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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 7-11-22

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate return from their respective Independence Day recesses with full agendas for the month of July leading up to the traditional August recess period. The House plans votes on several large bills including legislation establishing an active shooter alert systemaccess to abortion services and the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Authorization bill. The Senate will consider nominations to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire Arms and Explosives and a Deputy Undersecretary of the Defense Department as they work to ready the Defense Authorization bill for consideration.

Regulatory Agenda Picks Up Pace
Twice each year, the federal government issues its unified regulatory agenda to give stakeholders an idea of what to expect from the regulatory agencies on various rules and guidance they are working on. The latest version was released a few weeks ago and there are agenda items that NCA will be monitoring and providing more information to members once more information is available from the Administration. A brief outline of regulations on our radar screen is below.

  • Lock-out/Tag-out Standard – OSHA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking March 2023.
  • Injury and Illness Reporting Rule – OSHA final rule December 2022.
  • Hazard Communication Standard – OSHA final rule December 2022.
  • Heat Injury and Illness Exposure Standard – OSHA no Notice of Proposed Rulemaking date.
  • Overtime Threshold – Wage and Hour Division Notice of Proposed Rulemaking October 2022.
  • Waters of the United States – EPA final rule August 2022.

Jobs Up But Participation Down
Last week, the Department of Labor announced that U.S. employers added 372,000 jobs in June, which was much stronger than analysts had predicted. The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the greatest gains in jobs was in the service, leisure and hospitality sector as well as health care. The unemployment rate held at 3.6%, but the labor participation rate slipped to 62.2% adding pressure to the already tight labor market. Hourly wages also increased 5.1% from a year ago.

Reconciliation Package Still Possible
While the House has passed its version of President Biden’s Build Back Better economic package, the Senate has been bogged down in negotiations for the better part of a year to reach a compromise all 50 Democratic senators can support. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have been the linchpins needed to advance any package and have thus far not agreed to a proposal. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been working directly with Senator Manchin on a slimmed-down version that would address climate change, energy policy and prescription drug prices. This smaller package is expected to raise roughly $1 trillion in revenue, which is in stark contrast to the more than $6 trillion package initially proposed by Biden and supported by Democratic leadership. Time is running out on the legislative calendar to reach an agreement that can be passed before Congress breaks for the elections.