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Action Alert: Construction Industry Unfairly Excluded from Small-business Exemption in Senate Health Care Reform Bill

Dec. 22, 2009

The Senate is continuing to debate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3950) and is expected to vote on the bill between now and Christmas Eve. NRCA urges its members to contact their senators to register strong opposition to a provision that excludes the construction industry from a key small-business exemption.

H.R. 3590 exempts all employers with fewer than 50 employees from fines levied on them if they cannot afford to provide their employees with a federal minimum standard of health insurance coverage. However, a 400-page "manager's amendment" unveiled by Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday, Dec. 19, alters this small-business exemption so it applies to only those construction firms with fewer than five employees. If the bill is passed with this amendment, all construction industry firms with five or more employees will be mandated to provide health insurance coverage to their employees or face substantial financial penalties.

Contact your senators and urge them to oppose the provision to exclude the construction industry from the small-business exemption in H.R. 3950 because:
  • It unfairly singles out construction firms for harsher treatment than employers in other industries.
  • It likely will exacerbate unemployment in the construction industry, which already exceeds 18 percent.
  • There is no justification for treating small businesses in the construction industry differently from small firms in other industries regarding health care benefits.
  • It is irresponsible to slip such a provision into a 2,000-page health care reform bill at the last minute without careful consideration via the normal legislative process, including hearings.
Contact your senators by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, asking for the senator's office and registering your strong opposition to excluding the construction industry from the small-business exemption in H.R. 3950. You can use the bulleted points in your conversation and provide your name and address. Although calling is recommended because of time constraints, you can contact your senators by e-mail or fax. Contact information is found on www.senate.gov. You can use the bulleted points in your e-mail or fax.

For more information, questions or to report on contacts with your senators, contact Duane Musser, NRCA's vice president of government relations, at (202) 546-7584 or dmusser@nrca.net.

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