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Senate votes to block federal contractor disclosure requirements

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Photo: U.S. Capitol

Washington – After a narrow vote in the Senate, the so-called “blacklisting” rule that sought to force federal contractors to disclose previous labor-law violations is all but eliminated.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a resolution to undo the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which former President Barack Obama introduced in July 2014. As part of the executive order, employers bidding for federal contracts worth at least $500,000 were required to disclose any of 14 established violations of workplace protections during the previous three years.

The House on Feb. 2 voted 236-187 to repeal the federal contractor disclosure requirements. On March 6, the Senate followed suit by voting 49-48 to undo the requirements.

Advocates of the rule say it is necessary to protect workers against contractors that neglect worker safety in the name of profits. However, critics claim it punishes contractors based on allegations of fault that have not been proven.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, praised the decision.

“The Senate today did the right thing by overturning the harmful Obama administration ‘blacklisting’ regulation that could have prevented our nation’s federal contractors from receiving a federal contract for an alleged labor violation before any wrongdoing has been proven,” Alexander said in a press release. “I’m urging President Trump to sign this legislation as soon as possible.”

But Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said eliminating the rule would weaken worker safety. Murray is the HELP Committee’s ranking member.

“Let’s be very clear – in rolling back these protections, President Trump and his party are yet again breaking their campaign promise to put workers first,” Murray said in a press release.

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