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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (08/01/22)


Upcoming Events & Activities

August 1 – 5, 2022

All events are in Eastern Daylight Saving Time


Monday, August 1st

7:30 PM – Bipartisan Policy Center: Debate between Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT)


Tuesday, August 2nd

10:00 AM – Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee: "Oversight of Small Business Administration's COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program"


11:00 AM – Bipartisan Policy Center: "Implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at the EPA" webinar


11:00 AM – Department of Energy: "Implementing Renewable Energy in Industrial Facilities" webinar


2:30 PM – Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee: "Future of Spectrum"


Wednesday, August 3rd

10:00 AM – House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: "Building Climate-Resilient Coastal Communities: Perspectives from Oregon's State, Local, and Tribal Partners"


10:00 AM – Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: Hearing to consider S. 4516 and other legislation


2:30 PM – Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: "Revisiting Gain of Function Research: What the Pandemic Taught & Where Do We Go From Here"


Thursday, August 4th

12:00 PM – Environmental Protection Agency: Research Webinar on PFAS


Friday, August 5th

The events to report.




The latest from the House and Senate committees on energy (infrastructure), WIFIA and SRF grants, water treatment and wastewater management, permitting reform, natural resources management, and environmental justice, and policy developments from the Departments of Energy and the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Recent Legislation

H.R. 8589, To prohibit the Securities & Exchange Commission from finalizing the proposed rule titled "The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors"

Sponsor: Rep. French Hill (R-AR-02) → Financial Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 29, 2022


H.R. 8578, To amend the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act with respect to the enforcement of certain provisions

Sponsor: Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL-09) → Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8572, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose an excise tax on fuel based on the carbon content of such fuel

Sponsor: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) → Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8551, To improve air quality management and the safety of communities using the best available monitoring technology and data

Sponsor: Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04) → Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8519, To promote competition in the area of digital energy management tools, enhance consumer access to electric energy and natural gas information, allow for the adoption of innovative products and services to help consumers manage their energy usage

Sponsor: Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT-At Large) → Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: July 26, 2022


H.R. 8507, To provide that under securities laws certain disclosures related to scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions may not be required

Sponsor: Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22) → Financial Services Committee

Date Introduced: July 26, 2022


News

Politico: 'Easter Eggs' in Climate Bill Delight Oil & Gas Industry

The legislation also contains what some called “Easter eggs” that would benefit oil and gas companies, including access to new swaths of federal waters in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and requiring the Department of the Interior to offer at least 2 million acres per year for onshore oil and gas lease sales. Unless the Interior Department holds those lease sales, the Department could not offer rights of way for solar and wind power projects. Meanwhile, the bill’s proposal to charge a fee of up to $1,500 a ton for the petroleum industry’s emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, would be less of an issue for large oil companies already working on reducing them, industry analysts said.



The latest from House and Senate committees on taxation, Social Security, federal contracting, small business and entrepreneurship support, and monetary policy, and policy developments from the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce, Office of Government Contracting, Small Business Administration, and Federal Open Market Committee (Federal Reserve System).


Recent Legislation

H.R. 8679, To increase retirement savings and simplify and clarify retirement plan rules

Sponsor: Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8562, To provide for disapproval by Congress of the invocation of authorities under the Defense Production Act of 950

Sponsor: Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL-19) → Financial Services; Rules Committees

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8550, To provide that all Federal employees in the executive brand of Government are at-will employees

Sponsor: Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) → Oversight & Reform Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022

News

CNBC: Top Federal Reserve Officials Say They Misread Inflation But Plan To Correct Course

According to research by Judd Cramer, an economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research, reining in inflation may take more aggressive interest rate hikes than the Federal Reserve System has embraced in recent decades to force rising prices into retreat.



The latest from House and Senate committees on Covid-19 vaccination and testing, developing infectious diseases, health insurance, telehealth services, tobacco and other regulated substances, and policy developments from the Department of Health & Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Food & Drug Administration, and Indian Health Service.


Recent Legislation

H.R. 8597, To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of services furnished by freestanding emergency centers

Sponsor: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19) → Energy & Commerce; Ways & Means Committees

Date Introduced: July 29, 2022


H.R. 8588, To address the high costs of healthcare services, prescription drugs, and health insurance coverage in the United States

Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04) → Energy & Commerce; Ways & Means Committees

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8580, To amend the CARES Act to provide for a 12-month extension of the Medicare long-term care hospital waiver of the site-neutral IPPS payment rate

Sponsor: Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL-07) → Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 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: HHS Purchase 66 Million Doses of Moderna's Omicron Booster Shot

On July 29th, the Department of Health & Human Services announced it has purchases 66 million doses of a bivalent booster shot from Moderna for the fall and winter, pending regulatory authorization and recommendations. Per the $1.74 billion deal, Moderna will provide the Federal government with the booster doses by the end of 2022. The shots offer protection against previous strains of the coronavirus as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, which are dominant in the U.S. now.


In total, the U.S. has purchased 171 million bivalent boosters ahead of the expected fall and winter surges, not enough to cover all U.S. adults. However, the agreements with Moderna and Pfizer include options for the feds to purchase 300 million more doses from each company, pending sufficient congressional funds.


Fortune Business Insights: Protective Face Mask Market to Hit Nearly $20 Billion by 2029

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global protective face mask market size is project to reach $20 billion in 2029. In 2021, the protective face mask market size stood at $23.7 billion. According to the analysis, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has become highly sought-after following the rising COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. The healthcare sector has exhibited stellar demand for protective masks. The burgeoning geriatric population has further encouraged leading companies to expand their penetration.



The latest from the House and Senate committees on immigration and asylum policy, detention, border security, criminal justice reform, and firearm regulation, and policy developments from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, including Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives.

Recent Legislation

H.R. 8632, To provide that no federal funds may be used for the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Secure Docket Card Program

Sponsor: Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ-02) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 29, 2022


H.R. 8609, To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a ratio of U.S. Immigration & Customs and Customs Enforcement prosecutors to immigration judges

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

Date Introduced: July 29, 2022


H.R. 8557, To create expungement mechanism and a process to petition for expungement for low-level violations of the Controlled Substances Act as it relates to cannabis

Sponsor: Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA-02) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 28, 2022


H.R. 8537, To provide increased penalties for mass killings involving machine guns or certain semiautomatic weapons

Sponsor: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 27, 2022


H.R. 8534, To require licenses to acquire or receive firearms

Sponsor: Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-03) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 27, 2022


H.R. 8490, To direct the U.S. Customs & Border Protection Commissioner to transfer the care and custody of an unaccompanied alien child to the Secretary of Health & Human Services or such child's parent or legal guardian

Sponsor: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26) → Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: July 26, 2022


News

Houston Chronicle: Legal Questions Shroud TX Governor's Migrant Busing Policy

State and local law enforcement have long transferred custody of undocumented migrants to federal immigration authorities after migrants have been arrested. But previously it’s been the federal government’s job to pick them up. Abbott’s decision to arrest migrants and actively bring them back to the border, essentially forcing such a handoff, represents a broadening of the state’s role in the immigration enforcement process. But experts disagree on how significant it is or whether it’s intruding on a federal responsibility and stretching the legal limits of the state’s efforts on the border.


Governor Abbott announced his plans in early July to authorize DPS troopers and National Guard service members stationed at the border to arrest migrants caught crossing the border illegally and return them to the ports of entry. They immediately raised alarms for immigrant rights advocates who said Abbott’s plan was veering into the federal government’s purview over immigration enforcement and could lead to violations of the migrants’ civil rights because it was unclear what authority state officials were using to hold them under custody.


Yahoo Finance: EV Tax Credit in the Inflation Reduction Act

The bill would extend $7,500 in tax credits to EV owners, but puts a cap on salaries. For joint returns, it would be $150,000, for head of household it is $112,500, and for a single taxpayer it is $75,000. Under the current law, there is a 200,000 sold vehicles cap for which the credit can be applied; this bill would remove that cap. In addition, under the Inflation Reduction Act, buyers of used cars could receive a $4,000 credit. However, the sale price of the vehicle can’t exceed $25,000, according to the text of the bill. Also, EV buyers would not have to wait until they file their taxes to get the tax credit: The credit would be applied at the time of purchase at the dealership–effectively new EV buyers' monthly payments.



DOE: Notice of Intent Regarding IIJA for Resilient & Efficient Building Energy Code

On July 21, the Department of Energy issued a Notice of Intent to issue a funding opportunity announcement titled, "Building Energy Codes, Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation" in accordance with the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. Section 40511 (IIJA) provides $225 million in funding supporting resilient and efficient building codes, and directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a competitive program enabling sustained cost-effective implementation of updated building energy codes.


FERC: Petition to FERC for Rulemaking on Inland LNG Export Facilities

On July 22, several environmental groups filed a petition requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conduct a rulemaking to revisit, consider, and modify the Commission's former decisions about inland liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities to require all LNG export facilities to be under Commission oversight. FERC is accepting comments until September 20, 2022


DOT: FY2022 All Stations Accessibility Program (Funding Opportunity)

The Federal Transit Administration has announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $343 million in competitive grants under FY2022 All Stations Accessibility Program. Division J of the IIJA authorizes FTA to award grants for public transportation rail station accessibility projects, for “legacy” stations, through a competitive process, as described in this notice. Legacy stations, for purposes of this NOFO, are defined as public transportation stations already constructed or where construction began prior to January 25, 1992.



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.