This Week in D.C.

May 19, 2022

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act receives a vote in the House

During Roofing Day in D.C. 2022, the roofing industry focused on solutions to its continued workforce and supply chain challenges. NRCA and its members highlighted the industry’s support for reform of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to ensure more job creators can take advantage of its benefits.

WIOA reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act, which was enacted in 1998 to consolidate state and local programs aimed at helping displaced workers develop employment skills and find jobs. Authorized funding grew modestly through 2020, and Congress is discussing ways to reform this program. In addition to increased funding for WIOA, the roofing industry supports reform that addresses burdensome paperwork for small businesses; lack of awareness of the program within communities; allowing funding to be used for competency-based and online programs and required credentialing; and better functioning workforce boards that meet the urgency of employers’ needs.

This week, the House passed a reauthorization of WIOA, HR 7309, which provides additional funding for the program but also makes various reforms—some more helpful for the industry than others. NRCA continues to work with Congress to improve this piece of legislation before final passage, which likely will be in 2023 at the earliest.


Additional H-2B visas available for second half of fiscal year 2022; employers can petition for visas as of May 18

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor announced May 16 the availability of an additional 35,000 visas for the H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker program for the second half of fiscal year 2022. The visas are available to qualifying U.S. employers seeking to supplement their workforces from April 1 through Sept. 30.

The H-2B program has been used by NRCA members for many years to address their workforce needs during peak season. In January, NRCA CEO Reid Ribble sent a letter to the administration urging it to provide additional H-2B visas given the roofing industry’s significant labor shortage. NRCA commends DHS’s action because it will help more seasonal businesses, including many roofing contractors, get the workers they need to meet consumer demand in 2022.

Employers could petition for visas effective May 18. The 35,000 supplemental visa allocation consists of 23,500 visas available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status during one of the past three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas are reserved for individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras. View the press release announcing the availability of the visas.

View the joint temporary final rule, which outlines the requirements employers must follow to apply for the supplemental visas; it was published in the Federal Register May 18.


What we learned from May 17 primary elections

Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania held their primary elections May 17. Idaho and Kentucky were relatively quiet compared with the other three states, which had contentious battles for open seats—particularly among swing states North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

In North Carolina, Rep. Tedd Budd (R-N.C.) beat former Gov. Pat McCrory by more than 30 points in the GOP primary, and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley easily won the Democratic nomination. Republican primary voters also ousted Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who has been mired in scandal.

In the Pennsylvania Senate primary, Democratic voters nominated Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman over Rep. Conor Lamb. The Republican side of the ticket was currently too close to call at the time of this newsletter, but it is between frontrunners TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and businessman and former George W. Bush administration official David McCormick. In Pennsylvania, an automatic recount is triggered if a candidate does not win by at least 0.5% of the vote.

In Oregon, it appears popular moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) may lose his primary to a more progressive challenger in this newly drawn district though the race has not yet been called.

Do you have political insight we have missed or thoughts on an upcoming race? We would love to hear from you. Please email dmazol@nrca.net to share your thoughts.


Upcoming Primary Elections

May 24: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia (all with runoffs June 21 if needed)

May 24: Texas runoff election

June 7: California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota


Finland and Sweden file paperwork to join NATO

Historically neutral countries Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO in response to regional Russian aggression. NATO has an “open door policy” regarding new members—any European country can request to join provided it meets the criteria and all existing members agree.

Finland and Sweden meet many of the requirements for membership, which include having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; committing to resolve conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to operations; and committing to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.

The process may not be without hurdles; Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said May 13 he was not viewing both countries joining NATO “positively,” accusing them of housing Kurdish “terrorist organizations.”

In the meantime, both countries have received assurances of security support from the U.S. and Germany, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed mutual security agreements with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts last week.


Help ROOFPAC close out NRCA’s fiscal year strong!

You can help NRCA finish strong with a contribution to ROOFPAC, the only political action committee dedicated to supporting the roofing industry in Washington, D.C. A strong ROOFPAC is critical to helping NRCA advance the roofing industry’s agenda of pro-growth economic policies, combatting burdensome regulations and developing solutions to workforce shortages in Washington, D.C. NRCA encourages all members to contribute any amount—whether it is $25, $50, $2,500 or $5,000—and we have made it easier than ever to contribute online.

For more information or questions about ROOFPAC, contact Teri Dorn, NRCA’s director of political affairs, at (202) 510-0920 or tdorn@nrca.net.

*ROOFPAC is the federally registered political action committee of NRCA, and contributions will be used for political purposes. Contributions to ROOFPAC are not tax deductible and the name, address, occupation and employer’s name of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 during a calendar year will be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Contributions are voluntary, and you have the right to refuse to contribute without any reprisal.

Tags: Advocacy

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