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NCA’s Washington Weekly Update 3-20-23

Situational Awareness
The House convenes on Wednesday to accommodate the House Republicans’ Policy Retreat taking place in Orlando, Fla. The Senate is in session this week and is slated to consider repeal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has been used as justification for military action by three administrations in the past 20 years.

WOTUS Federal Court Decision
The Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS) goes into effect today, March 20, 2023, but a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect in the states of Texas and Idaho. The WOTUS rule will go into effect in the other 48 states, unless or until a national injunction is issued by the courts, which is certainly possible as there have been multiple suits filed against the rule in different court districts. Two weeks ago, the House passed a Resolution of Disapproval to block the rule from going into effect, but the Senate has not considered the resolution and it is unclear whether there are enough votes to pass it. Senate Republicans have indicated they will attempt to force a vote on the measure within the next couple of weeks. Resolutions under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) are privileged motions in both the House and Senate and require just a simple majority. Even if it were passed, the resolution would face a certain veto from President Biden. NCA will continue to monitor the situation and issue alerts to members with any significant developments.

PHIT Act Reintroduced
Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act in the house. The NCA-backed legislation would allow individuals with a health savings account to use up to $2,000 per year for fitness-related expenses. The bipartisan bill was nearly included in the year-end appropriations package that passed in December, but was left on the cutting room floor in the final hours of negotiations. NCA has been working with and supporting the PHIT Coalition to pass the legislation for the past four years. Advocates for the measure have highlighted the importance of youth sports and physical activity to combat obesity and promote mental health.

Comments Filed on Visa Fee Increases
NCA joined the H-2B Workforce Coalition in submitting comments to the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a rule that would more than double fees for H-2B applications and add a $600 surcharge on applications to support the asylum program. You can see a copy of the comments here.

Trump Arrest Watch
Former President Trump announced last week that he expects to be arrested in New York this week on charges related to actions in 2015 with adult actress Stormy Daniels. The extraordinary situation is sure to consume much of the oxygen in Washington this week notwithstanding significant developments on policy issues and testimony from Cabinet officials in support of President Biden’s fiscal 2024 budget proposal. Trump has called for his supporters to protest the action, which is without precedent.