NTU Sends Memo to House Education and Workforce Committee on Priorities for the 118th Congress

To: Chair Virginia Foxx, Ranking Member Bobby Scott, and Members of the Education and Workforce Committee
From: National Taxpayers Union 
Date: March 17, 2023
Subject: NTU priorities 

  1. Introduction and Key Taxpayer Considerations
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union (NTU), the nation’s oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, we write to inform you of a number of NTU’s top education and workforce priorities in the 118th Congress for your consideration. As your committees began to plan for the 118th Congress we hope that you will leave bad policy proposals from the 117th behind and instead consider advancing pro-taxpayer policies. 
NTU is supportive of efforts to push back on Department of Labor (DOL) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overreach, codifying commonsense and time-tested labor standards and expanding opportunities in the workforce.
The Biden Administration’s DOL has issued a number of executive actions that threaten businesses and workers nationwide. Two of the most concerning actions are the joint employer and independent contractor rules, both of which are pending finalization. These unnecessary and sweeping proposed changes to the nature of work will cause regulatory uncertainty, job and economic losses, and add legal costs for businesses. 
Joint Employer
The current NLRB expansion of the joint employer standard is the evolution of bad policy started under the Obama Administration in 2015. As NTU has written, this new change will make the legal distinction between employment relationships even more indistinct than under the Obama NLRB. It is clear that Congress should exercise oversight on the development of this rulemaking only two short years after an effective and brightline standard was implemented. Furthermore, to avoid the constant uncertainty the NLRB creates, Congress should codify the longstanding joint employer standard created under the Reagan era. NTU supports legislation like H.R. 3185, the Save Local Business Act.
Independent Contractor
Another significant and concerning rulemaking is that of the revised independent contractor definition. 
NTU urges DOL to halt this new rulemaking, which is a poor use of taxpayer funds and reduces the certainty for millions of freelancers and small businesses nationwide. Returning to the 2021 rule will retain a clear regulatory standard for independent contractors to rely on and guide their business decisions. If DOL does proceed with this rulemaking, then it should remain cognizant of the immense economic and legal risks associated with any potential implementation of California’s failed and controversial AB-5 model. NTU would support legislation that would codify the 2021 standard. 
Unleashing Workforce Potential
Barriers to well-paying employment are rampant in today’s economy. Patchwork occupational licensing laws, onerous regulatory burdens on educational pathways, and an imbalanced approach to technical education create or contribute to inefficiencies in the employment market. Streamlining these processes will unleash the technical expertise of the American workforce and enable us to continue to outperform China with regard to high-tech manufacturing and in other well-paying industries. NTU supports legislative efforts to remove employment barriers and create pathways to success for American workers through career and technical education that will not unduly burden the taxpayer.
  1. Contact Information
We look forward to working with each of you in the new congress and welcome the opportunity to meet with you or your staff on these priorities as the 118th congress gets underway. Should you have any questions about the recommendations in this memo, please do not hesitate to reach out to Nicholas Johns at NJohns@ntu.org.