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Federal Issues Roundup 12/29/2021
- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) was quickly depleted last spring with over 60 percent of applicants in Vermont left without any funding and a hole of more than $120 million in much-needed relief. There is cautious hope for the replenishment of the RRF when Congress reconvenes in January. As a result of collective efforts by state and federal partners, there is a group of bi-partisan Senators working together to assemble a package of relief programs for small business sectors with restaurants as the anchor of the bill.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their employees are vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering at the workplace. This requirement was challenged in court, given a brief stay, and then allowed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, taking full effect in February 2022. Because Vermont is a State Plan state, Vermont has 30 days to adopt a standard that is at least as effective as what is outlined federally.
- A surprise announcement from Senator Manchin that he would not support Build Back Better has left President Biden’s legacy-defining legislation in limbo. With historic investments in child care, green infrastructure, health care, and affordable housing on the line, the President is unlikely to walk away from negotiations without a last-ditch effort to bring the senator from West Virginia back to the table. But Manchin’s opposition to the Child Tax Credit may be the roadblock that prevents Build Back Better from becoming law.
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law on November 15, is set to bring a total of Vermont over the next several years. This will mean big business for Vermont companies working on roads and bridges, power, broadband, water infrastructure, public transit, cybersecurity, climate change resiliency, and electric buses and charging stations. This funding will support the Vermont businesses laying the foundation for our future economy.
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