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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (07/18/22)

Upcoming Events & Activities

July 18, 2022 - July 22, 2022

All events in Eastern Daylight Saving Time

Monday, July 18th

1:00 PM - House Rules Committee: Hearing to amend H.R. 8294 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, Agriculture, Rural Development, Energy & Water Development, Financial Services & General Government, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Act of 2023

Tuesday, July 19th

10:00 AM - House Select Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee: Hearing titled, "Understanding & Addressing Long Covid and Its Health Economic Consequences"

10:00 AM - House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee: Hearing titled, "Implementing the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act"

10:00 AM - Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee: Hearing titled, "Federal Hydrogen Pipeline Regulatory Authorities"

10:30 AM - House Energy & Commerce Committee: Hearing titled, "Roe Reversal: The Impacts of Taking Away the Constitutional Right to an Abortion"

2:00 PM - House Financial Services Committee: Hearing titled, "Thoughts & Prayers Are Not Enough: How Mass Shooting Harm Communities, Local Economies, and Economic Growth"

Wednesday, July 20th

10:00 AM - House Oversight & Reform Committee: Hearing titled, "Examining the Practices & Profits of Gun Manufacturers"

2:30 PM - Joint Economic Committee: Hearing titled, "The Economic Toll of Gun VIolence"

2:30 PM - Senate Indian Affairs Committee: Hearing to consider H.R. 5221 Urban Indian Health Confer Act, S. 4104, and S. 4439

Thursday, July 21st

9:00 AM - House Oversight & Reform Committee: Hearing titled, "The Future of Federal Work II"

10:00 AM - Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee: Hearing to consider nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Land & MInerals Management), and to consider S. 4227 and other pending legislation

10:15 AM - Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: Hearing to consider the nomination of David Pekoske to be Administrator, Transportation Security Administration

Friday, July 22nd

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.


H.R. 8395, To amend the Clean Air Act to allow the EPA Administrator, in identifying the best best system of emission reduction for purposes of a standard of performance, to include measures that apply beyond an individual stationary source or category of stationary sources

Sponsor: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022

H.R. 8352, To require hazardous air pollutant monitoring at the fenceline of facilities whose emissions are linked to local health threats; to ensure the EPA promulgates rules that require hazardous air pollutant data measurement and electronic submission at fencelines and stacks of industrial source categories; to expand and strengthen the national ambient air quality monitoring network; and to deploy air sensors in communities affected by air pollution

Sponsor: Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-At Large) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee Date Introduced: July 13, 2022

H.R. 8337, To require the Secretary of Energy to carry out a carbon sequestration research initiative

Sponsor: Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK-03) referred to Energy & Commerce; Science, Space, & Technology Committees

Date Introduced: July 13, 2022

H.R. 8336, To amend the Clean Air Act to provide for the establishment of standards to limit the carbon intensity of the fuel used by certain vessels

Sponsor: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 12, 2022


Politico: FERC Commissioner Pledges EJ Focus as Agency Tackles Transmission Policies

On July 13th, Commissioner Willie Phillips stated that environmental justice issues will still play a key role in how he will think about dramatically upgrading the U.S. transmission system. “If we address affordability, if we address reliability, that rising tide will lift all boats and that includes EJ communities,” Phillips said during a webinar hosted by New York University School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center on Wednesday. “And as long as I'm enlisted, I can commit to you that I will make sure that I push my colleagues to put environmental justice issues first.” The Commission has put forward two proposals intended to unclog the lengthy interconnection queue that’s left gigawatts of clean energy resources stranded, as well as help grid operators plan for future high levels of new renewable resources on the grid.

Reuters: Russia's Gazprom Declares Force Majeure on Some Gas Supplies to Europe

Dated July 14th and seen by Reuters on July 18th, the legal force of the letter is to shield Gazprom from compensation payments for disrupted supplies, but risks escalating tensions between Russia and the West over the invasion of Ukraine that Moscow calls a "special military operation". The letter said Gazprom, which has a monopoly on Russian gas exports by pipeline, could not fulfil its supply obligations because of "extraordinary" circumstances. It said the force majeure clause, invoked to lift a business from contractual obligations because of factors beyond its control, was retroactively effective from deliveries starting from June 14.

Reuters: U.S. Natural Gas Jumps 6% on Output Drop, Hotter Forecasts

U.S. natural gas futures jumped about 6% to a four-week high on Friday on a drop in output this week and forecasts for hotter weather and more demand over the next two weeks than previously expected. The natural gas price jump came despite an overall rise in output so far this month and as the ongoing outage at the Freeport liquefied natural gas export plant in Texas leaves more fuel in the United States for utilities to refill low storage. Freeport, the second-biggest U.S. LNG export plant, was consuming about 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas before it shut on June 8. Freeport LNG has said the facility could return around Oct. 22. Some analysts, however, said the outage could last longer.


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.


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


ABC News: Biden Administration Stress Vaccines for Older Americans

The Biden administration is urging Americans, particularly older people, to stay up to date on their Covid-19 vaccines as "the most immune evasive" variant spreads throughout most of the country, White House Covid-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on July 17th. Officials are recommending a second booster shot, around four months after the first, for high-risk individuals such as those 50 years or and older. But with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing just 48% of Americans have received a first booster, "One of the key messages coming out of this moment is: If you are 50 or over and you have not gotten a shot this year ... it is absolutely critical that you go out and get one now," Jha said.

CBS News: Monkeypox Vaccine Supply Struggles to Keep up with U.S. Outbreak

Long lines formed outside clinics from New York to San Francisco this weekend as the nation's vaccine supply struggled to keep up with the monkeypox outbreak. Federal health officials are increasing the number of doses available as they expect the number of monkeypox cases will continue to increase through August. Another 131,000 monkeypox vaccine doses were made available to states. Health officials ordered nearly 7 million doses but most of those are not expected to arrive for months.

Monkeypox is mainly spread through skin-on-skin contact including Intercourse, kissing, and massages. Anyone can get the disease, and symptoms include fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Many who have been infected have developed painful lesions on their body. But no one has died from the disease in the United States.


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.


H.R. 8399, To repeal the National Firearms Act

Sponsor: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-011 referred to Ways & Means Committee Date Introduced: July 15, 2022

H.R. 8387, To provide for advancements in public safety services to Indian communities

Sponsor: Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04) referred to Judiciary; Natural Resources Committees Date Introduced: July 14, 2022

H.R. 8382, To amend the Immigration & Nationality Act to require an alien arriving from a foreign territory contiguous to the United States to return to such territory

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

Date Introduced: July 14, 2022

H.R. 8374, To repeal the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Sponsor: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03) referred to Judiciary; Energy & Commerce; Homeland Security Committees

Date Introduced: July 14, 2022

H.R. 8371, To provide for the issuance of revenue bonds to fund construction of a physical border barrier and related technology, roads, and lighting along the United States-Mexican border

Sponsor: Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS-04) referred to Ways & Means; Homeland Security Committees

Date Introduced: July 14, 2022

H.R. 8355, To amend the Immigration & Nationality Act to reform the asylum claim process

Sponsor: Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 13, 2022


AP News: Mexico Agrees to Invest $1.5B in 'Smart' Border Technology

On July 12th, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador agreed to spend $1.5 billion over the next two years to improve "smart" border technology during meetings with President Joe Biden–a move the White House says shows neighborly cooperation succeeding where Trump administration vows to wall off the border and have Mexico pay for it could not. A series of agreements the two countries hammered out as their leaders spoke called for several other concrete moves, including expanding the number of work visas the U.S. issues, creating a bilateral working group on labor migration pathways and worker protections and welcoming more refugees. Both also pledged to continue joint patrols for Mexico and Guatemala to hunt human smugglers along their shared border.

Reuters: Biden Immigration Enforcement Memo Prioritizes 'Family Unity'

Launched on July 14th, U.S. law enforcement officers will ask, when detaining immigrants in the country illegally, whether they are parents or guardians to avoid separating families under a new Biden administration policy. The directive, an effort by President Joe Biden to reverse former President Donald Trump's more restrictive policies, also allows for previously deported parents or guardians to return to the United States temporarily for child custody hearings. The new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement directive replaces Trump-era guidance issued in 2017 that did not explicitly require officers to inquire about, or record, parental status or guardianship.


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.


H.R. 8403, To encourage and improve Federal proactive cybersecurity initiatives

Sponsor: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022

H.R. 8402, To amend the Energy Policy & Conservation Act to prohibit the Secretary of Energy from prescribing any new or amended energy conservation standard for a product that is not technologically feasible and economically justified

Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Lasko (R-AZ-08) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022

H.R. 8401, To modify the low-income housing tax credit to incentivize affordable and transit-oriented development and development in certain difficult development areas

Sponsor: Rep. Kaiali'i Kahele (D-HI-02) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022

H.R. 8392, To authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to local educational agencies to make physical improvements at the elementary and secondary schools served by such agencies

Sponsor: Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ-02) referred to Education & Labor Committee

Date Introduced: July 14, 2022

H.R. 8363, To establish a work-based learning opportunities pilot grant program

Sponsor: Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) referred to Education & Labor Committee

Date Introduced: July 13, 2022


Politico: Global Tax Deal Imperiled by Manchin's Balking at Minimum Corporate Levy

On July 15th, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) rejected the idea of imposing a 15% global minimum tax on U.S. companies–blowing a big hole in the Biden administration's campaign to remake the international tax system. “We’re not going to go down that path overseas right now,” said Manchin. “Because the rest of the countries won’t follow, and we’ll put all of our international companies in jeopardy, which harms the American economy.”

Politico: House Readies First Fiscal FY2023 "Minibus"

The House Rules Committee is meeting this afternoon to prep the first fiscal 2023 minibus for floor passage as soon as this week. More than 600 amendments have been filed to the six-bill package, which includes the Agriculture, Energy-Water, Transportation-HUD, Interior-Environment, Financial Services and Military Construction-VA spending measures. Expect passage midweek of the House’s initial fiscal 2023 bundle. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said he hopes the chamber will pass three more of the 12 annual funding bills this month.


Finance & Federal Partnerships

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


H.R. 8369, To require the Executive Office of the President to provide an inflation estimate with respect to executive orders with a significant effect on the annual gross budget

Sponsor: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: July 13, 2022

H.R. 8331, To temporarily suspend required minimum distribution rules for certain retirement plans and accounts

Sponsor: Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 12, 2022

H.R. 8325, To prevent personal conflicts of interest in Federal acquisition

Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (R-NY-12) referred to Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: July 11, 2022

Updates from the Federal Register

CMS: Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities

In accordance with the Act, this document announces an extension of the timeline for publication of the final rule and includes a brief explanation of the justification for the variation. This proposed rule aimed to increase the ability of health care professionals to apportion resources to improve resident care by eliminating or reducing requirements that could impede quality care or that divert resources away from providing high quality care. Therefore, this notice extends the timeline to finalize the provisions in the June 18, 2022 proposed rule for 1 year, until July 18, 2023.

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.


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