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Washington Weekly Update: 07-27-20

Situational Awareness

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will continue working on appropriations bills and the Senate will consider nominations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to release draft coronavirus legislation at 4:30 EDT today.

Republican Package Expected Today

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning on releasing the details of a legislative package aimed at further supporting the economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation is expected to be in the $1 trillion range and cover a number of issues including testing, vaccine distribution and limited liability protections for businesses. The bill is also expected to provide for another round of stimulus checks to individuals similar to the payments made under the CARES Act, but at lower income thresholds. While previous aid bills were introduced as one piece of legislation, this package is expected to be released as a series of separate bills. NCA will be monitoring the introduction of the bills and provide updates as necessary. At this time, we do not anticipate any changes to the Paycheck Protection Program that would allow 501(c)(7) organizations to participate in the program. It is important to note that the release of these bills is really just the start of negotiations on what a final package would look like. The House of Representatives passed a much larger package totaling $3 trillion in June.

PHIT Act Letter to Leadership

NCA joined with allies last week in a letter to House and Senate Leaders urging them to include the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act in economic stimulus legislation being considered by Congress. The PHIT Act would allow individuals or couples with a health savings account (HSA) to use up to $1,000 or $2,000 respectively toward fitness-related activity and equipment with certain restrictions. NCA has supported this bipartisan legislation since last year and has been urging its passage this year.

Business Groups Sue Feds Over Immigration Order

The National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with other associations have filed suit against the Trump Administration over the suspension of worker visa programs. The suit is just one of several challenges to the immigration proclamations made by the administration. NCA is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Labor Department Issues New C-19 Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division issued new guidance last week that clarifies that employers can implement policies that bar employees from coming to the workplace and cannot deny workers from taking virus-related leave. View the analysis of the guidance here.

Virginia OSH Announces New Requirements

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) department announced new recordkeeping requirements for Virginia employers last week. While the new rules have not been finalized yet, they are expected to be finalized this week. The rule requires all Virginia employers to classify each employee relative to the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Republican Senate Majority In Jeopardy

Recent state-level polling in key Senate races indicate Senate Republicans may be in jeopardy of losing control of the Senate. Key races NCA is watching are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Maine.


Alabama’s Senate contest represents Republicans’ best, and perhaps only, opportunity to flip a seat from Democrats. Incumbent Senator Doug Jones was elected in a special election to replace former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who vacated the seat upon his appointment to that post. Jones’ opponent at the time, Roy Moore, was mired in controversy over his behavior toward women. After a bruising primary, former Auburn Head Football Coach, Tommy Tuberville prevailed over Sessions who was attempting to win his Senate seat back after his stint as Attorney General. Alabama has been a reliably red state and recent polling suggests Tuberville is on track to win the general election on November 3.


Senator Martha McSally is trailing challenger Mark Kelly (D) by an average of 7.8% according to RealClear Politics and is jeopardy of losing the seat she was appointed to by Governor Doug Ducey after the death of Senator John McCain. Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Representative Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head during a campaign stop in January 2011, is a vocal advocate of gun control and has maintained a high profile throughout the state since her shooting outside of a Safeway grocery store. McSally, a former combat pilot, lost her bid in 2018 against now Senator Kyrsten Sinema.


Colorado Senator Cory Gardner is facing a steep climb for reelection against challenger John Hickenlooper (D) who is the former governor of the state and was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Gardner won election in 2014 by edging out then incumbent Senator Mark Udall by 2.5%. That was a good year for Republicans and in 2016 Hillary Clinton carried the state by nearly 5 points. Colorado has been trending blue the last few cycles, which makes the climb for Gardner even more difficult. This is race where President Trump’s performance could significantly influence the results. Polls currently have Senator Gardner down by 13 points.


First term Senator Joni Ernst faces newcomer Theresa Greenfield (D) in a tight race for reelection in Iowa. Both candidates have raised significant amounts of campaign cash in what is truly a toss-up race. Polls are well within the margin of error and average a slight advantage to Greenfield of just one point. Ernst is a tough campaigner and gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad talking about castrating hogs. Iowa has been trending toward Republicans for some time, but with an unpopular president heading the ticket it looks like this seat is definitely in play.

North Carolina

First term Senator Thom Tillis faces attorney and State Senator Cal Cunningham (D) in what will be another close contest in North Carolina. President Trump narrowly carried the state in 2016 and polls show Cunningham up by an average of 4 points thus far in the race. North Carolina has a tendency to break late in the race toward Republicans. It’s way to early to call, but expect this one to be tight as well.


Probably the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate is Susan Collins (R-Maine). Her opponent, Sara Gideon (D), was the beneficiary of a large sum of campaign funds directed at the race due to the Senator’s vote in favor of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Collins won reelection in 2014 by a margin of 37 points. In 2008, a bad year for Republicans, she won reelection by 23 points. Collins has a track record of being a moderate in the Senate and is well liked, but recent polls have shown a slight edge to Gideon, though well within the margin of error.


Washington Weekly Update is a benefit of your NCA membership. If you have any questions, would like further information on these or any other issues affecting the club industry or would like to get more involved with our advocacy efforts, please contact me at [email protected] or 202-822-9822.