reading, along with increases for groceries, restaurant food, transportation services, and apparel, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Strong consumer demand and supply chain constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated inflation over the past year, with persistent shipping bottlenecks and shortages of supplies like semiconductors rippling across the economy. And a tight labor market has pushed wages higher.
Biden Announces New Steps to Combat Criminal Fraud in Pandemic Relief Programs
In his March 1 State of the Union Address, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will appoint a Chief Prosecutor to focus on the “most egregious forms of pandemic fraud.” The DOJ’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force will appoint a “Chief Prosecutor to lead teams of specialized prosecutors and agents focusing on major targets of pandemic fraud, such as those committing large-scale identity theft, including foreign-based actors.” These strike force teams also will use state-of-the-art data analytics tools to connect the dots on identity theft and other complex fraud schemes committed across state lines or transnationally, as well as investigate major cases of criminal fraud in programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and Unemployment Insurance. ISSA, in conjunction with the PPE Fraud Coalition, is exploring how, if at all, this new Chief Prosecutor may assist in addressing PPE fraud.
Cities Roll Back Vaccine, Mask Mandates
Cities and counties around the country have announced plans to amend or drop vaccine and mask mandates as the number of new COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant continues to decline, Restaurant Business reported. Los Angeles County dropped its mask requirement for restaurant and bar patrons who are vaccinated, Chicago’s vaccine and mask mandates ended February 28, and Seattle and the surrounding King County ended its vaccine mandate on March 1.