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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (03/14/22)



Upcoming Events & Activities

March 14th, 2021 - March 18th, 2022

All events in Eastern Standard Time


Monday, March 14th

Happy Pi Day


Tuesday, March 15th

10:00 AM - Senate Finance Committee: Hearing on "The Promise & Challenge of Strategic Trade Engagement in the Indo-Pacific Region"


2:00 PM - Senate Judiciary Committee: Hearing on "Removing Barriers to Legal Migration to Strengthen our Communities & Economy"


2:30 PM - Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee: Hearing on "Advancing Public Transportation under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law"


Wednesday, March 16th

10:00 AM - House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee: Hearing on "Proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2022: Members' Day Hearing"


10:00 AM - House Science, Space, & Technology Committee: Hearing on "Bioenergy Research & Development for the Fuels and Chemicals of Tomorrow"


10:00 AM - Senate Finance Committee: Hearing on "Prescription Drug Price Inflation: An Urgent Need to Lower Drug Prices in Medicare"


10:00 AM - Senate Environment & Public Works Committee: Hearing on the "Oversight of the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund Formula"


Thursday, March 17th

10:00 AM - House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee: Hearing on "Aviation Noise: Measuring Progress in Addressing Community Concerns"


Friday, March 18th

No meetings to report.

 

Energy, Water & Environment

The latest from the House and Senate Committees on energy (infrastructure), WIFIA, wastewater management, environmental issues, interior, or environmental justice.

Legislation

H.R. 7018 - Green Postal Service Fleet Act, To prohibit the United States Postal Service from carrying out a contract for the procurement of next generation vehicle fleet unless such fleet is at least 75 percent electric or zero emission vehicles

Sponsor: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7023 - Prohibiting Oil Trade with Venezuela's Tyrant Act, To prohibit the importation of petroleum products from Venezuela

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL-15) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7044, To prohibit the importation of nickel and copper from the Russian Federation

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA-10) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7061, To impose a windfall profits excise tax on crude oil and to rebate the tax collected back to individual taxpayers

Sponsor: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022

News

Politico: Biden Loses Manchin Support for Federal Reserve Nominee, Raskin

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced on Monday, March 14th, that he will oppose Sarah Bloom Raskin's nomination to the Federal Reserve's top job overseeing banks, imperiling her already stalled bid to win confirmation. Raskin's nomination has been stuck in the Senate Banking Committee amid a GOP boycott of a committee vote on her nomination, effectively blocking her confirmation from advancing to the Senate floor. Now even if her nomination is able to get out of committee, Raskin would need at least one Republican to support her to be confirmed as vice chair for supervision.


Politico: D.C. Circuit Court Again Directs FERC to Consider Pipeline Downstream Emissions

A federal court has once again found that FERC should have considered the downstream emissions of a natural gas pipeline and LNG project — and remanded the case back to FERC. The decision adds fuel to Chair Richard Glick’s argument that FERC’s recent update of its pipeline policy statement is an effort to align with what the law says. Continued arguments to the contrary from one of his Republican colleagues on the commission are “frustrating,” Glick said in in an interview.


Federal Register: FERC Seeks Public Comments on Interim Natural Gas Pipeline Rule

Until April 4, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is accepting public comments regarding an interim policy statement, which describes the Commission's procedures for evaluating climate impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and describes how the Commission will integrate climate consideration into its public interest determinations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). FERC is accepting comments on the information collection until May 10, 2022.

 

Transportation & Infrastructure

The latest from the House and Senate Committees on industrial and commercial mechanical insulation, cybersecurity, supply chains, port authority, metropolitan transit, or airport.

Legislation

H.R. 6995 - Russia Trade & Investment Ban Act, To prohibit trade with the Russian Federation

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA-10) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: March 8, 2022


H.R. 7014, To suspend normal trade relations treatment for the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus

Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7057, To revoke Transportation Security Administration directives to implement the Federal mask mandate in public transportation systems

Sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26) referred to Homeland Security Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022


H.R. 7064, To require the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, to establish a grant program to demonstrate the performance and reliability of heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles that use hydrogen as a fuel source

Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45) referred to Science, Space, & Technology Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022


H.R. 7065, To require the Secretary of Energy to establish a grant program to support hydrogen-fueled equipment at ports and to conduct a study with the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security on the feasibility and safety of using hydrogen-derived fuels, including ammonia, as a shipping fuel

Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee; Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022

News

Politico: Congress Passes Bill to Require Cyber Incident Reporting in FY2022 Appropriations

On Thursday, March 10th, Congress passed an appropriations bill for the remainder of FY2022, which contained language imposing mandatory reporting of cyber attack incidents on critical infrastructure to the Federal government. The FBI has said that the government only learns about a paltry 20 to 25 percent of intrusions into U.S. companies. That visibility gap has only grown more alarming amid fears that crippling Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could prompt retaliatory cyberattacks. The new program would require a wide range of critical infrastructure companies, such as water treatment plants and hospitals, to report hacks to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within 72 hours. It would also require these businesses to alert CISA within 24 hours of paying a ransom as part of a ransomware attack.


In exchange for reporting these incidents and providing updates as they learn new information, companies would receive limited liability protections. The bill would give CISA 24 months to issue interim rules laying out the program’s specifics, including which companies it covers and which incidents they have to report, and then an additional 18 months to issue final rules. The legislation would grant CISA the authority to subpoena companies that it believes are withholding information that they’re required to report. The agency could refer uncooperative companies to the Justice Department for civil enforcement actions.

 

Immigration & Detention

The latest from the House and Senate Committee on immigration, detention, homeland security, border security, asylum seekers, criminal justice reform, Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), alternatives to detention programming, reentry programming, or Bureau of Prisons.

Legislation

H.R. 6997 - Stopping the Fraudulent Sales of Firearms Act, To make fraudulent dealings in firearms and ammunition unlawful

Sponsor: Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: March 8, 2022


H.R. 6998 - SHIELD Act, To provide that it is unlawful to knowingly distribute private intimate visual depictions with reckless disregard for the individual’s lack of consent to the distribution,

Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: March 8, 2022


H.R. 7056, To amend section 214(c)(8) of the Immigration & Nationality Act to modify the data reporting requirements relating to nonimmigrant employees

Sponsor: Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL-21) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022

News

Politico: Florida Nears Agreement on Criminal Justice Budget

On Tuesday, March 8th, Floridian legislators in both chambers agreed to spend $650 million for a 4,500-bed correctional facility and $200 million for a 250-bed hospital for inmates. Those amounts are scaled back from an earlier version of the budget. Lawmakers agreed to allocate nearly $20 million for higher salaries of private correctional officers and to raise wages in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to $15 per hour for both employees of residential program providers and prevention and intervention program providers. They are now paid minimum wage, which is $10 in Florida. Lawmakers agreed to allocate about $10 million to replace the Offender Based Information System, which monitors offender's day-to-day activities and records historical data on them, and to modernize information technology in the corrections department. More than $8 million is allocated to modernize, and up to $2 million would go to a private sector company to modernize information technology.

 

Public Health & Safety

The latest from House and Senate committees on health insurance, COVID-19 and testing, gun safety, Medicare & Medicaid, telehealth, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), CDC, FDA, or rural hospitals.

Legislation

H.R. 7007 - COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act, To make emergency supplemental appropriations for coronavirus response and relief for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022

Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) referred to Appropriations Committee; Budget Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7029, To prohibit certain Federal funds to be provided to any State, local, Tribal, or private entity that operates an unlawful injection center

Sponsor: Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA-03) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7045, To eliminate the opt-out for non-federal governmental health plans

Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-45) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7060, To modify conditions of funding for the distancing learning, telemedicine, and broadband program of the Rural Utilities Service

Sponsor: Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD-At Large) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee; Agriculture Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022

News

Politico: Pfizer CEO Asserts 4th COVID Booster Will Be Needed

On Sunday, March 13th, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, asserted that given current data Pfizer believes a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be necessary to overcome diminishing immunity against the novel coronavirus. On Friday, March 11th, he stated that the company was close to submitting "a significant package of data about the need for a fourth dose" to the FDA.

 

Finance & Federal Partnerships


The latest from House and Senate committees on taxation, retirement, small business, federal contracting, or monetary policy.

Legislation

H.R. 7026, To amend the Food & Nutrition Act of 2008 to require States to include a photograph on electronic benefit cards issued to provide supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits

Sponsor: Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI-06) referred to Agriculture Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7033, To provide a taxpayer bill of rights for small businesses

Sponsor: Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN-08) referred to Ways & Means Committee; Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: March 9, 2022


H.R. 7068, To prohibit United States persons from engaging in transactions with foreign persons that purchase or transact in gold from the Russian Federation

Sponsor: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) referred to Foreign Affairs Committee

Date Introduced: March 11, 2022

Notices of Funding Opportunities

Rural Utilities Grants: 313A Program

From March 14th until May 13, 2022, the Rural Utilities Service ("RUS") is accepting application, under the Guarantees for Bonds & Notes Issued for Utility Infrastructure Purposes Program for FY2022. In previous years, RUS has received $750 million and has a pro-rata share of that amount pursuant to the most recent continuing resolution. Applicants can apply either via the mail to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Program, ATTN: Amy McWilliams, Program Advisor, Electric Program, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-1560 or email their applications, and accompanying documents, at amy.mcwilliams@usda.gov. The docket number is RUS-22-ELECTRIC-0001.


 

Special Reports


The latest from reports issued from the Office of Government Accountability, the Congressional Research Service, and others.
  • GAO: March 14, 2022 - Transportation Security: TSA Efforts to Coordinate with Stakeholders on COVID-19 Security Directives

  • CRS: March 11, 2022 - Supreme Court Revisits Scope of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) Under the Clean Water Act

  • CRS: March 11, 2022 - Defense Production Act Authorities and U.S. Domestic Energy Supplies

  • CRS: March 9, 2022 - Potential Impacts of a Federal Gasoline Tax Moratorium