Capitol to Capitol | Nov. 15, 2022

11/14/2022

#TellCongresstoAct 

With the 2022 midterm elections in the rearview, join us Thursday, Nov. 17, to urge Congress to act on NCSL’s top five federal priorities for states in the lame-duck session. Help us create a tweetstorm on social media to spur your congressional delegation to action on NCSL’s top five lame-duck priorities. Read more.

NCSL Letter to the Census Bureau on Preliminary Research for the 2030 Census

NCSL submitted comments to the U.S. Census Bureau in response to the bureau’s request for feedback on the 2020 census and ways to improve the census for 2030. In its comments, NCSL argued for greater geographic accuracy, timely data releases, regular and frequent consultation with state personnel involved in redistricting, and a reexamination of the bureau’s privacy protocols to better balance individual privacy with demographic accuracy. Read NCSL’s comments here.

NCSL Contacts: Susan Parnas Frederick and Wendy Underhill

USDOT Announces End of Buy American Waiver for Infrastructure Projects

The Department of Transportation will not extend the Build America, Buy America waiver related to President Joe Biden’s executive order 14005, according to a recent memo. The order, issued in January 2021, directed federal agencies to maximize the use of goods, products and materials produced in the United States and would have applied, if not for the waiver, to projects funded by the federal infrastructure law enacted last year. With the extension ending, nearly all manufactured products and construction materials used in projects funded by the infrastructure law will have to be produced in the United States starting Nov 10. However, the department is expected to continue an exemption for contracts signed before Nov. 10, or March 10, 2023, if their solicitations were published before May 14, 2022. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Ben Husch

Education Department Releases Rules for Targeted Debt Relief Programs

The rules make numerous updates to the Borrower Defense to Repayment program, which allows borrowers to receive loan discharges if their institution misleads or manipulates them. State entities can now bring claims on behalf of groups of borrowers for consideration under the program. Borrowers can receive an automatic discharge one year after a college’s closure date if they do not accept an approved teach-out agreement or a continuation of the program at another location of the school.

The final rule eliminates all instances where interest capitalization is not required by statute, including the first time a borrower enters repayment, upon exiting a forbearance, and leaving any income-driven repayment plan besides Income-Based Repayment. The rules also provide additional pathways for borrowers who have a total and permanent disability to receive a discharge. The rules go into effect July 1, 2023. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

Federal Court Strikes Down Student Debt Relief Program

A federal judge in Texas ruled the U.S. secretary of education does not haveclear congressional authorization” for the one-time forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 annually. The Department of Justice has appealed the decision. While awaiting the appeals process, the Department of Education has stopped taking debt relief applications. More than 26 million borrowers have already applied, and 16 million applications have been approved and sent to loan servicers to be discharged if the program is allowed by the courts, according to the department. Read more.

NCSL Contact: Austin Reid

FCC Releases Timeline for Broadband Mapping Challenge

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released the full timeline for the Fixed Service Availability Data Mapping Challenge. The following are the key dates for the challenge process:

  • Nov. 18, 2022: The FCC will release a draft national broadband map, a comprehensive, location-by-location view of high-speed internet availability in America.
  • Nov. 18, 2022, to Jan. 13, 2023: Best opportunity for eligible entities to submit challenges in time for the FCC to include corrections in the final version of the map, which will be used to allocate Internet for All funding in 2023.
  • By June 30, 2023: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration plans to announce the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program allocations, using the updated FCC maps as a guide. Read more.
NCSL Contact: Erlinda Doherty

In Every Edition

Read the Oct. 31 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
  • Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • Nicole Ezeh | 202-624-3568 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
  • 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
  • Deanna Ross | 202-624-8680 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
  • Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education
  • Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce
  • Brian Wanko | 202-624-5400 | Budget and Revenue
  • Lauren Kallins | 202-624-8170 | Health and Human Services