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Washington Weekly Update 10-23-23

Situational Awareness

The House and Senate are in session this week. House Republicans continue their internecine battle to elect a Speaker of the House and will conduct a “candidate forum” at 6:30 this evening. The process to elect a Speaker Designate will begin in earnest Tuesday. There are currently nine Republicans running for Speaker, with Republican Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) leading the pack.

Today marks 20 days since the House was thrown into a state of disarray and disfunction by a group of eight Republican backbenchers. As this drama plays out, I’m reminded of the opening lyrics to the song Basket Case by Green Day: “Do you have the time, to listen to me whine, about nothing and everything all at once.” Without a Speaker, the House cannot consider emergency funding bills to provide assistance to Israel or Ukraine among other items. For those of you keeping track of the larger picture, government funding will run out Nov. 17.

Attend the Inaugural Club Championship Conference, Nov. 13 at Army Navy Country Club

Join NCA, club leaders and golf tournament experts to better navigate golf qualifiers and championship tournaments at clubs. Held Nov. 13, 2023 at Army Navy Country Club, Arlington Va., this historic event will provide a dedicated forum for club leadership to meet, learn, share best practices and discuss the challenges and rewards of hosting championships and qualifiers for the major tours and golf organizations in the United States. Hosted just six miles from Reagan National Airport, conversation will include four sessions led by top championship veterans:

  • Colin Burns, Apogee Golf and former GM of Winged Foot Golf Club
  • Robbie Zalzneck, former USGA Sr. Director of Player Service
  • Kevin Bozada, Augusta National Golf Club
  • Jeffrey Kreafle, Congressional Country Club

Register and learn more here.

White House Report of the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce

In conjunction with the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the White House released its H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce report. The Taskforce was directed to examine three primary themes:

  • Threats to the H-2B program’s integrity.
  • H-2B workers’ vulnerabilities.
  • The “impressible use” of the H-2B visa program to avoid hiring U.S. workers.

The report includes more than a dozen action items to be taken across the federal government to advance protections for H-2B workers. Some of those actions include: 

  • Reduce workers’ vulnerability to exploitation from labor recruiters and employers by using enhanced information collection from other agencies, making it easier to prevent and enforce against exploitation by recruiters.
  • Empower workers by identifying and developing resources designed to provide them with information about their rights under H-2 programs and disseminating information widely, including through and through additional task force agency channels.
  • Leverage existing data to increase transparency and reduce the vulnerability of H-2 workers through interagency data sharing, which will improve outreach and streamline responses to labor law violations.
  • Participate in a new interagency H-2 Worker Protection Working Group to guide the implementation of deliverables described in the task force report.

House Education and Workforce Committee Letter on DOL Overtime Rule

Last week, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a letter to Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su requesting that the Department of Labor (DOL) extend its comment period on a proposed overtime rule that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to extend mandatory overtime pay to certain salaried workers. In the letter, Chairwoman Foxx requests an additional 60 days for employers and other stakeholders to survey their workers and “compile employment trends” to inform public comments. The National Club Association also requested that DOL extend the comment period for the proposed overtime rule.

A hearing schedule for this week by the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on the effect of the Department of Labor’s overtime threshold proposed rule was postponed indefinitely. NCA joined other organizations expressing appreciation for the hearing and highlighted many concerns the business community has with the proposal.

House Small Business Committee Hearing on the Effects of DOL Rulemaking on Employers

Last Thursday, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing titled “Burdensome Regulations: Examining the Effects of DOL Rulemaking on America’s Job Creators.” During the hearing, members of the committee were divided along party lines in their remarks. For instance, Committee Chair Roger Williams (R-Texas) expressed concerns that the DOL’s rulemaking process curbed small business’ ability to grow due to associated costs with regulatory compliance. In contrast, Committee Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) emphasized that regulations are effective in stimulating growth while promoting the health and safety of workers. Notably, one witness—Frank Knapp Jr., president & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce—suggested that lawmakers reconsider the federal definition of a “small business” to focus on the smallest of employers, and that agencies should project costs and benefits of rules for small businesses.

Senate Environment and Public Works Hearing on Sackett v. EPA

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing last Wednesday to examine the Supreme Court’s ruling on the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to expand the definition of federally protected bodies of water–also referred to as “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS). The hearing highlighted a clear partisan divide on the implications of Sackett, which restricted federal wetlands protections to only those with a continuous surface connection to navigable rivers and lakes. While Democratic members of the committee discussed the economic implications of Sackett on states’ abilities to provide clean drinking water, committee Republicans focused on the ruling’s implications for property rights and property owners. Notably, one witness—Susan Parker Bodine, a partner at Earth and Water Law—testified to that the EPA’s updated WOTUS rule would likely face more legal challenges in the future because it doesn’t fully implement the Supreme Court’s decision.

Please Take the NCA Overtime Survey
NCA has distributed a short survey requesting your feedback on the possible impact the Department of Labor’s proposed overtime rule expansion would have on your club. The proposed rule would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to extend mandatory overtime pay to certain salaried workers. A similar rule proposed by the Obama administration to raise the overtime salary threshold to $47,000 was blocked in 2016 following separate legal challenges from business groups and nearly two dozen state officials. Take the survey here.

Webcast Thursday: Mobile Security at Clubs
This Thursday, Oct. 26, learn how to protect member, staff and club data that can be illegally obtained through mobile devices. I will join Joe Wall, vice president of risk partners at Lookout to educate club leaders on this important matter. Register here for free.