Capitol Insider November 2022

Republicans Take Control of House, Senate Still Controlled by Democrats
Infrastructure Vote Soars For Candidates In The 2022 Election
Congressional Lame-Duck Session Ahead
Graves Likely To Chair House T&I Committee
DHS Releases 64K Additional H-2B Visas for 2023
Buy America Returns To Fed Transpo Contracts
Elections and NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976
Second Session, 117th Congress Schedule
NUCA Official Letters To Congress
Sign Up For NUCA Advocacy Alerts!
Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee

Republicans Take Control of House, Senate Remains in Democrat Hands

It took a week of counting mail-in ballots, but Tuesday evening the Republicans could claim the U.S. House as their major victory in the 2022 mid-term elections. The party had expected an overwhelming victory in the House due to high inflation and dissatisfaction with the Biden Administration showing in the polls. But there was strong support remaining for the Democrats in many districts, who have controlled the House since 2019.

Democrats won control of the Senate last week, securing 50 seats in the election, and with a runoff in Georgia next month possibly giving the party an additional seat, with the chamber at a high of 51D-49R to start the 118th Congress. It is expected that current Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) will retain his leadership position.

Republican leaders anticipate a final tally of 220 to 223 seats, a House majority and an increase from the 212 seats they held in January 2021. (Democrats will hold around 213 seats.) The Republicans will have the narrowest House margin of the 21st century, rivalling 2001 when they had a nine-seat majority.

The full scope of the party’s majority may not be clear for several more days — or weeks — as votes in several very competitive races are still being counted. 

For the first time in two years, the GOP will see its power in Washington grow by its House victory. Republicans will take control

of House committees, giving them the ability to shape legislation, launch probes of the Biden Administration, and conduct oversight hearings. With such a slim majority in the House, there is a significant potential for legislative chaos. The close dynamic gives an individual GOP Member enormous sway over shaping what happens in the chamber. 

Both the House and Senate GOP are conducing leadership elections this week. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) won the Nov. 15 GOP House caucus on a 188-31 vote to be the nominee for Speaker of the House after facing a challenge from Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was elected House Majority Leader, and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) as Majority Whip.

The House Democratic Caucus is scheduled to hold its leadership elections on Nov. 30.  

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a 37-10 vote retained his position, but faced a challenger (Sen. Rick Scott of Florida) for the first contested Senate leadership vote since 1996 because of the GOP's poor showing in several high-profile Senate races.

Infrastructure Vote Soars For Candidates In The 2022 Election

While control of both the U.S. House and Senate was being determined, one aspect stood out early the day after the election. "Voters made their intentions clear in yesterday’s Congressional elections: they gave an enduring approval for last year’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment," said Doug Carlson, NUCA's Chief Executive Officer, in the industry journal Engineering News-Record.

Carlson noted the controversy faced by several Republican lawmakers in 2021 for their summer vote to pass the core infrastructure bill. “All six of the Republicans who voted for the core infrastructure bill were re-elected, including Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska. It was the right vote for them to make. The 2022 election results delivered a change to Congress...but NUCA’s bipartisan approach to infrastructure legislation will help us keep a seat at the table in the new Congress. Voting to strengthen and boost American infrastructure is always a winner on Election Day," concluded Carlson.


Congressional Lame-Duck Session Ahead

After the excitement of Election Day and delayed results, Congress returns for unfinished session business the week of Nov. 14. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session until at least mid-December, with a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. The session is scheduled to end around Dec. 16. 

Both chamber's Republican caucuses held their leadership votes for the new 118th Congress early in the week of Nov. 14.

Important legislative work followed by NUCA also awaits lawmaker's votes. Industry issues that Congress is anticipated to address include FY2023 government funding, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and tax extenders. The NDAA contains the industry's Water Resources Development Act, which NUCA's lobbyists are pushing for a vote on the package. 

The fate of permitting reform legislation may also be addressed, after suffering a delay in September. NUCA will be lobbying hard on behalf of reforming the permit process to speed up projects.

Graves To Likely Chair House T&I Committee

With a new Congress comes changes in committee leadership. For NUCA's committees of interest, these changes are ahead.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will continue to have a high-profile status in the 118th Congress, as funds from IIJA continue to be fed to the States. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) will likely become the committee’s new chair. NUCA has an excellent relationship with Rep. Graves, who has spoken at past NUCA Washington Summits. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) will seek the Ranking Member spot, as today's Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has retired. 

The House Ways & Means Committee, the principal tax-writing committee in Congress and the committee that has jurisdiction over NUCA's private activity bonds issue, has an opening for Republicans as Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) also retired this year. Currently there is a three-way race between Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Jason Smith (R-MO), and Adrian Smith (R-NE). The House Education & the Workforce Committee's leadership remains undetermined as of press time.

The Senate will remain in Democrat Party hands. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is expected to maintain leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee, the committee with jurisdiction over most transportation issues. Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) is expected to remain chair of the Senate EPW Committee.

DHS Releases 64K Additional H-2B Visas for 2023

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security announced October 12 that it will be issuing a regulation that will make available to employers an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for FY2023, on top of the 66,000 H-2B visas that are normally available each fiscal year. These supplemental visas became available on October 1, 2022, to meet the high demand by American employers for seasonal positions. 

In addition to the 20,000 H-2B visas reserved for nationals of Haiti and the Northern Central American countries, the remaining 44,716 supplemental visas will be available to returning workers who received an H-2B visa, or were otherwise granted H-2B status, during one of the last three fiscal years. The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire noncitizens to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States. 

NUCA is involved with the H-2B Workforce Coalition to lobby Congress and significantly increase the number of available visas nationwide to industries like ours. This will be a top issue at our May 2023 Washington Summit.

Buy America Returns To Fed Transpo Contracts

USDOT's waiver of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) construction materials requirement in federal transportation contractors ended on Nov. 10. However, USDOT recognized that waivers may be needed by the construction industry and recently published two proposed waivers with far smaller scopes. The newly published waivers clarify that the general “construction materials” waiver expiring on November 10 will not be extended and instead propose to waive the domestic preference requirements for specific situations. | Proposed Waiver A, Nov. 4 | Proposed Waiver B, Nov. 4 |More here.

Elections and NUCA/PAC: Going Strong Since 1976

NUCA's Political Action Committee, NUCA/PAC, is your strong voice on Capitol Hill - supporting pro-infrastructure policies, and defending your business against harmful laws and regulations that can affect your bottom line.

NUCA/PAC enables the American utility construction industry to approach vital public policy issues by helping to elect like-minded Members of Congress. 

Get engaged in the process by authorizing NUCA/PAC to share information with you and your employees. However, Federal law requires NUCA/PAC to first obtain your written permission to solicit your voluntary contributions.

Please click here for the NUCA/PAC authorization form. (You will need you NUCA member logon. If you do not have it, please contact NUCA's Lauren Hensley at lauren@nuca.com or 703-358-9300.)

2022 proved to be an exciting election cycle for Congress. NUCA/PAC will be more engaged and involved in 2024--let's make our industry's PAC the strongest it can be.

Record All Your Jobsite Incidents With Just One App: NUCA WINS

NUCA WINS 2.1 offers even more valuable new features and enhancements. NUCA WINS 2.1 allows multiple incidents to be linked together in one documented event.

Whether your supervisors need to document injury, damage, or safety events, they can now do it all from one convenient, intuitive app, right on their tablet or smartphone. Your company will benefit from accurate and timely reporting, and receive immediate notification in case of any jobsite incidents.

NUCA WINS 2.1 is your one-stop app for all adverse event recording and tracking.

Visit NUCAWins.com to learn more and schedule a demo of the app.

NUCA WINS Logo B 08-17-20.jpg

Second Session, 117th Congress Schedule

Once the results of the 2022 Congressional elections were finalized, Congress began its lame-duck session on Nov. 14. They will take a week-long Thanksgiving break the week of Nov. 21, and return for work on Nov. 29. Both houses are scheduled to stay in session to at least Dec. 15, and probably will do so given the contentious legislation expected to be debated (described above).

The 117th Congress ends January 3, 2023, at 11:59amET. All legislation not passed by then becomes moot, and will have to be reintroduced in the new 118th Congress which starts at noon that same day. That is not always assured, as champions of legislation retire or lose and no one else offers their bill.

For a 2022 Congressional calendar that shows both House and Senate schedules for the rest of the year, go here. The 2023 calendar will be released after Thanksgiving and will be posted in the December issue of Capital Insider.

NUCA Official Letters To Congress & Federal Agencies

October 18, 2022 - NUCA Letter to DOD, GSA, NASA: Oppose PLA Proposed FAR Rulemaking

October 6, 2022 - NUCA Coalition to USDOE: Oppose Rulemaking on Consumer Furnace Energy Standards

All formal NUCA correspondence with Congress and federal regulatory agencies can be found at nuca.com/letters.

Sign Up For NUCA Advocacy Alerts!

If you're a NUCA member, your Washington governments affairs team wants you to be part of our Capitol Hill advocacy program! NUCA urges you to sign up to receive our Muster advocacy alerts. These emails will alert you to pending legislative action where your opinion can make a difference.

It's easy to sign up via the link below. Use your personal home address if you can do so, since our online Muster advocacy program finds your members of Congress via your voter registration address. But business addresses work just as well to receive our alerts.

I'm a NUCA member and I want to receive NUCA's Advocacy Alerts!

Join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee!

If you enjoy analyzing politics and find the inner workings of Congress and our industry's legislative program interesting or useful to your business, why not take the next step and join NUCA's Government Affairs Committee? Membership is open to all NUCA members, and we welcome the active participation of those seeking to make a difference in their industry, and to help shape NUCA's official policies on legislation.


Help shape the legislative and advocacy program of your association. Contact NUCA's Vice President of Government Affairs Zack Perconti to get started today.

National Utility Contractors Association

Governmental Affairs Department

3925 Chain Bridge Rd., Suite 300

Fairfax, Virginia 22039

703-358-9300

AZUCA Arizona Chapter of NUCA

2303 N. 44th St. Ste 14-1104

Phoenix, AZ 85008

(970) 376-1190

Christine@nuca.com

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