Capitol to Capitol | Aug. 10, 2021

8/10/2021

Senate Passes $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Package

The Senate approved the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with a bipartisan vote, sending the bill to the House. Though it remains unclear when and if the House will consider the bill, NCSL has put together a quick summary of the numerous provisions and areas of infrastructure impacted. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch (transportation and energy), Kristen Hildreth (environment), Abbie Gruwell (broadband), and Susan Fedrick (disaster response)

Senate Democrats Outline $3.5 Trillion Budget Resolution

Senate Democrats released full text and a summary of a $3.5 trillion budget framework, which could pass any time this week. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also released reconciliation instructions to the various Senate Committees so that they can begin writing sections of the bill according to their jurisdictional policy areas and report by Sept. 15. The budget resolution does not contain language raising the debt limit.  Want to learn more about reconciliation. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Erlinda Doherty (budgets) and Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth (infrastructure)

Biden Administration Issues New Eviction Moratorium Through Oct. 3

The Biden administration, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued a new order to temporarily halt evictions until Oct. 3 for those who fail to make rent or housing payments in areas with substantial or high community transmission rates of COVID-19. The announcement of the moratorium on Aug. 3 came alongside an admission from the administration that there will likely be a legal battle after a Supreme Court decision in June signaled that the CDC could not lawfully extend the moratorium without Congress enacting legislation. The action aims to provide states and localities more time to distribute nearly $47 billion in rental assistance, such as the Emergency Rental Assistance program. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Deanna Ross (housing) and Haley Nicholson (health)

EPA Proposes New Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for light-duty motor vehicles. Specifically, the proposal would set new, more stringent GHG standards for passenger cars and light trucks for vehicles through model year 2023 – 2026 that will result in greater fuel efficiency. The EPA’s proposal is in response to an executive order from the president earlier this year that directed the EPA to consider whether to propose suspend, revise, or rescind the standards finalized by the previous administration in ABC (is this “ABC test”) that allowed for a significant increase in vehicle emissions. The new proposal also represents the first step in achieving the president’s goal of achieving 50% of all new vehicle sales by 2030 being zero-emissions vehicles, as he outlined in a separate order. To learn more, read the NCSL Info Alert here.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

Student Loan Pause Extended Until Jan. 31, 2022

The extension continues the suspension of federal student loan repayment, interest accrual, and collection activities. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

CMS Proposes Rule to Support Home Care Workers’ Access to Benefits

The proposal would enable state Medicaid agencies to make payments to third parties on behalf of individual health care providers, including home care workers and personal care assistants, to access benefits. Proposed changes would make it easier for these providers to enroll in or pay for customary employment benefits like health insurance and skills training. State Medicaid agencies would also receive help in easing administrative requirements and have additional flexibility to operate their programs. Read more

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

FCC Releases Mobile Broadband Coverage Map

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a broadband coverage map for mobile devices that will allow people to compare the coverage areas of the four largest carriers in the United States. The map shows LTE mobile and voice coverage for comparison among the four companies, and where to expect different wireless download and upload speeds. The new tool was required in the Broadband DATA Act passed in 2020, which directed the FCC to collect data from providers to compare mobile broadband ranges, fixed wireless, and satellite coverage. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Abbie Gruwell and Tres York

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NCSL's Advocacy in Washington

NCSL’s Washington staff advocates on behalf of state legislatures before Congress, the White House and federal agencies in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies’ positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.

NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.

  • Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Budgets and Revenue
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Commerce and Financial Services
  • Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health
  • Margaret Wile | 202-624-8171 | Human Service
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education