Omar S. Nashashibi is a Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist and strategic consultant. He uses his experience to help clients navigate the challenges and risks of public-policy actions and how they impact a business or industry.
Businesses should see the agenda as a list of what the government has in store for the regulated community and a preview of what actions from Washington, D.C. may impact their daily operations. Let’s review a few of the highlights, starting with the Department of Labor and its 71 pending rules.
Every August, the U.S. Congress leaves Washington, D.C., for a month-long break. During that time, we often see increased regulatory action to fill the federal policymaking void. We are receiving word to, again, expect a busy month ahead as the Labor Department prepares to finalize two significant actions.
The U.S. House of Representatives only has 12 days left in its summer session prior to a scheduled departure on July 28, with lawmakers not slated to return to Washington, D.C. until September 12. The 45-day “District Work Period” is quite the lengthy sojourn from the halls of Congress. Lawmakers will use the six weeks away to meet with constituents, travel overseas and, yes, take a vacation.
As we cross the halfway mark of 2023, a midpoint review of the current U.S. Congress and the state of Washington, D.C. is warranted. As of this writing, lawmakers have sent five bills to the White House that President Biden signed into law; federal regulators issued 1,336 final rules and proposed another 948 regulations; and the White House reached an agreement with House Republicans on a bill to suspend the debt ceiling.
I am often asked why the Biden administration would have some of its federal agencies issue rules promoting manufacturing in America while another proposes new regulations that hurt manufacturing in America. They are, of course, typically referring to the EPA or Labor Department. According to the most recent federal regulatory agenda, the EPA listed 148 rulemaking actions it intends to take in the coming year. Then there is the Department of Energy, which, on some issues, you can think of as the good cop to EPA’s bad cop.
The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) scheduled a public hearing for May 31 to receive a report and hold a discussion on potential elements of a proposed heat-injury and illness-prevention standard. That is a long way of saying that OSHA is one step closer to regulating both indoor and outdoor workspaces when the heat index exceeds 80°F.
President Biden will sit down in the White House on May 9 with the top-four leaders from Capitol Hill to begin discussions to prevent the U.S. government from default by exceeding its borrowing limit. The Treasury Department set a June 1 deadline for the debt-ceiling breach. However, most here in Washington, D.C. are skeptical that this is the actual deadline because the GOP accuses the White House of trying to force them to the table.
In the first two weeks of April 2023, which comprised all of 10 business days, federal regulators finalized 132 new rules and proposed another 112. These actions and other notices from government agencies added up to 3,773 pages in the Federal Register, bringing the 2023 total to 23,284 pages. Of those, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accounted for nine rules, 12 proposed rules and 39 notices.