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Dear NCCA Member,
Advocacy Update
In the month of February, Lobbyit monitored a couple developments that can benefit NCCA and its membership.
 
In the month of February, Congress finally secured a deal to set the spending levels for FY18 and push the cliff of the "debt ceiling" to 2019. Unfortunately, there were additional crisis that arose and distracted Congress so that now we are facing another crunch to authorize spending and keep the government open after the middle of March. In February, the President released his budget and announced additional details about his infrastructure plan. Now, Congress will need to determine how much of the budget they will agree with, all indications are that there is plenty they will disregard as they negotiate among themselves to set the spending levels for FY19. Based on February developments, we anticipate that the big issues which will dominate the legislative calendar in the coming months will be the passage of a spending deal, figuring out what to do about DACA recipients, appropriation negotiations, cutting deals to address mistakes and oversights in the tax package that passed last year, and a determination if some deal can be struck over infrastructure.
 
During the month of February, Lobbyit pursued two issues that are part of our primary objective for NCCA - identifying actions that provide a direct benefit to the NCCA membership. One issue is that of association health plans. We are monitoring the Administration's work to comply with President Trump's Executive Order that directed the Department of Labor to issue a new rule that would govern the expansion of this part of the health insurance market. We've provided a detailed write-up to the NCCA team and can report that the President has reinforced his commitment to this initiative by requesting an additional $5 million for the office that would oversee this expansion after the rule is finalized. The fact is that once the rule is finalized there will be additional actions taken, either at the Administrative level and/or the legislative level. We will report these to NCCA and engage as appropriate. We want to ensure that as this rollout occurs, the concerns of associations of the size and build of NCCA are not forgotten.
 
The other issue, and the focus of our Hill meetings in February, is on the issue of child care for military families. Currently, there are multiple bills on the Hill that aim to address this issue. Senator Kaine is one of the Senators leading the charge on this and I met with his office to discuss his bill that does a couple of things: First, it directs the military to conduct an assessment to determine what the stipend should be for families to be able to pay for private child care and if that cap needs to be changed or removed altogether. The issue that the military faces is that they have a higher standard than the private sector in many states and that private providers often are unable to meet the standard. In the past, they've even offered to provide funding in order for private providers to meet the standard but no one took them up on this offer, according to the staffer I met with. He has a very good relationship with the committee staff on Armed Services that oversee the military authorization bills and the bill that Kaine's office has introduced will become law and this assessment will occur.
 
We think that this could be an opportunity, should it fit well with NCCA's interests, to work with some of these offices to determine what the best course of action might be to help provide child care for families. From my conversation, it seems that the military tackles this from multiple angles, including allowing for private providers to come on base to provide on-installation child care. Additionally, this is not the only bill in the Senate that deals with childcare programs. We are monitoring others but based on our conversations, Senator Kaine's office and his staff are adept at ensuring that their military-related language gets included in bills that become law.
 
While we work with the NCCA team to determine the best, most viable path forward on this issue, we will be engaging other offices on education opportunities for those in early childhood education.


Legislative/Regulatory Outlook and Activity
Representative Al Green (D-TX) introduced the Original Living Wage Act of 2017 on January 3rd, 2017. On the day it was introduced, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill currently has 10 cosponsors.
This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage to the minimum hourly wage sufficient for a person working for 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, to earn an annual income 15% higher than the federal poverty threshold for a four-person household, with two children under age 18, and living in the 48 contiguous states.
 
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the bill on January 23rd, 2017. On the same day, the bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The bill currently has one cosponsor.
This bill amends the Head Start Act to replace the existing Head Start program with block grants to states and Indian tribes for prekindergarten (pre-K) education. Instead of providing direct financial assistance to Head Start agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shall allot block grant funds for pre-K education among eligible states and Indian tribes in accordance withtheir relative proportions of children, age five and younger, from low-income households.Grant recipientsshall use the grant funds to: (1)award subgrants to eligible entitiesthat providepre-K education programs; (2) administer such programs; and (3) provide technical assistance, oversight, monitoring, research, and training. Under current law, HHS is authorized to designate, monitor, and establish standards forHead Start agencies. The bill instead shiftspre-K program oversight and controlto states and Indian tribes, whichshall have full flexibility to use grant funds to finance the pre-K programs oftheir choice.In addition,grant recipients may use grant funds to establish portable voucher systems that allow costs to be paidfor attendance atprivate pre-K education programs.
 
Representative Steve King (R-IA) introduced the bill on January 23rd, 2017. On the day it was introduced, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill currently has 2 cosponsors.
This bill repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states. The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which eachstate shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children withineach LEA's geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1)distribute a portion of funds toparents who elect toenroll their childin a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses. To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1)comply with education voucher program requirements, and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home-school their child.
 
Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced the 21stCentury Child Care Act on March 9th, 2017. On the day it was introduced, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill currently has 15 cosponsors.
This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for employment-related expenses for services provided by a high-quality child care center. The credit applies to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes below specified levels and is limited to: (1) $14,000 for each qualifying child who is under the age of three by the end of the year; and (2) $5,000 for each qualifying child who has attained the age of three by the end of the year, with adjustments for inflation after 2017. A "qualifying child" is a dependent who is under the age of five. The care must be provided by a facility that: (1) receives a fee, payment, or grant for providing care for children (other than just children who reside at the facility and regardless of whether such facility is operated for profit); and (2) meets state licensing requirements.
 
Representative Kristi L. Noem (R-SD) introduced the bill introduced May 4th, 2017. On the same day, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill currently has no cosponsors.
The bill amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch At and Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to eliminate certain federal nutrition "requirements" and making them "guidelines" instead.
 
Representative Leonard Lance (R-NJ) introduced the bill on May 16th, 2017. On the same day, it was referred to House Ways and Means, House Judiciary and House Education and the Workforce. It has no cosponsors.
The bill amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to make the E-Verify program permanent. It requires all federal agencies, contractors, and critical employers to participate in E-Verify, along with all U.S. employers. The Department of Homeland Security shall require the E-Verify participation of employers if they have reasonable cause to believe the employer has violated the process under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The bill increases civil and criminal penalties for hiring violations while establishing a good faith civil penalty exemption/reduction for certain hiring-related violations.
The bill eliminates the Form I-9 and sets forth E-Verify design and operation requirements.
The bill amends federal criminal code to charge illegal aliens possessing or using false identification information with identity fraud and subjects that person to a fine and/or penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
 

S.208 - PACE Act

On January 24, 2017, Sen. Angus S., Jr. King (I-ME) introduced S.208 to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Finance.Currently there are 3 cosponsors.
This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the tax credit for expenses for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment (known as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit), to: (1) make the credit refundable, (2) increase the rate for the credit, and (3) require the dollar amounts for such credit to be adjusted for inflation after 2017.
The bill also increases the amount of employer-provided dependent care assistance which may be excluded from the gross income of an employee and requires the increased exclusion amount to be adjusted for inflation after 2018.
Related Bills:H.R.3632 - PACE Act

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5/31/2018
NCCA Employee Benefits Webinar Series(Dep. of Labor Compliance Info.)