This House and Senate are out of session this week.
- With the impeachment trial now in the history books, House Democrats are moving President Biden’s$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan forward.
- The stimulus/relief bill is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote on February 26th – as benefits from the current relief plan end on March 14th.
- Last week the House Ways and Means Committee approved $594 billion worth of benefits, including$1,400 in direct stimulus payments, child tax credit advances that would be paid on a monthly basis ($300 per month for children under five and $250 per month for six and older) beginning in July. Instead of a traditional tax credit, this would be a direct payment
- The fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage remains heated as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) continues to push for the per hour wage increase, while Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) have indicated their opposition to such a measure.
- The White House has expressed doubts as to whether it will survive as part of any stimulus legislation.
- Organized labor and allied groups have faced off against the restaurants, agriculture and franchisees as lobbying efforts related to the measure have increased.
- On Tuesday night, during a CNN Town Hall, President Biden said that he did not support defunding police or the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt.
- This week, President Biden and Vice President Harris will meet with labor union leaders at the White House, to discuss his infrastructure plan and energy will be a top subject of the talks.
- After the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline was revoked by executive order, leading to the layoffs of 1,000 workers constructing the pipeline, organized labor will want to learn more about how their membership will benefit in any new infrastructure spending.
- On Saturday, former President Donald Trump was acquitted of impeachment charges with a final Senate vote of 57-43. This was ten votes short that would have been needed to convict.
- Interior Secretary Designee, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), is scheduled for a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on February 23rd.
- Rep. Haaland is expected to receive some tough questioning from Republicans over her views on fossil fuels and the recent moratorium on new oil and gas production on federal land.
- ASA signed onto a letter urging House and Senate leadership supporting the Death Tax Repeal Act.
State legislative tracking
- Arizona (HB 2286/SB 1037): Water efficient plumbing fixtures.
- California (AB 100): Endpoint water fixtures/lead reduction.
- Hawaii (HB 116): Energy Efficiency.
- Maryland (HB 33): Establishing a Climate Crisis Initiative in the Department of the Environment for certain purposes; establishing a greenhouse gas reduction target of 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2045.
- Massachusetts (HD 1296): An Act to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Permitting Local Option All-Electric Buildings and Homes Ordinances.
- Massachusetts (SB 9): An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy.
- New York (S 1559): Establishes a Green New Deal.
- Virginia (HB 1811): Virginia Public Procurement Act; preference for energy-efficient and water-efficient goods. Provides that in the course of procuring goods, if a public body receives two or more bids for products that are Energy Star certified, meet Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) designated efficiency requirements, appear on FEMP's Low Standby Power Product List, or are WaterSense certified, such public body may only select among those bids.
- Washington (HB 1084): Reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings.
- Washington (HB 1091): Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.