Capitol Hill

The congressional agenda

The historic battle regarding health care reform legislation dominated the congressional agenda during 2009, putting many other issues on hold. Although it appears the health care debate will continue, NRCA expects Congress to take up several other initiatives of interest to the roofing industry this year.

Primary initiatives

Democratic leaders have indicated they will attempt to pass a "job creation" bill early this year. With the U.S. unemployment rate surpassing 10 percent at press time, many Democrats believe they must take action to spur economic growth and create jobs to avoid losses in the midterm elections. The legislation may include new or expanded tax incentives designed to boost business investment. However, passing legislation aimed at accelerating job creation will be difficult without further adding to the federal deficit.

This year, Congress also may act on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), or "card check" legislation, which effectively would eliminate secret-ballot elections for union organizing by allowing a union to be formed when a majority of workers sign authorization cards. The bill also would mandate binding interest arbitration if an employer and union cannot agree on a contract's terms, resulting in a government-appointed arbitrator dictating the contract's terms without recourse.