US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have set an aggressive pace of executive orders, regulatory and legislative changes, and proposed rulemaking to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a recovering economy, calls for racial justice, existing immigration and foreign policy, and a renewed focus on climate change, among other priorities. To help clients navigate those changes, Morgan Lewis is providing analysis of executive orders, key agency developments, and enacted and proposed regulations.
FDA issued an updated Q&A guidance in September 2021, Microbiological Considerations for Antimicrobial Agents Used in Food Applications: Guidance for Industry (Antimicrobial Agents Guidance), which replaces a guidance previously issued in September 2007 and revised in June 2008.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memorandum stating that, in her prosecutorial view, college athletes are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)—affording them all rights and protections under federal labor laws.
Senior attorney Pierce Blue and associate Alana Genderson authored an article for Bloomberg Law discussing how the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots can create potential legal issues for employers implementing vaccine policies.
According to recent guidance from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), providers of health apps and connected devices that collect consumers’ health information must comply with the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule, 16 CFR Part 318, and therefore are required to notify consumers and others when their health data is breached.
Hinting that the US Department of Labor (DOL) is currently working on guidance related to cryptocurrency, the Acting Assistant Secretary for the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration recently commented that the DOL finds the prospect of cryptocurrency investments in 401(k) plan lineups “troubling.” This may be a sign of DOL focus on the increasing frequency of ERISA plan investments in cryptocurrency vehicles, including funds with cryptocurrency exposures.
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidance on September 24 detailing the requirements that covered federal contractors and subcontractors must follow to comply with Executive Order 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” Covered contractors and subcontractors have until December 8 to ensure that covered employees—including those working from home—are fully vaccinated or qualify for a medical or religious accommodation.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an important reminder of the unique application of the limit under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 415(c) to 403(b) plans on August 20, 2021. The IRS’s “Issue Snapshot” highlighted a rule that has applied for decades, but with which 403(b) plan sponsors and administrators are often not familiar.
Recently proposed tax legislation, if enacted, would fundamentally alter the taxation of exchange traded funds. This LawFlash discusses the potential consequences of such legislation on industry participants, including retail investors.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) published a regulatory notice (RN 21-32) on September 14, 2021 requesting comment on its policy relating to the assignment of OTC symbols to unlisted equity securities. FINRA is considering whether it should begin assigning OTC symbols to unlisted equity securities that do not have a valid CUSIP identifier, in the limited circumstance where a broker-dealer demonstrates its best efforts to obtain a CUSIP identifier and provides documentation to identify the security.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently voted to withdraw its approval of the Vertical Merger Guidelines (the 2020 VMGs), which, as we covered in the past, the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) issued over a year ago on June 30, 2020. The vote on September 15, 2021 to rescind the policy statement broke along party lines, with the three Democratic commissioners—Chair Lina Kahn and Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter—outweighing their two Republican colleagues—Commissioners Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson.
The Democrats of the House of Representatives have released a much-anticipated tax plan that would significantly impact the federal estate and gift tax system. Importantly, the House could still amend this legislation and the Senate is actively working on its own bill. Nevertheless, the time for estate planning is now.
It has become increasingly clear that improving cybersecurity will be a main focus, and important goal, of the Biden-Harris administration.
August 2021 proved to be a busy month for stakeholders in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. Between US President Joseph Biden's August 5 executive order to encourage the development of EVs and $15 billion in funds earmarked for EV support in the Senate-approved infrastructure legislation, the growth outlook for EVs and other zero-emission transportation is strong.
FINRA is proposing to extend the ability of firms to have remote inspections until June 30, 2022. As discussed in the rule filing, FINRA Rule 3110.17 provide firms the option of satisfying their inspection obligations under Rule 3110(c) remotely for calendar years 2020 and 2021, subject to specified conditions. The rule was to automatically sunset on December 31, 2021. FINRA has extended the rule in light of the COVID-19 delta variant, inconsistent vaccination rates, and an uptick in infections. The filing includes a request for immediate effectiveness, with the rule change being operative on January 1, 2022.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that it will make $25.5 billion available in new COVID-19 relief funds to providers through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). To that end, HRSA will disburse $17 billion in Phase 4 payments remaining from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to a “broad range of providers” based on lost revenues and expenses between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
As highlighted previously, three federal banking agencies (the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) recently issued proposed risk management guidance regarding third-party relationships (Proposed Guidance). Among other things, the Proposed Guidance specifies that banking organizations should adopt third-party risk management processes that are commensurate with the identified level of risk and complexity from the third-party relationships, and with the organizational structure of each banking organization.
According to the proposed Nasdaq board diversity and disclosure rules, listed companies must disclose board-level diversity data and will be required to have two diverse directors—or explain why they don’t meet this requirement.
FINRA filed a proposed rule change with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 26, 2021 to delay the effective date of changes to FINRA Rule 4210 that were previously implemented on December 15, 2016.
How to best address impacts from our rapidly changing climate is an issue that has permeated almost all sectors of the global economy, traversing industries and impacting all. Governments and businesses around the world are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to or mitigate anticipated climate change impacts. These initiatives promise to drive emerging market opportunities and public demand to accelerate existing trends toward energy efficiency, jump-start alternative technologies, and prod changes in financing and tax policy.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides for a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for up to six months, from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, for Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) as defined under the guidance. Our prior blog posts, DOL Issues ARPA COBRA Subsidy Model Notices and FAQs and IRS Provides Second Round of FAQs on COBRA Subsidies, provide more information about the ARPA COBRA subsidy and the associated notice requirements.
Substantial change is imminent for key labor law issues commonly affecting healthcare entities. Healthcare employers utilize handbooks and rules, implement property access controls, and engage in human resources investigations, for instance. All these areas, and more, are poised for change with the new Biden-Harris administration National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) general counsel memorandum, highlighting a swath of legal issues where the general counsel will litigate test cases to change the law.
Partner Michelle McCarthy and associates Jacob Oksman and Claire Rowland drafted an article for Practical Guidance about changes the IRS made to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System.
Newly confirmed National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo announced her enforcement priorities in a lengthy memorandum released on August 12, 2021. The memorandum requires employers to rethink their policies and practices in a number of key labor law areas, or else be subject to potentially unfair labor practice litigation intended to reverse precedent or change the law.
It’s been a big week for electric vehicles. Between the Biden-Harris administration’s August 5 executive order to encourage the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and $15 billion in funds in the Senate-approved infrastructure legislation, the growth outlook for EVs and other zero-emission transportation is strong.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives’ Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee recently voted three bills out of committee that target the pharmaceutical industry practices of so-called “reverse payments,” “product hopping,” and “sham” citizen petitioning. Versions of some of these bills had been under consideration by this subcommittee for years, but had not been voted out of committee until now.
As the automotive and mobility industry continues to grow under the watch of a new US presidential administration, it is important for key players to better understand the government agencies charged with enforcing the rules governing the market’s potentially criminal activities and the administration’s existing enforcement priorities. Here we discuss how the Biden-Harris administration’s enforcement priorities are likely to impact the automotive and mobility industry, as well as focus on special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), possibly the newest frontier for parallel criminal and civil enforcement.
In a move that the Biden-Harris administration is promoting as a partial fulfillment of a campaign promise to cut US greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) at least in half by 2030, President Joseph Biden signed a new executive order last week setting a goal of 50% of all new passenger cars and light trucks to be zero emissions vehicles by 2030 and building on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed tailpipe emission standards that are set to begin with the 2023 car model year.
As we get closer to the September 30 expiration date of the COBRA premium subsidy provided under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the IRS has issued a second set of FAQs in Notice 2021-46 (Notice) to supplement its prior guidance and provide some specific answers to questions that remained unanswered. The first set of IRS FAQs were provided under Notice 2021-31, which we summarized in our previous LawFlash.
US President Joseph Biden signed an executive order on August 5 that underscores his stated commitment to encourage the development and deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy agenda. The executive order, Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks, aims to increase the production of zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and directs new pollution and fuel economy standards for light‑, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2027 and later. President Biden’s issuance of the executive order, combined with the EV-related implications of various provisions in the draft infrastructure bill currently pending in Congress, may well serve to facilitate increased deployment of EVs in US markets.
As we described in our August 31, 2020 LawFlash, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Interim Final Rule (Rule) on August 18, 2020 outlining the requirement of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) for employers to provide “lifetime income illustrations” to defined contribution plan (e.g. 401(k), 403(b), etc.) participants. The purpose of the Rule is to provide participants with disclosures that will help them understand how their defined contribution plan accounts may translate into an income stream in retirement.
As we described in our August 31, 2020 LawFlash, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Interim Final Rule (Rule) on August 18, 2020 outlining the requirement of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) for employers to provide “lifetime income illustrations” to defined contribution plan (e.g. 401(k), 403(b), etc.) participants. The purpose of the Rule is to provide participants with disclosures that will help them understand how their defined contribution plan accounts may translate into an income stream in retirement.
On July 16, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Revenue Procedure 2021-30, which made several important changes to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) and expanded the ability of plan sponsors to correct certain compliance failures under their retirement plans.
The US Department of Labor (DOL) issued Information Letter 06-14-2021 last month to the attorney of a plan participant who requested a copy of an audio recording and transcript of a phone conversation he or she had with the plan’s insurer. The participant was requesting this information in relation to the participant’s denied claim under the plan.
The National Labor Relations Board, in one of its most significant decisions in recent years on “union protest” issues, has substantially eroded the protection given to “neutral” parties when unions erect large inflatable rats and other displays targeting businesses that have no direct involvement in the underlying labor dispute. This ruling will likely promote more widespread tactics directed against such neutral businesses, which will predictably expand the scope of labor disputes beyond the particular employer whose actions gave rise to the dispute.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made important changes to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS) in Revenue Procedure 2021-30 that are helpful for plan sponsors as they expand the ability of plan sponsors to self-correct certain operational failures. The IRS also requested comments on Revenue Procedure 2021-30 so there may be more changes to come.
The US Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (the Departments) along with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued Requirements Related to Surprise Billing; Part I on July 1. This interim final rule (IFR) is the first in a series of regulations implementing the No Surprises Act, which was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that was signed into law at the end of 2020.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has issued an interim final rule implementing the special financial assistance provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act to assist financially troubled multiemployer pension plans.
In recent years, target retirement date funds (TDFs) have become a very popular investment option on participant-directed defined contribution plan investment lineups. But, as discussed in this LawFlash, as TDFs have grown in popularity, there are signs of increasing scrutiny around TDFs used in participant-directed defined contribution ERISA plan investment lineups. This increasing scrutiny is expected to raise new regulatory initiatives generating new questions and may favor increased process review by ERISA plan fiduciaries.
EB-2 China cutoff dates advance by four months, EB-3 India cutoff dates advance by six months, and EB-1 priority date cutoff dates remain “Current” for all classifications.
The US Department of State announced on July 6 that it has extended the validity of previously issued National Interest Exceptions (NIEs), and that going forward, NIEs will be granted for a validity period of one year for multiple entries to the United States.
The still evolving US sanctions (as well as the EU and now also separate UK sanctions) continue to challenge Russia-related business. The sanctions frameworks are complex, changing, and, at times, inconsistent as well as overlapping. Navigating this complex global framework is made even more difficult by the ongoing unpredictable and reactionary geopolitical environment as the Biden Administration gets underway.
Commissioner Annie Caputo has announced her plans to leave the NRC when her term expires next week, on June 30, 2021. This will leave the Commission with the bare minimum number of commissioners needed to conduct business.
In keeping with the Biden-Harris administration’s commitments to strengthen federal regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced three actions last week with respect to the agency’s regulation of the use, import, and manufacture of PFAS.
On June 11, 2021, the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a proposed sale notice to sell commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight. The New York Bight is an area of shallow waters located between Long Island and the New Jersey coast that is adjacent to the greater metropolitan tristate area, which is home to more than 20 million people. BOEM proposes to offer for sale eight lease areas and to complete the lease sale by holding a public auction.
In a move that is expected to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers announced their intent to revise the definition of “waters of the United States”—a key threshold for the Clean Water Act’s application.
We repeatedly warned over the past few months (here, here, and here), that officials at the highest levels of the DOL were signaling that the DOL would begin an audit initiative focusing on retirement plan cybersecurity practices. Despite plan fiduciaries having had just a handful of weeks to digest the DOL’s only actionable guidance on cybersecurity and privacy matters, the wait is over. We can confirm that the DOL has begun issuing information and document requests under this new initiative, and the requests are probing and indicate serious inquiry by the DOL.
In a May 27 Federal Register notice, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the reinstatement of the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, the FDA’s compliance policy governing marketed unapproved drugs. The announcement is an abrupt—but not unexpected—reversal from a previously issued controversial decision by the Trump administration’s HHS to end the Unapproved Drugs Initiative in November 2020. The reinstatement means that companies that market unapproved drugs should reassess their risk under FDA’s preexisting enforcement priorities.
The new executive order continues the policy of prohibiting US persons’ transactions in the publicly traded securities of select Chinese companies, but expands the scope to include both Chinese companies that operate or have operated in the defense and related materiel sector and those in the surveillance technology sector of the economy of the People's Republic of China.
US Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on May 21 to ensure hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like other ingredients used in dietary supplements, foods, and beverages.
As many of our readers are aware, President Joseph Biden issued an executive order on May 12 to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. While much of the executive order focuses on strengthening the federal government’s networks from cybersecurity threats, “[t]he private sector must adapt to the continuously changing threat environment, ensure its products are built and operate securely, and partner with the Federal Government to foster a more secure cyberspace.”
The scope of commitments by corporations involving their own sustainability efforts around the globe has markedly accelerated this year. About 300 companies have signed on to the RE100 initiative, which brings together businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. And recently, more than 400 businesses urged the Biden-Harris administration and the United States to set goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
US President Joseph Biden issued the Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk on May 20, 2021, directing federal agencies across the US government to take action addressing climate-related financial risk.
The Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2021-31, providing the much-anticipated guidance plan sponsors, multiemployer plans, and COBRA administrators have been waiting for related to the COBRA subsidy provisions under the American Rescue Plan Act.
Last week, we posted on the guidance issued by the US Department of Labor (DOL) for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, recordkeepers, and plan participants on cybersecurity best practices. Last week’s post focused on the guidance provided for hiring a service provider. In this week’s post, we will highlight some the DOL’s cybersecurity program best practices for use by recordkeepers and other service providers responsible for plan-related IT systems and data.
Just over 100 Days into the Biden-Harris administration, the course being charted by the government for automobile emissions and emerging automotive mobility technologies is becoming clearer. It includes retooling the current approach toward emissions regulations, including the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and the California Waiver as well as revitalizing the federal government’s sustainability efforts to achieve or facilitate clean and zero emission vehicles for federal, state, local, and tribal government fleets. But with new and existing legal and regulatory pitstops along the way, companies attempting to leverage these developments should consider the updates below before shifting into gear.
In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the Biden-Harris administration announced on April 30 that the COVID-19-related admission bans currently in place will be expanded to include travelers from India. The ban is currently scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 am EDT on May 4.
The Biden-Harris administration on April 28 introduced the American Families Plan (AFP), a $1.8 trillion legislative framework including provisions to “grow the middle class, expand the benefits of economic growth to all Americans, and leave the United States more competitive.” The AFP would expand access to education, reduce the cost of child care, create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, and extend or make permanent certain tax credits for families with children and low and middle-income households, such as the Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
US President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have consistently framed their policies with what they call the four major “crises” facing the nation: COVID-19, the economy, climate, and inequity.
During the Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by the Biden-Harris administration on April 22 and 23 in Washington, DC, President Joseph Biden set aggressive goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States.
The Biden-Harris administration has set its sights on an ambitious environmental policy agenda, focusing on climate change and environmental justice as key initiatives, and intends to implement its agenda through an “all of government” approach. The all-of-government strategy, first deployed in the United Kingdom in the late 1990s, employs a coordinated, multi-department, multi-agency approach to address particularly complex problems.
The pace of regulatory and legislative developments in climate change and renewable energy over the past few years has been dizzying. With a new US presidential administration now focused on energy issues, examples set from forward-thinking states, and recent lessons learned on the importance of grid stability, here are some of the expected federal actions aimed at achieving energy goals in the “new abnormal.”
In the US Securities and Exchange Commission staff’s most recent guidance addressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, the staff of the Division of Examinations released an April 9 Risk Alert noting observations made during recent examinations of investment advisers and funds (both registered and private) engaged in ESG investing.
The VATM Yearbook 2021 takes an honest look at the current broadband and regulatory situation, analyzes problem areas, and offers solutions on how to achieve what is feasible and how to get there. Clear political perspectives for the post-election period are presented by the general secretaries of the major parties in Germany.
The American Rescue Plan Act 2021, signed into law by President Joseph Biden on March 11, 2021, provides for significant relief to the most troubled multiemployer pension plans. The extent to which such relief also extends to the employers that contribute to those plans is currently an unanswered question, pending further guidance from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
As we described in our March 15, 2021 LawFlash, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for any employee or dependent who is a COBRA qualified beneficiary (or will become one) resulting from an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction of hours (referred to as an Eligible Individual).
The education industry, like many others, saw a fundamental shift in 2020 as remote learning challenged some of the long-held traditions of institutions, educators, and related companies. From federal support of reopening in-person classes to changes in college athletics to overall financial challenges, here are some of the trends we could see defining the industry for the rest of 2021.
The Biden-Harris administration announced its American Jobs Plan, a legislative framework laying out an ambitious $2 trillion investment in physical and human infrastructure, on March 31. The bulk of the proposed spending is directed to rebuild US infrastructure in the form of physical improvements on roads, bridges, airports, and ports, with additional investment and tax credits to support clean energy generation and storage, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency.
Consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s “whole of government” approach to climate change as announced in its Day 1 and Day 7 executive orders, on March 29 the administration announced a variety of concrete initiatives that executive agencies will be taking to accelerate the development, permitting, and construction of US offshore wind projects and boost the already-growing industry as a whole. In addition to highlighting the importance of offshore wind in lowering carbon emissions and addressing climate change, the announcement emphasized the substantial collateral benefits that the administration expects offshore wind growth will bring, including jobs, investment, and related infrastructure improvements.
The Biden-Harris administration has allowed Presidential Proclamation 10052 (PP 10052) to expire as of March 31. PP 10052, implemented by the previous administration in June 2020, had suspended the issuance of certain nonimmigrant or temporary visas in several categories.
With the recent passage of the COVID-19 stimulus package, President Joseph R. Biden, his administration, and Congress have turned their attention to long-term economic recovery, deficit reduction, and tax reform. Proposals cover a broad range of tax policy issues, from raising the corporate income tax rate to reforming the current international tax regime. This LawFlash summarizes key elements of some of the tax reform proposals that have recently emerged.
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval on March 26 that would invalidate the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) true lender final rule.
The OCC, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the FDIC (collectively, the Banking Regulators) announced an interim final rule on March 9 that revises their capital rules to facilitate implementation of the US Treasury Department’s Emergency Capital Investment Program.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides $1.9 trillion in relief funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic, support the US economy, and provide relief for impacted Americans. Signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden on March 11, 2021, ARPA includes provisions affecting healthcare providers, who remain on the frontlines of the pandemic as the new law takes effect.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) issued a Statement of Policy (Statement) on March 8 making it clear that going forward it will exercise its full authority to penalize covered persons found to have engaged in abusive acts or practices, 12 U.S.C. §5536(a)(1)(B), in violation of its core consumer protection authority. In doing so, the Bureau’s acting director rescinded a January 20, 2020, Policy Statement (2020 Statement) issued by a director appointed by former President Donald Trump, in which the Bureau advised, among other things which we have previously discussed, that it would generally not seek civil penalties for “abusive conduct” unless there had been a lack of a good faith effort to comply with the law.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes a COBRA premium subsidy and increases the dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) limits. While the availability of the COBRA premium subsidy is a requirement, the increase in the DCFSA limit is optional.
The US Department of Labor proposed to eliminate two of the previous administration’s signature rules, the joint employer rule and the independent contractor rule.
Morgan Lewis’s 15th annual 2020 Year in Review and a Look Forward provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of key 2020 US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and examination developments, notable broker-dealer cases, and anticipated enforcement priorities for 2021, including under the potential leadership of SEC chair nominee Gary Gensler.
President Joseph R. Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11, which provides $1.9 trillion in relief funds across a broad spectrum of categories, including additional support for vaccine distribution, school reopenings, small business grants, tax credits, pension funds, unemployment support, health benefits, and homeowner assistance. Here are some key takeaways from the expansive bill that will be impactful to businesses across the United States.
Following the enactment of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act in December 2020, the Biden administration announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program on February 22, 2021 aimed at providing greater access to funds for underserved businesses and communities. This LawFlash discusses these recent changes, highlighting key provisions and guidance for businesses seeking to participate in the program before it officially expires on March 31, 2021 (pending any additional legislation from Congress).
The US Senate on March 6 passed the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 (EPPRA) as part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 (H.R. 1319), the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.
We previously reported on recent mortgage rulemakings that were finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) late last year. Of the two final rules from the Bureau, one drastically simplifies the definition of a “qualified mortgage” (QM) (the General QM Final Rule), and the other provides an alternate pathway to QM safe harbor status for certain seasoned mortgage loans (the Seasoned QM Final Rule). Both of these final rules—with potentially major impacts on the housing market—were published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2020, with effective dates of March 1, 2021 (although the General QM Final Rule contains a mandatory compliance date of July 1, 2021).
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced on March 2 that it has amended its 2020 Supply and Service Scheduling List by removing all establishments selected to receive focused reviews and compliance checks. Establishment-based compliance reviews, Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation reviews, Functional Affirmative Action Program reviews, and university compliance reviews will still proceed.
Much of the attention in President Joseph Biden’s executive actions in his first 100 days has been focused on his numerous executive orders on topics ranging from climate and COVID-19 to race and gender. Although these executive orders will immediately alter certain policies, observers have overlooked one non-executive order that may have a more consequential impact during the remainder of President Biden’s term: his January 20, 2021 memorandum titled “Modernizing Regulatory Review” (MMR).
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on February 24 to address possible vulnerabilities in the supply chains of critical national economic sectors, including the energy sector. The executive order directs various executive departments and agencies to complete, in coordination with private stakeholders, a series of assessments to evaluate the resiliency of supply chains in those key sectors. In his prepared remarks, President Biden explained that the order was prompted partly by concerns surrounding shortages in semiconductors, which are vital components of electronic devices used in everything from mobile phones to motor vehicles.
President Joe Biden has rescinded Presidential Proclamation 10014, the prior administration’s ban that suspended the issuance of certain green cards overseas and barred entry into the United States of certain groups of immigrants. Effective immediately, these individuals should be eligible to enter the United States as permanent residents, and US consular posts should begin issuing immigrant visas to these applicants.
We previously reported on recent mortgage rulemakings that were finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) late last year. Of the two final rules from the Bureau, one drastically simplifies the definition of a “qualified mortgage” (QM) (the General QM Final Rule), and the other provides an alternate pathway to QM safe harbor status for certain seasoned mortgage loans (the Seasoned QM Final Rule).
President Joe Biden has been in office for 34 days and his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, has not yet been confirmed. So far, Mr. Walsh has not publicly stated much regarding his views or intended priorities with respect to ERISA, although it is known that he has a background in labor organizing and the pension issues related to labor unions.
Morgan Lewis partner Eleanor Pelta authored a Law360 article about the potential immigration policies of the Biden administration. In the piece, she discussed current actions regarding immigration including eight executive orders, four memoranda, and three proclamations that concern or impact immigration.
As part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to address the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American families, on February 16, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, US Department of Veterans Affairs, and US Department of Agriculture (together, the agencies) announced a coordinated extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. This announcement extends and expands the agencies’ forbearance and foreclosure relief programs through June 30, 2021. The programs were due to expire in March.
The US Department of State announced on February 10 that students possessing valid F-1 and M-1 visas who are seeking admission to the United States from the Schengen area countries, the United Kingdom, and Ireland no longer need to seek a National Interest Exception (NIE) to enter the United States. These travelers will automatically be able to enter the United States under a general NIE, without needing to obtain preauthorization from a US consular post.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director David Uejio has put a special focus on the manner in which responses are made to the CFPB’s consumer complaint system. Signaling the importance of this issue by undertaking it even before President Joe Biden’s nominee for director, Rohit Chopra, is confirmed to the position, Uejio has called out in a publicly released message to CFPB staff the possibility that some responses to complainants are incomplete—and vary by the complainant’s apparent demographic community.
With the arrival of a new US presidential administration, companies are anticipating potential shifts in enforcement priorities by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the areas of climate change, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and emerging contaminants and chemical safety. In several areas, there is likely to be a rollback of the rollbacks of environmental rules implemented by the former administration, as well as an increased emphasis on environmental justice.
The inauguration of US President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, marked the beginning of what will surely be a major transition across the US legislative and regulatory landscape—including the laws and regulations governing financial services firms in the United States.
Executive Order 13873 focused on securing the information and communications technology and services supply chain against transactions involving “foreign adversaries.” Companies in the information and communications technology and services sector should carefully study the new definitions, processes, procedures, and implications of the Interim Rule to ensure business continuity and stability.
The Biden administration has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase domestic production of essential supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Insight, we address key features of the DPA, guidance for companies that may receive a rated order, financing incentives offered by the DPA, and how we anticipate the Biden administration will use the DPA over the next year.
In May 2020, US President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13920, banning the unrestricted import or use of certain categories of bulk-power system electric equipment from foreign adversaries, with a focus on Russian and Chinese equipment suppliers. The future of that regulation is now up in the air.
Shortly after the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) Director Kathleen Kraninger submitted her resignation. Soon after that, the president announced that he had appointed David Uejio, a veteran CFPB official who most recently served as the Bureau’s chief strategy officer, to serve as acting director until the Senate confirms Rohit Chopra, his nominee for director.
In one of the last proposed notices from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump administration, HHS removed the 510(k) premarket notification requirement for seven types of gloves and proposed the same for 84 other devices ranging from gowns to ventilators.
President Joe Biden signed three new executive orders relating to immigration on Tuesday. Along with the executive orders issued immediately after his inauguration and the immigration legislative proposal sent to Congress on Day 1 of the new administration, these orders mark a stark new direction in immigration policy to strike a more welcoming tone with respect to immigrants, and to move away from the more restrictive rules and guidelines implemented during the Trump administration.
Among other features, the new guidance recommends that employers implement a COVID-19 prevention program and identifies key measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19.
US President Joe Biden’s focus on Buy American Act domestic preference regulations and agency practices of implementing regulations and issuing waivers is likely to lead to an increased focus on federal government contractors’ compliance with heightened requirements.
President Trump’s Executive Order Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies (EO 13959) prohibits transactions by or on behalf of US persons in publicly traded securities of Chinese companies identified by the US government as “Communist Chinese military companies.” This update discusses significant developments related to EO 13959 since our November 17 LawFlash, including OFAC actions and interpretations, and implications arising from those developments.
January 28 was designated as “health day” for President Joe Biden’s early push of executive orders, with two new executive actions added to a growing list. The Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act and Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad were described by President Biden as “restorative” of policies modified by the prior administration.
President Joe Biden issued a series of executive orders on January 27 to further confront the “existential threat” of climate change, to reaffirm the executive branch’s commitment to evidence-based policymaking and innovation, and to build on the executive actions taken on Day 1. This LawFlash provides an overview of several of the key actions under those orders.
President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders and announced other directives that will impact employers in the first 100 days of his administration, including guidance on protecting worker health and safety, economic relief for families and businesses, and racial equity and support.
President Joe Biden issued on January 25 an Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers (EO). This EO leaves in place key portions of the prior administration’s July 15, 2019 EO 13881 (Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials) and related implementing regulations, orders a sweeping review of multiple domestic preference rules, including proposing standards for domestic products, and establishes a central Office of Management and Budget (OMB) authority to approve federal agency waiver requests of Made in America requirements.
President Joe Biden’s first days in office have focused heavily on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and human rights as applied across federal agencies and programs. We anticipate that this pattern will continue and that the principles underlying his first actions will heavily influence policy, federal contracting, and eligibility to participate in federal programs, and may help businesses focus their approach to federal policymaking going forward.
In an effort to curb the further spread of COVID-19, President Joe Biden has extended restrictions on US admission from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil as of January 26, and expanded the restrictions to include travel from South Africa as of January 30. The new restrictions prohibit travel from any of these regions during the 14-day period preceding anticipated entry to the United States, with certain exceptions.
Under President Joe Biden, pharmaceutical regulation may see increased FDA guidance, new strategies to speed up innovation and regulatory review, and a renewed focus on diseases with unmet needs, among other expectations.
President Joe Biden has elevated Democratic Commissioner Christopher T. Hanson to serve as Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Mr. Hanson succeeds former Republican Chairman Christine Svinicki—the longest-serving Commissioner in the history of the agency—who stepped-down on January 20, 2021. Although timing is uncertain, President Biden also is expected to nominate a fifth Commissioner to fill the former Chair’s vacant seat. If that pick shares Chairman Hanson’s views, the agency’s longstanding threshold for intervenor challenges to license applications could be overturned.
In an expected move, President Joe Biden has designated Commissioner Richard Glick as the new FERC Chairman. Chairman Glick takes over from Commissioner James Danly, whose term as Chairman lasted less than three months.
Immediately following his inauguration on January 20, US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. began taking executive action to enact many of his administration’s initial priorities, which included a number of executive orders, memoranda, and directives to cabinet agencies to address policies he detailed during his campaign, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, equality, and the global economy. To help clients navigate potential changes from these actions, Morgan Lewis has provided a quick analysis of many of these orders and their impact. We will release more detailed pieces as the president unveils additional specifics of his First 100 Days plan.
Following the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, President Biden signed several executive orders related to immigration. And, as promised by the Biden transition team, the Biden administration has sent a sweeping immigration reform proposal to Congress, where the effort to pass the bill will be led by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. We provide below a summary of significant executive actions related to immigration, as well as a summary of the key points in the legislative proposal. We also summarize the status of certain Trump administration immigration rules post-inauguration.
As the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden took significant steps on his first day in office to advance the energy and climate initiatives of his administration. This LawFlash provides a brief summary of several key actions, including the notice of the United States’ intention to rejoin the Paris Agreement, cancellation of the federal permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, and directives by President Biden to certain federal agencies, as well as an overview of key members of his climate team who will be advancing administration policies.
It’s clear that President Joe Biden’s approach toward consumer protection and financial services enforcement will differ from that of his predecessor. In addition to general housekeeping matters, such as replacing and hiring personnel, it’s likely we’ll see more cooperation among state attorneys general, including across state lines, and federal agencies as well as a guaranteed increase in enforcement, especially against individuals in the coming days of the new administration.
Effective June 30, 2021, the US Department of Labor will determine the prevailing wage for permanent labor certifications and labor condition applications based on a new formula for computing prevailing wage levels, resulting in higher prevailing wage levels for all occupations in the Occupation Employment Statistics wage database.
Most media accounts suggest that the incoming Biden administration will usher in a more “aggressive” SEC enforcement posture, with renewed emphasis on investigating potential fraud and controls deficiencies at public companies. SEC Enforcement may face some short-term headwinds to this approach.
Our FDA and digital health teams recently published a LawFlash on how a Biden administration will affect the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) oversight and regulation of medical devices and digital health.
The US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released anticipated final regulations pertaining to the federal income tax credit for carbon capture projects under Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code on January 6, 2021. The final regulations in certain significant respects respond favorably to taxpayer comments to the proposed regulations released on May 28, 2020.
The Final Rule retains the “economic realities” test while focusing on two “core factors” in analyzing whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor but given the upcoming change in administration, employers should not make any changes in reliance on the Final Rule.
Medical device companies should be prepared for an increase in FDA enforcement activity with the incoming Biden administration, in addition to changes in agency leadership and repeals of regulatory reform.
Morgan Lewis antitrust partners, Richard Taffet, Ryan Kantor and Will Tom co-authored an article “Antitrust Enforcement in a Biden Administration,” for a special issue of Concurrences Competition Law Review focused on the topic The New US Antitrust Administration.
The US Department of Energy (DOE or Department) finalized a rulemaking proceeding last week that revises its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing procedures pertaining to certain authorizations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). This update limits DOE’s review of environmental impacts associated with natural gas exports to certain countries; DOE’s review will only consider the environmental effects of marine transportation, which DOE has also determined as not creating a significant environmental impact.
Morgan Lewis partners Susan Harthill, Jennifer Breen, and Kenneth Polite authored a Law360 article about the pace of personnel changes that could result in federal agencies under a Biden administration.
While workplace safety standards have been thrust into the national conversation since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement has been relatively quiet. That will likely change under a Biden administration.
Morgan Lewis partners Sandra Moser and Kenneth Polite authored a Law360 article about what a Biden administration will likely mean for white collar enforcement actions under the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
With only weeks until the US presidential administration changes hands, companies and consumers alike are anticipating what a Biden presidency will mean for consumer financial protection and for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the agency charged with overseeing it. Partner Robin Nunn and of counsel Eamonn Moran outline some of the changes that may lie ahead.
A new US presidential administration brings new priorities across various areas and industries, including regulation and enforcement of activities that affect the environment. With President-Elect Joe Biden expected to assume the presidency on January 20, 2021, there are a number of considerations for companies tracking potential changes to the law governing the use of chemicals and antimicrobials.
There was a perception in 2017 when then President-elect Trump took office that white collar enforcement actions under the US Department of Justice (DOJ) might drop dramatically. Many expected the Republican administration to effect policy changes or resourcing decisions that would keep corporations out of the spotlight when it came to major investigations and massive penalties.
The new Executive Order (EO or the Order) bans transactions by US persons in publicly traded securities of companies identified as “Chinese military companies,” and includes a ban on trading in derivatives of those securities and any securities designed to “provide investment exposure” to such securities, thereby capturing Exchange Traded Funds and arguably extending to funds that rely on those companies’ securities in any manner. The EO provides an 11-month wind down for divestiture of covered securities and positions.
Last week’s state attorney general races brought little change on the surface, but change in Washington significantly increases the risk of enforcement and litigation by the states. If it seems counterintuitive, it is. But this Washington changeover heightens the complexity of the relationship between Washington and state capitols.
Partner Stephanie Feingold told Bloomberg Law that while it could be years before the Environmental Protection Agency publishes final rules of what constitutes safe PFAS—or “forever chemical”—levels, if an eventual regulation includes manufactured goods, it will apply to “about every manufacturing industry.”
Partner Neeraj Arora spoke with The Bond Buyer Podcast about the trends and risks in energy storage and its continued growth during the pandemic.
Partner Julie Stapel spoke with Law360 about a new US Department of Labor proposal that could break down some Trump-era barriers that discouraged ESG investing by employee retirement funds.
Partner Daniel Tehrani spoke with National Law Journal about the US Department of Justice’s new enforcement team tasked with investigating and prosecuting criminal cases involving cryptocurrency, as well as growing the department’s knowledge about this rapidly evolving industry.
Partner Elizabeth Goldberg spoke with Bloomberg Law about a proposed regulation from the US Department of Labor (DOL), which states that fiduciaries’ duty of prudence “may often require” consideration of the economic effects of climate change.
Partner Ryan McCarthy told Law.com that government contractors can expect an uptick in whistleblower allegations related to cybersecurity following the US Department of Justice’s announcement of a new initiative that would use the False Claims Act to target cybersecurity-related fraud by these contractors and grant recipients.
Partner Reece Hirsch joined the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology’s (BCLT’s) Expert Series podcast to discuss the Data Protection Act of 2021.
Associate Alana Genderson spoke with NPR about the factors employers must weigh when granting religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Partner Stephanie Feingold discussed the US Environmental Protection Agency's pending requirement that companies report their use of so-called “forever chemicals” in Law360.
The Health and Human Services Department announced in early September $8.5 billion in COVID-19 stimulus funding to rural healthcare providers—however, eligibility hinges on whether the patients are rural, not the providers. The grants are part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a sweeping, $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package Congress approved in early 2021.
Partner Duke McCall discussed a congressional plan to revive a decades-dormant tax on chemicals and possibly on crude oil with Law360.
Partner Neeraj Arora spoke with Law360 about a Congressional proposal that would provide for significant clean energy tax credits.
Partner Thomas Linguanti spoke with Law360 about the results of a pilot program run by the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) that invited greater participation from compliance personnel in the appeals process.
As part of our Spotlight series, we connect with Jeff Boujoukos, the leader of Morgan Lewis’s securities enforcement practice, to discuss the current and future state of affairs of the regulation and enforcement activities of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings. Jeff points to recent cases and statements that may impact and shape the cryptocurrency market going forward.
Weeks of intense lobbying efforts from the cryptocurrency industry were spurred by a provision included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act about cryptocurrency reporting requirements.
Chapter 11 plans of reorganization provide creditors with recoveries (cash or new securities) in exchange for a release and discharge of all claims against the debtor. Many Chapter 11 plans go a step further to release claims against related entities and persons who are not debtors in the case. Members of Congress have recently proposed legislation that could prohibit such nonconsensual third-party releases.
Partner Harry Johnson spoke with Law360 about a memo released by the National Labor Relations Board (Board) general counsel outlining her priorities. Harry spoke about the potential impact of the Board’s general counsel seeking more injunctions under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, which authorizes the Board to seek temporary injunctions against employers and while the case is being litigated before the Board.
As further guidance and regulations are proposed and begin to take shape with respect to relationships between banking organizations and third parties, including those in the fintech industry, our multidisciplinary teams here at Morgan Lewis are tracking each development. In July, shortly after the three federal banking agencies (the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) released their proposed risk management guidance regarding third-party relationships, our banking and financial services team provided a general overview highlighting the key takeaways from the proposal. If you have any specific questions, please reach out to your Morgan Lewis team for assistance.
Partner Levi McAllister authored an article for Law360 detailing the Biden-Harris administration’s recent executive order in support of electric vehicles and the Senate-approved infrastructure bill that earmarks funds for the development of more zero-emission transportation.
Partner Harry Johnson spoke with Daily Journal about potential priorities under the National Labor Relations Board, drawing from a recent memo released by its general counsel. The memo is “providing an avenue for the board to jump into a new area of the law that was settled, and recreating the legal doctrines,” Harry said.
Partner Matt Hawes was quoted by Plan Sponsor about recent US Department of Labor (DOL) guidance for plan sponsors on how to address uncashed distribution checks.
Partner Phil Miscimarra spoke with Law360 about the potential for continued rulemaking under the National Labor Relations Board, which will soon be led by a Democratic majority under the Biden-Harris administration.
Morgan Lewis partner Sarah-Jane Morin was interviewed by Law360 about the US Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that included a “controversial measure” that could have major implications for the cryptocurrency industry through reporting requirements for brokers in the digital asset space.
Leader of the firm’s international trade and national security practice Giovanna Cinelli discussed a recently announced initiative by the Biden-Harris administration focused on fighting corruption in Northern Triangle countries for national security reasons.
Partner Levi McAllister spoke with Law360 about an executive order from the Biden-Harris administration that set ambitious goals for electric vehicles.
Partners Sarah-Jane Morin and Tom Linguanti drafted an article for Bloomberg Tax about recent IRS attention to high-net-worth individuals, including athletes.
Partners Miranda Lindl O'Connell and Carl Valenstein spoke with Pensions & Investments about the US Securities and Exchange Commission's recent attention on climate-risk disclosure.
Partner Sharon Perley Masling spoke with CNBC about the potential impact of the Biden-Harris vaccine mandate for civilian federal workers on private business leaders.
Partners Ella Foley Gannon and Neeraj Arora co-authored a Reuters article regarding the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious approach to climate policy in its first 100 days.
Partner Ella Foley Gannon was quoted by Law360 after the Biden-Harris administration released plans to lease federal waters in California to an offshore wind project.
Partners Matthew Hawes and Elizabeth Goldberg provided their insights to PlanSponsor regarding the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) release of its first cybersecurity guide for ERISA plans. Under the new guidelines, the DOL indicates that protecting participant information is a fiduciary issue and that plans have a responsibility to address them.
Morgan Lewis partner Daniel Skees spoke to E&E News about how President Biden’s executive order, which is aimed at strengthening US cybersecurity defenses, will affect the energy industry. Dan noted that an upcoming guidance on enhancing supply chain security and improving cloud services could have a significant trend-setting impact on the private sector.
Morgan Lewis partners Susan Harthill, Elizabeth Goldberg, and Eleanor Pelta authored an article for International Employment Lawyer about early policy changes from the Biden-Harris administration that affect the workplace, including actions addressing multi-employer plans, diversity training, and immigration laws.
Partners Bill Kissinger, Ella Foley Gannon, and Rick Rothman authored an article for Law360 about recent US regulatory and legislative developments addressing climate change and renewable energy.
Partner Sheila Armstrong was quoted in a Law360 article regarding President Joseph Biden’s executive order implementing more aggressive cybersecurity requirements in light of recent cyberattacks.
Partner Eleanor Pelta spoke to Bloomberg Law about the H-1B visa program, which saw record filings for the 2022 lottery.
Morgan Lewis partners Elizabeth Goldberg and Matthew Hawes provided insight to Pensions & Investments about the DOL’s new cybersecurity guidance to retirement plan sponsors and fiduciaries.
A recent Investment News article referenced a Morgan Lewis LawFlash, which discussed the US Department of Labor’s issuance of three pieces of subregulatory guidance addressing the cybersecurity practices of retirement plan sponsors, vendors, and plan participants.
Partners Kirstin Gibbs and Ella Foley Gannon were quoted by Law360 in an article about the new US presidential administration’s efforts toward tackling climate change.
Partner Levi McAllister authored a Law360 article about the threshold issues of which market participants affected by electric vehicle (EV) penetration should be aware. In the piece, Levi discussed current growth trends and projections, the Biden-Harris administration’s agenda related to EVs, and practical issues in the sector.
Partner Randy McGeorge spoke with Bloomberg Law about the financial assistance for union-brokered pensions included in the Biden-Harris administration’s COVID-19 relief package. The funds are only available through 2051, so Randy said in the article, “what the law does is not provide a permanent bailout but, rather, kicks the can down the road on these existing issues for about 30 years.”
Partner Eleanor Pelta spoke with International Employment Lawyer about the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to allow the Trump-era “wealth test” order to lapse.
Partner Jeff Boujoukos was quoted in a Board IQ article about the prospect of mutual funds being allowed to directly invest in cryptocurrency under the new potential leadership of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Partner Ella Foley Gannon was quoted in a Utility Dive article about the Biden-Harris administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan proposal in relation to California. In the piece, she discussed the state’s zero-carbon electricity goals: “Even before some of this gets played out through actual legislation at the federal level, this focus, I think, will dovetail nicely with California’s articulated goals—and hopefully, will incentivize more investment.”
Partner Eleanor Pelta spoke with Law360 about the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to permit individuals to reapply if they were denied H-1B, H-2B, J, and L temporary visas under the Trump administration.
A LawFlash authored by partners Susan Harthill and Russell Bruch and associate Elizabeth Johnston was cited in an EHS Today article about the Biden-Harris administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) and potential actions regarding independent contractor and joint employment issues. The LawFlash details the DOL’s proposal to eliminate the Trump era’s two signature rules regarding the issue.
In a recent Law360 article, partner Eleanor Pelta discussed the expiration of the Trump administration’s Proclamation 10052 and the benefits the expiration presents multinational companies. "
Partner James Tynion spoke with Law360 for an article about the Biden-Harris administration’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan. In the piece, he explained the implications of the tax credit expansions on transmission investment tax credits (ITC).
Morgan Lewis partner Eleanor Pelta was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article about the visa application backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the piece, she discussed the economic ramifications.
Morgan Lewis partner Susan Feigin Harris spoke with HealthLeaders about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) which provides $1.9 trillion in relief funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic and support the US economy.
Morgan Lewis partner Elizabeth Goldberg spoke with Pensions & Investments after the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced it will not enforce the “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments” rule and “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights” rule or take enforcement action against ERISA fiduciaries until it publishes further guidance.
Morgan Lewis partner Jonathan Zimmerman spoke with Law360 about the new COBRA subsidies introduced by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The passage of ARPA means that eligible employees who were laid off or had a reduction in hours as a result of COVID-19 can stay on their workplaces health plans for free within the extended 18 months of coverage from COBRA.
Partner Dennis Gucciardo was quoted in a MedTech Dive article about the outlook for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Biden administration. Dennis noted that companies can expect an increase in “for cause” FDA inspections. "Under the Trump administration, we didn't really see that kind of activity unless there was a public health threat," he said.
Of counsel Sage Fattahian was quoted in an HR Magazine article about the implications of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for employers.
Morgan Lewis partner Eleanor Pelta’s pro bono representation of advocacy groups opposed to the Trump administration’s immigration-related “wealth test” was highlighted in a recent NJ Today article.
Morgan Lewis partner Eleanor Pelta was quoted in an International Employment Lawyer article about the Biden administration’s decision not to defend a Trump era “public charge” policy before the US Supreme Court. The rule allowed for education, English-language skills, and current wealth to be considered when determining an individual’s eligibility for residency.
Partner Dennis Gucciardo spoke with BioWorld about the hurdles medtech companies will likely face while converting their emergency use authorizations (EUAs) to conventional premarket filings.
A blog post authored by partner Elizabeth Goldberg and associate Lauren Sullivan was cited in an HR Magazine article about the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) decision to not enforce a Trump administration guideline that limited the use of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria when selecting retirement plan investments.
Morgan Lewis senior director Tim Lynch spoke with Law360 for an article about the American Rescue Plan’s implications for union pension plans.
Associate Emily Cuneo DeSmedt spoke with HR Magazine about the recently reintroduced Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which could update required accommodations for pregnant workers. The bill was reintroduced in the US House of Representatives in February, and if it passes, “employers would need to amend their existing reasonable accommodation policies to clarify that they apply to employees who are pregnant, have pregnancy-related conditions or have recently given birth,” said Emily.
Morgan Lewis senior director Tim Lynch discussed the possibility of including a union-related pension funding issue in the final draft of the American Rescue Plan with Law360.
Partner Jonathan Snare spoke with Law360 about new guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that requires vaccinated workers to continue to wear masks and take other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Senior director Timothy Lynch spoke with Law360 about potential legislative changes to union pension plans. “Clearly, with the Democratic control in the Senate, that makes it a lot easier," said Tim in the article.
Partner Eleanor Pelta spoke with The Harvard Crimson about the potential implications of the Biden administration’s immigration policies on higher education.
Partner Saghi Fattahian and associate Lindsay Goodman were quoted in an SHRM article about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) compliance requirements under the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was enacted on December 27.
Partners David Monteiro, Robin Nunn, and Rebecca Hillyer were quoted in a Compliance Week article about consumer protection initiatives, which are expected to be a major area of focus under the incoming Biden administration.
Senior Director of Morgan Lewis’s Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling Practice Timothy Lynch spoke with Law360 about the union pension issues the US Congress and incoming Biden administration are expected to address in 2021.
Morgan Lewis partner Sharon Perley Masling spoke with Bloomberg Law about the legal questions for employers around mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. “Whether to mandate the vaccine is obviously an industry-by-industry and employer-by-employer decision,” said Sharon. “In most cases, however, our clients are deciding to strongly encourage their employees to get the vaccine rather than require them to do so while the vaccine is under an EUA.”
In this NSI Live podcast addressing the findings and recommendations of the US Congress’s US-China Economic and Security Review Commission Annual Report, partner Giovanna Cinelli, leader of Morgan Lewis’s international trade and national security practice and National Security Institute (NSI) fellow, discussed how the US-China relationship may evolve or stay the same under President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration.
Partner Jonathan Snare and associate Alana Genderson spoke with HR Magazine for an article about what employers may expect regarding enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under a Biden administration.
Partner Elizabeth Goldberg spoke with Pensions & Investments about the US Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Employee Benefits Security Administration focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) enforcement.
Morgan Lewis partner Jeffrey Boujoukos spoke with Law360 for an article about the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a Biden administration on the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) enforcement priorities.
Here’s what we know: After the November 3 US election, the Biden-Harris ticket has 290 electoral votes, 20 more than what is needed to win (with one state, Georgia, undecided). Senate Republicans hold a two-seat advantage (50-48) with the two Georgia seats undecided, and House Democrats maintain control with a current advantage of 221-205 (218 is needed to retain the majority) and 9 races undecided.
Morgan Lewis partner Douglas Baruch was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article following the announcement that the 2018 policy on whistleblower case dismissals, known as the Granston memorandum, would continue under the incoming presidential administration.
Partner John McGahren spoke with Law360 for an article about what a Biden administration may mean for environmental policy.
Many companies are preparing for a shift in priorities under a Biden-Harris administration, despite some lingering uncertainty over the fate of the US election, including the makeup of Congress and the official confirmation of a new president. To help with that preparation, Morgan Lewis assembled a group of former government officials to explain what happens now, what could happen after January 20, and what companies around the world should be doing.
Partner Julie Stapel spoke with Pensions & Investments about the potential implications of a Biden administration on recent proposals from the US Department of Labor (DOL) related to the ERISA fiduciary rule. Julie noted that the current proposal for the fiduciary rule "gets close enough to what the more liberal thinkers at the DOL were hoping for."
Morgan Lewis partner and co-leader of the firm’s privacy and cybersecurity practice Reece Hirsch spoke with Politico about potential changes the Biden administration might bring to the digital health landscape.
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