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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 8-23-21

Situational Awareness
The House is in session this week to consider a roadmap for the budget resolution, infrastructure and voting rights legislation. While the infrastructure package will be voted on later this fall, Democratic leadership are aiming to pass the budget resolution this week. The Senate is in recess.

Pivotal Week for House of Representatives
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) interrupted August recess to bring members back to Washington for consideration of key components of President Biden’s $4 trillion domestic agenda. The first test of unity for the House Democratic Caucus is the vote on a rule to consider the Senate-adopted budget resolution, the Senate-passed infrastructure bill and a revamped voting rights bill named for noted civil rights leader and Representative John R. Lewis (D-Ga.). The House Rules Committee will report out a rule for consideration of all three bills and the House will vote today on the measure. Speaker Pelosi has stated that she expects the House to pass the Senate Budget Resolution as early as tomorrow teeing up a reconciliation package that is expected to reach $3.5 trillion.

Speaker Pelosi is navigating her way through competing interests and demands among her Democratic colleagues, with moderates pushing to consider the Senate-passed infrastructure package so it can be sent to the president for signature and progressives wanting to clear the reconciliation package first in order to keep the pressure on the Senate for as large a package as possible. Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues over the weekend that outlined an approach that appears to chart a path for reconciliation first and infrastructure second. Although moderates indicated last week that they may oppose this approach, their posture seems to be softening. Speaker Pelosi maintains a razor-thin majority and can only lose three votes, thus setting up an intense week of vote counting and arm twisting. Pelosi has faced such circumstances before and few doubt her skills to corral the votes necessary to advance priority legislation.

COVID-19 Vaccine Gains Full FDA Approval
Despite assurances from the Federal Reserve and economists that inflation appears to be transitory in response to supply chain disruptions attributed to the pandemic, there is increasing concern higher prices are likely to stick. Last Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has granted the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine full approval for individuals aged 16 and older. The vaccine had been authorized under the FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA) since December of 2020. The EUA will remain for individuals aged 12 to 15. The vaccine is approved under the name Comirnaty and includes warnings about potential side effects occurring most often within seven days of receiving a dose. Among the side effects noted are an increased risk for heart inflammation known as myocarditis and pericarditis. Last week President Biden announced approval of a third dose of the vaccine beginning September 20.

California Gig Workers Suffer Another Setback
On Friday, the California ballot initiative that exempted companies from a recently adopted state law requiring employers to classify more workers as employees rather than independent contractors was struck down by Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch. Judge Roesch ruled that the ballot initiative’s requirements for super-majorities to amend the law was unconstitutional and unseverable from the law, thus requiring the entire statute created by the initiative to fall. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have indicated they intend to appeal the decision. California’s efforts to force employers to consider more workers as employees has sparked other states to adopt similar laws and fuels efforts at the federal level to do the same. The House has twice passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) that contains a similar provision. The PRO Act faces slim prospects of passage in the Senate, which has prompted the Biden Administration to focus their efforts on an administrative solution through the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board.

Webcast Recording: How to Communicate the Vaccine to Members and Staff
Last Thursday, more than 200 club leaders tuned in to learn strategies to communicate with members and staff about the COVID-19 vaccines. I highly recommend clubs listen to the webcast recording and learn from health care, HR and club communications experts on this timely topic.

Listen here.