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.
Every new President storms into office with bold proclamations about what they will accomplish on “Day One” and proposes an aggressive agenda for their first 100 days in office. In reality, however, the President of the United States is limited in what permanent changes they can accomplish on their own without Congress.
Having begun the process on Feb. 22, the U.S. House and Senate have moved through a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package within just three weeks. This puts us on track to spend roughly $5 trillion on stimulus and COVID efforts in 12 months since the CARES Act passed in March 2020.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are quickly pushing through a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill without much standing in their way other than members of their own party. Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives intend to pass the legislation championed by President Biden no later than February 28, at which point the Senate will begin consideration of the bill.
After each election, lobbyists in Washington, D.C., like myself, work with clients to plan their legislative and regulatory agendas based on the outcomes in November. This year, not only did we have to await the results of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia, but the winners on January 5 realigned power in Washington and with it upended the agendas of businesses across the country.
Rumors had long circulated throughout Washington, D.C. that the incoming Biden administration would take steps to create a new workplace safety policy with uniform OSHA guidelines for employers. On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing OSHA to issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and an Emergency Temporary Standard, if necessary, by March 15.
On January 5, 2021, the EPA continued its 11th hour rulemaking by releasing its “secret-science” policy, formally known as the “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information” rule. Pending for several years, the first-draft rule generated over 600,000 public comments, among the most in recent EPA history. The final rule requires researchers and others to disclose the raw data and other information and methodologies used to justify policymaking. The rule applies not only to significant regulatory actions but also to “influential scientific information” released. Business groups during the Obama administration had argued that the EPA used data not revealed to the public when creating significant new regulations impacting industry.