Capitol to Capitol | Aug. 23, 2021


NCSL Hosts Hill Briefing on Student-Athlete Compensation

NCSL hosted a virtual congressional briefing, “State Efforts on Student-Athlete Compensation,” on Aug. 16. California Senator Nancy Skinner, chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and author of the first student-athlete compensation bill signed into law, and Georgia Representative Chuck Martin, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, discussed the issues their states confronted when crafting their bills, how important state action has been and where the debate is likely to go from here. 

NCSL Contact: Tres York

100% Federal Reimbursement to States for Mobilization of National Guard Personnel Extended

On Aug. 18, President Joe Biden announced sweeping federal efforts to assist state and local governments as they combat the resurgence of COVID-19. Among these efforts, Biden extended the 100% federal reimbursement to states for mobilizing National Guard personnel to support the COVID-19 response through Dec. 31. This extends the January order that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fully reimburse states for work performed by National Guard troops, who have played a key role in the nation’s pandemic response.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Deanna Ross (military) and Susan Frederick (emergency management)

DOL and the Treasury Send Letter to Congressional Leaders on Expiration of Emergency Unemployment Insurance

On Aug. 19, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Labor Secretary Martin Walsh sent a joint letter to congressional leaders on the expiration of the pandemic emergency unemployment insurance (UI). The letter, sent to Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), cited progress in the labor market and economy as to the reason the Biden administration will allow UI to expire on Sept. 6 as planned. The temporary $300 per person boost in benefits was intended to ensure Americans stayed connected to the labor market during their unemployment period under the American Rescue Plan Act. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Deanna Ross

USDA Releases Reevaluation of Thrifty Food Plan

The updated evaluation is used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The average SNAP benefit, excluding pandemic relief funds, will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, for fiscal year 2022 starting on Oct. 1. A reassessment of the program was directed in the 2018 farm bill with support from an executive order issued on Jan. 22. The USDA’s research process emphasized modernizing the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) based on current food prices, consumption data, the nutrients in the food and the latest dietary guidance. This process was also paired with listening sessions the agency held with TFP stakeholders. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Haley Nicholson

While Administration Appeals Oil and Gas Leasing Pause Injunction, Lease Sales to Resume

Last week, the administration filed an appeal to a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibited the Interior Department from implementing the federal oil and gas lease pause outlined in executive order 14008. The order paused the leasing to allow for completion of a “comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.” The court initially decided that the president exceeded his powers when he ordered the pause because the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act does not grant specific authority for the president to pause offshore oil and gas leases. While the administration is appealing the injunction, federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing will continue as required, and the administration will resume lease sales. The DOI also announced its intent to review its coal leasing program. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

In Every Edition

Read the Aug. 16 Capitol to Capitol.

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 policy 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 
  • Kristen Hildreth | 202-624-3597 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure 
  • Jon Jukuri  | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health and Human Services
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education