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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 11-1-21

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are not in session this week. Both chambers will return to Washington on Monday, November 15.

OSHA Vaccine Mandate On Hold—For Now
Over the weekend, the 5th Circuit Court halted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employees at entities with more than 100 employees to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing for COVID-19. The federal government is expected to file a brief with the court today explaining why the ETS should proceed while litigation from employers and state governments challenging the rule proceed. The vaccination requirement under the ETS is scheduled to go into effect on January 4, 2022, but other provisions, such as paid leave to receive the vaccine go into effect immediately. The ETS was issued last week in the form of a final rule with opportunity to comment within 60 days. The ETS will last for 180 days at which point OSHA is likely to issue a final rule and may revise the final rule based on public comment or simply finalize the rule as is.

Infrastructure Package on Biden’s Desk
Last week, the House of Representatives voted on the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, sending it to President Biden for his signature. Thirteen Republicans joined nearly all Democrats to pass the measure, while a handful of progressives such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted against the bill citing lack of clarity on the reconciliation bill as reason for opposition.

House Reconciliation Bill Awaiting CBO Score
The last-minute wrangling over what’s in and what’s out of the $1.5 to $1.75 trillion reconciliation package continued last week and seems to have arrived at an agreement—on the House side at least. Efforts to pre-conference the agreement with the Senate were ended after Democrats lost ground at the ballot box in Virginia and New Jersey last week. The final piece to get the go-ahead is a provision to reinstate the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) up to $80,000. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000. House leaders had hoped to pass their version of reconciliation last week, but a group of moderates led by Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) expressed opposition to a vote prior to receiving a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to show the package is indeed “paid for.” While CBO has been scoring provisions throughout the negotiations, the agreement reached in the House last week has not been scored in its entirety