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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 3-13-23

Situational Awareness
The Senate is in session this week and will consider several nominations. The House is out on a district work period and will return on Wednesday, March 22.


Last week, the House passed a Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the Biden Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule by a vote of 227-198. The resolution was passed under procedures established by the Congressional Review Act, which provides for expedited consideration in both the House and Senate, requires a simple majority and is not subject to filibuster. The resolution would nullify the Biden rule, which was finalized on January 18, 2023.

Prospects in the Senate hinge on which senators will be absent this week. Sens. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) have both been out for medical reasons and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was hospitalized over the weekend due to a fall. If McConnell is present, the parties would be tied at 49-49 and with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) and it is possible the Senate could pass the resolution. The Biden White House has stated its opposition to the resolution and would likely veto.

All of this action on the finalized WOTUS rule is happening with the backdrop of litigation and a pending ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could well determine the extent of the authority the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers have with respect to jurisdiction over bodies of water. The high court heard arguments last fall and a ruling is expected in the coming months. In addition to the Supreme Court ruling, there have been several lawsuits filed challenging the Biden WOTUS rule that could result in an injunction of the rule going into effect on March 20.

Biden Budget

President Biden released his fiscal 2024 budget proposal last week. The budget includes $6.9 trillion in spending with an expected deficit of $1.8 trillion – this assumes Congress will adopt roughly $5.5 trillion in tax increases over the next 10 years. As expected, the budget was not received well by Republicans and even some Democrats found the proposal lacking. Administration officials will be testifying in upcoming budget committee hearings in support of the president’s proposal, which are sure to elicit some fireworks. At this time it is unclear whether Senate Democrats or House Republicans will proceed with a budget resolution. All signs point to another standoff leading into the end of the current fiscal year on September 30 and an omnibus appropriations bill sometime just before the Christmas holiday.

H-2B Fee Rule

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services proposed a rule that would increase fees for visa programs, including the H-2B program. The proposed rule would increase H-2B fees from the current level of $460 per application to $1,080 for a named beneficiary and $580 for an unnamed beneficiary. On top of that increase would be an additional $600 fee for each application that would be diverted to the Asylum Program. NCA has objected to the rule and joined the H-2B Coalition’s comments to the agency. Comments have yet to be filed, but we will share them once finalized. The $600 Asylum Program fee is particularly concerning as visa application fees are intended to cover the costs of the program, but not to subsidize other immigration programs operated by the federal government. If adopted, a named beneficiary application fee would increase from $460 to $1,680 per applicant. The USCIS comment period ends this week.

National Club Conference Early-bird Rates Extended Through 3/14

Early-bird rates to the 2023 National Club Conference, May 7-9 in Chicago, have been extended through March 14! Enjoy exceptional C-suite-level education, valuable networking opportunities and extraordinary social events for the lowest rate possible before prices go up later this week. Claim your spot here.

Thursday Webcast: The Economy, Future Planning & Your Club

This Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, join Chief Economist of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Curtis Dubay and myself for a timely webcast about the recent economic news, the state of the economy and various outlooks at play. A Q&A will be held at the end of the presentation. Register here.