Summary: S.2398 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2398. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (12/10/2015)

Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act

This bill prescribes eligibility requirements and procedures for the award of temporary adjustment assistance to a group of workers of adversely affected coal-related or coal-dependent or similar energy industries who are totally or partially separated, or threatened with total or partial separation, because of the low cost of competing alternative forms of energy.

Such assistance shall include temporary additional unemployment compensation, health insurance premium subsidy tax credits, training and support for employment, as well as additional pension benefits.

The bill establishes in the Treasury the Clean Energy Workers Trust Fund, appropriations to which shall include the increase in revenues resulting from certain revisions to the rules for taxation of inverted corporations (U.S. corporations that acquire foreign companies to reincorporate in a foreign jurisdiction with income tax rates lower than the U.S. rates).

The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is amended to revise such rules to treat as an inverted domestic corporation subject to U.S. taxation any foreign corporation that acquires the properties of a U.S. corporation or partnership after May 8, 2014, if, after the acquisition: (1) more than 50% (by vote or value) of the stock of the new entity (expanded affiliated group) is held by former shareholders or partners of the domestic corporation or partnership, or (2) the management or control of the expanded affiliated group occurs primarily within the United States and the group has significant domestic business activities.

The bill creates a tax credit for hiring certified adversely affected energy industry workers.

The Department of Labor shall provide full information to workers about the adjustment assistance available under this Act.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 is amended to transfer specified excess funds derived from coal mine operator-paid reclamation fees to the trustees of the 1974 UMWA Pension Plan for use solely to pay pension benefits required under such Plan.

Workplace Democracy for a Clean Energy Future

This bill amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board to certify without an election an individual or labor organization as the exclusive representative of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining if a majority of the employees has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in a properly filed petition as their bargaining representative and no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

The Board shall develop guidelines and procedures for the designation by employees of a bargaining representative.

The bill prescribes deadlines for critical turns in collective bargaining to establish an initial agreement upon the request of an individual or labor organization that has been newly organized or certified as a representative.

The bill also creates a Community Need-Based Economic Transition Assistance Program, coordinated by the Department of Commerce, for counties or Indian tribes in which at least 35 certified adversely affected workers reside. The Appalachian Regional Commission shall award grants to such counties to support economic development planning and implementation activities in them.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement shall award grants to eligible counties for reclamation of abandoned coal mine land sites and associated polluted waters.

The Environmental Protection Agency shall: (1) award eligible counties capitalization grants to establish a drinking water treatment revolving loan fund; and (2) provide those counties long-term, low-interest loans for large water infrastructure projects not otherwise eligible for funding from a state revolving loan fund.

The Department of Agriculture shall provide such counties loans and loan guarantees under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to expand access to, and the quality of, broadband service across the rural United States. Commerce shall award them grants under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

The Department of Energy shall award these counties grants for electricity delivery and energy reliability activities to modernize the electric grid.