Update as of 
July 9, 2024

House and Senate Action

Both chambers returned to action today following the Independence Day holiday. This week, the House will consider legislation (H.J. Res. 165) that would overturn the Biden administration's Title IX rule, which expands discrimination protections for pregnant, transgender, and non-binary students. The chamber will also take up a bill (H.R. 7637; H.R. 7700) that would prohibit the Department of Energy (DOE) from prescribing or enforcing energy efficiency standards for refrigerators and dishwashers that are not cost effective or technologically feasible. In addition, lawmakers will vote on a measure (H.R. 8281) that would require individuals to provide proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote in federal elections. Finally, lawmakers will consider the fiscal year 2025 spending bill covering the Legislative Branch. The full legislative calendar can be accessed here.

The Senate is expected to focus on nominations. The Senate schedule is available here

The House and Senate will recess again next week to allow GOP lawmakers to attend the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Special District Grant Accessibility Act – Senate Introduction Expected This Week

Later this week, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are expected to introduce the Special District Grant Accessibility Act (SDGAA). The bill, which was approved by the full House back on May 5th, would establish a first-ever, formal definition of "special district" in federal law. In addition to codifying such a definition, the legislation would require the White House Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance to federal agencies requiring special districts to be recognized as local governments for the purpose of federal financial assistance determinations.

One of the leading factors driving the need for the SDGAA is the fact that special districts were omitted in COVID-19-era legislation that provided direct federal financial assistance to local governments for coronavirus relief and response activities (namely CARES Act funding and ARPA Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars). Unlike other forms of local government, special districts were excluded from receiving direct federal aid despite the fact that many special districts provided essential public services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including ambulance/EMS, hospital, and open space services. Moreover, while special districts are eligible for the vast majority of current federal funding opportunities, they are ineligible for - or face barriers to accessing - certain grant programs. The SDGAA seeks to level the playing field by ensuring that special districts have access to all appropriate and relevant federal funding streams.

Looking ahead, the bill will need to be considered by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. If favorably approved by the committee, the legislation would advance to the floor of the Senate.

Biden Administration Lays Out Regulatory Blueprint for the Remainder of the Year

On July 5, the Biden administration released its regulatory blueprint for the remainder of the year and beyond. The spring Unified Agenda, as it is known, outlines the federal regulatory priorities and plans for the coming months. Among other things, the White House intends to propose initiatives to modernize infrastructure, improve transportation safety, and promote sustainable development. This includes regulations related to public transit, aviation, and the development of smart cities. There will also be an emphasis on regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean energy, and protecting natural resources. This includes stricter emissions standards for vehicles and industrial sources, as well as initiatives to address pollution and improve air and water quality. On the healthcare front, the administration will continue efforts to improve the affordability of prescription drugs and enhance public health preparedness. This includes regulations related to the Affordable Care Act, mental health parity, and responses to the opioid crisis. The full list of anticipated proposals can be accessed here.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Appropriations Committee: This week, the full committee will consider six (of 12) fiscal year 2025 spending bills. The measures scheduled to be considered include: Commerce-Justice-Science; Interior-Environment; Energy and Water; Labor-Health and Human Services; Transportation-Housing and Urban Development; and, Agriculture-Rural Development. More details on the committee activity can be accessed here.

House Natural Resources Committee: On Tuesday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a legislative hearing on four measures, including a bill (H.R. 7544) that would forbid the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from mandating water users transfer water rights to the federal government as a condition of any permit, lease, or other use agreement. It also would prevent any unlawful seizures of groundwater. More information on the hearing can be accessed here.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee: On Wednesday morning, the full committee will meet to conduct oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More details on the hearing will become available here.

House Agriculture Committee: On Wednesday afternoon, the panel will meet for a hearing entitled, "Examining the Consequences of EPA's Actions on American Agriculture." A livestream of the hearing will be available here, beginning at 2pm ET.

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee: On Wednesday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy will hold a hearing on the state of rural infrastructure in the United States, with a particular focus on emergency response, recovery, and resilience. Blue Earth (MN) County Commissioner Kevin Paap is among those slated to testify. Additional information on the hearing, including a full witness list, is available here.

Senate Appropriations Committee: On Thursday morning, the committee will consider the first three (of 12) fiscal year 2025 spending bills, including those covering the Legislative Branch; Agriculture, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs. The panel will also vote on the funding allocations for each of the 12 subcommittees. More details on the markup can be found here.


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Update as of 
June 18, 2024

House and Senate Action

The Senate is the only chamber in session this week. They will recess briefly on Wednesday for Juneteenth before reconvening on Thursday morning. The top priority for Senate Democrats is to reverse a recent Supreme Court decision that removed the Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a device that can convert semiautomatic weapons to ones capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute. The daily Senate schedule can be accessed here

House Panel Advances FY25 Homeland Security Spending Bill

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to advance the fiscal year 2025 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. In all, the measure would provide $94.4 billion in discretionary funding for the department, an increase of nearly $4 billion. When excluding offsetting collections and major disaster funding, the total provided in the bill is $64.8 billion, which is nearly $800 million above current levels. Among other things, the bill recommends over $28 billion (an increase of $2.8 billion) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), including $22.7 billion for disaster relief. With regard to federal assistance, the measure would provide $360 million each for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, an increase of $36 million for both programs. A full summary of the bill is available here. A summary prepared by Democrats on the panel can be accessed here.

House Lawmakers Set to Introduce Wildfire Permitting Legislation

 House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AK) and Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) will soon introduce legislation – the Fix Our Forest Act – that would ease permitting reviews for forest management projects meant to reduce the growing risk of destructive wildfires. The measure seeks to expedite reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and curtail litigation that frequently delays projects. Specifically, and among other things, it would enable agencies to adopt categorical exclusions – or specific exemptions from full NEPA review – for some forest management projects. The bill would also limit lawsuits by preventing courts from stopping a project unless the court can prove that it would cause substantial environmental harm. It also would require litigants to sue within 120 days and to have participated in the public comment process. Finally, it would promote collaboration at all levels of government by creating a new Fireshed Center made up of representatives from different agencies. Chairman Westerman is expected to schedule committee action on the bill in the coming weeks.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

Senate Appropriations Committee: On Tuesday morning, the Subcommittee on Transportation-Housing and Urban Development will hold a hearing entitled, "Unlocking Department of Transportation Financing for More Transit-Oriented Housing Development." Additional details on the hearing, including a livestream of the event, will be available here.

Senate Judiciary – On Thursday morning, the committee will meet to consider legislation (S. 1306) that would reauthorize the COPS program through fiscal year 2029. More information on the markup is available here.


Update as of 
June 11, 2024

House and Senate Action

 The House and Senate are both in session this week.

House

Starting Tuesday afternoon, the lower chamber will consider nearly a dozen bills on the suspension calendar (requires 2/3 majority for passage), including legislation – the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act (H.R. 2964) – that would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations requiring entities responsible for the labeling or retail packaging of certain pre-moistened, nonwoven wipes (e.g., baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or personal care wipes) to label such products clearly and conspicuously with the phrase "Do Not Flush". It should be noted that H.R. 2964 was previously scheduled for floor consideration in May. Another bill on the docket (H.R. 6543) seeks to improve cost transparency for stays in short-term lodging, such as hotels, motels, and inns. Later in the week, lawmakers will consider the annual defense authorization bill. The full House floor schedule is available here.

Senate

Across Capitol Hill, Senate Democratic leaders will keep the focus on women's reproductive rights this week with a vote scheduled on legislation that would protect and expand access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services nationwide. The daily Senate schedule can be accessed here.

Legislation Introduced to Implement Recommendations of Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission

Representatives Josh Harder (D-CA) and Scott Franklin (R-FL) recently introduced legislation (H.R. 8656) that would address the growing wildfire threat by implementing a number of the recommendations outlined in a 2023 report by the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. The 50-person commission, with representatives from state and federal agencies, the private sector, nonprofits, and firefighters, made 148 recommendations. H.R. 8656 incorporates 16 of those recommendations, with a focus on workforce development, support for wildland firefighters, wildfire smoke and public health impacts, and fire mitigation and technology. A section-by-section summary of the bill is attached.

Senate Panel Discusses Underlying Reasons for Rising Insurance Costs

Last week, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing entitled, "Riskier Business: How Climate is Already Challenging Insurance Markets." The hearing was an opportunity for lawmakers to discuss the underlying causes of the current property and commercial insurance crisis. For their part, Democrats on the panel identified climate change as a major driver of high-damage claims and rising premium costs. Republicans, on the other hand, pointed to rising federal spending levels and inflation – including increased costs of labor and materials to rebuild or repair homes – as the main cause of insurance price hikes. Some Republicans also identified increased development into disaster-prone areas as another key factor that contributes to high insurance premiums. While there was some significant disagreement on the underlying cause(s) of the current insurance crisis, there was bipartisan agreement on the need to reduce risk and support mitigation measures that improve resilience to future disasters.

Notably, Democrats on the Budget Committee have several open investigations into the threat that climate change poses to insurance markets. As part of one investigation, the committee has requested information from dozens of private sector insurers on how they plan to address increased underwriting losses from climate disasters. The subject of another inquiry is how the insurance industry at large evaluates climate-related risks, decides to invest in or underwrite fossil fuel expansion projects that drive such risks, and policies that insure such projects. The third investigation focuses specifically on Florida's state-run insurance provider.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Transportation and Infrastructure: The panel's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a hearing entitled, "Revenue, Ridership, and Post-Pandemic Lessons in Public Transit." More details on the hearing, including a full witness list, can be accessed here.

House Appropriations: This week, the full committee will consider five FY 2025 spending bills, including those covering Defense, Financial Services and General Government, the Legislative Branch, State and Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security. The Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development will mark up its bill on Tuesday evening. The full list of committee events can be found here.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: On Wednesday afternoon, the Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on 20 bills that touch on everything from public lands management to minerals. On Thursday afternoon, the full committee will meet to conduct oversight of the Bureau of Land Management, which is expected to focus primarily on public lands management policies, renewable energy, and oil and gas development. More details on the two hearings is available here.


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Update as of 
June 3, 2024

House and Senate Action

Following a one week recess for the Memorial Day holiday, the House and Senate will reconvene this afternoon. It will be a short work week, as a number of Members will travel to France midweek to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

House

In the lower chamber, lawmakers will consider the fiscal year 2025 spending bill (H.R. 8580) that covers discretionary appropriations for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Notably, this is the first funding measure to be considered this year. The House will also take up legislation (H.R. 8282) sanctioning the International Criminal Court if it moves ahead with arrest warrants for Israeli officials. The full House floor schedule is available here.

Senate

Across Capitol Hill, the Senate will consider legislation – the Right to Contraception Act (S. 4381) – that would guarantee the legal right to purchase and use contraception and for health care providers to provide contraception, information, referrals and services related to contraception. The daily Senate schedule can be accessed here.

EPA Proposes Water System Restructuring Assessment Rule

On May 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule that would allow states to mandate assessments for how Public Water Systems (PWS) that chronically violate federal drinking water standards could be restructured.

EPA's proposal stems from recent amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that granted the Agency and states new regulatory authorities. Pursuant to the rule, a PWS would be subject to a mandatory assessment if a state finds that: (1) the PWS has repeatedly violated one or more National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) and such violations are likely to adversely affect human health; (2) the PWS is unable or unwilling to implement restructuring activities or already has attempted to implement such activities, but has not achieved compliance; (3) restructuring of the PWS, including a form of consolidation or a transfer of ownership, is feasible; and, (4) restructuring of the PWS could result in greater compliance with drinking water standards. Although EPA's new mandatory assessment requirements would not apply to water systems that do not meet the aforementioned criteria, such PWSs could develop and submit restructuring plans eligible for restructuring incentives.

Looking ahead, EPA will be hosting a webinar on the proposed rule on June 5. The webinar will identify the primary elements of the rulemaking, key principles of restructuring, and identified topics for public comment on the proposal. A registration link for the webinar can be found here, and a copy of the proposed rule can be accessed here. Stakeholders have until July 29 to submit comments to the EPA.

Biden Expected to Announce Border Plan

On Tuesday, President Biden is expected to issue an executive order that would temporarily close the U.S.-Mexico border to migrants when crossings surge. The full details of the plan have yet to be released, but the order would allow border officials to prevent migrants from claiming asylum when border crossings surpass a certain threshold. While the threshold is still under discussion, it is expected to mirror legislation that failed to advance in the Senate. Under that proposal, the border would be closed to illegal crossings if the daily average of encounters surpasses 5,000 migrants, or if a one-day total surpasses 8,500. The legislation would have also given the Homeland Security Secretary the authority to shut down the border at 4,000 encounters per day. It should be noted that unaccompanied children are expected to be exempt from the order.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Natural Resources Committee: On Tuesday morning, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold an oversight hearing entitled "Examining the President's FY 2025 Budget Request for the U.S. Forest Service." Additional details on the hearing, including a livestream of the event, will be available here

Senate Budget Committee: On Wednesday morning, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on how climate change continues to impact and challenge the insurance market. Additional information on the hearing will be available here.

 Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee: On Wednesday morning, the Senate EPW Committee will hold a hearing entitled "Oversight and Budget of the Federal Highway Administration." Additional details on the hearing will be available here

House Oversight and Accountability Committee: On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee will hold an oversight hearing to examine programs under the purview of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A livestream of the event will be accessible here.


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Update as of 
May 21, 2024

House and Senate Action

Both chambers are in session, though they will adjourn for the Memorial Day recess on Thursday.

 The House will gavel in this afternoon. The chamber has a full slate of bills on the suspension calendar (requires 2/3 majority for passage), including legislation (H.R. 5863) that would provide tax relief to victims of a qualified wildfire or hurricane, as well as losses resulting from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment. It should be noted that the measure was originally included as part of a larger tax package that has been stalled since January. Later in the week, the lower chamber will consider a bill (H.R. 192) that would prohibit individuals who are not U.S. citizens from voting in D.C. elections. The full House agenda is available here.

 Across Capitol Hill, the Senate is expected to vote on a border security and immigration package this week. The measure, which is not expected to advance, mirrors the bipartisan compromise that collapsed earlier this year. Pursuant to the legislation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be required to close the border to illegal crossings if the daily average of encounters surpasses 5,000 migrants, or if a one-day total surpasses 8,500. However, DHS would have the authority to shut down the border at 4,000 encounters per day. Once the mandatory shutdown is enforced, it would require two weeks of significantly lower illegal crossings in order to reopen the border to crossings, other than asylum appointments, at ports of entry. Notably, the package does not include provisions that would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented individuals. It should be noted that a handful of Democrats view the policy changes as too extreme and will therefore oppose consideration of the bill. Many Republicans, on the other hand, do not believe the reforms go far enough and view this effort as a political exercise meant to provide a boost to vulnerable Democrats. The daily Senate schedule can be accessed here.

House Ag Committee to Consider GOP Farm Bill Reauthorization Package

On Thursday, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up a $1.5 trillion Farm Bill reauthorization package. The legislation, which totals 942 pages and is still in draft form, would fund programs across 12 separate titles for a period of five years. The Republican-authored bill faces stiff opposition from Senate Democrats and the Biden administration due to proposed cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the removal of climate change mitigation requirements for conservation investments. With regard to SNAP, the draft bill would limit future updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, which provides the basis for calculating nutrition benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the policy change would reduce SNAP by roughly $30 billion over the next decade. While the legislation is expected to be approved by the House Agriculture Committee, it remains unclear if GOP leaders will have sufficient votes to pass the measure on the floor.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

 House Agriculture – On Thursday morning, lawmakers will meet to consider a Farm Bill reauthorization package. Additional details on the markup, including a livestream of the event, will become available here.

 Senate Environment and Public Works – On Wednesday morning, the panel will consider six bills, including the biennial Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Following the markup, the committee will hold a hearing on efforts to improve reuse and recycling. More info on the hearing can be found here.

 Senate Energy and Natural Resources – On Tuesday morning, the committee will hold a hearing to examine the opportunities, risks, and challenges associated with growth in demand for electric power in the United States. More info on the hearing, including a full witness list, is available here.

 Senate Budget Committee – On Wednesday morning, the panel will hold a hearing entitled, "Droughts, Dollars and Decisions: Water Scarcity in a Changing Climate." Additional information on the hearing can be found here.

 Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – This afternoon, the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight and Ports, will meet to examine the causes of the roadway safety crisis, including unique risks to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, and how Congress can support a holistic approach to roadway safety. A livestream of the event will be available here, beginning at 2:30pm ET.


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Update as of 
May 15, 2024

House and Senate Action

Neither chamber is in session today but both will return to action on Tuesday.

The House will consider a number of measures on the suspension calendar (requires 2/3 majority for passage), including giving final approval to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) renewal (H.R. 3935). It should be noted that the Senate cleared the legislation Thursday evening and also passed a one-week extension, which gives the House until Friday to get this done. A section-by-section summary of the FAA agreement can be found here.

Another bill on the suspension calendar and endorsed by NSDC – the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act (H.R. 2964) – would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations requiring entities responsible for the labeling or retail packaging of certain pre-moistened, nonwoven wipes (e.g., baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or personal care wipes) to label such products clearly and conspicuously with the phrase "Do Not Flush". The

In addition, and in honor of National Police Week in DC, House GOP leaders have placed a number of crime-related bills on the floor. This includes legislation (S. 546) that would expand the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to support hiring activities by law enforcement agencies experiencing declines in officer recruitment applications. It also would establish a new program to encourage voluntary partnerships between schools and police departments to foster a stronger local pipeline for law enforcement careers.

The full House agenda is available here.

Senate Commerce Committee to Vote on Bill Extending Affordable Connectivity Program

On Thursday, May 16, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is scheduled to vote on comprehensive legislation that would modernize the nation's spectrum policy. Among other things, the bill (S. 4207) would provide $7 billion in new funding to extend the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). To pay for the ACP extension, the bill would reinstate the FCC's lapsed authority to auction off spectrum bands to commercial users. It should be noted that April was the last month that ACP subscribers received the full $30 benefit. In May, program participants are receiving a $14 discount off their home internet subscriptions, with the FCC expected to exhaust all ACP funding by next month.

House, Senate Ag Leaders Release Competing Farm Bill Proposals

On May 10, House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson (R-PA) released a more detailed section-by-section summary of his Farm Bill reauthorization package. More information on the proposal, including draft text, is expected to be available in the coming days, with plans to consider the bill in committee next week. Across Capitol Hill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has also posted an extensive outline of her proposal.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Natural Resources – On Monday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight field hearing in Hayward, Wisconsin, to examine barriers that sportsmen and women face accessing federal lands and legislative solutions that would promote greater hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities. On Wednesday morning, the subcommittee will hear from the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service on the president's fiscal year 2025 budget request. On Thursday morning, the full committee will receive testimony from Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), on CEQ's fiscal year 2025 budget request. More information on these hearings can be found here.

House Education and the Workforce – On Wednesday morning, lawmakers will meet to examine the policies and priorities of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additional details on the hearing can be found here.

House Appropriations – On Thursday morning, the Subcommittee on Financial Services will review the fiscal year 2025 budget request of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr are slated to testify. More information can be accessed here.

Senate Appropriations – On Wednesday morning, the Subcommittee on Energy and Water will review the fiscal year 2025 budget requests for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. On Wednesday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science will hear from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the department's fiscal year 2025 budget request. A full list of committee hearings can be found here.

Senate Budget – On Wednesday morning, the committee will hold a hearing entitled, "Budgeting for the Storm: Climate Change and the Costs to National Security." More details on the hearing can be accessed here.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – On Thursday morning, the committee will consider more than a dozen bills within the panel's jurisdiction, including legislation (S. 275) that would require a more thorough vetting and verification process for internet service providers seeking to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) high-cost programs. The panel will also consider a measure (S 3788) that would reauthorize a law that helps communities prepare for and respond to landslides. Additional information on the markup is available here.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources – This week, the committee will meet to examine the President's budget request for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The committee's full schedule can be found here.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – On Wednesday morning, the committee will consider a slate of bills, including legislation (H.R. 6249) that would ensure that individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities and their families have access to resources to safely recover after a major disaster strikes. More information on the markup can be accessed here.

Senate Judiciary – On Thursday morning, the committee will take up bipartisan legislation (S. 930) that would expand access to federal support for the families of firefighters and first responders who pass away from cancer caused by carcinogenic exposure during their service. The bill would also extend disability benefits in cases where they become permanently and totally disabled due to cancer. A separate measure (S. 4235) on the agenda would reauthorize a grant program that provides funding for law enforcement family-support services. Finally, senators will consider a bill (S. 1306) to reauthorize the COPS program. The full committee agenda can be viewed here.

 


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For the week of 
May 8, 2024

House and Senate Action

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

In a major victory for special districts and the National Special Districts Coalition (NSDC), the House approved this evening the Special District Grant Accessibility Act (H.R. 752). The legislation, which was cleared on an overwhelming 352 to 27 vote, would codify a first-ever formal definition of special district. Additionally, the bill would direct the White House Office of Management and Budget to require federal agencies to ensure that special districts are eligible for all appropriate forms of federal assistance. Action now turns to the Senate, where NSDC is working with key Members in an effort to advance a companion measure.

Later this week, the House will also consider legislation (S. 870) that would reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), as well as two programs that benefit local fire departments, namely the Assistance for Firefighters Grants (AFG) program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program.

House, Senate Ag Leaders Release Competing Farm Bill Proposals

Last week, House and Senate committee leaders released competing proposals to reauthorize the Farm Bill. For his part, House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) unveiled a 5-page summary document with a broad overview of key policy objectives. Draft text of the bill is expected to be available by the end of next week, as Thompson is planning to consider the bill in committee ahead of the Memorial Day recess. Across Capitol Hill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) posted a much more extensive outline of her proposal. While the release of the two blueprints represents the most significant action on Farm Bill reauthorization this Congress, both proposals include provisions that are framed as non-starters for the opposing party.

In terms of the policy, Democrats and Republicans both emphasize the need to bolster conservation programs, but they differ in how to achieve that goal. Republicans are aiming to use Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds for an expanded range of conservation practices. However, Democrats are opposed to any reprogramming of IRA funds, unless it directly addresses climate change. In addition, Democrats will push back against any reforms that would reduce benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). While Chairman Thompson has insisted he doesn't intend to cut SNAP, he does want to reverse Biden-era reforms that have increased food aid. The Senate package would leave nutrition funding untouched. Democrats and Republicans also agree on the need to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health. For example, both parties want to increase the size and scope of the Good Neighbor Authority, which lets federal managers contract with local governments to thin publicly owned forests.

The latest extension of the Farm Bill expires on September 30.

DEA Agrees to Reclassify Cannabis; Comprehensive Legalization Legislation Introduced

On May 1, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agreed to move cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) – which includes drugs with high abuse potential and no medical value – to the less restrictive Schedule III. It should be noted that a Schedule III designation is applied to drugs with moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence and has been shown to have some medical value. While cannabis would remain federally prohibited, the new designation would remove significant barriers to research and allow state-licensed businesses to make federal tax deductions. Looking ahead, the reclassification must now go through a formal rulemaking process, which could take months to complete.

Following DEA's announcement, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and a coalition of other Democratic senators reintroduced legislation (S. 4226) to legalize and regulate cannabis at the federal level. The comprehensive proposal, entitled the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), would require the Attorney General to completely remove cannabis from federal drug schedules under the CSA within 180 days of the bill's enactment. Beyond ending the prohibition on cannabis, the CAOA would expunge nonviolent federal cannabis-related criminal records and create a pathway for resentencing.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Ways and Means – On Friday morning, the panel will conduct a field hearing in Scottsdale, Arizona, to discuss empowering Native American and rural communities. Additional information on the hearing can be found here.

House Appropriations – There are a number of budget hearings before the various subcommittees this week. Lawmakers are expected to hear from Administration officials representing the Department of Commerce, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A full list of hearings is available here.

Senate Appropriations – Like their House counterparts, there will be a number of budget hearings before the various subcommittees this week. Lawmakers will hear from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, and FDA Secretary Robert Califf, among others. A full list of hearings is available here.

Senate Environment and Public Works – On Wednesday morning, Senators will hear from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan on the president's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal for the agency. More details on the hearing can be accessed here.


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For the week of 
March 18, 2024

House and Senate Action

The House and Senate are in session, but both chambers will take a two-week break at the conclusion of this week's legislative action.

FY 2024 Spending Talks

The main priority for congressional leaders is to avoid a partial government shutdown at week's end. While Congress recently approved and President Biden signed into law a six-bill, $460 billion spending package that includes funding for six (of 12) spending bills, funding for the remaining six bills (State-Foreign Operations, Defense, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS, Legislative Branch and Financial Services-General Government) is set to expire Friday at midnight. It should be noted that these bills cover roughly 70 percent of all federal discretionary spending. As of this writing, negotiators are reportedly close to finalizing five of the measures, but they have yet to reach agreement on the Homeland Security funding bill. Saying that, congressional leaders are optimistic they will can reach a deal within the next day.

House GOP Energy Week

Aside from fiscal year 2024 budget talks, the House is set to consider a series of Republican-led energy proposals. This includes legislation (H.R. 7023) aimed at streamlining reviews and providing greater regulatory certainty under the Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting process. H.R. 7023 would also shore up the use of the Nationwide Permit program for oil and gas pipeline projects and block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing Clean Water Act vetoes in certain circumstances. A separate measure (H.R. 6009) would block a proposal by the Biden administration to raise the royalty rates that fossil fuel companies pay for drilling on public lands. A third bill (H.R. 1121) on the docket would prohibit the President from issuing a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing. For its part, the Biden administration has expressed its opposition to all three measures.

Foreign Assistance Funding Package

The aforementioned minibus spending measure will not include the long-stalled supplemental security package, which totals $95 billion to assist Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and others. However, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has indicated that he intends to put a military spending bill on the floor after the House completes action on the fiscal year 2024 appropriations process. The strategy and timeline for advancing the measure remains uncertain.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Appropriations – This week, the panel will hear from a number of administration officials – including Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Xavier Becerra, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack – on the President's fiscal year 2025 budget proposal. A full list of hearings can be found here.https://appropriations.house.gov/events/hearings

House Budget – On Thursday morning, the committee will meet to discuss the administration's fiscal year 2025 budget plan. More information on the hearing can be accessed here.

House Ways and Means – On Wednesday afternoon, HHS Secretary Becerra will testify on the president's fiscal year 2025 budget. Additional information on the hearing is available here.

Senate Budget – On Wednesday morning, the committee will hold a hearing entitled, "Recreation at Risk: The Nature of Climate Costs." Additional details on the hearing, including a full witness list, is available here.

Senate Environment and Public Works – On Wednesday morning, the panel will meet for a hearing on "Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances." More info on the hearing can be found here.


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For the week of 
February 27th, 2024


House and Senate Action

Following the Presidents Day recess, both chambers return to action this week. The Senate gaveled in earlier today, and the House will begin its work on Wednesday. The most pressing issue facing Congress is the potential for a partial government shutdown, which could begin this weekend. Despite being nearly five months into the current fiscal year, Congress has yet to approve any of the 12 annual spending bills that make up the federal budget. Since the October 1, 2023, start of the fiscal year, agencies have been operating under a series of short-term Continuing Resolutions (CR). Pursuant to the latest CR, four spending bills – those covering Agriculture, Energy and Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development – will expire on March 1st, while funding for the remaining federal agencies runs through March 8th. It should be noted that President Biden is scheduled to make his State of the Union address on March 7th.

There was some hope that House and Senate negotiators would release text of the first four spending bills this past weekend, but that did not ultimately come to fruition. Aside from some of the familiar funding disputes, there are a number of policy disagreements holding up a potential deal. At this point, there is enough uncertainty that a partial shutdown is possible. For his part, President Biden will meet with House and Senate leaders on Tuesday morning, but it's unclear if this discussion will be enough to break the impasse.

In addition to the budget, the House will consider a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The extension would keep the FAA authorized until May 10.

Legislation Introduced to Protect Water Resources After Wildfires

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) recently introduced legislation – the Watershed Protection and Forest Recovery Act (H.R. 7294) – that would help communities and water users protect their water supply after natural disasters on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands. Among other things, the legislation would create a new Emergency Forest Watershed Program (EFWP) within the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would help streamline recovery efforts and protect water resources downstream of national forests. It also would allow local governments and water providers to enter into agreements with the Forest Service to implement watershed recovery protection measures.

Western Lawmakers Push for Improvements to Housing Conditions for Federal Wildland Firefighters

A bipartisan group of Western lawmakers recently sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the National Park Service (NPS) requesting immediate action to address reports of substandard housing conditions and exorbitant rent increases plaguing federal wildland firefighters. The lawmakers called for insight on the current quality of federal housing and the scope of the reported rent increases. A copy of the letter can be accessed here.

Bipartisan Legislation Proposes to Create Flexible Grant Program for Rural Communities

On February 23, Representatives David Valadao (R-CA) and Andrea Salinas (D-OR) introduced bipartisan legislation – the Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act (H.R. 7444) – that would create a flexible grant program to help rural communities. Specifically, it would help rural areas address urgent needs, including but not limited to, affordable child care, housing, and job training. It also would provide technical assistance grants to help rural communities navigate existing federal funding opportunities and ensure they get their fair share of private and federal investments.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

Senate Agriculture – On Wednesday, the panel will conduct an oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Additional information on the hearing can be found here.

Senate Environment and Public Works – On Wednesday morning, the committee will hold an oversight hearing on water infrastructure projects, programs, and priorities within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). More details on the hearing are available here.

Upcoming Events

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of December 4, 2023


Congressional

Outlook

Congress is in session this week, with the Senate and the House returning today. While Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) earlier this month to keep the federal government open through January 19 and February 2, 2024, lawmakers still have considerable work to do to close out the year. 

 

The House will consider ten bills and one resolution under suspension of the rules, including the DOE and USDA Interagency Research Act (H.R. 1713), which directs the Energy and Agriculture departments to collaborate on research and development in a wide range of areas, including artificial intelligence, advanced crop science, grid modernization, and wildfire prevention. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the One Seat Ride Act (H.R. 1547), which requires the Department of Transportation to submit a study to Congress on the costs and benefits of commuter rail passenger transportation that doesn’t involve transfers; the Housing our Military Veterans Effectively (HOME) Act of 2023 (H.R. 3848), which increases maximum rates the Veterans Affairs Department pays entities that provide housing and services to veterans experiencing homelessness; and the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act (H.R. 3848), which directs the Veterans Affairs Department to expand options for long-term home and community services for eligible veterans. The House may also consider the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023 (H.R. 4468), which prohibits the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing a proposed rule with respect to emissions from vehicles.

 

Congress is currently negotiating the longstanding bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Still a vote for potential passage will need to take a back seat to lawmakers focus on a supplemental aid package to Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region, and southern border policy. The Federal Aviation Authorization will most likely result in another stopgap extension. The current bill is extended through March 8, allowing for conference negotiations between the House and Senate. Some lawmakers argue that even if the Senate passes its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939) before the year's end, there will still not be enough time for Congress to conference the bill before the deadline. The Senate this week will vote on several judicial and executive nominations, including: Irma Ramirez to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit; Loren AliKhan to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia; and Elizabeth Richard to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large. 

 

For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several hearings, including a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “IIJA Investments in Habitat and Ecosystem Restoration, Pollinators, and Wildlife Crossings”; a House Oversight and Accountability Cybersecurity Information Technology and Government Innovation Subcommittee hearing on “White House Policy on AI”; and a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on“Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 6536

Reforming Energy-Efficient Buildings and Appliances Tax Exemptions (REBATE) Act

Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL-9)

Amends the Inflation Reduction Act and allow local governments to receive federal grants to carry out high-efficiency electric home rebate programs.

S. 3364

Kid PROOF Act

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Amends the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to authorize the use of certain grants to prevent suicide or overdose by children, adolescents, and young adults

H.R. 6518

Workforce DATA Act

Rep. Donald Davis (D-NC-1)

Requires the Secretary of Labor to take initiatives to measure the impact of automation on the workforce in order to inform workforce development strategies.

H.R. 6548

A bill to provide more flexibility for workforce training programs

Rep. John Duarte (R-CA-13)

Amends the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to provide local areas more flexibility in the use of funds for incumbent workforce training programs.

H.R. 6459

Fairness in Airspace Includes Residents (F-AIR) Act

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-16)

Amends title 49, United States Code, to direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to adjust certain requirements with respect to sovereignty and use of airspace.

H.R. 6546

Bill regarding fish held in captivity or a controlled environment

Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-OR-2)

Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to allow certain activities to be carried out with regard to certain fish held in captivity or a controlled environment.

S. 3364

Kid PROOF Act

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Amends the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to authorize the use of certain grants to prevent suicide or overdose by children, adolescents, and young adults

S. 3378

The Farmers Freedom Act of 2023

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Requires the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers to use a certain definition for the term "prior converted cropland."

S. 3375

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Expansion Act and the Accelerating Small Business Growth Act

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Raises the annual funding cap of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Program, replicate the program at the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and create a grant program to help transportation agencies work with underserved businesses looking to improve growth and competitiveness for contracts.

S. 3378

Rural Energy Equity Act

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT)

To improve and authorize strong funding levels for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The bill would make REAP more accessible for smaller rural businesses and farms and make the program more climate-friendly..

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

OMB

Guidance for Grants and Agreements

OMB is proposing to revise sections of its Guidance for Grants and Agreements, including both policy changes and clarifications to existing guidance. 

December 4, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

HUD

Expansion and Proposed Restructuring of the Digital Opportunity Demonstration Program

HUD solicits comment on the expansion and restructuring of its demonstration program (ConnectHomeUSA) that is designed to further the collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.

December 18, 2023

DOI

Orphaned Wells Program Office

The Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO) invites public comment to help inform its efforts in determining how to best structure the Regulatory Improvement Grant (RIG) program, pursuant to section 40601 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

December 19, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The Department of Treasury is issuing an interim final rule to amend the definition of “obligation” set forth in the Department's regulations with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

December 20, 2023

EPA

Implementing the Supreme Court’s Maui Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program

The EPA is issuing for public comment a draft guidance on applying the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in the Clean Water Act Section 402 NPDES permit program for point source discharges that travel through groundwater before reaching a water of the United States.

December 27, 2023

FTA

Transit Worker Hours of Service and Fatigue Risk Management

The FTA is considering proposing minimum safety standards to provide protections for transit workers to obtain adequate rest thereby reducing the risk of fatigue-related safety incidents.

December 29, 2023

DOT

Transportation Services for Individuals With Disabilities

DOT is considering whether to amend the accessibility requirements for transportation facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) currently contained in Appendix A to DOT's regulations governing transportation services for individuals with disabilities.

January 5, 2024

HHS

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Implementation of Sections 302 and 304 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2023

The Administration for Children and Families invites public comments on the possibilities for design and implementation of the new pilot program and work outcomes measures of the FRA, in the TANF program.

January 11, 2024

DOC

Comment Assessing Information Collection and Reporting Burdens

The Department of Commerce is seeking comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

January 22, 2024

NSF

National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy

National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), requests input from all interested parties to inform the development of a National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy (Strategy), covering the genetic lineages, species, habitats, and ecosystems of United States (U.S.) ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters.

February 28, 2024

Last Week

George Santos expelled from the House of Representatives


Senate Republican says GOP is ‘making progress’ with Democrats on border security


US Congress vows to pass massive defense bill, culture wars loom

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of November 27, 2023


Congressional

Outlook

Congress is in session this week, with the Senate and the House returning Monday and Tuesday, respectively. While Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) earlier this month to keep the federal government open through January 19 and February 2, 2024, lawmakers still have considerable work to do to close out the year over the next three legislative weeks before adjourning on December 15. 

 

The House will consider six bills and three resolutions under suspension of the rules, including the Returning Erroneous COVID Loans Addressing Illegal and Misappropriated (RECLAIM) Taxpayer Funds Act (H.R. 4667), which requires the Small Business Administration to issue guidance to return and track unused and fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Protecting our Communities from Failure to Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 5283), which prohibits federal land from being used to house migrants and also revokes a New York City lease for migrant shelters on federal parkland in Brooklyn; the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act (H.R. 5961), which directs the president to impose sanctions against financial institutions that facilitate transactions involving the $6 billion in oil revenue that Iran was previously allowed to access through a September prisoner exchange deal; and a Senate-passed Congressional Review Act disapproval resolution (S.J. Res. 32) nullifying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule requiring lenders to collect and report demographic data on small business loan applicants. The House may also vote on a resolution (H. Res. 878) expelling Representative George Santos(R-N.Y.) from the House.

 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter on Sunday evening outlining items the Senate will likely consider before adjourning for the year on December 15. These include: continued work on FY 2024 spending bill negotiations with House leadership; a national security supplemental funding package providing funding for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region, and southern border policy; the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); and a rules change regarding consideration of hundreds of military promotions at one time. The Senate this week will vote on several judicial and executive nominations, including: Jeffrey Bryan to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Minnesota; Margaret Garnett to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York; and Jose Javier Rodriguez to be Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training at the Department of Labor. 

 

For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several hearings, including a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “The Gun Violence Epidemic: A Public Health Crisis”; a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “WRDA 2024: Stakeholder Feedback on USACE Project Partnership Agreements”; a House Budget Committee hearing on “Examining the Need for a Fiscal Commission”; a House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee hearing on “Bad for Business: DOL’s Proposed Overtime Rule”; a House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Subcommittee hearing on “Getting on the Right Track: Navigating the Future of Intercity Passenger Rail in America”; a House T&I Subcommittee hearing on “Turbulence Ahead: Consequences of Delaying a Long-Term FAA Bill”; and a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “Oversight of President Biden’s Broadband Takeover.” 

 

Representative-elect Celeste Maloy (R-Utah) will be sworn-in as the newest member of the House on Tuesday evening. Maloy won a special election on November 21 in Utah’s 2ndcongressional district with 57 percent of the vote, succeeding former Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), who resigned from Congress on September 15 after serving in the chamber for more than ten years. For the first time since late May, the total number of House members will be 435, consisting of 222 Republicans and 213 Democrats.

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 6449


Providing Robust Organics and Diets for Urban Communities Everywhere (PRODUCE) Act

Rep. Rob Menendez Jr. (D-NJ-8)

Expands the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production’s capacity to assist urban farming operations across the country by increasing discretionary funding to $50 million per year.

H.R. 6450

Natural Disaster Safety Board Act

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-47)

Creates an investigative body to study natural disasters and implement policies that could help mitigate harm from future wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters.

H.R. 6472

Bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to codify a grant program to promote and assist in the reentry of justice-involved individuals into the workforce.

Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA-11)

Amends the WIOA to codify a grant program.

H.R. 6473

Bill to Reauthorize the Community Connect Grant Program

Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM-1)

Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to reauthorize the Community Connect Grant Program.

H.R. 6475

Bill Promoting the Reduction of Health Disparities

Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-MI-13)

Provides for the designation of areas as Health Disparity Zones to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes in such areas.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

OMB

Guidance for Grants and Agreements

OMB is proposing to revise sections of its Guidance for Grants and Agreements, including both policy changes and clarifications to existing guidance. 

December 4, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

HUD

Expansion and Proposed Restructuring of the Digital Opportunity Demonstration Program

HUD solicits comment on the expansion and restructuring of its demonstration program (ConnectHomeUSA) that is designed to further the collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.

December 18, 2023

DOI

Orphaned Wells Program Office

The Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO) invites public comment to help inform its efforts in determining how to best structure the Regulatory Improvement Grant (RIG) program, pursuant to section 40601 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

December 19, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The Department of Treasury is issuing an interim final rule to amend the definition of “obligation” set forth in the Department's regulations with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

December 20, 2023

EPA

Implementing the Supreme Court’s Maui Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program

The EPA is issuing for public comment a draft guidance on applying the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in the Clean Water Act Section 402 NPDES permit program for point source discharges that travel through groundwater before reaching a water of the United States.

December 27, 2023

FTA

Transit Worker Hours of Service and Fatigue Risk Management

The FTA is considering proposing minimum safety standards to provide protections for transit workers to obtain adequate rest thereby reducing the risk of fatigue-related safety incidents.

December 29, 2023

DOT

Transportation Services for Individuals With Disabilities

DOT is considering whether to amend the accessibility requirements for transportation facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) currently contained in Appendix A to DOT's regulations governing transportation services for individuals with disabilities.

January 5, 2024

HHS

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Implementation of Sections 302 and 304 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2023

The Administration for Children and Families invites public comments on the possibilities for design and implementation of the new pilot program and work outcomes measures of the FRA, in the TANF program.

January 11, 2024

DOC

Comment Assessing Information Collection and Reporting Burdens

The Department of Commerce is seeking comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

January 22, 2024

NSF

National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy

National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), requests input from all interested parties to inform the development of a National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy (Strategy), covering the genetic lineages, species, habitats, and ecosystems of United States (U.S.) ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters.

February 28, 2024

Last Week

Former GOP congressional aide Celeste Maloy wins Utah House seat


White House announces new actions to support small business: ‘Shop small today’


Tentative Senate calendar for 2024 available

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of November 20, 2023


Congressional

Outlook

Congress is in recess this week, with the Senate and the House returning Monday and Tuesday next week, respectively. While Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government open, lawmakers still have considerable work to do to close out the year. 


Congress avoided a federal government shutdown on Wednesday, passing the Furthering Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act, 2024 (H.R. 6363), which provides government funding in a two-step “laddered CRfor fiscal year 2024 through January 19 for four appropriations bills and through February 2 for the remaining eight bills. President Biden signed H.R. 6363 into law on Thursday. Congress also extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through February 2, 2024, and the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization through September 30, 2024. 

 

When Congress returns to finish the first session of the 118th Congress, several critical legislative items are left for the body to address. The operating authority for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was extended until December 31, which puts the FAA reauthorization at the top of the agenda for Congress. While the House passed its bill earlier this year, the Senate is still working out issues over pilot training rules. Added to the trouble is an independent panel report citing an increase in aviation near-misses and making recommendations for the FAA. 


The report also calls out Congress for politically motivated government shutdowns and inadequate funding as core reasons for the challenges. Congress hopes to ride the new momentum of the confirmation of FAA administrator Michael Whitaker to finalize an authorization bill. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is must-pass legislation with over 60 years of bipartisan support. Both chambers have passed the NDAA, with the House legislation (H.R. 2670) funded at $874.2 billion and the Senate version (S. 2226) at $876.8 billion. As Congress heads to conference, more than just a few billion dollars are separating the bills. The House version has many amendments with no potential of passing in the Senate. The NDAA is likely to receive attention as one of the first legislative initiatives when Congress returns as leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have been meeting for months. The previous CR extension gave Congress until September 2024 to work out a deal on the 2018 Farm Bill. Funding disagreements loom large, and neither chamber has introduced bill text. One of the major issues around the funding for the bill is for commodity support programs. Republicans want to use $20 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding for conservation and climate-smart agriculture to boost reference prices in USDA commodity programs. Congress may also act on the Biden administration’s emergency supplemental funding requests from October, including $106 billion for Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S.-Mexico border.

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 6411 & S. 3292

Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act

Rep. Seth Magaziner (D-RI-2) & Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Encourages the research and use of innovative materials and associated techniques in the construction and preservation of the domestic transportation and water infrastructure system.

S. 3301

The Department of Energy (DOE) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Interagency Research Act

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Requires interagency collaboration on activities including environmental science, electric grid modernization, and rural technology development. Overall, this bipartisan legislation will develop partnerships that maximize limited federal research dollars to improve the ability to address key agricultural research needs.

H.R. 6435

Making Aid for Local Disasters Equal Now (MALDEN) Act

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5)

Ensures that a declaration for a major disaster or emergency is made on a timely basis, rural areas receive assistance.

H.R. 6433

Preserve Access to Rapid Ambulance Emergency Medical Treatment (PARA-EMT) Act

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA-3)

Addresses EMS staffing shortages and makes it easier for experienced veterans to transition from medics to becoming certified paramedics and EMTs.

H.R. 6438

Brownfields Redevelopment Tax Incentive Reauthorization Act

Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11)

Allows state and local governments, nonprofits, or developers to fully deduct the cost of environmental remediation of brownfields, vacant industrial and commercial areas like gas stations that remain undeveloped because of concerns of environmental contamination.

H.R. 6308

Farm to School Act

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-VI-At Large)

Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to reauthorize the farm to school program.

H.R. 6439

Pre-Apprenticeship Wrap-Around Support Services Fund Act

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA-9)

Directs the Secretary of Labor to make grants to eligible applicants to provide stipends to individuals enrolled in a pre-apprenticeship program.

S. 3309

The Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to provide rural partnership program grants and rural partnership technical assistance grants.

S. 3313

The Voter Choice Act

Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO)

Amends the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to support State and local governments making a transition to ranked choice voting.

S. 3331

The Alleviating Spaceport Traffic by Rewarding Operators (ASTRO) Act 

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)

Establishes an intermodal transportation infrastructure pilot program.

S. 3335

Bill to add funds for law enforcement

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to establish a grant program to help law enforcement agencies with civilian law enforcement tasks.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

OMB

Advancing Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management for Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence Draft Memorandum

The change would establish new agency requirements in areas of AI governance, innovation, and risk management, and would direct agencies to adopt specific minimum risk management practices for uses of AI that impact the rights and safety of the public.

December 5, 2023

HHS

Revision of HHS National Environmental Policy Act

HHS is proposing a revision to its floodplain management procedures to include climate science if an action takes place in a floodplain.

December 6, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

HUD

Expansion and Proposed Restructuring of the Digital Opportunity Demonstration Program

HUD solicits comment on the expansion and restructuring of its demonstration program (ConnectHomeUSA) that is designed to further the collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.

December 18, 2023

DOI

Orphaned Wells Program Office

The Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO) invites public comment to help inform its efforts in determining how to best structure the Regulatory Improvement Grant (RIG) program, pursuant to section 40601 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

December 19, 2023

FTA

Transit Worker Hours of Service and Fatigue Risk Management

The FTA is considering proposing minimum safety standards to provide protections for transit workers to obtain adequate rest thereby reducing the risk of fatigue-related safety incidents.

December 29, 2023

DOT

Transportation Services for Individuals With Disabilities

DOT is considering whether to amend the accessibility requirements for transportation facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) currently contained in Appendix A to DOT's regulations governing transportation services for individuals with disabilities.

January 5, 2024

NSF

National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy

National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), requests input from all interested parties to inform the development of a National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy (Strategy), covering the genetic lineages, species, habitats, and ecosystems of United States (U.S.) ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters.

February 28, 2024

Last Week

President Biden Signs Bill into Law Avoiding Government Shutdown



Congress’ dysfunction is making flying riskier, aviation panel says

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of November 6, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress is back in session this week, with the House and the Senate returning today. The federal government will shut down in 12 days without the passage of another short-term spending bill.

 

For the House to pass a funding bill to avoid a shutdown beginning on November 18, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House GOP leadership must act soon. One sticking point among House Republicans is adhering to the 72-hour rule, which allows members three days to consider legislation prior to a vote on the House floor. When considering a stopgap Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government, adhering to the rule may prove critical for the House Republican Conference. The House Republican Conference will meet on Tuesday to discuss options going forward, although House Republicans will very likely wait to place a spending bill on the floor until next week. The Speaker has already indicated that he will likely aim to pass a CR funding the government through mid-January 2024. One option that Speaker Johnson may use is a clean government spending bill. Another potential is a laddered approach to the CR. The laddered CR would extend funding to federal agencies for different periods of time. However, its leading proponent, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), has yet to make clear how long different agencies would receive stopgap funding. The laddered CR has very little potential of passing in the Senate.

 

Speaker Johnson hopes to pass all twelve FY24 appropriations bills by the Nov. 17 government shutdown deadline. Currently, the House has passed 7 bills. This week, the House will consider its versions of the FY 2024 Transportation-HUD (H.R. 4820) and Financial Services-General Government (H.R. 4664) appropriations bills, with the Transportation-HUD bill facing $26 billion in cuts to the agencies. The White House has alreadyissued veto threats for each of these spending bills. Passing these bills would bring the count to 9, leaving the three most contentious bills, the Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bills for potential consideration during the week of Nov. 13. 

 

Last week, the Senate passed a $280 billion Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD “minibus” by an overwhelming vote of 82-15. Last week, the House also passed its version of the FY 2024 Interior-Environment appropriations bill on a near party-line vote of 213-203. The bill includes a $4 billion or 39% spending cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the potential to curtail improvements to drinking water and reductions to water pollution. The White House has already threatened to veto the House version of the bill. House and Senate leaders will need to bridge the gap on funding discrepancies between their respective sets of FY24 spending bills over the next two months to avoid being forced to pass another CR in January.

 

The House will consider six suspension bills, including votes on preservations of land and for two national monuments. The House Republican Conference will also vote on Speaker Johnson’s replacement as Vice Chair of the House GOP Conference on November 8, a position vacated by now-Speaker Johnson when he assumed his new role on Oct. 25. The Senate may also vote to confirm Monica Bertagnolli to be Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Kenly Kiya Kato to be a U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California; Julia Kobick to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts; and Ramon Reyes Jr.  to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including an Appropriations Committee hearing on “A Review of the President’s Supplemental Request for the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security;” an Environment & Public Works hearing on “Understanding Roadway Safety: Examining the Causes of Roadway Safety Challenges and Possible Interventions;” an Environment & Public Works hearing on “Accessing Clean Water Infrastructure Assistance: Small, Rural, Disadvantaged, and Underserved Communities;” and a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on “Sustainable Tourism for a Thriving Economy.” 

 

The states of Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia will hold elections on Tuesday. Among the many races voters will consider this week are governorships, key state legislative seats, and policy issues such as abortion, all of which are sure to have a longstanding impact on next year’s 2024 election. Voters in Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district will elect their new member of Congress for the remainder of the 118th Congress. The Democratic nominee, Gabe Amo, who previously served as the former Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs from January 2021 to April 2023, is likely to win this race in a district President Biden won by 29 percentage points in 2020. Amo’s victory would give Democrats their 213th seat in the House (as compared to the 221 seats currently held by the House GOP majority).


Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 6142

Linking Access to Spur Technology for Agriculture Connectivity in Rural Environments (LAST ACRE) Act

Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN-1)

Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish a last acre program.

H.R. 6178

Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charging Act

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3)

Requires the Secretary of Energy to develop a National Electric Vehicle Bidirectional Charging Roadmap.

H.R. 6185

Guaranteeing Reliable Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3)

Requires coordination among federal agencies on regulatory actions that affect the reliable operation.

H.R. 6194

Cell Site Simulator Warrant Act

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-36)

Amends title 18, United States Code, to regulate the use of cell-site simulators.

H.R. 6198

Building Up Infrastructure for Local Departments (BUILD) Act

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH-1)

Supports infrastructure investment in small law enforcement agencies and small fire departments.

H.R. 6199 & S. 3216

Build More Housing Near Transit Act

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-50) & Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)

Amends title 49, United States Code, to include affordable housing incentives in certain capital investment grants.

H.R. 6202 & S. 3214

Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7) & Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)

Diverts federal funding away from supporting the presence of police in schools and toward evidence-based and trauma informed services that address the needs of marginalized students and improve academic outcomes.

S. 3206

Bill to study barriers to farmers and ranchers

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Provides for a study on the accessibility of substance use disorder treatment and mental health care providers and services for farmers and ranchers.

S. 3208

Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Provides for a biennial budget process and a biennial appropriations process and to enhance oversight and the performance of the Federal Government.

S. 3210

Supplemental Appropriations to Respond to the Attacks on Israel

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)

Bill would make emergency supplemental appropriations to respond to the attacks in Israel for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2024.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

OMB

Advancing Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management for Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence Draft Memorandum

The change would establish new agency requirements in areas of AI governance, innovation, and risk management, and would direct agencies to adopt specific minimum risk management practices for uses of AI that impact the rights and safety of the public.

December 5, 2023

HHS

Revision of HHS National Environmental Policy Act

HHS is proposing a revision to its floodplain management procedures to include climate science if an action takes place in a floodplain.

December 6, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

HUD

Expansion and Proposed Restructuring of the Digital Opportunity Demonstration Program

HUD solicits comment on the expansion and restructuring of its demonstration program (ConnectHomeUSA) that is designed to further the collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.

December 18, 2023

DOI

Orphaned Wells Program Office

The Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO) invites public comment to help inform its efforts in determining how to best structure the Regulatory Improvement Grant (RIG) program, pursuant to section 40601 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

December 19, 2023

FTA

Transit Worker Hours of Service and Fatigue Risk Management

The FTA is considering proposing minimum safety standards to provide protections for transit workers to obtain adequate rest thereby reducing the risk of fatigue-related safety incidents.

December 29, 2023

DOT

Transportation Services for Individuals With Disabilities

DOT is considering whether to amend the accessibility requirements for transportation facilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) currently contained in Appendix A to DOT's regulations governing transportation services for individuals with disabilities.

January 5, 2024


Last Week

House proposes slashing $4B from the EPA

 

Senate passes three fiscal 2024 spending bills in 'minibus'

 

There are a ton of elections Tuesday. Here are 10 to watch.

 

Farm bill faces battle as GOP pushes to strip climate, SNAP funding for subsidies

 

Senate Republicans release proposal to overhaul border policies

 

What to watch for in Tuesday’s high-stakes elections

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of October 30, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress is back in session this week, with the House returning Wednesday and the Senate returning today. The government will shut down in 18 days without passage of another short-term spending bill.



After 22 days without a Speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) won the election by a vote of 220-209. Speaker Johnson began his Speakership by saying his “first priority” is avoiding a government shutdown. In doing so, the House Leadership canceled the chamber’s originally scheduled two-week recess and will now be in session from Wednesday to Friday this week and Monday to Thursday next week. House Leadership hopes to finish passage of the chamber’s seven remaining FY 2024 Appropriation bills before the November 17 government funding deadline. Last Thursday, the House passedits FY 2024 Energy and Water appropriations bill. The House has passed five funding bills so far, leaving seven appropriations bills for FY 2024 to pass before November 17. If Congress cannot pass all 12 bills by Nov. 17, the Speaker is on record saying he will aim to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the government through January 15, 2024.

 

Today, House Republicans introduced a standalone package which includes $14.3 billion in aid to Israel. House GOP leadership expects to introduce the bill early this week and vote on it Thursday. Speaker Johnson has said the aid package will receive an offset from budget cuts elsewhere, including rescinding $14.3 billion in unobligated funding to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) originally provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Questions remain if the House would pass legislation pairing funding for both Ukraine and Israel. While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to include aid for Ukraine in a funding package for Israel, his stance places him at odds with Speaker Johnson and some members of his own conference over the strategy. As support wanes among Senate Republicans, Leader McConnell’s approach to the aid package will be one to follow as it may have implications on the passage of short-term government funding legislation as Congress nears the November 17 funding deadline. 

 

The Senate is still considering its $280 billion FY 2024 Agriculture, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-HUD appropriations “minibus” package, including ten remaining amendments left to vote on. The Senate voted on an amendment from Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) last week to remove Congressionally Directed Spending projects for local and state projects from the minibus spending package. The amendment, which failed 35-62, would have removed $3.8 billion in earmarked dollars from 1,270 projects across the three spending bills. Five Senators who voted for the amendment secured FY24 earmarks for their state during the appropriations process, including Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). After completing the amendment process, including the adoption of 27 amendments, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hopes the upper chamber will pass the package this week. The Senate may also vote to confirm Jack Lew as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

 

The House will consider six suspension bills, all focusing on the war between Israel and Hamas. On Wednesday evening, the lower chamber will consider its versions of the FY24 Legislative BranchInterior-EPA, and Transportation-HUD appropriations bills. The House Republican Conference will vote on Speaker Johnson’s replacement as vice chair of the Conference on November 8. The House will also potentially vote on three resolutions, including an expulsion motion against Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), which requires two-thirds majority support from House members, a censure motion against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and a censure motion against Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Speaker Johnson told the House Republican Conference during a Sunday call that he would rather “beat Democrats on policy.” 

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including an Appropriations Committee hearing on “A Review of the National Security Supplemental Request;” an Environment & Public Works hearing on “The Science of Extreme Event Attribution: How Climate Change Is Fueling Severe Weather Events;” and a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on “AI and the Future of Work: Moving Forward Together.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 3032 & S. 3020

Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act

Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-8) & Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Legislation would lower the financial burden that those volunteer drivers face by increasing the charitable mileage tax deduction rate for drivers from $0.14 to $0.655 per mile.

S. 3174

Flood Protection and Infrastructure Resilience Act

Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)

Modifies the Department of Agriculture programs to improve flood protection and infrastructure resiliency. 

S. 3146

Reduce Food Loss and Waste Act

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to establish a voluntary program to reduce food loss and waste. 

H.R. 6107

Urban Canal Modernization Act

Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID-2)

Allows the Bureau of Reclamation to authorize a 35% non-reimbursable cost share to help repair and rehabilitate “urban canals of concern,” canals through urban areas that would cause significant property damage or possible loss of life if the canal were to fail

H.R. 6098

Energy Choice Act

Rep. Nick Langworthy (R-NY-23)

Prohibits states or local governments from prohibiting the connection, reconnection, modification, installation, or expansion of an energy service based on the type or source of energy to be delivered.

H.R. 6082 & S. 3153

Emergency Advance Payments Modernization Act

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-2) & Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)

Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to establish a pilot program to increase the allowable amounts of advance payments under the National Flood Insurance Program.

H.R. 6064 & S. 3122

Don’t Develop Obstructive Infrastructure on our Terrain Act

Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID-2) & Sen. James Risch (R-ID)

Amends the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to provide for the denial of certain applications for solar or wind energy development projects right-of-way applications.

H.R. 6053 & S. 3127

Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2023

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA-2) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to reduce the production and use of certain single-use plastic products and packaging, to improve the responsibility of producers in the design, collection, reuse, recycling, and disposal of consumer products and packaging, to prevent pollution from consumer products and packaging from entering into animal and human food chains and waterways.

H.R. 6076 & S. 3156

Energy Efficient Manufacturing Act

Rep. Matt Cartwright (R-PA-8) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Establishes the Financing Energy Efficient Manufacturing Program at the Department of Energy to provide financial assistance to promote energy efficiency and onsite renewable technologies in manufacturing facilities.

S. 3117

Helping Open Underutilized Space to Ensure Shelter (HOUSES) Act of 2023

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Amends the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to authorize the sale of certain Federal land to States and units of local government to address housing shortages.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

DOEd

Potential New Program, From Seedlings to Scale (S2S)

Assistance to fund quick-turnaround high-reward, scalable solutions intended to improve education outcomes for all students.

November 13, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

HUD

Expansion and Proposed Restructuring of the Digital Opportunity Demonstration Program

HUD solicits comment on the expansion and restructuring of its demonstration program (ConnectHomeUSA) that is designed to further the collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.

December 18, 2023

DOI

Orphaned Wells Program Office

The Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO) invites public comment to help inform its efforts in determining how to best structure the Regulatory Improvement Grant (RIG) program, pursuant to section 40601 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

December 19, 2023

FTA

Transit Worker Hours of Service and Fatigue Risk Management

The FTA is considering proposing minimum safety standards to provide protections for transit workers to obtain adequate rest thereby reducing the risk of fatigue-related safety incidents.

December 29, 2023

Last Week

Mike Johnson elected House speaker, ending 22 days of GOP stalemate

 

Senate rejects Braun amendment to strip ‘minibus’ earmarks


House Republicans pass first government funding bill under new Speaker


House GOP plans to vote Thursday on Israel aid bill


Rep. Mike Johnson says avoiding shutdown is priority as House speaker

 

Rep. Dean Phillips launches long-shot primary challenge to Biden

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of October 23, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress is back in session this week, with the House returning today and the Senate returning on Tuesday. 

 

The House of Representatives has had no Speaker for 20 days, leaving the body paralyzed to act. There are currently nine Speaker candidates: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.), House Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson (La.), House Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern (Okla.), Reps. Byron Donalds (Fla.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Jack Bergman(Mich.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Gary Palmer (Ala.), and Dan Meuser (Pa.). Tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET, the 224 current membersof the House Republican Conference (including the GOP Delegates from Guam and American Samoa and the GOP Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico) will host an internal candidate forum. House Republicans will use ranked-choice voting on Tuesday morning to select their new Speaker nominee, following the failed Speaker bids of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (Ohio) over the past two weeks. The third iteration of voting on the House floor, where the nominee will need receive 217 votes to be elected Speaker, will begin as early as Tuesday evening. Chair Jordan (Ohio) lost his designation as the GOP nominee for Speaker on Friday after losing a secret ballot by a vote of 86-112 following three failed votes on the House floor over the course of four days last week. House Majority Whip Emmer is viewed by many observers as the frontrunner for the nomination.

 

The Senate will begin working this week on the Biden Administration’s $106 billion request for an emergency supplemental funding package, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The upper chamber will work to vote on a package including aid for Ukraine ($61.4 billion), Israel ($14.3 billion), border security ($13.6 billion), and humanitarian purposes ($9.15 billion). Including the aid in one package would be the most efficient legislative avenue, however, Democrats will face pushback from Senate Republicans who want to vote on several of the items separately. Added to the issue of how to resolve the supplemental request is that the House is currently without a Speaker, an issue with no end in sight. House Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said that House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) is working on a package for military aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and border security. Additionally, the Senate will continue considering the three-bill FY 2024 appropriations “minibus” package (Agriculture, Military Construction – Veterans Affairs, and Transportation – Housing and Urban Development spending bills), which the upper chamber began consideration of on September 12. Lawmakers have one remaining issue to resolve before moving forward with the minibus. Senate Appropriations Committee Vice-Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) expects the Senate to resolve the issue (which she declined to name) by this week and then hold a final vote on the minibus package.

 

If a new Speaker of the House is elected this week, the House will consider five suspension bills, including the Modernizing the Acquisition of Cybersecurity Experts Act of 2023 (H.R. 4502), allowing Federal agencies to establish educational requirements for certain cybersecurity positions in the competitive service. The House will also likely vote on two FY 2024 Appropriations bills, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R. 4364) and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394). The Senate will vote on the nominations of Michael Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and Jessica Looman to be an Administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Budget Committee hearing on “Bottlenecks and Backlogs: How Climate Change Threatens Supply Chains;” and a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on “VA Accountability and Transparency: A Cornerstone of Quality Care and Benefits for Veterans.” The House will hold a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing on “Water Resources Development Acts: Status of Past Provisions and Future Needs.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

S. 3067

Facilitating Hazard Mitigation Projects Act

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)

Requires the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct an evaluation and submit to Congress a report on ways to reduce the complexity of the cost effectiveness requirements for hazard mitigation assistance.

H.R. 5980 & S. 3080

Resilient Transit Act of 2023

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) & Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (R-NY)

Provides a dedicated stream of federal funding to strengthen resiliency of our nation’s public transportation systems.

S. 3073

Transit Emergency Relief Act

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA)

Improves the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Emergency Response (ER) Program into parity with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) program that serves the same purpose for America’s highways and road infrastructure.

H.R. 5989

Rural Health Care Facilities Revitalization Act

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8)

Authorizes rural health facilities to use federal agricultural funds to ensure their long-term financial stability.

H.R. 5997 & S. 3099

Voluntary Streamlined Permitting and Inspection legislation

Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV-3) & Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Requires the Secretary of Energy to further develop and support the adoption of a voluntary streamlined permitting and inspection process for authorities having jurisdiction over the permitting of qualifying distributed energy systems.

S. 3082

Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2023

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to make changes with respect to water quality certification.

H.R. 6012

Fire Safe Electrical Corridors Act

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24)

Allows the U.S. Forest Service to approve the removal of hazardous trees near power lines on federal land without requiring a timber sale, easing a serious threat that has in the past been a major cause of destructive wildfires.

H.R. 6013

Promoting Reduction of Emissions Through Landscaping Equipment Act

Rep. Luis Correa (D-CA-46)

Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish a business tax credit for the purchase of zero-emission electric lawn, garden, and landscape equipment.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

FEMA

Programmatic/Class Floodplain Review Procedures for Specific Preparedness Grant Projects

FEMA aims to improve the determination that a programmatic/class review is appropriate for six categories of activities in specific grant programs that do not have an adverse impact individually or cumulatively on floodplain values placing property and persons at risk.

November 3, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOEd

Potential New Program, From Seedlings to Scale (S2S)

Assistance to fund quick-turnaround high-reward, scalable solutions intended to improve education outcomes for all students.

November 13, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

Last Week

These 9 candidates have joined the House speaker race after Jim Jordan dropped out


Michael Whitaker wins key vote to be next FAA administrator


The White House is asking for almost $106 billion for Israel Ukraine and the border

 

House chaos forces Senate to take the wheel on spending

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of October 16, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress is back in session this week, with the Senate returning today and the House Tuesday. 



The House of Representatives remains without a Speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the role on Oct. 3 by a vote of 216-210. After narrowly receiving the House GOP Conference’s nomination last Wednesday by a vote of 113-99, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced a day later that he would withdraw himself from consideration after failing to receive the remaining votes to reach the 217 vote threshold. That left House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who re-entered the race for Speaker and beat Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) for the nomination last Friday, by a vote of 124-81. A second vote lowered the number of no votes for Jordan down to 55, and over the weekend, Rep. Jordan and his allies worked to lower the number further. GOP leaders on the House Appropriations and Armed Services Committees originally planned to form a bloc to block Rep. Jordan’s bid to become Speaker. However, the move was short-lived as Speaker nominee Jordan recently won over the votes of House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chair Ken Calvert (R-Calif). Chair Rodgers shared in a message of support for Jordan that they “agreed on the need for Congress to pass a strong NDAA, appropriations to fund our government’s vital functions and other important legislation like the Farm Bill.” As Jordan closes in on the Speaker role, many expect a Tuesday vote on the House floor. When the floor vote occurs Tuesday afternoon, Republican opposition to Speaker nominee Jordan is expected to nominate an alternative option

 

As the House remains at a standstill deciding on a Speaker, the Senate is also facing roadblocks to passing legislation. The upper chamber plans to continue consideration of the three-bill FY 2024 appropriations package (Agriculture, Military Construction – Veterans Affairs, and Transportation – Housing and Urban Development spending bills) which was initially considered beginning on September 12. Many lawmakers are concerned that there will not be enough time to fund the federal government beyond Friday, November 17 and pass aid for Israel and Ukraine. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he will work to craft the “most generous package possible” to assist Israel and hopes the legislation will pass in the next few weeks. 

 

If a Speaker of the House is elected this week, the House will consider five suspension bills, including the Modernizing the Acquisition of Cybersecurity Experts Act of 2023 (H.R. 4502), allowing Federal agencies to establish educational requirements for certain cybersecurity positions in the competitive service. The House will also vote on two FY 2024 Appropriations bills, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R. 4364) and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394). The Senate will vote on the nominations of Jennifer Hall to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware, Julia Munley to be a U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Karla Gilbride to be General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on “How Community Development Financial Institutions Promote Housing and Economic Opportunity”; and an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to “Examine the Department of Energy’s Decision-Making Process for Awarding Competitive Loans and Grants Funded Through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” The House will hold an Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing on “Strengthening Biosafety and Biosecurity Standards: Protecting Against Future Pandemics;” and a Small Business hearing on “Burdensome Regulations: Examining the Effects of DOL Rulemaking on America’s Job Creators.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5915

Improving the Office 

Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12)

Amends the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 to improve the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.

H.R. 5929

Bill to Permanently Authorize the PILT Program

Rep. Brittany Pettersen (R-CO-7)

Permanently authorize Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding. Currently the program must be reauthorized every year, creating the potential for disruption in payments to counties that support essential local government services like education, law enforcement, emergency services, transportation infrastructure, and health care.

H.R. 5934

Streamlining Federal Grants Act

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-WA-3)

Improves the effectiveness and performance of certain Federal financial assistance programs. The bill would standardize and coordinate grant administration across the federal government to make it easier for communities and organizations to apply for grant.

H.R. 5940

Creates a disaster assistance fund for housing and community development

Rep. Al Green (D-TX-9)

Establishes a community disaster assistance fund for housing and community development and to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to provide, from the fund, assistance through a community development block grant disaster recovery program.

H.R. 5944

Bill to establish the NOAA offshore aquaculture Center of Excellence

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC-1)

Requires the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish an assessment program for offshore aquaculture, to establish Aquaculture Centers of Excellence, to require a study and report.

H.R. 5951

Soil Conservation & Regeneration Education (Soil CARE) Act

Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR-6)

Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish and maintain a training program for Department of Agriculture personnel and third-party providers on the rapidly evolving methodologies, science, and practices of biological soil health management systems on agricultural land.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

FEMA

Programmatic/Class Floodplain Review Procedures for Specific Preparedness Grant Projects

FEMA aims to improve the determination that a programmatic/class review is appropriate for six categories of activities in specific grant programs that do not have an adverse impact individually or cumulatively on floodplain values placing property and persons at risk.

November 3, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOEd

Potential New Program, From Seedlings to Scale (S2S)

Assistance to fund quick-turnaround high-reward, scalable solutions intended to improve education outcomes for all students.

November 13, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

OSTP

Development of a Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan

OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.

December 12, 2023

Last Week

Jordan to face a challenger in floor vote Tuesday

 

Austin Scott running for Speaker against Jordan

 

Scalise drops out of race for speaker of the House, leaving Congress in limbo

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of October 10, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress is in recess this week, with the Senate and House returning on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. 



Last Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted as Speaker of the House. His Speakership lasted only nine months and ended after fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed a motion to vacate the Speaker. The vote passed 216-210 when eight Republicans joined all Democrats to remove the Speaker. Following the removal of Speaker McCarthy, Rep. Patrick McHenry was selected as Speaker pro tempore until a new Speaker was elected. Here is why all of this is important. With no Speaker of the House, the House of Representatives cannot pass any legislation. Although, some GOP authorities say that the House may pass legislation if they deem it necessary. The 45-day CR Congress passed will expire on November 17, making time limited for Congress to resolve differences and pass long-term government spending. The Farm Bill, Federal Aviation Administration, and National Flood Insurance Program reauthorizations are all legislative items that Congress must act on. Additionally, following an attack on Israel, members from both sides spoke of an urgency to assist Israel.  

 

The frontrunners vying for Speaker are current House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Yesterday, Kevin McCarthy did not rule out returning as Speaker if House Republicans remain at a stalemate. Complicating all of this are some members who have vowed to only vote for Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. However, at a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, former Speaker McCarthy told lawmakers not to nominate him. Only a quarter of the Republican Conference are publicly committed to a candidate. It is unclear who has the inside track to get enough votes (218) to secure the Speakership. The candidate forum will occur tonight. 

 

When the Senate returns next week, it plans to continue consideration of the three-bill appropriations package (Agriculture, Military Construction – Veterans Affairs, and Transportation – Housing and Urban Development). Previously, the Senate attempted to vote on the package but failed to advance after Republican opposition. The upper chamber will also vote on several judgeships.

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5863

Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2023

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL-17)

To provide tax relief with respect to certain Federal disasters.

H.R. 5866

S. 3006

Substance Use Disorder and Family Engagement (SAFE) in Recovery Act

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) & Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)

To make care accessible for parents living with substance use disorder (SUD) and prevent family separation.

H.R. 5874

Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program Reauthorization Act 

Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM-1)

To amend the United States-Mexico Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act to reauthorize the United States-Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program.

S. 2915

Enhancing Electric Grid Resilience Act

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT)

Amends the Federal Power Act to authorize the allocation of the costs of certain interstate electric power transmission lines and electric power transmission lines that are located offshore.

H.R. 5877

USDA Express Loan Act

Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN-1)

Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to create the USDA Express Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loan programs, enabling faster access to credit for America's farmers and ranchers.

S. 3023

Soil Conservation and Regeneration Education (Soil CARE) Act

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Establishes and maintain a training program for Department of Agriculture personnel and third-party providers on the rapidly evolving methodologies, science, and practices of biological soil health management systems on agricultural land.

H.R. 5903

A bill to improve wastewater treatment and flood control works

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA-31)

Authorizes the International Boundary and Water Commission to accept funds for activities relating to wastewater treatment and flood control works.

H.R. 5846

Protecting America from Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Act

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA-2)

To bolster the federal response to seasonal and pandemic influenza.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD

WRDA Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged 

October 20, 2023

NOAA

Equitable Delivery of Climate Services

NOAA seeks information on how to enhance their delivery of climate data, information, science, and tools and ensure that this delivery is equitable.

October 21, 2023

FCC

Establishing a 5G Fund for Rural America



The FCC plans to reach the goal of high-speed mobile services through the 5G Fund will allow the Commission to proceed with its plan to transition from mobile legacy high-cost support, which continues to be distributed inefficient.

October 23, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

Last Week

Kevin McCarthy ousted as House Speaker in historic vote

 

What to know about the House Speaker race

 

Concerns rise as aid to help low-income families afford broadband nears end

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of October 2, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

Congress worked over the weekend to pass a stopgap government funding bill and avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers will need to act fast as the continuing resolution President Biden signed into law late Saturday night just hours before a shutdown only funds the government for 45 days.

 

After months of negotiating and political posturing from both chambers and parties, Congress passed the 45-day stopgap spending bill, funding the government through November 17. On Saturday, both chambers passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 and Other Extensions Act (H.R. 5860) in a bipartisan manner. The House voted to pass the short-term spending bill by a vote 335-91, with all Democrats voting in favor for the extension except for Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.). The Senate followed suit later that afternoon, passing the measure 88-9

 

The legislation funds the government at fiscal year 2023 funding levels and includes $16 billion for emergency disaster assistance. The legislation extends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization including $842.1 million for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), allowing for the planning and development of public-use airports through December 31. Extensions for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and programs for disaster response under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act are authorized through November 17. The measure does not include any funding for Ukraine aid despite receiving bipartisan support. House and Senate Republicans also originally hoped to include funding for border security, but that was dropped as lawmakers opted to refrain from attaching less relevant measures to the funding legislation. 

 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) expects to receive a challenge to his Speakership from fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). As part of the concessions given to members of his own party to secure the Speakership at the beginning of the 118th Congress, any member can file a motion to vacate against the Speaker. Rep. Gaetz indicated he intends to initiate that motion this week, citing the Speaker’s choice to work alongside Democrats. It is unclear how many supporters Rep. Gaetz will have in his quest to oust the Speaker, nor is it clear if House Democrats will opt to join the Freedom Caucus Republican in removing the Speaker. 

 

The House will consider five suspension bills, including the Modernizing the Acquisition of Cybersecurity Experts Act of 2023 (H.R. 4502), allowing Federal agencies to establish educational requirements for certain cybersecurity positions in the competitive service. The House will vote on two FY 2024 Appropriations bills, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R. 4364) and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394). The Senate will vote on the nominations of James O'Brien to be Assistant Secretary of State to European and Eurasian Affairs, Brendan Hurson to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, and Susan DeClercq to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

 

With the passing of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILY’s List, to serve the remainder of Feinstein’s term. The California primary for the seat is March 5; Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter, and Rep. Barbara Lee are the front runners. Senate Democrats expect to swear in  Laphonza Butler by the middle of the week.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee nomination hearing for “Michael Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration;” a Budget Committee hearing to “Examine the Costs of a Government Shutdown;” and a Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing “CHIPS and Science Implementation and Oversight.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5691

Drought Assistance Improvement Act

Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA-5)

Expands the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) coverage for farm-raised fish producers who have experienced losses caused by extreme weather or drought.

H.R. 5698

Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures (AFFIRM) Act

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3)

Caps, clarifies, and better targets federal crop insurance subsidies to small and mid-sized farmers.

H.R. 5724

Civic Corps Act of 2023

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-2)

Amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to establish a pilot Civic Corps.

S. 2915

Enhancing Electric Grid Resilience Act

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT)

Amends the Federal Power Act to authorize the allocation of the costs of certain interstate electric power transmission lines and electric power transmission lines that are located offshore.

S. 2917

Rural Water System Disaster Preparedness and Assistance Act

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)

Helps rural water and wastewater systems better prepare for and respond to natural disasters or other extreme weather events.

S. 2919

Advancing Lifesaving Efforts with Rapid Test (ALERT) strips for Communities Act

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

Requires research with respect to fentanyl and xylazine test strips, to authorize the use of grant funds for such test strips.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD

WRDA Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged 

October 20, 2023

NOAA

Equitable Delivery of Climate Services

NOAA seeks information on how to enhance their delivery of climate data, information, science, and tools and ensure that this delivery is equitable.

October 21, 2023

FCC

Establishing a 5G Fund for Rural America



The FCC plans to reach the goal of high-speed mobile services through the 5G Fund will allow the Commission to proceed with its plan to transition from mobile legacy high-cost support, which continues to be distributed inefficient.

October 23, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023

Last Week

Congress prevents a shutdown just hours before deadline

 

Why a government shutdown is complex for state and local governments

 

Gaetz vows to move to boot McCarthy


Dianne Feinstein, senator from California, dies at age 90

 

California Gov. Newsom will appoint Laphonza Butler to fill Feinstein’s Senate seat

 

Shutdown averted: States, localities breathe a sigh of relief

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of September 25, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week, returning Tuesday after the Yom Kippur holiday. Lawmakers have just five days left to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) until federal government funding runs out beginning the first day of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, on October 1. Congressional leaders must maximize every legislative moment as the pressure mounts to pass a short-term extensions of government funding, in addition to temporarily authorizing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Farm Bill programs. As it stands, a government shutdown seems likely as Congress has been unable to resolve differences on funding levels.

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) recently held a GOP conference call to share the plan for the upcoming week. Ultimately, the Speaker wants to pass stopgap funding to give the House more time to pass additional FY24 spending bills and improve the House GOP’s leverage with the Senate when deciding full-year funding. The Speaker plans to take the base text of the previously introduced Continuing Appropriations and Border Security Enhancement Act, 2024 and potentially extend the length of the CR from October 31 to November 15, 2023. The House has scheduled four FY 2024 spending bills for consideration this week. House Republicans have set up debate for the FY24 Defense, Homeland Security, State-Foreign Operations, and Agriculture-Rural Development spending bills, with a total of $3.8 billion in cuts to agriculture and foreign aid programs. It is uncertain if Republican leadership will have the necessary 217 votes to adopt the rule covering debate and amendments to the bills. Tentatively, the House plans to debate and adopt the rule on Tuesday evening, debate and consideration of 440 amendments on the four bills over three days, and then final votes on all four bills on Friday. The most conservative members of the Republican Conference have stated that they will not vote for a CR and are demanding the lower chamber make additional significant cuts to the spending bills and continue voting on the remaining FY24 spending bills. 

 

In the upper chamber, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will move to use the House-passed Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), the House version of the five-=year FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate’s own version of the FAA bill has stalled in committee, and Leader Schumer will use the House version of the bill (minus the House-passed language) as a vehicle to pass a CR to extend programs and include disaster relief assistance and Ukraine aid. Failing to extend the FAA’s programs would lead to a furlough of employees, and most airport construction projects would be forced to halt. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said the FAA will most likely receive a three-month extension this week. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that he believes the House will consider a standalone bill extending certain FAA authorities. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the U.S. economy would lose as much as $140 million per day if a federal government shutdown were to occur. The Senate may choose to extend government funding through at least December. Senate Republicans, including Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have maintained that he will not vote for a continuing resolution that includes additional assistance to Ukraine. 

 

The House will consider two suspension bills, including the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2024 VA Extenders Legislation (S. 2795), which extends Department of Veterans Affairs authorities related to medical treatment, education benefits, and home loan fees. The House will also vote on the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act (H.R. 5110), allowing elementary schools to use federal aid for archery, hunting, other shooting sports, or culinary arts.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on “The State of Flood Insurance in America.”

The House will hold a Transportation & Infrastructure hearing on “Clean Water Infrastructure Financing: State and Local Perspectives and Recent Developments;” and a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on “VA’s Fiduciary Program: Ensuring Veterans’ Benefits are Properly Managed.”

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5533 & S. 2834

Healthy at Home Act of 2023

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-2) & Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Improves the health, safety, and habitability of our country’s federally-assisted housing.

H.R. 5446

Justice for Angel Families Act

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)

Authorizes grants for crime victims to be distributed to angel families,

S. 2852

Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)

Requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer an option to pay their flood insurance premiums monthly, rather than in a larger lump sum once a year.

S. 2879

End Diaper Need Act of 2023

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

Assists low-income families to address diaper need by providing targeted funding for states, territories and other eligible entities

H.R. 5572 & S. 2838

Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to establish a Civilian Climate Corps to help communities respond to climate change and transition to a clean economy.

H.R. 5455

Collision Avoidance Systems Act of 2023

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL-11)

Clarifies certain regulations to allow for the installation of pulsating light systems for high-mounted stop lamps,

H.R. 5657 & S. 2889

NO TIME TO Waste Act

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) & Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

Supports food recovery and preventing food waste through research, public-private partnerships, and enhanced government coordination.

H.R. 5678

Service Starts at Home Act

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-3)

This bill would help students serve in their hometowns and provide hands-on learning opportunities throughout the country by creating a grant program through the Department of Education to support paid internships at the local government level.

H.R. 5618 & S. 2893

Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-28) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Directs the U.S. Secretaries of Treasury, Energy, and Defense to develop and issue $50 billion in Clean Energy Victory Bonds that support energy efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, and electric vehicle efforts.

H.R. 5664

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Amendments of 2023

Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-8)

Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 and restore WIFIA funding and financing eligibility to state entities and non-federal cost shares in federally involved projects.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD

WRDA Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged 

October 20, 2023

NOAA

Equitable Delivery of Climate Services

NOAA seeks information on how to enhance their delivery of climate data, information, science, and tools and ensure that this delivery is equitable.

October 21, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023

Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

November 20, 2023

EPA

Proposed Design of a New Grant Program Regarding the Health Care Provider (HCP) Training Program

The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.

November 24, 2023

FTA / DOT

Programmatic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transit Projects

The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.

November 24, 2023

NIST

Preventing the Improper Use of CHIPS Act Funding

Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.

November 24, 2023


Last Week

Four spending bills readied for House floor amid stopgap uncertainty

 

Lawmakers are trying these 3 plans to fund the government

 

Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of September 18, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. Lawmakers have just 12 days left to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) until federal government funding runs out beginning on the first day of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 on October 1.

 

This week, the House will focus on a stopgap funding bill after the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Main Street Caucus negotiated a compromise on a 31-day CR (through October 31, 2023). The deal reached by the two groups within the House Republican Conference, the Continuing Appropriations and Border Security Enhancement Act, 2024, would result in an eight percent cut to all domestic agencies while keeping funding for the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs (VA), and Homeland Security at the enacted FY23 levels. It also includes a modified version of the Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 2), which prohibits asylum claims and includes other immigration restrictions. Additionally, the $40 billion in supplemental aid requested by the White House is not included in the bill. On Monday evening, the House Rules Committee will mark up the CR. Last night, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with the House Republican Conference to share the details of the CR and the plan to vote on it this Thursday. As it stands, the CR will have issues passing the House, as over ten House Republicans have come out against the proposal, making the prospects of getting to the current 217-vote threshold difficult. If the CR were to pass out of the House, the legislation would likely receive no support from Senate Democrats or the Biden Administration. Congress must also address full-year FY24 government funding—House leadership plans to vote on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2024 (H.R. 4365) on Wednesday.

 

In the upper chamber, Senators will regroup after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) blocked a unanimous consent request to package the FY24 Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-FDA, and Transportation-HUD Appropriations bills together last Thursday. Sen. Johnson argued that lawmakers should have the chance to debate one FY24 spending bill at a time and was not alone in expressing concerns over the process as Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said they would consider the three-bill spending package in exchange for an open amendment process. Even after the setback, the Senate calendar includes resuming consideration of the $280 billion FY24 “minibus” appropriations package (utilizing the House-passed FY24 Military Construction-VA bill text [H.R. 4366] as a vehicle) consisting of the FY24 Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-Rural Development, and Transportation-HUD Appropriations bills. The Senate will also vote on Vernon Oliverto be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut and Rita Lin to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California.

 

The House will consider 8 suspension bills, including the Veterans Education Oversight Expansion Act (H.R. 3981), which increases the VA’s oversight capacity and restores benefits to defrauded veterans. The House will also vote on a resolution “Condemning the actions of Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, for subverting the Second Amendment to the Constitution and depriving the citizens of New Mexico of their right to bear arms” (H. Res. 684). 

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including an Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to “Examine Drought Impacts on Drinking Water Access and Water Availability;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee 

hearing examining “Drinking Water Infrastructure and Tribal Communities.” The House will hold a Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Barriers to Access in Federal Waters: A Closer Look at the Marine Sanctuary and Monument System;” a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Department of Transportation’s Policies and Programs” a Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on “Chips on the Table: A one year review of the Chips and Science Act;” and a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on “FEMA: The Current State of Disaster Readiness, Response, and Recovery.”

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5407

School Modernization and Efficient Access to Lunches for Students (MEALS) Act of 2023

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5)

Streamlines the approval process for students in need of free school meals, increase community eligibility, reduce administrative work and address unpaid meal debt.

S. 2790

Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Reforms rural housing programs, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5425

Bill to amend the Small Business Act 

Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME-2)

Appoints a permanent Assistant Administrator to run the Office of Rural Affairs, require webinars and outreach events, and create transparency by mandating an annual report on the activities of the agency.

H.R. 5437

Protecting Infrastructure Investments for Rural America Act

Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN-1)

Ensures the rural surface transportation grant program is accessible to rural areas.

H.R. 5446

Justice for Angel Families Act

Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)

Authorizes grants for crime victims to be distributed to angel families.

H.R. 5455

Collision Avoidance Systems Act of 2023

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL-11)

Clarifies certain regulations to allow for the installation of pulsating light systems for high-mounted stop lamps,

S. 2779

Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience Act

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Establishes a permanent Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience within the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which would be tasked with supporting the short- and long-term economic recovery efforts of communities impacted by natural disasters.

H.R. 5473

Promoting Resilient Buildings Act of 2023

Rep. Edwards, Chuck (R-NC-11)

Amends certain laws relating to disaster recovery and relief with respect to the implementation of building codes.

H.R. 5466 & S. 2798

Building Up Farmland Frontiers for Ecological Resilience (BUFFER) Act

Rep. Rebecca Balint (D-VT-At Large) & Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)

Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to expand the definition of eligible land for the purposes of the conservation reserve program.

H.R. 5463

Arts Education for All Act

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1)

Increases access to the arts for students.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD

WRDA Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged 

October 20, 2023

NOAA

Equitable Delivery of Climate Services

NOAA seeks information on how to enhance their delivery of climate data, information, science, and tools and ensure that this delivery is equitable.

October 21, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

GSA

Updated Guidance for Non-Federal Entities Access to Federal Supply Schedule

Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.

November 17, 2023


Last Week

Combo appropriations package hits the skids in Senate

 

House GOP makes first move in stopgap funding fight

 

Citing health issues, Wexton decides not to run again

 

Another doomed GOP spending plan collapses

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Federal Legislative Update

Week of September 11, 2023

Congressional

Outlook

The House and Senate are in session this week. The House returns Tuesday after 47 days off, while the Senate is back in session today.

 

Government funding remains the crucial legislative item that Congress must address by September 30. Lawmakers face expirations to various Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Farm Bill authorizations while also needing to conference the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

 

Reports are circulating that many House Republicans believe that a shutdown is growing in possibility. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) leadership will face a test as he hopes to pass a stopgap funding bill to provide more time for Congress to pass the FY 2024 appropriations bills. This week, the House will vote on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 4365), providing $886 billion to the Department of Defense. The Rules Committee will first work through over 300 amendments on Tuesday evening. Passage of the FY24 Defense spending bill this week followed by the likely consideration of the FY24 Homeland Security spending bill next week could assist the Speaker’s case and set up a tense negotiation between the House and Senate. Speaker McCarthy will address the Republican Conference on Wednesday to discuss a strategy to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which could mean potentially courting a large contingent of House Democrats. Many believe this approach could draw the ire of the House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives. Additionally, the White House is seeking $40 billion in supplemental funding, including $24 billion in aid to Ukraine, which House Republican leaders will likely only include in exchange for additional funding for southern border security.

 

Regarding the expiring authorizations, specifically the Farm Bill and the FAA, Congress will opt to pass temporary provisions for expiring programs. Leaders on both sides have cited the need to extend the Farm Bill as Congress has not made sufficient progress on its reauthorization. House Agriculture Committee Chair G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.) will delay the release of the Farm Bill text until House Republican leadership plans floor time for the bill. That makes it unlikely for the House to release the text by September, and a release by November is also in doubt. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) shared a similar outlook on the bill, citing, “It’s going to be a while” before the Senate text is released. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will also need to receive an extension to continue the program’s authority for FEMA to provide new flood insurance contracts and maintain available funds at $30.43 billion instead of $1 billion. The extension would mark the 26thshort-term NFIP extension since September 2017. The FAA will also likely need an extension. While the House passed its version of the bill by a vote of 351-69 in late July, the Senate’s version is still awaiting a markup after issues related to pilot training requirements, DCA flights, and consumer protection derailed the Senate Commerce Committee’s progress in June. Another critical legislative item that will require the attention and time of Congress is the conferencing of the FY24 NDAA. 

 

The House will consider 7 suspension bills, including the Emergency Wildfire Fighting Technology Act of 2023 (H.R. 3389), requiring the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to evaluate the system that uses airplanes to drop water containers and other fire retardants on wildfires. The House will also vote on the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act (HR 1435), which prohibits the EPA from granting waivers for vehicles emissions laws to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new gas-powered cars. This week, the Senate will begin consideration of a FY 2024 “minibus” appropriations package (utilizing the House-passed FY24 Military Construction-VA bill text [H.R. 4366] as a vehicle) consisting of the FY24 Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-Rural Development, and Transportation-HUD Appropriations bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June and July. The Senate will also vote on Tanya Bradsher to be Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Jeffrey Cummings to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

 

For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the “Housing Supply and Innovation;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining “Examining the Effects of Extreme Heat and Weather on Transportation.” The House will hold an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Keeping the Lights On: Enhancing Reliability and Efficiency to Power American Homes” and an Oversight and Accountability hearing on “The Inflation Reduction Act: A Year in Review.”

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

Bill

Title

Sponsors

Background

H.R. 5344

Jobs in the Woods Act

Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR-5)

Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a grant program to address forestry workforce development needs, and for other purposes.

S. 2723

Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds Act

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify certain rules applicable to qualified small issue manufacturing bonds, to expand certain exceptions to the private activity bond rules for first-time farmers, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5354

Small Farm Conservation Act

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8)

Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a small farm EQIP subprogram under the environmental quality incentives program, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5355

Save Our Airports Reporting Act

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-27)

Requires the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to submit to Congress progress reports on the development and implementation of a national plan to transition to the use of a fluorine-free firefighting foam, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5356

PFAS Act

Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-27)

Establishes a PFAS replacement program through the Department of Transportation at certain airports, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5359

Rural Development Modernization Act

Rep. Jim Costa (R-CA-21)

To harmonize the population threshold for rural communities under programs carried out by the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.

H.R. 5360

Helping Low-Income Seniors Afford Care Act

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-2)

Amends the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 to extend funding outreach and assistance for low-income programs.

H.R. 5371

Choices for Increased Mobility Act of 2023

Rep. John Joyce (R-PA-13)

Amends title XVIII of the Social Security Act to clarify payment rules for manual wheelchairs under part B of the Medicare program.

Agency

Title

Proposed Regulation

Comment Deadline

OMB

Assessing Changes in Environmental and Ecosystem Services in Benefit-Cost Analysis

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is requesting comments on proposed guidance for assessing changes in environmental and ecosystem services in benefit-cost analysis.

September 18, 2023

US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD

WRDA Request for Proposals

The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged 

October 20, 2023

FEMA

Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.

November 7, 2023

DOL

Proposed Overtime Rule

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees

November 7, 2023

Last Week

Fall session is all about spending, NDAA fights — and McCarthy’s ‘Hobson’s choices’

 

The House is back

 

What happens if the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) lapses

 

Biden to nominate Whitaker to lead the FAA

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