With the presidential election looming, Craig Brightup of the Brightup Group took to the stage to give contractors an inside look at Washington in his session titled “Election Year Policies, Politics and the Roofing Industry.”
Brightup noted that while the Nov. 6 election would determine the makeup of the 2013 Congress, the upcoming lame duck session of the current Congress was crucial. “There’s a whole lot of business that this Congress is dealing with, including the fiscal cliff,” he said. “There are more than 60 tax credits set to expire, including tax credits for efficient buildings.”
Issues facing the Congress in the lame duck session include the expiration of the Bush-era tax rates, budget sequestration for the Department of Defense, the payroll tax cut extension and another U.S. debt-limit increase.
If the economic landscape wasn’t bleak enough, contractors are facing a “regulatory avalanche,” according to Brightup. He noted the EPA was considering more than 200 major economic rules, while OSHA activities included implementing the new residential fall protection directive. He predicted that OSHA’s rules on crystalline silica could wreak havoc in the construction industry.
Brightup also brought attendees up to speed on the ramifications of the Department of Homeland Security’s recent policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which pertains tosome undocumented residents who were brought to the country while they were under the age of 16. Current estimates are that there might be 1.26 million people applying under the DACA program, and 58 percent of them are already working. But the law offers no guidance for employers while raising a lot of questions — and the specter of I-9 audits.
“What if they are already working under another name?” asked Brightup. “Watch out — this is a sleeping issue.”