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Committee Approves Bill to Stop NLRB Attack on Small Businesses

The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved H.R. 3459, the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. The legislation will protect small businesses and the workers they employ by rolling back the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recent decision redefining what it means to be an employer. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 21 to 15.

“The National Labor Relations Board has played a leading role in advancing the president’s flawed, top-down approach to the economy, and its effort to redefine what it means to be an employer is just the latest example,” Chairman Kline said. “It’s time to get Washington out of the way and let small businesses do what they do best: creating jobs and opportunity for workers and their families. This commonsense proposal is an important part of that effort. The legislation will stop a handful of government bureaucrats from upending countless small businesses and help working families and job creators succeed.”

“Countless Americans have started small businesses, helping to create jobs and grow our economy,” said Health, Employment, Labor, and Pension Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN). “I am very concerned the expanded definition of a joint employer would take control of many of these small businesses out of the hands of their owners and could discourage new businesses from being created. This is the last thing we need in an already struggling economy, and I am proud to join Chairman Kline to fight to protect American workers and entrepreneurs from this gross overreach.”

BACKGROUND: For more than 30 years, the NLRB considered two or more employers “joint employers” if they had “actual,” “direct,” and “immediate” control over essential terms and conditions of employment. In August, the board issued a partisan decision in the Browning-Ferris Industries case that expanded its joint employer standard to include employers who have “indirect” or even “potential” control over employment conditions. The ruling overturned years of settled labor policy and blurred the lines of responsibility for decisions affecting the daily operations of small businesses across the country.

In response to the NLRB’s action, Chairman Kline and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the Protecting Local Business Opportunity Act. As passed by the committee, H.R. 3459 will amend the National Labor Relations Act to specify two or more employers may be considered joint employers only if each has “actual, direct, and immediate” control over essential terms and conditions of employment. The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a legislative hearing in September to discuss the bill.

To read opening statements, review amendments, or watch an archived webcast of today’s markup, visit

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