The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (08/29/22)
Upcoming Events & Activities
August 29 – September 2, 2022
All events are in Eastern Daylight Saving Time
Monday, August 29th
No events to report.
Tuesday, August 30th
No events to report.
Wednesday, August 31st
No events to report.
Thursday, September 1st
11:45 AM | Medicare Payment Advisory Commission: September 1st Session
1:00 PM | Resources for the Future: Webinar titled, "An Updated Social Cost of Carbon: Calculating the Cost of Climate Change"
Friday, September 2nd
9:00 AM | Medicare Payment Advisory Commission: September 2nd Session
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.
H.R. 8749, To repeal the methane emissions and waste reduction incentive program for petroleum and natural gas systems Sponsor: Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX-11) Committee(s): Energy & Commerce Date Introduced: August 26, 2022
H.R. 8738, To require Transmission Organizations allow bids from aggregators of certain retail customers Sponsor: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL-06) Committee(s): Energy & Commerce Date Introduced: August 23, 2022
Washington Times: California to ban Sales of Gas-Fueled Vehicles by 2035
Under a new proposal approved on August 25th, California will phase out sales of gasoline-powered vehicles in hopes of accelerating the transition to electric cars in the same of combating climate change. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted unanimously to approve the Advanced Clean Cars II regulations, which require auto manufacturers to meet zero-emission sales targets starting with 35% by the 2026 model year, tripling last year’s figure of 12% in four years. Board members hailed the approval of the regulations as a historic and consequential move toward meeting the state’s goal of achieving a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels.
Politico: EPA Proposes Superfund Listing for 2 PFAS Chemicals
On August 26th, the Biden administration proposed to designate the two most concerning "forever chemicals" as hazardous under the nation's Superfund law–a long-sought move that would help force polluters to pay for cleanups and compel the Defense Department to deal with widespread contamination at its bases. The proposal would list the chemicals PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, better known as Superfund. If finalized, the rule will trigger new reporting requirements for any entity that releases even small amounts of the chemicals, giving EPA, along with state and local governments, a better picture of the problem. Releases above a certain threshold trigger an automatic investigation and potential cleanup.
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).
H.R. 8742, To ensure that employees of the Internal Revenue Service are brought back to their offices until the backlog of 2020 tax returns has been eliminated Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Meuser (R-PA-09) Committee(s): Ways & Means Date Introduced: August 23, 2022
Reuters: Powell Sess pain Ahead as Fed Sticks to the Fast Lane to Beat Inflation
On August 26th, Americans are headed for a painful period of slow economic growth and possibly rising joblessness as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight high inflation, U.S. central bank chief Jerome Powell warned in his bluntest language yet about what is in store for the world's biggest economy. In a speech kicking off the Jackson Hole central banking conference in Wyoming, Powell said the Fed will raise rates as high as needed to restrict growth, and would keep them there "for some time" to bring down inflation that is running at more than three times the Fed's 2% goal. As that pain increases, Powell said, people should not expect the Fed to dial back its monetary policy quickly until the inflation problem is fixed.
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.
H.R. 8747, To extend Medicare-dependent hospital and Medicare low-volume hospital payments Sponsor: Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV-03) Committee(s): Ways & Means Date Introduced: August 26, 2022
H.R. 8746, To restore physician judgment to prescribe the appropriate mix of skilled modalities that constitute an intensive rehabilitation therapy program in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital or unit Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) Committee(s): Ways & Means Date Introduced: August 26, 2022
Politico: Moderna Sues Pfizer Over Vaccine Patents
On August 26th, Moderna sued Pfizer & BioNTech in U.S. and German courts, accusing the vaccine competitors of copying its messenger RNA technology that was the novel basis for Covid vaccines. The company said it's not seeking to have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine removed from the market nor is it seeking an injunction preventing future sales, so the lawsuit will not affect the expected rollout of reformulated boosters in September. But Moderna said it is seeking damages for revenue Pfizer & BioNTech made from U.S. sales as of March 8, when it updated its pledge not to enforce any patents pertaining to Covid during the pandemic and from the domestic manufacture of doses for other countries outside the Covax bloc.
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.
H.R. 8741, To impose a tax on the total revenue of manufacturers and importers of semi-automatic assault weapons Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) Committee(s): Ways & Means; Judiciary Date Introduced: August 23, 2022
H.R. 8740, To establish reasonable controls on firearms manufacturers and importers Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) Committee(s): Judiciary Date Introduced: August 23, 2022
Reuters: U.S. Judge Throws out TX Gun Ban for Young Adults After SCOTUS Ruling
On August 25th, Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District in Fort Worth ruled that there was no historical tradition of stopping young adults, ages 18-20 years old, from carrying guns in public in an opinion that repeatedly cited the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen decision. The challenge to the Texas statute that bans young adults not in active military service from having handguns in public was filed in 2021 by the Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun-owners' rights group.
The latest from the House and Senate committees on industrial and commercial mechanical insulation, telecommunications and information technologies, electric vehicles & charging infrastructure, supply chains, port authority, public transit, and airports, and policy developments from the Departments of Energy, Housing & Urban Development, and Transportation; Federal Communications Commission; and National Labor Relations Board.
No recent legislation
Politico: DOE Releases NOFO of $425 Million in Clean Energy Infrastructure Funds
On August 26th, the Department of Energy announced $425 to help states expand their clean energy programs and ramp up deployment in the aftermath of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. The funding will allow states to "level up their clean energy planning and deployment," build up energy security, cut energy costs, reduce carbon emissions and create economic opportunity, White House senior adviser and infrastructure implementation coordinator Mitch Landrieu said on a press call. DOE is accepting applications from all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia for the expanded formula funding through the department's State Energy Program.
The latest proposed rules and notices of funding opportunity from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health & Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing & Urban Development, the Interior, the Treasury, and Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; and Small Business Administration.
DOT: Pipeline Safety - Periodic Standards Update II
On August 29, the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed to incorporate more than 80 voluntary, consensus, industry technical standards by reference within the Federal pipeline safety regulations. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposes amendments that would incorporate by reference all or parts of updated editions of some of those standards. This NPRM also proposes non-substantive edits and clarifications to certain other provisions of the PSRs. PHMSA is accepting comments on these proposed rules until October 29, 2022. PHMSA expects that the updated standards in this rule will enhance the PSRs' protection of public safety and the environment—including avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane releases from natural gas pipelines—and will be technically feasible, reasonable, cost-effective, and practicable in light of their anticipated public safety and environmental benefits, justifying any associated compliance costs.
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.
CRFB: New Student Debt Changes Will Cost Half a Trillion Dollars
CRS: Clean Vehicle Tax Credits in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
GAO: Interior Should Improve the Award Process for Some Competitive Grant Programs