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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 12-5-22

Situational Awareness
The House and Senate are both in session this week as they close out the remaining days of this session of Congress. The House is scheduled to consider the National Defense Authorization Act, and the Rules Committee is expected to clear legislation to codify same-sex marriage rights for consideration this week as well. The Senate will consider several nominations as negotiations continue on a year-end appropriations package. Both chambers will also organize committees and leadership for the next session of Congress, which begins January 3, 2023.

Respect for Marriage Act

The House Rules Committee will meet today to consider a rule to debate the “Respect for Marriage Act,” H.R. 8404, which was passed by the Senate last week by a vote of 61-36. The bill repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and recognizes the marriage status of individuals at the federal level if the marriage is considered valid in the state or territory in which it was performed. The Senate amended the original text of the bill last week to stipulate that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a marriage and refusal of such goods and services would be exempt from a civil cause of action. The Respect for Marriage Act gained momentum after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which raised concerns about the possibility of overturning the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case decided in 2015 that required all states to license and recognize same-sex marriage. The House is expected to adopt the Senate-passed version of the bill and send it to President Biden, who has indicated he will sign the measure into law.

Georgia Runoff Tuesday

The runoff election between incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D) and challenger Herschel Walker (R) concludes on Tuesday and will determine whether the Democrats will have outright control over the upper chamber or continue to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris to break the 50-50 split. If Warnock prevails, Democrats will be able to establish clear majorities in the committees rather than continue with an evenly split ratio. Polling shows Warnock with a four-point lead and early voting indicates the incumbent has an advantage going into election day, but Republicans swept the other statewide races this year, giving them hope heading into the final day.

Respect for Marriage Act

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division was expected to have released a proposed rule to update overtime threshold regulations by now, but there has been no indication of when it will be published. According to the Unified Regulatory Agenda, the proposed rule was supposed to have been ready for publication in October, but there has been little information on its status. The current salary threshold is $35,568 for potential exemption from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that was set in 2019. Labor organizations have argued that the administration has the authority to increase the threshold to more than $82,000, but the Department of Labor is not expected to be that aggressive. The Obama Administration increased the threshold to $47,476 in 2016 only to be invalidated by the courts in 2017. NCA discussed the overtime threshold with Department of Labor officials prior to the rulemaking stage and filed a response to the request for information on the impact of a change in the threshold.

Leadership and Committee Organizing

Senate Democrats will hold their leadership elections on Thursday. House Republicans will select their committee chairs this week as well. While seniority plays a key role in determining who will chair each committee, it isn’t always the case. We’ll have more to report on this next week.

Labor Force Participation Rate Declines

The labor force participation rate continued its decline in November with just 62.1 % of workforce age individuals either employed or seeking employment. Despite leisure and hospitality leading jobs in November with 88,000 positions filled, NCA continues to hear from members that it is difficult to find workers.

Webcast: Long-range Projects & Member Communications Best Practices

Thurs., Dec. 8, at 2 pm ET I will moderate NCA’s Long-range Planning and Project Member Communications Best Practices webcast, featuring experts Ryan Doerr and Laura Leszczynski from Strategic Club Solutions and Mark Jablonski, General Manager, Hinsdale Golf Club. Ryan, Laura and Mark will show how a well-orchestrated and executed communication strategy for long-range planning and major capital projects can prevent rumors and misinformation among members from ever getting started. Register here.