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Washington Weekly Update: 08-10-20

Situational Awareness

The Senate will convene today at 3:00 p.m. ET, but will not consider any legislation. The House will convene in pro forma session tomorrow and will not consider any legislation. Lawmakers in both chambers will be given 24 hours’ notice if an agreement is reached on Phase IV coronavirus legislation.

Executive Actions on Relief Questioned

On Saturday, President Trump announced he was signing executive orders that would suspend the payroll tax and provide additional unemployment insurance payments to replace the $600 per week authorized in the CARES Act that expired on July 31. These actions have raised questions about the breadth of executive power and many on both sides of the aisle believe they are in violation of the constitution. Administration officials cite former President Obama’s use of executive orders on deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) as precedent for the new orders. High ranking officials within the administration admit that a legislative solution is preferred.

Negotiations on Relief Package Stalled

Democratic Leaders negotiating with the White House offered a compromise last week that would place the topline spending for a new round of economic relief at roughly $2.5 trillion. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dismissed the offer as too expensive. Reports are that the main sticking point, and perhaps most expensive line item, is aid to state and local governments to fill the budget holes left in the wake of the coronavirus. 

While there is no deal until there is a deal, some provisions supported by NCA appear to have support for inclusion in a potential agreement. There is likely to be some expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program, but it is unclear whether 501(c)(7) organizations will be part of that expansion. There is also bipartisan support for expanding and enhancing the Employee Retention Tax Credit, but again details are scarce. NCA will stay on top of developments and provide updates as warranted.

USCIS Announces New Visa Fee

On July 31, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office within the Department of Homeland Security announced new visa rates as part of a biennial review to ensure USCIS recovers its costs for providing services. H-2B visas for named beneficiaries will increase from the current level of $2,050 to $2,305—an increase of $255. Costs for unnamed beneficiary H-2B visas were decreased by $75 from the current fee of $2,050 to $1,975.

Biden VP Pick Coming Soon

Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden, is expected to announce his pick for a running mate soon. Speculation has centered on a handful of potential picks including Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Representative Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Biden has previously committed to choosing a woman as his running mate and pressure has been exerted to persuade him to choose a woman of color.

Primary Elections This Week

Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin hold primary elections on Tuesday, August 11. While there are few elections in question, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) faces a stiff challenge for reelection from newcomer Antone Melton-Meaux. The winner of the primary is effectively assured of winning the general election in November due to the party makeup of the district. Representative Omar has been plagued by accusations of financial irregularities involving her former campaign advisor and now-husband who’s firm has been paid more than $1 million this cycle. Melton-Meaux raised eyebrows after raising $3.2 million last quarter to challenge Omar who raised just half a million dollars over the same time period. Omar has also been in the spotlight as a member of the ultra-progressive and controversial group, “The Squad,” which also includes Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)


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.