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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (07/04/22)



Upcoming Events & Activities

July 4, 2022 - July 8, 2022

All events in Eastern Daylight Time


Monday, July 4th

Happy Independence Day


Tuesday, July 5th

The events to report.


Wednesday, July 6th

The events to report.


Thursday, July 7th

11:00 AM - Resources For the Future: Webinar titled, "Climate Change & the Supreme Court: West Virginia v. EPA"


Friday, July 18th

The events to report.

 

Energy, Water & Environment

The latest from the House and Senate committees on energy (infrastructure), WIFIA, water treatment and wastewater management, environmental issues, natural resources, or environmental justice.

Legislation

H.R. 8240, To combat military reliance on Russian energy

Sponsor: Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE-02) referred to Armed Services Committee Date Introduced: June 28, 2022


News

Yahoo: E.U. Imports More U.S. LNG Than Russian Pipeline Gas for the First Time Ever

On June 30th, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, said that the European Union has officially imported more liquified natural gas from the United States than piped gas from the Russian Federation because of the significantly lower supply from Russia and the upcoming annual maintenance of the Nord Stream pipeline.

WaPo: Supreme Court's EPA Ruling Upends Biden's Environmental Agenda

On June 30th, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision (6-3) in West Virginia v. EPA siding with the State of West Virginia, and 18 other states, against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan rule and asserted that the EPA exceeded its delegated authority in the Clean Air Act. The outcome of this case could determine whether the fight over U.S. environmental policy shifts decisively to the states, where some will weaken protections as others continue to pursue strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution.


The Hill: Natural Gas Used in Homes May Contain Hazardous Air Pollutants, Study Says

On June 28th, the American Chemical Society published a study which sampled natural gas supplies in more than 200 homes, and the study's authors detected varying concentrations of volatile organic compounds. These VOCs are not known not only to be carcinogenic but also to generate secondary air pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone.


Healthcare & Public Health

The latest from House and Senate committees on health insurance, rural hospitals, Covid-19 vaccination and testing, Medicare & Medicaid, telehealth, tobacco and other regulated substances, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Food & Drug Administration, or Indian Health Service.

Legislation

H.R. 8252, To codify patients' rights to hospital visitation

Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ-02) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee Date Introduced: June 28, 2022

News

WSJ: Juul Won Temporary Court Stay to Block FDA's Ban

On June 24th, a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted Juul's request to delay the FDA's ban. The temporary stay gives the court time to hear arguments and was not a ruling on the merits of the case. On June 23rd, the FDA began to enforce its order by sending notices to retailers. In addition to fighting the FDA's order, Juul has been working with its legal advisors on options that include a possible bankruptcy filing if the company is unable to get relief from the government's ban.


CNN: FDA Recommends Changing Covid-19 Vaccines to Target Omicron Variant

On June 30th, the Food & Drug Administration advised Moderna and Pfizer that when they update the Covid-19 vaccine booster they should add an Omicron BA.4/5 spike protein component to the current vaccine composition reformulating it as a bivalent vaccine. On June 28th, the Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted to support recommending inclusion of an Omicron-specific component for a Covid-19 booster, According to the CDC, two Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are now dominating transmission of Covid-19 in the United States.


WaPo: Judge Rejects WV County's Claim Against Opioid Distributors

In a legal win for AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, Judge David A. Faber dismissed the argument made by Cabell County and its seat, Huntington, that the distributors bore responsibility for the consequences of an inundation of opioids, according to the judge’s order filed in the U.S. District Court in West Virginia. The distributors have denied wrongdoing and have said the painkillers they shipped were prescribed by licensed doctors and filled by pharmacies. They argued they had no way of telling that those prescriptions were not legitimate and that any of the drugs may have been funneled to the black market.

 

Transportation & Infrastructure

The latest from the House and Senate committees on industrial and commercial mechanical insulation, telecommunications and information technologies, cybersecurity, electric vehicle charging, supply chains, port authority, public transit, or airports.

Legislation

H.R. 8272, To encourage the extraction and processing of rare earth elements and critical minerals in the United States

Sponsor: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) referred to Financial Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 1, 2022


H.R. 8243, To require certain port authorities to provide preferential berthing to certain vessels

Sponsor: Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-03) referred to Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Date Introduced: June 28, 2022


News

Politico: McConnell Hands Democrats Ultimatum on China Competitiveness Bill

On June 29th, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted, "Let me be perfectly clear: There will be no bipartisan [U.S. Innovation & Competition Act] as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill." This complicates the Democrats' strategy for a climate change and social spending package, which includes provisions to lower drug costs, while they also push forward their $52 billion in domestic semiconductor funding before the midterms.


Business Insider: GMC Making Far Less EV Hummers per Day Despite Demand

According to a Wall Street Journal report, General Motors is producing only 12 electric Hummers a day despite a waiting list of 77,000 buyers, which is notably unusually slow even for initial production standards. GM asserts that the ramp-up has been so slow because the EV was developed from scratch; however, production began more than six months ago.

 

Public Safety & Justice Administration

The latest from the House and Senate committees on immigration, detention, homeland security, border security, asylum policy, criminal justice reform, and firearm regulation.

Legislation

H.R. 8278, To direct the Attorney-General to conduct a study on the efficacy of extreme risk protection orders on reducing gun violence

Sponsor: Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) referred to Judiciary Committee Date Introduced: July 1, 2022


H.R. 8276, To direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives to report on firearms trafficking along the I-95 corridor

Sponsor: Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 1, 2022


H.R. 8271, To require the publication of data sets regarding firearm trace data

Sponsor: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 1, 2022

News

CBS News: Supreme Court Says Biden Can End "Remain in Mexico" Rule for Asylum-Seekers

On June 30th, the U.S. Supreme released its decision (5-4) in Biden v. Texas siding with the Biden administration allowing for the termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols, which was first implemented under President Donald Trump. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion with Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Breyer, and Kavanaugh joining. ROberts also noted that the 5th Circuit Court order mandating the use of the MPPs interfered with the president's broad powers to conduct foreign policy.

 

Finance & Federal Partnerships


The latest from House and Senate committees on taxation, Social Security, federal contracting, or monetary policy.

Legislation

H.R. 8279, To require CISA to submit a report on the impact of the SolarWinds cyber incident on information systems owned and operated Federal departments and agencies and other critical infrastructure

Sponsor: Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: July 1, 2022


H.R. 8253, To increase the research tax credit and provide better access to the credit for business startups

Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) referred to Ways & Means Committee Date Introduced: June 28, 2022


H.R. 8242, To establish limitations on the amount of debt issued by the United States which may be held by foreign governments, entities, and individuals

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

Date Introduced: June 28, 2022


Updates from the Federal Register

DoE: NOFA of Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program

The Department of Energy is publishing three allocation formulas that will be used to distribute funds to local governments, states, and Native American tribes through the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program, as required by the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007. The purpose of the EECBG is to assist eligible entities in implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, to reduce total energy use, and to improve energy efficiency. This notice provides the allocation formulas established by the Department of Energy to distribute funds to eligible entities.


FERC: One-Time Informational Reports on Extreme Weather Vulnerability Assessments

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is initiating the rulemaking process to propose direct transmission providers to submit one-time information reports describing their current or planned policies and processes for conducting extreme weather vulnerability assessments. Specifically, the Commission proposes to require transmission providers to submit a one-time informational report on how they establish a scope for their extreme weather vulnerability assessments, develop inputs, identify vulnerabilities and determine exposure to extreme weather hazards, estimate the costs of impacts, and develop mitigation measures to address extreme weather risks. FERC will be accepting comments until August 30, 2022.



 

Special Reports


The latest reports, studies, and research issued from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Government Accountability Office (GAO), public policy organizations such as the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Resources For the Future (RFF), Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), and others.