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On 2 October, Worldwide ERC® members ascended Capitol Hill to meet with congressional offices on policy issues important to workforce mobility. Worldwide ERC® President and CEO Peggy Smith, SCRP, SGMS-T, kicked off the event by welcoming the approximately 20 attendees representing 10 states. Worldwide ERC® Government Affairs Advisers Tristan North and Aidan Camas and Worldwide ERC® Tax Counsel Pete Scott then provided attendees with an orientation on best practices for meeting with congressional offices, the logistics of meeting on Capitol Hill, and the specifics of the mobility policies to be raised in meetings. Participants then spread out across Capitol Hill and met with 28 congressional offices before returning to the Cannon House Office Building for a closing reception.
During meetings, attendees of the Capitol Hill Day focused on four key workforce mobility policy issues:
Fairness for High-Skilled Immigration Act (H.R. 1044, S. 386) – Participants asked congressional staff to request that their respective members of Congress support this legislation and for Senators to cosponsor S. 386. H.R. 1044 and S. 386 by Representatives Lofgren (D-CA) and Buck (R-CO). The proposed legislation would eliminate the current 7% cap on the percentage of annual green cards available to workers from any one country. On 10 July, the House passed H.R. 1044 by a wide margin. Just prior to the Hill Day, Senate leadership had planned for the Senate to consider H.R. 1044 but Senators Purdue (R-GA) and Paul (R-KY) objected over concerns about not enough nurses from outside the U.S. being eligible for green cards to help solve the nursing shortage in rural areas. Attendees from Georgia met with staff of Senator Purdue who informed them that the concerns of the Senator had been addressed.
Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2521, S. 1302) – The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), International Association of Movers (IAM), Worldwide ERC® and a dozen other organizations have been leading the charge to protect the personally identifiable information (PII) of mobile employees shipping their personal household goods to the U.S. Staffers hearing the discussion of this greeted Hill Day attendees with primarily overwhelming support for becoming cosponsors of H.R. 2521 or S. 1302 but indicated they need to run the request by the Member of Congress. The Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act by Representatives Christ (D-FL) and Waltz and Senators Daines (R-MT) and Peters (D-MI) would direct Customs and Border Patrol to remove the PII before the agency sells the vessel shipping manifests to data brokers who post the information online for their subscribers.
Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act (S. 604) – Attendees asked Senate offices to cosponsor S. 604 by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Brown (D-OH), which would establish a uniform rule that states would tax workers only if they spent more than 30 days working in that particular state. When meeting with House staff, the request was for the Representative to introduce a House companion bill to S. 604 and to support the issue.
Reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – The Trump Administration recently released its framework for removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government control. Members of Congress from both parties have proposed similar plans. Participants in the Capitol Hill Day did not present a formal position on the issue, as Worldwide ERC® has not adopted one. Instead, participants merely asked congressional offices that any final plans to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should ensure continued accessibility to mortgages at reasonable interest rates for transferees.
The Capitol Hill Day on 1 October was the inaugural fly-in event for Worldwide ERC® and we plan on hosting the events semi-annually. The event is open to all Worldwide ERC® members and we strongly encourage you to participate in the next fly-in which is scheduled for this coming April or May.
We will be providing more details about the specific issues raised during Capitol Hill at the respective Government Affairs Forum meetings at the Worldwide ERC® Global Workforce Symposium in Boston next week.
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