November 20, 2020

ISEA Government Affairs Committee

Review Position Statement on Fake, Fraudulent and Scams of PPE
ISEA members are reviewing a draft statement and call-to-action to address fake, fraudulently marked and counterfeit PPE, as well as PPE-related on-line scams.

Develop Domestic Sourcing Position Statement
Government relations committee members will meet on Dec. 3 to develop an association position on domestic sourcing for federal procurement.  

The group will also do the same for the Defense Production Act.

ISEA Statements for the New Administration and OSHA
With these position statements, in addition to policy objectives of the product groups, ISEA plans to communicate its federal recommendations to the Biden-Harris Administration and to the new leadership at OSHA, when they are named and installed.

December 14 – Return of the ISEA Monthly Policy Calls
Please join your colleagues on Monday, December 14th at noon for the restate of the monthly policy calls.  Here, we will cover update on key issues with occasional guest speakers.

The Dec. 14th call will cover the new labeling requirements in Mexico and more.  Submit your requests for topic to be covered here.

IRS seeks comments on how to assist economic recovery from COVID-19

The IRS on Nov 17, published a request for comments asking for comments about “regulations and other requirements that can be rescinded, modified, or waived to assist business and individual taxpayers with the ongoing economic recovery from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic.”  This stems from Executive Order 13924, Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery, which was published in May.  Comments are due on January 4.  Please send your recommendation for association comments to [email protected]

COVID Legislation Roller Coaster Continues

After the White House announced it was no longer involved in COVID relief talks, and leaving it Congress, business leaders across the country expressed dismay.  Executives from the retail and air-travel industries saying more jobs will be lost if the economy doesn’t get immediate aid.

Congressional leaders are talking. But they are repeating their well-known positions:  Congressional Democrats are calling for a $2.2 trillion bill, while Senate Republicans are calling for a $500 billion bill.

A key possibility is approval of the FY2021 federal funding bill with added COVID-19 funding provisions.  The current stop-gap bill expires on Friday, Dec. 11.

Democrats offer blockbuster stockpile funding proposal
Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would shore up the supply of protective equipment for health care workers as the U.S. faces another surge of COVID-19 cases. The bill would appropriate $10 billion for the government to purchase large quantities of masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields. The bill would also create a $1 billion grant program to help small businesses “retool” their facilities to manufacture protective equipment on a larger scale.

It’s possible this level of funding could be rolled into either the annual funding bill or an end-of-year COVID-19 relief package.

Cal/OSHA Approves a COVID-19 Workplace Protection Rule

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has approved an emergency Covid-19 rule expected to take effect next month after the state’s Administrative Review Board conducts its survey of the rule.  It has 10 days to complete this task.

Approved on Nov. 19 by a 6-0 vote, the rule will cover the state’s 19 million workers. The core requirement:  employers must implement an effective Covid-19 prevention program. Those measures can be merged into the employer’s existing injury and illness prevention program. PPE highlights include:

Section 7 [which can be found on page 7 of the linked document]:  Face coverings.

(A) Employers shall provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees over the nose and mouth when indoors, when outdoors, and less than six feet away from another person, and where required by orders from the CDPH or local health department. Employers shall ensure face coverings are clean and undamaged. Face shields are not a replacement for face coverings, although they may be worn together for additional protection.

Face coverings are also required to be provided by employers to all residents of employer-provided housing. (see (d) on page 18).  Similar requires are included for employer-provided transportation (see (c) on page 20).

Section 8(E) [which can be found on page 9] covers PPE including:

gloves, goggles, and face shields, and respiratory protection, when the physical distancing requirements in subsection (c)(6) are not feasible or are not maintained.

Sec. 8(E) also covers medical procedures:  employers are told to provide and ensure use of eye protection and respiratory protection when employees are exposed to procedures that may aerosolize potentially infectious material such as saliva or respiratory tract fluids.

Possible Return of Executive Order 13673, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces?

Some may recall this rule that was published in August 2016, and taken down by Congress in March, 2017 via the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The crux of the rule was that any of regulation’s 14 employment-related cased brought against a federal contractor must be reported to the company’s federal contracting officer.  All cases would be reported no matter if they were dismissed, currently being considered, or decided in favor of the federal contractor.

The regulation would have created a new role of agency labor compliance advisors.  These individuals would decide any mitigating factors and remedial measures, the contractor should take to remain as on the rolls as able to bid on federal contracts.

While a rule that has been taken down via the CRA cannot be republished in the same or substantially similar form.  Nonetheless, some who specialize in labor law have noted this measure may be brought forth in the new Administration.

Executive Order Free-for-All?

White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, is reported to have asked key aides to provide ideas for Executive Orders that can try to implement Trump Administration priorities over the course of the next several weeks.  It’s unclear how well such orders will stick, or for how long, but manufacturers should be aware of late-breaking requirements.

President-Elect’s team reaches back to the days of Presidents Clinton and Obama

Ron Klain: A former chief of staff to Biden during his first years as vice president, Klain also coordinated the Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak, giving him both familiarity with Biden and important credentials as the Covid-19 response will consume Biden’s opening months. Biden insiders expect him to serve as White House chief of staff.

Cedric Richmond: The young Louisiana congressman was a day-one co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, a key bridge to Democrats in Congress and a prominent national surrogate. With his relationships on Capitol Hill and loyalty to Biden through early, difficult moments of the Democratic primary campaign — especially on flashpoints on race — he’s likely to be in the conversation for a top West Wing perch or Cabinet position, if he does not look to move up the ranks on Capitol Hill.

Kate Bedingfield: The Democratic communications operative joined Biden’s vice-presidential office in 2015 as he closed in on a final decision on the 2016 presidential race, quickly earning his trust. As deputy campaign manager and communications director, she is expected to serve in a similar role in the West Wing.

Jake Sullivan: A former national security adviser to Biden as vice president, Sullivan has also played a lead role in the campaign by crafting his domestic policy agenda alongside Stef Feldman, another veteran of the Biden vice presidential office. Sullivan is said to prefer a domestic policy role, perhaps on the Domestic Policy Council.

Tony Blinken: A former deputy secretary of state and longtime Biden foreign policy adviser, he is a favorite to serve either as national security adviser or potentially secretary of state as the Biden team weighs the makeup of Cabinet posts.

Bruce Reed: Another former Biden chief of staff, he has been one of the members of the inner circle who has spent the most time with the president-elect on the campaign trail and would likely be a versatile policy adviser in the West Wing.

Steve Ricchetti: Another former Biden vice presidential chief of staff, the Ohioan played an important but largely under-the-radar role for Biden’s presidential campaign in maintaining relationships with Democratic stakeholders and donors. Ricchetti would likely continue that formally or informally in Biden’s White House.

Yohannes Abraham and Jeff Zients: As the day-to-day “make-it-happen” leaders of Biden’s transition team for months, the duo could transition themselves into top West Wing or administration perches. Abraham served all eight years in the Obama White House, ultimately as chief of staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Zients served as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama and director of the National Economic Council.

Players without titles: Mike Donilon, the campaign’s chief strategist, may not take a formal West Wing post but will always be a sounding board for Biden — a role he’s played for decades. The president-elect’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will always have his ultimate trust. And former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman, helming Biden’s transition team, will also continue to offer counsel.


If you would like additional information on any of these items or other issues impacting your company, please contact Dan Glucksman at [email protected] or at 703-795-6064.