The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (09/05/22)
Upcoming Events & Activities
September 5 – 9, 2022
All events are in Eastern Daylight Saving Time
Monday, September 5th
Tuesday, September 6th
No events to report.
Wednesday, September 7th
10:00 AM | Senate Environment & Public Works Committee: Markup hearing
10:00 AM | Senate Judiciary Committee: Nomination hearing for circuit court and district judges
Thursday, September 8th
9:00 AM | Senate Judiciary Committee: Nomination hearing for circuit court and district judges
10:00 AM | Senate Commerce, Science, & Technology Committee: Nomination hearing for Robert Primus to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board and others to be on the Amtrak Board of Directors
12:00 PM | House Education & Labor Committee: "An Ounce of Prevention: Investments in Juvenile Justice Programs"
Friday, September 9th
No 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.
H.R. 8766, To require the Secretary of Energy to conduct studies relating to Strategic Petroleum Reserve levels, and to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act with respect to such Reserve Sponsor: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH-01) Committee(s): Energy & Commerce; Transportation & Infrastructure; Natural Resources; Oversight & Reform Date Introduced: September 2, 2022
H.R. 8764, To change certain household income eligibility requirements for low-income home energy assistance in FY2023 and FY2024 Sponsor: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) Committee(s): Energy & Commerce; Education & Labor Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
Grist: Social Cost of Carbon Should Be 3.6 Times Higher
In a journal article published on September 1st, researchers assert they found that social cost of carbon should be more than thrice higher than the $51 figure the Biden administration currently uses at $185 per metric ton.
Background: The social cost of carbon is a dollar amount that approximates the cost to society of adding — or the benefits of not adding—1 metric ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. It is underpinned by scientific models that look deep into the future to estimate what that CO2 will mean in terms of lost lives, reduced crop yields, and damage caused by rising seas. The government uses this number as one of several key metrics to evaluate the costs and benefits of policies that affect greenhouse gas emissions, like fuel economy standards for vehicles or oil and gas leasing plans.
Politico: Biden Taps 2 New Climate Advisors
Last week, President Biden announced two new climate advisors: Ali Zaidi, to lead the Climate Policy Office (once Gina McCarthy leaves on September 16th) and John Podesta, to be Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation & Implementation. That will give Podesta a key role in spending and crafting the $369 billion of climate and energy incentives in the new Inflation Reduction Act. People who have worked with Zaidi say he's a pragmatist and strategist who can help the administration meet its goals for reining in planet-heating pollution.
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. 8769, To rescind the funds appropriated to the IRS under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Sponsor: Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ-02) Committee(s): Ways & Means Date Introduced: September 2, 2022
H.R. 8763, To establish a Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Inspector General Sponsor: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) Committee(s): Oversight & Reform Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
Reuters: U.S. Labor Market, Manufacturing Resilient Despite Rising Interest Rates
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. 8753, To update certain requirements related to innovation and modernization grants (to promote healthcare careers) Sponsor: Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC-13) Committee(s): Education & Labor Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
Reuters: White House Says Updated Covid Boosters Ready in U.S. This Week
On September 6th, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra said, during a White House briefing, that by end of this week 90% of Americans will live within 5 miles (8km) of sites carrying updated vaccines–specifically targeted to provide enhanced protection against Omicron subvariants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said even with the seven-day average of COVID hospitalizations down 14% to 4,500 per day, the new shots could help prevent as many as 100,000 hospitalizations and 9,000 deaths per year. Officials said people could get the Covid boosters this fall and winter alongside their regular annual flu shots.
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. 8762, To restrict the possession, use, and acquisition of firearms and ammunition by the Internal Revenue Service Sponsor: Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC-05) Committee(s): Ways & Means Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
H.R. 8760, To amend the Omnibus Crime Control & Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide for grants for State firearms dealer licensing programs Sponsor: Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25) Committee(s): Judiciary Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
H.R. 8759, To direct all specified new employees of the IRS to assist with the processing through the immigration system of aliens unlawfully present in the United States Sponsor: Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL-02) Committee(s): Ways & Means; Homeland Security; Judiciary Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
Yahoo: CA Lawmakers Reject Bill That Aims to Stop Prison-to-ICE Transfers
The legislation, known as the VISION Act (AB 937), received an 18-13 roll call in the California Senate. Four Democrats and nine Republicans opposed the bill, which fell three votes short of the 21 needed for its passage. California Assemblymember Wendy Carillo introduced the bill last year. It follows the transfer of more than 1,400 inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers in 2020, as per the advocacy group Asian Prisoner Support Committee.
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.
H.R. 8755, To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prevent employers from using non-compete agreements in employment contracts for certain non-exempt employees Sponsor: Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA-25) Committee(s): Education & Labor Date Introduced: August 30, 2022
Fox News: California EV Mandate Could Spill to over a Dozen States
17 states are likely to move forward with California's recent decision to ban non-EV sales come 2035. States, like Washington, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont, are viewed very likely to follow California's new rule. The mandate is facing fierce pushback in states, like Minnesota, where the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association argues that the weather prohibits the use of solely electric vehicles. The Colorado Energy Office has stated the governor does wish to move Colorado residents to EVs but fears that deadline too soon ahead. In 2021, when Democrats controlled both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly and governor's office, Democrats codified subjecting the Commonwealth to California's standards. However, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin proclaimed that his administration will work toward cutting the regulatory ties.
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: Notice of Proposed Waiver of Buy America Requirements for EV Chargers
The Federal Highway Administration is seeking comments on a proposal under its Buy America waiver authorities to: modify its existing general applicability waiver for manufactured products to remove electric vehicle chargers; and waive certain Buy America requirements under FHWA regulations and the Build America, Buy America Act for the steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in EV chargers in a manner that, over a deliberate transitional period, reduces the scope of that waiver. The proposed new waiver would initially waive all Buy America requirements for EV chargers and all components of EV chargers that are installed in a project and then phase-out the waiver with two changes during calendar year 2023 and one change in January 2024. Comments must be received by September 30, 2022.
EPA: Amendments to EPA's Risk Management Program
The EPA is proposing to amend its Risk Management Program regulations. The proposed revisions include several changes and amplifications to the accident prevention program requirements, enhancements to the emergency preparedness requirements, increased public availability of chemical hazard information, and several other changes to certain regulatory definitions or points of clarification. These proposed amendments seek to improve chemical process safety; assist in planning, preparedness, and responding to RMP-reportable accidents; and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated sources. The EPA is accepting comments until October 31, 2022.
EPA: Notice of Public Meeting of the Environmental Financial Advisory Board
The EPA's Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) will hold a public meeting webinar. The purpose of the webinar will be for the Opportunity Zones and Pollution Prevention Workgroups to present their draft deliverables to EFAB and solicit feedback on the drafts. The meeting will be shared in real-time via webinar and public comments may be provided in writing in advance. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (EDT) and registrants must register in advance via this link.
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.