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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (07/25/22)



Upcoming Events & Activities

July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022

All events in Eastern Daylight Saving Time


Monday, July 25th

No events to report.


Tuesday, July 26th

10:00 AM – Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee: "Fighting Fentanyl" The Federal Response to a Growing Crisis"


10:00 AM – Senate Judiciary Committee: "Law Enforcement Officer Safety: Protecting Those Who Protect & Serve"


2:30 PM – Senate Judiciary Committee: "Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms"


Wednesday, July 27th

10:00 AM – House Oversight & Reform Committee: "Examining the Practices & Profits of Gun Manufacturers"


10:00 AM – House Small Business Committee: "Leveraging the IIJA: The Role of the SBA's Bond Guarantee Program"


10:00 AM – Senate Environment & Public Works Committee: "Examining the Development of Projects and Implementation of Policies that Support Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Technologies"


10:00 AM – Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee: Hearing to consider the nomination of David Pekoske to be Administrator, TSA


11:00 AM – Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: Webinar titled, "Medicare & Inflation"


2:00 PM – House Homeland Security Committee: "Assessing CBP's Use of Facial Recognition Technology"


2:30 PM – Senate Indian Affairs Committee: "Oversight Hearing on Select Provisions of the 1866 Reconstruction Treaties between the United States and Oklahoma Tribes"


Thursday, July 28th

10:00 AM – Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Open Meeting


10:00 AM – House Natural Resources Committee: "Preventing Polluters from Getting Government Contracts: Bureau of Land Management's Corporate Exclusions Lists"


10:00 AM – Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee: Hearing to consider S. 3145, S. 3769, S. 4280, and other bills


Friday, July 29th

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. 8437, To distribute revenues from oil, natural gas, and wind leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf

Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-01) → Natural Resources; Budget Committees

Date Introduced: July 20, 2022


H.R. 8434, To amend the IIJA to modify the requirements for an eligible project the competitive grant program for large-scale water recycling and reuse projects, to provide for an additional authorization of appropriations for that program, and to repeal the termination of authority for that program

Sponsor: Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV-03) → Natural Resources Committee

Date Introduced: July 20, 2022


H.R. 8418, To amend Titles 46 and 49, United States Code, to streamline the environmental review process for major projects

Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) → Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Date Introduced: July 19, 2022


News

Politico: FERC to Consider More Gas Projects, Launch Rate Probe at Upcoming Meeting

FERC will consider expanding some natural gas projects and certifying a compressor station during the Commission's last meeting of the summer this Thursday. The Commission will also open up a proceeding to determine whether rates are unjust or discriminatory in four power market regions: The California Independent System Operator, the New England ISO, the New York ISO and the Southwest Power Pool, which stretches from Montana to the Texas panhandle. The new facility FERC is considering is a 1,586 horsepower compressor station, in Morrow County, Oregon


Politico: Biden Taps Nominees for DoE, New Chair of Chemical Safety Board

On July 21st, President Biden announced two nominees for leadership roles at the Department of Energy and Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board. If confirmed, the move would install a former Obama administration official to a vacant role atop the DoE office tasked with investing in clean energy technologies, and would restructure leadership at the embattled, non-regulatory agency that probes major chemical incidents.


Jeff Marootian was tapped for assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at DOE. Stephen Owens, a current member of the CSB, was nominated to be chair of the agency, which investigates deadly accidents at refineries, chemical plants and other industrial sites.

 

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. 8454, To expand research on cannabidiol and cannabis

Sponsor: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) → Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022


H.R. 8441, To amend the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act to ensure that Federal funds for health insurance coverage are available only to authorized individuals

Sponsor: Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO-04) → Energy & Commerce; Ways & Means Committees

Date Introduced: July 20, 2022


H.R. 8428, To allow women greater access to safe and effective oral contraceptive drugs intended for routine use

Sponsor: Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA-01) → Energy & Commerce; Ways & Means Committees

Date Introduced: July 19, 2022


H.R. 8424, To provide enhanced funding for family planning services

Sponsor: Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS-03) → Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 19, 2022

News

Politico: FDA Announces External Review of Food Safety & Tobacco Regulatory Offices

On July 19th, the Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said that he has ordered an external review of the agency's offices on food safety and tobacco regulation–as the agency faces increasing congressional and public scrutiny and criticism over its role in the infant formula shortage and the regulation of electronic cigarettes. The FDA has hired the Reagan-Udall Foundation, along with unnamed experts, to conduct a review of key offices on food and tobacco. The foundation, an independent group tasked by Congress with advising the FDA and helping the agency improve its regulatory and oversight processes, will assess the resources, procedures and organization of the two offices, as well as parts of the Office of Regulatory Affairs, the division that conducts inspections.


NPR: Sen. Manchin Tests Positive for COVID-19

July 25th, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) tweeted that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating. He assured his constituents that he is fully vaccinated and boosted and only experiencing mild symptoms.

 

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. 8460, To remove obstacles to the ability of law enforcement officers to enforce gun safety laws

Sponsor: Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-08) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 21, 2022


H.R. 8433, To amend Section 249 of the Immigration & Nationality Act to render available to certain long-term residents of the United States that benefit under that section

Sponsor: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022


News

WaPo: Supreme Court Won't Reinstate Biden Policy Limiting Immigration Arrests

On July 21st, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate the Biden Administration's policy of limiting immigration arrests, after a Texas district judge said the guidance to deportation officers violated federal laws. By a 5-4 decision (Justice Jackson's first recorded vote since she joined the Court on June 30), Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh turned down the administration's request. Justice Sotomayor, Kagan, Barrett, and Jackson indicated they would have granted the administration's request to put the lower court ruling on hold and allow the administration to go forward with its policy while deciding the merits of the case.

 

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. 8476, To require the Secretaries of Housing & Urban Development and Agriculture to submit annual reports to Congress regarding dwelling units in assisting housing that fail property inspections

Sponsor: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) Financial Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022


H.R. 8413, To repeal certain taxes imposed on heavy trucks and trailers sold at retail

Sponsor: Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL-18) Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 18, 2022


News

Yahoo: Walmart to Purchase 4,500 EVs to Support Its eCommerce Business

Walmart has signed a definitive agreement with Canoo, a high-tech advanced mobility company, to purchase 4,500 all-electric delivery vehicles, beginning with the Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle, with the option to purchase up to 10,000 units. The vehicles will be used to deliver online orders in a sustainable way which will also contribute to Walmart’s goal to achieve zero-emissions by 2040. While the LDV is expected to begin hitting the road in 2023, the companies plan to kick off advanced deliveries to refine and finalize vehicle configuration in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in the coming weeks.


Associated Press: Ford Touts Ample SUpply Deals to Hit EV Goals

Ford says it has contracts to deliver enough batteries to produce EVs at a rate of 600,000 globally per year by late 2023. The company says Thursday that Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. of China will supply new lithium-iron phosphate batteries starting next year. The deal is in addition to a contract with SK Innovation of Korea that includes building batteries in a joint venture at plants to be built in Kentucky and Tennessee. Ford also is getting batteries from LG Energy Solution of Korea.


Ford says it plans for half of its global production to be electric vehicles by 2030. Lithium iron phosphate batteries reduce use of scarce minerals such as nickel, the company said, cutting material costs by 10% to 15% over nickel cobalt manganese batteries now in use. Ford also announced multiple other contracts for battery components and raw materials including lithium, from sources in the U.S., Australia, Indonesia and other countries.

 

Finance & Federal Partnerships


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

Legislation

H.R. 8482, To adjust collateral requirements under the Small Business Act for disaster loans

Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-07) Small Business Committee

Date Introduced: July 21, 2022


H.R. 8470, To establish a public-private partnership technology investment pilot program

Sponsor: Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06) Armed Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 15, 2022


H.R. 8443, To impose additional requirements for covered agencies in regulatory flexibility analysis

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) → Small Business; Financial Services Committees

Date Introduced: July 20, 2022


Updates from the Federal Register

DoD: Inland Waterways Users Board Meeting Notice

The Department of the Army has announced the Federal advisory committee meeting of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Inland Waterways Users Board, which will be open to the public, on August 16th from 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (PDT).


DoE: Request for Comment on Build America, Buy America Waiver

The Department of Energy is proposing a limited general applicability waiver to the Buy America Domestic Content Procurement Preference requirements of the Act. The Waiver would be effective for 180 days after its issuance and apply only to awards issues as a result of the Funding Opportunity Announcements released before May 14, 2022. The DoE is accepting comments until August 5, 2022 to determine whether this proposed waiver is in the public's interest.


DoT: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Implementation Modifications

The Department of Transportation is proposing a new rule to strengthen implementation of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (ACDBE) regulations. This rule would update personal net worth and program size thresholds for inflation; modernizes rules for counting of material suppliers; incorporate procedural flexibilities enacted during the Covid pandemic; add new program elements to foster greater usage of DBEs and ACDBEs with concurrent, proactive monitoring and oversight; update certification provisions with less prescriptive rules that give certifiers flexibility when determining eligibility; and make technical corrections that have led to substantive misinterpretations of the rules by recipients, program applicants, and participants. DoT is accepting comments until September 19, 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.