Skip links

Washington Weekly Update 5-28-24

Situational Awareness

After four straight weeks in session, lawmakers in the House and Senate have returned to their congressional districts for a week-long recess. The time away from Capitol Hill will provide congressional staff with an opportunity to work without interruption on remaining to-do items, including the 2024 Farm Bill, the biannual Water Resources Development Act, the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and FY25 spending bills. Most recently, the House Appropriations Committee passed its FY25 budget allocations, which reflect a 1% boost to defense spending and a 6% cut to no-defense funds. The cuts on the non-defense side would sideline an agreement struck during the 2023 debt-limit negotiations that allowed 1% increases across both categories.

NCA Webinar on DOL Overtime Rule

Join us on Thursday, May 30 at 2pm ET, for NCA’s Preparing Your Club and Employees for the July 1 Overtime Threshold Change webcast. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a final rule that will increase the minimum salary threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime. The rule includes one increase effective July 1, 2024, and a second increase effective Jan. 1, 2025. NCA Board Member Jenifer Bologna will lead a discussion with her colleagues from the Jackson Lewis law firm to review the rule and how clubs should prepare for these changes. 

Biden Announces Nominee for GOP NLRB Vacancy

President Joe Biden announced he is nominating Chicago-based labor lawyer Joshua Ditelberg to a Republican seat vacated by John Ring, who led the NLRB under former President Donald Trump. The White House is also re-nominating U.S. National Labor Relations Board Chair Lauren McFerran for a new five-year term, moving to lock in the Democrat ahead of the 2024 election. If the Senate confirms McFerran and Ditelberg, their terms would expire in 2029 and 2027, respectively. Biden’s nominations would ensure Democrats maintain a majority on the NLRB even if Donald Trump is elected in November.

Business Groups Challenge DOL Overtime Rule

A coalition of business groups that includes the National Federation of Independent Businesses has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas requesting that the court vacate the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule. The coalition argues that a prior ruling in 2017 that struck down an Obama administration overtime proposal provides legal precedence demonstrating how the Biden administration regulation exceeds DOL’s legal authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The May 22 lawsuit also contends that the automatic updates to the salary threshold every three years would violate notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process by which federal agencies develop and issue regulations. The business coalition requested the court provide expedited consideration of the case given that the first phase of the rule is due to go into effect July 1.

U.S. Chamber Sues OSHA Over Walkaround Rule

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Texas challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new walkaround rule. The rule would amend OSHA’s Representatives of Employers and Employees regulation to clarify that employees can authorize a third-party employee representative to accompany an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during a workplace inspection. The plaintiffs are requesting that the court postpone enforcement and vacate the regulation. The lawsuit alleges that the right of access established in OSHA’s final rule raises serious constitutional concerns under the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Most recently, NCA signed onto a Coalition for Workplace Safety letter supporting a Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution of OSHA’s walkaround rule. 

House Agriculture Panel Advances 2025 Farm Bill

Last week, the House Agriculture Committee voted to advance H.R. 8467, the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024, which would provide a five-year reauthorization of the USDA’s agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry programs. Funding for existing programs established by the 2018 farm bill expires Sept. 30, unless lawmakers pass the legislation or a second extension. Overall, policy disagreements between committee Republicans and Democrats centered on the nutrition and conservation titles in the GOP proposed $1.5 trillion package. 

There are several golf industry priorities included in both the House GOP and Senate Democratic proposals. The House draft text maintains the National Turfgrass Research Initiative, which recognizes turfgrass research as a priority for the Agriculture Department. This issue was a top “ask” at the 2024 National Golf Day. The House-advanced package also includes provisions reaffirming EPA’s authority on uniformity in national pesticide labeling uniformity and require the interagency working group on pesticides to hold public meetings once every year with private-sector stakeholders. 

Ways and Means Committee Seeks Public Input on 2017 Tax Bill 

Ahead of the expiration of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 next year, Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Tax Subcommittee Chair Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) announced the formation of 10 Ways and Means Republican Tax Teams to study key tax provisions. The Tax Teams are requesting input from the public that will assist their work to identify legislative solutions to support families, workers and small businesses. 

Appeals Court Denies Florida Request for Wetlands Permitting Stay

An appeals court in Washington, D.C., rejected Florida’s request to delay a judge’s order stripping the state of its federal wetlands permitting authority. In February, a federal judge from the District Court of Washington, D.C. ruled that EPA had erred in handing Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting authority over to the state without sufficiently analyzing the impact it would have on endangered species.

GOP Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Overturn Biden ESA Rules

Three members of the conservative Congressional Western Caucus have introduced five Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolutions to overturn the Biden Administration’s recent rule updates to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services finalized three regulations, including one that would reinstate Section 4(d) of the ESA—referred to as the “blanket rule”—which automatically provides endangered level protections to species listed only as threatened.