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The Latest: A Weekly Federal Update (1/24/22)



Upcoming Events & Activities

January 24th, 2021 - January 28th, 2021

All events in Eastern Standard Time


Monday, January 24th

No meetings to report.


Tuesday, January 25th

11:00 AM - Resources for the Future, Policy Leadership Series with FERC Commissioner Allison Clements


5:30 - 7:30 PM - FERC, Scoping Meeting on WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.


11:00 AM - Department of Energy, Better Buildings Initiative, Webinar: Classroom to Career: Advancement in Energy Efficiency Jobs


5:30 - 7:30 PM - FERC, Scoping Meeting on Driftwood Pipeline, LLC


Wednesday, January 26th

No meetings to report.



Thursday, January 27th

3:30 - 7:30 PM - FERC, Scoping Meeting on WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.


5:30 - 7:30 PM - FERC, Scoping Meeting on Driftwood Pipeline, LLC


Friday, January 28th

No meetings to report.

 

Energy, Water & Environment

The latest from the House and Senate Committees on energy (infrastructure), WIFIA, wastewater management, environmental issues, interior, or environmental justice.

Legislation

H.R. 6437, To amend the Low-Income Energy Assistance of 1981 to increase the availability of heating and cooling assistance

Sponsor: Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY-16) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6461 National Climate Adaptation & Resilience Strategy Act, To require the Federal Government to produce a national climate adaptation and resilience strategy

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


News

Politico: Kerry Touts Natural Gas for Energy Transition But With a Catch

On Monday, January 24, Special Climate Envoy John Kerry defended the role of natural gas in helping nations combat rising temperatures, largely from burning fossil fuels, but he also noted the technology to clean coal and natural gas is not yet affordable and warned the world is not yet on the right path prevent catastrophic climate change.

 

Transportation & Infrastructure

The latest from the House and Senate Committees on industrial and commercial mechanical insulation, cybersecurity, supply chains, port authority, metropolitan transit, or airport.

Legislation

H.R. 6455, To promote, facilitate, and increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa

Sponsor: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) referred to Foreign Affairs Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6467, To make certain improvements to the project selection criteria for grants under the port and Sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26) referred to Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL-26) referred to Transportation & Infrastructure Committee

Date Introduced: January 21, 2022


News

Politico: SEC Plans New Cybersecurity Rules for Public Companies, Financial Firms

On Monday, January 24, Securities & Exchanges Commission Chair Gary Gensler outlined plans for a sweeping revamp of the agency's cybersecurity rules for Wall Street firms and other publicly traded companies, as he makes a new bid to shore up breach disclosures and data privacy safeguards. In his speech, Gensler said he has also asked staff for recommendations on how customers and clients of broker-dealers, investment companies and investment advisers receive notifications of hacks that expose data such as personally identifiable information. It could include proposing changes to the timing and substance of notifications the agency already requires. In addition, he floated the possibility of applying a technological resilience rule known as Reg SCI to the largest market makers and brokerages, beyond the exchanges that have to comply today.

 

Immigration & Detention

The latest from the House and Senate Committee on immigration, detention, homeland security, border security, asylum seekers, criminal justice reform, Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), U.S. Marshal Service (USMS), alternatives to detention programming, reentry programming, or Bureau of Prisons.

Legislation

H.R. 6439, To amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide for life imprisonment for certain offenses involving Fentanyl (Sublimaze)

Sponsor: Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) referred to Judiciary Committee; Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6440, To amend the Omnibus Crime Control & Safe Streets Act of 1968 to establish a grant program for jurisdictions with high rates of violent crime

Sponsor: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6448, To direct the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services of the DOJ to carry out a grant program to provide assistance to police departments with fewer than 200 law enforcement officers

Sponsor: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (R-NJ-05) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6469, To authorize grants for States and units of local government to reverse law enforcement efforts that been restricted

Sponsor: Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: January 21, 2022


H.R. 6472, To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for video teleconferencing for certain criminal proceedings

Sponsor: Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25) referred to Judiciary Committee

Date Introduced: January 21, 2022


News

CBS: Coronavirus Infections Inside U.S. Immigration Detention Centers Surge by 520% in '22

The number of coronavirus infections among immigrants detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers has surged by 520% since the start of 2022, prompting calls for increased vaccination efforts and detainee releases.On Thursday, January 13, 1,766 immigrants were being monitored or isolated at ICE detention facilities due to confirmed coronavirus infections, a more than sixfold jump from January 3, when there were 285 active cases, government statistics show. The number of detainees with active COVID-19 cases represents 8% of the 22,000 immigrants ICE is currently holding in its network of 200 detention centers, county jails and for-profit prisons. The recent surge in COVID cases at ICE detention sites comes amid the rapid nationwide spread of the Omicron variant, which has been found to be more transmissible than other strains of the virus. A senior ICE official who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity defended the agency's pandemic response, saying it expected an increase in infections due to the Omicron variant. The official noted that ICE requires immigrants to undergo testing and a 14-day quarantine upon entering a detention facility. In a statement Friday, ICE said the coronavirus positivity rate in some of its detention facilities "is lower — in some spots significantly lower — than the local community because of the stringent testing and quarantine protocols in place."

 

Public Health & Safety

The latest from House and Senate committees on health insurance, COVID-19 and testing, gun safety, Medicare & Medicaid, telehealth, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), CDC, FDA, or rural hospitals.

Legislation

H.R. 6423, To amend the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 respecting the scoring of preventive health savings

Sponsor: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26) referred to Budget Committee

Date Introduced: January 19, 2022


H.R. 6431 Data Transparency & Drug Safety Act of 2022, To amend the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act to prohibit the alteration, falsification, fabrication, destruction, omission, or removal of records or certain information required to be produced or maintained for a drug

Sponsor: Sen. Kim Schrier (D-WA-08) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


News

Reuters: U.S. COVID-19 Peak May Be Over But Not the Pain as Deaths Rise

Even as COVID-19 cases drop and hospitalizations show signs of plateauing in hard-hit pockets of the United States, the still-rising death toll from the Omicron variant highlights the trail of loss that follows every virus surge. Covid deaths hit an 11-month high on Sunday, climbing 11% in the past week when compared to the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis. COVID-19 fatalities are a lagging indicator, meaning their numbers usually rise a few weeks after new cases and hospitalizations. The Omicron death toll has now surpassed the height of deaths caused by the more severe Delta variant when the seven-day average peaked at 2,078 on Sept. 23 last year. An average of 2,200 people a day, mostly unvaccinated, are now dying due to Omicron. That is still below the peak of 3,300 lives lost a day during the surge in January 2021 as vaccines were just being rolled out.

 

Finance & Federal Partnerships


The latest from House and Senate committees on taxation, retirement, small business, federal contracting, or monetary policy.

Legislation

H.R. 6415, To prohibit the Federal reserve banks from offering certain products or services directly to an individual

Sponsor: Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-06) referred to Financial Services Committee

Date Introduced: January 18, 2022


H.R. 6419, To amend the compliance procedures for the prohibition on criminal history inquiries by Federal contractors prior to conditional offers

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

Date Introduced: January 18, 2022


H.R. 6428, To establish a State and local general sales tax credit for small businesses

Sponsor: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) referred to Ways & Means Committee

Date Introduced: January 19, 2022


H.R. 6445, To amend the Small Business Act to require an annual report on entrepreneurial development programs

Sponsor: Rep. Jared Golden (R-ME-02) referred to Small Business Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6450, To amend the Small Business Act to reauthorize the SCORE program

Sponsor: Rep. Young Kim (R-CA-39) referred to Small Business Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6454, To clarify the primary functions and duties of the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration

Sponsor: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-03) referred to Small Business Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


H.R. 6463, To provide for equal protection of the law and to prohibit discrimination and preferential treatment on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the administration of programs of the Department of Health & Human Services

Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Tiffany (R-WI-07) referred to Energy & Commerce Committee

Date Introduced: January 20, 2022


News

Washington Post: Federal Judge in Texas Blocks Biden's Vaccine Requirement for Government Workers

On Friday, January 21, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown, nominated in 2019 to the federal bench by President Donald Trump, said that the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for federal workers and contractors constituted an overreach of executive authority. The ruling amounted to another blow to the administration’s most ambitious public health measures — its work to corral the pandemic through vaccinations — and it is only the latest measure to be invalidated by the actions of appointees of Trump and other Republicans. But it is probably not the final word. The Justice Department filed an appeal to the ruling, and the case could be heard by the Supreme Court. The requirement was expected to apply to more than 3 million federal employees and at least 4 million federal contractors. It included the military but not Postal Service workers.

 

Special Reports


The latest from reports issued from the Office of Government Accountability, the Congressional Research Service, and others.
  • GAO: January 21, 2022 - Federal Prisons: Monitoring Efforts to Implement COVID-19 Recommendations & Examining First Step Act Implementation

  • CRS: January 20, 2022 - USMCA: Labor Provisions

  • CRS: January 21, 2022 - Supreme Court Stays OSHA Vaccination & Testing Standard

  • CRS: January 24, 2022 - FY2022 NDAA: COVID-19 Vaccination-related Provisions