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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 10-12-21

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are both in session this week. The Senate is expected to take up several nominations, as well as Members of the House of Representatives have been called back to Washington to vote on extending the debt ceiling this evening. The Senate will meet in pro-forma session.

Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted—For Now

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached an agreement to prevent the government defaulting on its debt obligations. The deal required at least 10 Republicans to vote in favor of moving to a vote to raise the debt limit, which then could be passed with only Democratic senators voting in favor. Unfortunately, it was also limited to reach December rather than lifting it for a longer period of time. What this means is we’ll be staring at another deadline leading up to and through the Thanksgiving holiday. Members of the House will return to Washington today to vote on the extension, though many members are expected to stay in their districts and cast their vote by proxy—a process only allowed due to a rule change made to respond during the pandemic. Republicans have objected to allowing proxy votes because of the potential for abuse of the process. The House is expected to clear the debt ceiling bill as early as this evening.

Opposition to Vaccine Mandates Growing

As the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues its work to implement an executive order requiring employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing as a condition of employment, more and more large employers are going forward on their own. Health systems in several states have instituted vaccine requirements for their workers under pain of termination, which has resulted in employees either resigning or being terminated due to their vaccine status.

OSHA has not indicated when they expect to have the emergency temporary standard (ETS) implementing the vaccination or testing requirement for employers with more than 100 employees, but it is expected to be published in the coming days or weeks. NCA has certainly worked to encourage clubs to maximize uptake of the vaccine and all of its staff have been vaccinated, however, the association is positioned to oppose the imposition of a rule that reaches so far as to condition employment on vaccination status. Such a rule is certain to face legal challenges from multiple stakeholders, including the Attorneys General from at least 24 states. In the course of those legal challenges there is also a high probability an injunction will be issued to prevent the rule from going into effect prior to the legal arguments being settled. OSHA is very aware of the questionable legal authorities the agency has to implement such a rule, which is likely why we haven’t seen the ETS issued yet.


The proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation package continues to be at the center of discussions in Washington with factions on both ends of the Democratic Caucus in both the Senate and House squaring off on their priorities. Moderates have objected to the sheer size of the bill as well as some programs contained within it, while progressives maintain they have compromised enough and the bill should be passed as written. Over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent her colleagues a letter that seemed to chart a path toward slimming down the package in order to meet the concerns of senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) about the overall cost of the bill. In her letter, Pelosi noted “overwhelmingly, the guidance I am receiving from members is to do fewer things well so that we can still have a transformative impact on families in the workplace and responsibly address the climate crisis.” Conventional wisdom, such as it is in Washington, predicts the final cost of the reconciliation bill will settle around $2 trillion. NCA will continue to stay on top of the negotiations and which provisions are thrown overboard to meet the lower figure. Leadership has set a deadline to pass the reconciliation and infrastructure packages by Halloween, setting up another tense week—though less tense than considering these bills as well as a continuing resolution and debt ceiling increase in the final days of September.

MGA President’s Council

I am pleased to be speaking at the Metropolitan Golf Association’s (MGA) President’s Council meeting on Monday, October 18 at Glen Oaks Golf Club on Long Island. During my presentation I will be outlining the current legislative situation in Washington relative to the reconciliation bill, infrastructure package and other fiscal measures as well as the regulatory landscape at the federal level. In addition, we will discuss actions in the tri-state area that impact clubs. This is the third time I’ve had the pleasure of addressing fellow club presidents and I’m looking forward to another great exchange of ideas and discussion.