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February 2014

Things get even more divided in Washington

Washington's inability to get very much done has intensified in recent weeks amid deepening divisions with both Republican and Democratic ranks in Congress.

Problems for Obamacare continue to mount…

Even as the White House continues to hope that the struggles of Obamacare are in the past, the almost daily headlines of problems promise to keep the massive new health care program in the spotlight.

Business groups join to fight Obama climate change rules…

A coalition of business trade groups has launched a concerted campaign to intervene in the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate energy production.

New federal database will list truck drivers who have failed drug or alcohol tests...

The White House has approved a proposal that would create a listing of commercial truck and bus drivers who have failed or refused to take drug or alcohol tests so that businesses can perform background checks before hiring prospective new drivers.

OSHA lets unions participate in inspections of non-union worksites…

Business groups are protesting a decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that permits union representatives to participate in walk-around safety inspections at non-union worksites.

NLRB to continue its focus on social media policies…

This year will see a number of new cases expanding the rules against employers dictating what their employees can say on Facebook and other web-based social media.

EPA to issue final rule on new chemicals…

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule that establishes new reporting requirements for petroleum and petrochemical processors that use or plan to use five chemical substances identified generically as “complex strontium aluminate, rare earth doped” (CSA-RED).

New rules would expand coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act…

New rules outlining the fiduciary responsibilities of employers in administering retirement plans for their employees have been delayed until August as the U.S. Department of Labor works to come up with a new compromise proposal.

NLRB revives streamlined union election rules…

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has revived a proposed rule that would streamline and speed union-organizing elections, renewing a battle with business groups that succeeded in defeating a similar measure two years ago.

Footnotes…I look forward to hearing from you. I expect these items and topics to evolve. Please let me know about issues of interest to you or questions you may want me to answer. There will always be room to include your comments. Please email me at with your comments or issues of interest.

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Gene Goldenberg

Gene Goldenberg has joined us in Washington, D.C., as a consultant on federal, legislative and public policy issues. Gene is an accomplished Washington professional with three decades of experience in business, government affairs, public relations and journalism.

Most recently, he has operated his own consulting business specializing in government affairs and business consulting for corporate and association clients. Prior to that, Gene served in senior management positions with Wolters Kluwer (CCH Tax and Accounting) and H&R Block, Inc. following an award-winning career as a Washington journalist with newspaper and magazine publishers.

In his corporate positions, Gene played a key role directing relations with numerous federal and state government agencies and twice has served as president of the leading association in the tax software and tax preparation industries. His many years managing business-to-business sales and marketing have given him a broad understanding of the problems and challenges facing small to medium sized companies.

His earlier journalism career included writing about Congress, the White House and numerous federal agencies for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper group as well as the Kiplinger Washington Letter and other business publications. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University.