• After Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) last week to fund the federal government through December 16, it stands in recess until after the November 8 midterm elections o Congress will return in mid-November and face a packed “lame duck” session agenda that includes funding the government, the National Defense Authorization Act, Hurricane Ian relief, reforming the Electoral Count Act, tax extenders, and much more :black_small_square: The scope of the “lame duck” agenda will partially be determined by the outcome of the midterm elections and which party will control the House of Representatives and Senate in 2023

  • When Congress returns, ECA will be very busy on Capitol Hill, with a short period for potential action on some of ECA’s key federal priorities including grants for industry small businesses and restoration of the Q4 2021 Earned Income Tax Credit

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ended its COVID-19 country travel health notices this week o While CDC ended its “do not travel” recommendations for 90+ countries in April, the country-specific system remained in place until this week when CDC acknowledged that most countries no longer report enough COVID-19 data for accurate assessments

    • Meanwhile, 55 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calling on them to reduce visa processing times to expedite the return of international travelers to the U.S. o Led by the U.S. Travel Association, the letter called for setting the following goals: :black_small_square: Reducing visa interview wait times in Brazil, Mexico, and India (countries that make up 2/3 of pre-pandemic visitors to the U.S. that required a visa) to 21 days by April 2023
    • Reinstating the executive order that 80% of visitor visa worldwide should be processed within 21 days by September 30, 2023
  • Earlier this week, 17 industry leaders met with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), which owns McCormick Place, to talk about the future of business events in Chicago o MPEA recently cancelled the current venue management RFP and will be issuing a new one in the weeks ahead
  • The current venue manager will now likely remain in place until September 30, 2023
  • Going forward, ECA does not anticipate challenges regarding new exclusive in-house services or venue manager-organized shows at McCormick Place