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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (07/11/22)



Upcoming Events & Activities

July 11, 2022 - July 15, 2022

All events in Eastern Daylight Saving Time


Monday, July 11th

The events to report.


Tuesday, July 12th

10:00 AM - Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee: Hearing titled, "Advancing Public Transportation under the IIJA: Update from the Federal Transit Administration"


10:00 AM - Senate Judiciary Committee: Hearing titled, "A Post-Roe America: The Legal Consequences of the Dobbs Decision"


Wednesday, July 13th

10:00 AM - House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee: Hearing titled, "The State of General Aviation"


10:00 AM - Senate Appropriations Committee: Hearing titled, "A Review of the FY2023 President's Budget for the Department of the Interior"


10:00 AM - Senate Environment & Public Works Committee: Hearing to examine S. 1345, the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act; S. 2476, the Environmental Justice Air Quality Monitoring Act; and S. , the Public Health Air Quality Act


10:00 AM - Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee: Hearing titled, "Reproductive Care in a Post-Roe America: Barriers, Challenges, and Threats to Women's Health"


2:30 PM - Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee: Hearing titled, "Pathways to Lower Energy Prices"


Thursday, July 14th

9:00 AM - Senate Judiciary Committee: Hearing to consider nominations to the U.S. Sentencing Commission


10:00 AM - House Judiciary Committee: Hearing titled, "What Next: The Threat to Individual Freedoms in a Post-Roe World"


10:00 AM - Senate Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee: Hearing titled, "Advancing National Security & Foreign Policy Through Export Controls: Oversight of the Bureau of Industry & Security"


Friday, July 15th

The events to report.

 

Energy, Water & Environment

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

Legislation

H.R. 8317, To provide an increased tax credit for combined photovoltaic and thermal technology

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL-17) referred to Ways & Means Committee Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


H.R. 8312, To direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a Natural Disaster Grid Mitigation Map that identifies critical electric grid infrastructure that is vulnerable to natural disasters

Sponsor: Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ-01) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


H.R. 8303 - Reinforcing the Grid Against Extreme Weather Act, To provide for minimum transfer capability requirements between transmission planning regions

Sponsor: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-06) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


H.R. 8302, To direct FERC to issue a rule enhancing Regional Transmission Organization & Independent System Operator independence and responsiveness

Sponsor: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-06) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


News

Politico: Judge Halts Pennsylvania's Plan to Join Regional Carbon Market

According to a preliminary injunction issued on July 8th, Pennsylvania is barred from implementing a regulation that would enter the Commonwealth into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The fossil fuel plants, and their allies, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will present arguments about whether Pennsylvania can join the regional carbon market in court on November 14th.


Reuters: U.S. Trade Chief Trying to Resolve Mexican Energy Policy Concerns

On July 10th, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said she will continue to raise U.S. concerns with Mexican counterparts about Mexico's state-centered energy policies and will consider all options to resolve those concerns, when she was asked whether she will seek formal consultations with Mexico as a violation of the USMCA trade agreement.


Reuters: ERCOT Begs Texans to Conserve Power Amid Scorching Heat

On July 10th, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas called on state residents for the second time this year to conserve energy, warning of potential rolling blackouts amid predictions for record-high temperatures. ERCOT, which oversees power to more than 26 million customers, had assured residents earlier this year that it had enough reserves to meet demand after millions of people suffered without power through a deep freeze in early 2021 for several days. ERCOT asked residents to conserve electricity between 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, saying demand could reach 79,934 megawatts, which is not far from Texas's 80,200 megawatts of available reserves. (One megawatt can power around 1,000 U.S. homes on a typical day, but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day in Texas.)


Reuters: France Prepares for Natural Gas Cut off from Russia

Gathered over the weekend, several top executives of France's energy-intensive companies are speeding up contingency plans and converting their gas boilers to run on oil as they seek to avoid disruption in the event of any further reduction in Russian gas supplies leads to power outages. Starting in June, Russia began to reduce flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, its main route for shipping natural gas into western Europe, to 40% of capacity.

 

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, and Indian Health Service.

Legislation

H.R. 8318, To restrict limitations on the possession, sale, purchase, transportation or use of any contraceptive that relates to interstate commerce

Sponsor: Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


H.R. 8297 - Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, To prohibit the interference, under color of State law, with the provision of interstate abortion services

Sponsor: Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022

News

Reuters: FDA to Review First Ever OTC Birth Control Pill

On July 11th, Perrigo Company has asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to approve a daily birth control pill, currently under the brand name Opill, for over-the-counter sale, the first such request for this type of contraception. The application comes on the back of Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, which asserted that there is no federal protection for abortion. The company expects the FDA to hold an advisory committee meeting and approve the application in the first half of 2023.


Reuters: Moderna Advances 2 Omicron Vaccine Candidates Against Newer Variants

On July 11th, Moderna said it was advancing two Omicron vaccinate candidates for the Fall with one designed against the BA.1 subvariant and another against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. Moderna said new clinical data for its mRNA-1273.214 vaccine, designed to target the BA.1 variant, showed significantly higher neutralizing antibody responses against the fast-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 compared with the currently authorized booster. The company's second booster candidate, mRNA 1273.222, is based on the BA.4/5 strain and is being developed in accordance with recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration advice.

 

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. 8316, To require reports, evaluations, and research by the Department of Homeland Security regarding drug interdiction along the border

Sponsor: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) referred to Homeland Security; Oversight & Reform; Energy & Commerce; and Judiciary Committees Date Introduced: July 1, 2022


News

Reuters: Biden Calls for Assault Weapons Ban

On July 11th, President Joe Biden said the United States is "awash in weapons of war" and renewed his call for an assault weapons ban. Congress has shown little inclination to outlaw assault weapons after a ban on such weapons expired in 2004, but Biden is hoping to use growing American outrage about mass shootings to lead to greater pressure on lawmakers to change their mind. The Democratic president also said lawmakers should add safe storage laws requiring personal liability "for not locking up your gun.”

 

Transportation & Infrastructure

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

Legislation

H.R. 8308, To require the Secretary of the Air Force to submit a report to the House Armed Services Committee on a plan to characterize the asbestos risk of former Air Force defense sites

Sponsor: Rep. William Keating (D-MA-09) referred to Armed Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


H.R. 8285, To support research, development, and other activities to develop innovative vehicle technologies

Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) referred to Science, Space, & Technology; Energy & Commerce Committees

Date Introduced: July 5, 2022


News

Politico: Largest Pilot Labor Union Files Opposition Against Airlines' Training Petitions

The Airline Pilot Association, which has been lobbying to stop others seeking changes to the rule, submitted its objections in the Federal Register against Republic Airways and SkyWest Airlines, stating their petitions "would diminish pilot training qualification and experience requirements while putting passengers and small communities that depend on safe, schedule air service at greater risk." Both petitions, which are asking DOT to allow its pilots to fly before they have completed the required 1,500 hours training, are still pending a formal Federal Aviation Administration review.


MarketWatch: Vietnamese EV Maker, VinFast, is Opening Dealerships in U.S.

VinFast will open six U.S. dealerships this week and 30 by the end of 2022, all in California. VinFast will bring two SUVs: one is a 2-row VF8 SUV, priced at $40,700 with a range of 292 miles, and the other is the 3-row VF9, priced at $55,000 with a range of 369 miles. Intriguingly, VinFast plans for buyers to subscribe to a battery rather than buy one, and it promises to replace any battery that falls below 70% of its promised capacity and handle all battery repairs free of charge. The company says it will offer the option to purchase batteries in 2024.


Yahoo News: Toyota Becomes 3rd Automaker to Reach EV Tax Credit Limit

Starting this October, the available $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or a fully electric vehicle (EV) will begin to sunset. Toyota has become the third automaker, after Tesla and General Motors, to sell more than 200,000 plug-in electric vehicles, the threshold set by Congress for each automaker before triggering a phase-out period for the credit. Toyota reached this limit mostly from sales from its Prius Plug-in, Prius Prime, and RAV4 Prime PHEVs and the older RAV4 EV.

 

Finance & Federal Partnerships


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

Legislation

H.R. 8315, To authorize certain actions to address domestic industrial base shortfalls

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

Date Introduced: July 7, 2022


Updates from the Federal Register

CMS: Conditions of Participation for Rural Emergency Hospitals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is proposing a rule to establish conditions of participation that Rural Emergency Hospitals (REH) must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This proposed rule also includes changes to the requirements Critical Access Hospital would have to meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. CMS is accepting comments until August 29, 2022.


We propose to define the term “Rural Emergency Hospital or REH” in accordance with the definition set forth in section 1861(kkk) of the Act. In accordance with the Act, we propose to define Rural Emergency Hospital or REH as an entity that operates for the purpose of providing emergency department services, observation care, and other outpatient medical and health services specified by the Secretary in which the annual per patient average length of stay does not exceed 24 hours. The REH must not provide inpatient services, except those furnished in a unit that is a distinct part licensed as a skilled nursing facility to furnish post-REH or post-hospital extended care services. CMS also proposes requiring a governing body or responsible individual ensuring the REH is effectively executing its policies.


FTA: FY2022 Competitive Funding Opportunity for Low-/No-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program

The Federal Transit Administration has announced a funding opportunity for $294.5 million in competitive grants under the FY2022 Passenger Ferry Grant Program ($36.5 million), Electric or Low-Emitting Ferry Pilot Program ($49 million), and Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program ($209 million). While applicants can choose to apply for only one grant program, this combined solicitation will allow applicants to submit one application to multiple programs. Applicants may apply until September 6, 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.