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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 9-26-22

Situational Awareness
Congress is in Washington for an abbreviated week due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The Senate will consider a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through Dec. 16, 2022. The House will consider 32 bills on suspension and a vote on the CR is planned later in the week—presuming the Senate passes it. At the conclusion of this week’s business, Congress will adjourn for October and return after the November 8 elections..

Focus of Week: Government Funding and Energy Permitting
As members of the House and Senate prepare for the home stretch of the mid-term elections, keeping the government funded is the focus of their work in Washington this week. With House Republicans anticipating taking over the majority in January, there had been a rump group forming to push the continuing resolution into 2023, hoping to use their leverage with a new majority to change the spending dynamics in Washington. Legislative intertia is hard to overcome, though, and the Senate is intent on moving a CR that will expire on December 16, giving appropriators time to reach a deal after the election.

Further complicating the push to pass a CR this week is a commitment Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to include permitting reform legislation in the CR in exchange for Manchin’s vote for the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this year. While permitting reform has garnered bipartisan support in the past, Republicans have indicated they will oppose a CR with the Manchin legislation attached. Senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) have said they intend to vote against the CR if the Manchin reforms are part of the CR package, creating a high-stakes drama to complete the CR before the Friday midnight deadline to prevent a government shutdown. Other must-pass legislation, such as user fees for the Food and Drug Administration, is also in the mix to be included in the CR.

NLRB Joint Employer Proposed Rule Update
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that they will hold listening sessions on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) joint employer proposed rule. NCA will monitor the SBA sessions and participate to the extent possible. The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, of which NCA is a member, will file a request with the NLRB to extend the 60-day comment period for the joint employer rule this week.

Mid-term Elections: Quick Analysis
With the mid-term elections fast approaching, NCA is keeping an eye on important races that will determine which party controls the Senate and the House. While most prognosticators generally agree Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives, the consensus is their majority will be slimmer than projected earlier this year. Decennial redistricting of congressional districts did not yield as positive results as Republicans had hoped and the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade has altered the landscape considerably for both House and Senate races.

House of Representatives
Redistricting this year solidified many congressional districts in either Democrat or Republican hands and reduced the number of truly competitive districts. As things stand right now, Democrats are virtually assured 185 seats to Republican’s 218. You read that right, Republicans have more than likely locked in the 218 races needed to control the House. That leaves 32 districts in the toss-up column with 26 currently occupied by Democrats and six by Republicans. As one might expect, California and New York with their large delegations have the most seats in the toss-up column, with five in California and six in New York. Three of the five in California are currently held by Democrats as are five of the six in New York. Nationally, Republicans and Democrats are virtually tied in the generic congressional ballot, but there has been a recent uptick in support for Republicans after Democrats surged in late summer. It was evident during the primary season that Republican voter enthusiasm was outpacing Democrats, but the next several weeks will show whether that enthusiasm carries over to the general election. It appears Republicans will hold the majority in the House in January; the big question is whether the majority will be sufficiently large to give party leaders enough room to govern effectively—a problem Democrats have wrestled with for the last two years.

U.S. Senate

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Democrats currently control the gavels in the Senate by virtue of holding the Vice Presidency to break the 50-50 split. Each Senate race has its own flavor and while public sentiment appears to slightly favor Republicans, the candidates themselves ultimately define each race. Both parties have fielded mediocre to seriously flawed candidates in certain races and in the case of Georgia and Pennsylvania, that has forced voters to choose between two weirdly weak candidates. It is my view that control of the Senate largely hinges on the outcome of these two races and when both candidates are of the “hold-your-nose-and-vote” variety, it is nigh on impossible to get a read on which direction they will break. All that said, here are my predictions:

Arizona – Democrat Mark Kelly prevails – D hold

Georgia – Republican Herschel Walker – R pick up

New Hampshire – Democrat Maggie Hassan – D hold

North Carolina – Republican Ted Budd – R hold

Nevada – Republican Adam Laxalt – R pick up

Pennsylvania – Republican Mehmet Oz – R hold

Wisconsin – Republican Ron Johnson – R hold

If my predictions on these toss-up races are correct, Republicans could assume control of the Senate with a 52-seat majority in January. While I view this as the most likely outcome, it is also very likely we could see the continued 50-50 split or a 51-49 Democratic majority as well. Perhaps the hardest race to predict is Pennsylvania. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has slowly reappeared on the campaign trail in very tightly controlled environments after suffering a serious stroke this Spring. He has successfully dodged calls for debates until recently when he agreed to one debate on October 25—after early voting ends. For his part, Dr. Mehmet Oz has been trying to walk a fine line highlighting his opponent’s deficiencies while avoiding alienating voters for being callous. Democrats have done a good job painting Oz as an out-of-touch celebrity carpetbagger, but ultimately, I believe he will garner enough support. Did I mention the candidates are bad?

Webcast Thursday: Burnout Busters

This Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, NCA will host a webcast on one of the most challenging club issues right now—employee burnout. Join Whitney Reid Pennell, owner and president of RCS Hospitality Group and me, as moderator, as we navigate burnout factors like workload balance, physical and mental breaks, managed expectations and more. This event is free for NCA members. Register here.