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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 1-30-23

Situational Awareness
Both the House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider several bills related to COVID-19 emergency authorities. The Senate has not announced any business or votes, but will be in session.

COVID-19 Authorities Reconsidered

This week, the House will consider four bills that will end authorities granted to federal agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The House Rules Committee will meet today to set conditions for debate: The razor-thin majority is likely to complicate the ability of leadership to do the things it needs to do to govern, such as increasing the debt limit or establishing a budget framework:

  • H.R. 497 ends the health care worker vaccine mandate and prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from continuing to implement or enforce the rule requiring providers and suppliers to receive the vaccine.
  • H.R. 382 ends the COVID-19 public health emergency declared by HHS in January 2020.
  • H.R. 139 would require federal agencies to reinstate pre-COVID-19 telework policies and to submit a plan to Congress should they seek to expand telework policies.

House Joint Resolution 7 would end the COVID-19 national emergency declared by President Trump in March 2020 and renewed twice by President Biden.

Federal Debt Ceiling

Despite the back-and-forth sparring and posturing in the press between Democrats, Republicans and the White House, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will meet with President Biden on Wednesday to begin discussions on how to proceed with raising the national debt limit. The national debt currently stands at $31.4 trillion and the Department of Treasury has begun using “extraordinary measures” to avoid defaulting on obligations. Republicans have signaled their intention to use the debt ceiling as leverage for enacting spending reforms, while Democrats have argued such a move is tantamount to hostage taking over expenditures that have already been authorized. The Treasury Department has indicated they believe the extraordinary measures they are currently using will not be able to extend a default past the June or July timeframe. Below are two charts from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity to illustrate the financial position.

Committee Business

This week looks to be full of committee action in both chambers. In the House, the Judiciary Committee is planning a hearing on issues at the southern border, the Energy and Commerce Committee plans a hearing on fentanyl and the cybersecurity breach of suicide lifelines and other committees are just getting started with organizing and setting their first hearings. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a slate of judicial and other nominations later this week.

Thursday Webcast: Retirement Plan Changes Affecting Private Clubs

Congress recently made changes to 401(k) plans and part-time employee eligibility in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill; among other changes, things are different around auto enrollment, part-time employee eligibility and student loan repayment. Join experts for a conversation about these changes and what they mean for private clubs. I will provide a brief government relations update and moderate the discussion. Register here.