THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - US Workforce Act gets okay

Mar 11, 2018

In this issue - March 9, 2018:


US Workforce Act gets okay

The Northern Marianas U.S. Workforce Act got the okay of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday. Chairman Lisa Murkowski and I introduced the bill in January. The bill went through intensive revisions to ensure it can be easily implemented and, more importantly, win passage in the Senate and House. Key provisions of our original bill remain. The transition program will continue through 2029. We added 8,001 CW permits, so the 2019 cap will be 13,000. Local worker protections and training opportunities increase. Law-abiding businesses will have access to workers. And long-term CW workers will now be eligible for a renewable three-year permit. I am grateful to our bicameral, bipartisan working group that helped draft the original bill and to the federal and Commonwealth officials and other congressional committees who suggested revisions. I am especially grateful to Senator Murkowski for recognizing the importance of this bill to the Marianas and moving it quickly through her committee. 

2,400 casino workers to get $13.9M

This week the U.S. Department of Labor announced settlements with four Imperial Pacific International casino construction subcontractors totaling $13.9 million and involving over 2,400 workers in their wide-ranging and continuing investigation of labor law violations at the site. The wage and hour settlements, and the previously announced large-scale OSHA safety fines, send a message that federal laws are enforced in the Marianas and employers who violate our laws and undercut their workers will be held accountable. My U.S. Workforce Act with Senator Lisa Murkowski has new rules to better protect employees and weed out bad actors. I applaud the Labor Department’s efforts to combat fraud and protect U.S. workers.

$461k for Prior Service

The Prior Service Trust Fund will receive $460,900 that will be distributed to 894 former employees of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Office of Insular Affairs announced today. Beneficiaries are former employees from the Northern Marianas and the now Freely Associated States who served for at least five years under the U.S. Administration in the Pacific until the TTPI was dissolved in 1986. They receive small monthly checks in varying amounts from $27 to $64 to help meet everyday needs. Today’s grant payment represents about half of the FY 2018 funds. The remainder is pending action on an omnibus appropriations package from Congress for the rest of FY 2018. The United States must continue to meet its commitment to these 894 former employees for their service.






On the Floor

  • H.R. 1917 – Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017 (Passed, 234-180) 
  • H.R. 4607 – Comprehensive Regulatory Review Act (Passed, 264-143)
  • H.R. 1119 – Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment Act (Passed, 215-189)
  • H.R. 2226 – Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4725 – Community Bank Reporting Relief Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4768 – National Strategy for Combatting the Financing of Transnational Criminal Organizations Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4986 – RAY BAUM’S ACT of 2018 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 1132 – Political Appointee Burrowing Prevention Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3737 – Social Media Use in Clearance Investigations Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 4043 – Whistleblower Protection Extension Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • S. 188 – EGO Act (Agreed to by voice vote)

Legislation I Sponsored

  • H.R. 4240 – Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017


  • H.R. 4061 – Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4293 – Stress Test Improvement Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4263 – Regulation At Improvement Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4545 – Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act
  • H.R. 1116 – TAILOR Act of 2017

Committee Activity
Wednesday, March 14

  • Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees Joint Hearing - Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organizations
  • Committee on Natural Resources Markup

Thursday, March 15

  • Committee on Natural Resources Oversight Hearing titled "“Policy Priorities at the Department of the Interior and the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal”
  • Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Hearing on “Strengthening Access and Accountability to Work in Welfare Programs"
  • Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs and Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity Oversight Hearing on “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 2019 Budget: Veterans Benefits Administration and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals”