Skip links

NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 1-3-22

Situational Awareness
It’s 2022. Happy New Year! The Senate returns to Washington this week to consider a judicial nominee. The House has no legislation scheduled this week, but many members will be in town to observe the anniversary of January 6.

Federal Government Closed January 3
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced that the federal government will be closed today due to a winter storm hitting the D.C. area. Snow totals are expected to range from 6-10 inches. Depending on the impact and how much snow actually accumulates, OPM could extend the closure as they have done for other storms of this magnitude.

New Year, Same Issues for Congress
On behalf of the National Club Association (NCA) staff, I’d like to wish all Washington Weekly Update readers a healthy While the world celebrates a new year, Congress faces the same issues that stalled progress on their legislative agenda last year. Democrats continue to wrestle with resistance from Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to the breadth and cost of President Biden’s economic agenda manifested in the Build Back Better (BBB) plan. While the plan has passed the House of Representatives, opposition from the Senators has stalled the bill in the Senate and it is as yet unclear how the logjam will be broken. In addition to the BBB, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) faces unfinished business in funding the federal government with a continuing resolution that expires on February 18 and an attempt to amend the Voting Rights Act.

New Year, New Laws

With the ringing in of a new year, hundreds of new laws at the state level go into effect as well. Many states implemented increases to their minimum wage. A sample of state wage hikes:

Arizona -minimum wage increases to $12.80 an hour

California – minimum wage increases to $14 or $15 an hour depending on number of employees

Maryland -minimum wage increases to $12.20 an hour

New Jersey – minimum wage increases to $13.00 an hour

New York – wage increases depend on jurisdiction

Virginia -minimum wage increases to $11.00 an hour

OSHA ETS Effective January 4
The emergency temporary standard issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that requires employees of businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing goes into effect on January 4, though OSHA has stated publicly that it will not issue citations for noncompliance before February 9, 2022. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the ETS Friday and may issue a decision prior to the enforcement dates announced by OSHA. The 5th Circuit issued a stay on the rule last year and the courts consolidated the more than 30 suits in the 6th Circuit, which lifted the stay. The Supreme Court will consider whether the stay should be reinstated while questions about whether the agency has the authority to issue such an ETS are litigated.

Webcast Alert: Employment Policy: What’s Ahead for 2022?
I will be hosting a critical NCA webcast addressing the employment crisis on Tuesday, January 11 at 2 p.m. ET. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Employment Policy Marc Freedman and Ulman Public Policy Founder Josh Ulman will join me to discuss important issues on the 2022 agenda for the Department of Labor and its various agencies (OSHA, Wage and Hour Division) and Congress. This webcast is free for NCA members and $99 for nonmembers. Register here.

Capitol Breach Anniversary Thursday
Official Washington begins this week with the solemn anniversary of the January 6 breach of the Capitol in mind. While there will be little real legislative activity this week, the events of that day will be the focus of House and Senate Democrats in special events planned to remind voters of what transpired. The committee charged with investigating the events leading up to and amid the breach is expected to release its report by the end of the year. Many anticipate it will be released in September or October to maximize the political impact heading into the November 8 mid-terms. The anniversary of January 6 will also feature in Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s bid to advance changes to the Voting Rights Act that has stalled in the Senate. Many progressives have used the legislation to argue for eliminating the filibuster in the Senate, but senators Manchin and Sinema have resisted calls for such a change to Senate rules believing the integrity of the Senate and protection of minority views in the chamber are at stake.