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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 1-31-22

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are both in session this week. The Senate plans to take up consideration of voting legislation The House and Senate are in session this week. The Senate will consider up to 20 nominees including judicial and executive appointments. The House will consider 11 bills under suspension and legislation aimed at improving U.S. competitiveness to China.

NCA Weighs In On Potential OSHA Heat Rule
NCA last week filed comments with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in response to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on preventing injury and illness due to heat in outdoor and indoor work settings. NCA’s comments argued that clubs have largely been responsive to the threat heat poses in the workplace and that OSHA should not establish standards in this area. Recognizing OSHA may indeed develop a standard or rules on the topic, the comments urged OSHA to avoid establishing a standard that is too prescriptive or rigid and allow employers and employees to work more collaboratively. NCA pointed out that many clubs have education and training programs for their employees that cover heat in the workplace, and protocols in place to mitigate the hazard. NCA’s comments focused on the outdoor setting, though any potential standard would also apply to indoor settings, such as kitchens. OSHA has yet to outline any details on a potential standard and should a proposed rule be published, NCA will work with club members to identify problem areas. You can read NCA’s comments here.

Funding Bills Face Looming Deadline
Under the continuing resolution (CR) passed last year, Congress needs to complete fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills by February 18 or the government will face a shutdown leading up to President Biden’s State of the Union address March 1. While most believe a shutdown is unlikely, there appears to be little progress in negotiations with lawmakers about policy-riders and the overall spending numbers for defense and nondefense programs. If appropriators fail to make adequate progress, most expect yet another short-term CR will be passed to buy legislators more time. Further complicating matters are President Biden’s economic agenda manifested in the Build Back Better bill and the normal schedule for the federal budget, which should already be starting the fiscal year 2023 process.

SCOTUS Nomination Leads Chatter in D.C.
Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Justice Steven Breyer announced his intention to retire at the end of the court’s term this summer, kicking off chatter among D.C. insiders about who President Biden will nominate to fill the impending vacancy. During the 2020 campaign, then-candidate Biden pledged to fill any potential vacancy with an African American woman; the president affirmed that intention when asked last week. SCOTUS nominations have a tendency to use up much of the oxygen in Washington and Senate Democrats have begun to outline their process to fill the seat. With the Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, there is speculation as to whether Vice President Kamala Harris is constitutionally able to break a potential stalemate should Republicans unify in opposition to the nominee. Historically, Republicans have been less strident about objecting to nominees than Democrats, but circumstances are very different this time. Leaders in both parties are very aware of the political implications of a SCOTUS fight leading into the mid-term elections.

OSHA Withdraws Vaccine ETS
Last week, OSHA withdrew its controversial emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring vaccination or testing for employees of larger employers with 100 or more workers. The ETS faced multiple lawsuits and was subject to an injunction issued by SCOTUS pending resolution of litigation. While the withdrawal means OSHA will not proceed with any enforcement actions under the ETS, it still serves as a proposed rule for a permanent standard.

Big States, Big Stakes In Redistricting
The decennial redistricting process has been ongoing since last fall and while several states are currently facing legal challenges, large states that will have an impact on majorities in the House, such as New York and Florida, have yet to be finalized. New York is close to being completed with a new map being released on Sunday that appears to lock Republicans out of all but a few Congressional seats—New York also lost a seat in reapportionment.

Florida gained two seats in reapportionment, and with Republicans controlling the process, they are aiming to maximize the potential of Republicans being elected. You can read more about redistricting and key races for the Senate by signing up for NCA’s ClubPAC Insider.