Capitol to Capitol | July 19, 2021

7/19/2021

House Introduces Bipartisan Addiction and Recovery Legislation

Representatives David Trone (D-Md.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Timothy Ryan (D-Ohio), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Jamie Hererra Beutler (R-Wash.), and David McKinley (R-W.V.) introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0. The bill increases federal funding authorization levels for substance use disorder programs across multiple agencies. The bill is similar to the Senate companion bill (S. 987) that was introduced in March. A section-by-section analysis of the House bill can be found here.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

Biden Releases Memorandum on Using ARPA Funds to Improve Public Safety

On July 12, President Joe Biden met with mayors and police chiefs to discuss issues surrounding gun violence. He urged local officials to use the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to combat increasing crime rates. In conjunction with the meeting, Biden issued a memorandum detailing how ARPA funding should be used to improve public safety. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Susan Frederick

President Issues Executive Order Aimed at Improving Competition in Multiple Sectors

Biden issued an executive order aimed at improving competition across a wide range of industries and economic sectors as well as within the labor market itself. The full impact of the order is potentially quite significant, but much will depend on the extent federal agencies follow through on the direction provided by the order.

Below are a few highlights:

Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is directed to undertake regulations that would allow the department to better intervene against anticompetitive practices by meat processors, assist farmers in bringing cases under antitrust law, and tighten the rules within the poultry grower industry. Biden also wants to help farmers fix their own equipment, commonly known as the right to repair, currently restricted by some manufacturers, especially when computer code is involved.

Consumer Protection
The FTC will undertake greater scrutiny of mergers and company practices on user surveillance and data accumulation. The Federal Communications Commission is also directed to improve consumer protections with internet service providers and to provide consumers with multiple options for high-speed internet service. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is similarly urged to develop rules allowing bank customers greater access to their data. The order also focuses on the transportation sector, seeking to improve competition in the rail and shipping industries and to encourage the U.S. Department of Transportation to enhance certain consumer protection rules regarding airline fees and services.

 Health Care
The order urges federal regulators to establish new rules around competition and price transparency for health insurance, health care services and prescription drugs. To reduce prescription drug costs, the order also urges an update to federal rules on importing prescriptions from countries where the cost is lower as well as bringing generics to the market more quickly. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Ben Husch (natural resources and infrastructure) and Abbie Gruwell (Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Standing Committee)

CDC Updates Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that fully vaccinated teachers, students and staff do not need to wear masks in schools but that individuals ages 2 and up, who are unvaccinated, should continue to wear masks, according to the guidance. The CDC continues to recommend that students and teachers maintain at least three feet of physical distance to reduce transmission.  Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

Department of Education Announces Several New Funding Opportunities

Emergency Funding to Non-Public Schools

States can apply for funds through the $2.75 billion Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools program to provide services or assistance to eligible non-public schools to address the impact of COVID-19. Applications are due by Sept. 9, 2021.  Read more.

New IDEA Funds

The department made available $2.6 billion in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Grants to states for fiscal year 2021. Read more

Grants for Homeless Youth

The department made available $600 million for states through the Homeless Children and Youth Fund (ARP-HCY). Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

CMS Funding for Community-Based Mobile Crisis Services Announced

With funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is awarding $15 million to state Medicaid agencies for planning grants to strengthen capacity to provide community-based mobile crisis intervention services for Medicaid enrollees. Funding can allow state Medicaid agencies to assess community needs and create programs that bring services to people with mental health or substance use crises outside of hospital or facility settings. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

Individuals Receiving Unemployment Eligible for Lower Cost Health Plans

Beginning July 1, consumers who received or were approved to receive unemployment compensation at any time in 2021 will be able to find lower-cost health plans and save additional money on out-of-pocket costs through HealthCare.gov. The additional savings are part of the American Rescue Plan Act and are administered through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The CMS is encouraging eligible individuals to reapply or update their current HealthCare.gov application between July 1 and Aug. 15 to maximize savings on their Marketplace coverage for the remainder of 2021. Read more.

NCSL Contacts: Haley Nicholson and Margaret Wile

In Every Edition

Read the June 28 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 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