Federal Legislative Update

Week of April 15, 2024

House and Senate Action

The House and Senate are in session this week.

Following escalating tensions in the Middle East, the House will consider more than a dozen bills in the coming days regarding Iran and Israel. In light of this past weekend’s military action, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has promised to revisit efforts to provide aid to Israel. He has also indicated that he will allow lawmakers to vote separately on whether to provide aid to Ukraine and Taiwan. At this point, it’s unclear if Johnson has the necessary votes to advance all (or any) of the measures.

As Speaker Johnson continues to weigh his options on foreign military assistance, House GOP leaders are planning to formally present their articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate this afternoon. However, and as reported last week, Senate Democrats could bypass an impeachment trial entirely if they are able to band together in support of a motion to seek the immediate dismissal of the case. In addition to the Mayorkas impeachment, the Senate will consider House-passed legislation to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA expires at the end of the week.

New Cosponsors Added to the Special District Grant Accessibility Act

Over the past week, several new cosponsors have been added to the Special District Grant Accessibility Act (H.R. 7525), including Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). An updated list of cosponsors can be accessed here.

EPA Announces New Regulations for PFAS in Drinking Water

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will issue new regulations to limit the amount of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in drinking water. Among other things, the agency will require that public water utilities test for six different types of PFAS chemicals. Operators will have three years to test for PFAS pollution, then an additional two years to identify, purchase, and install necessary technology to treat contaminated water. According to EPA estimates, approximately 6-10% of public water utility systems may need to act to comply with the new standards. To assist in meeting these new standards, EPA has committed $1 billion – made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – to help implement PFAS testing and treatment at public water systems. More details on the new regulations can be found here.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

 House Appropriations – A number of administration officials will appear before the committee this week for a series of budget hearings. The various subcommittees will hear from FEMA, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as the Departments of Justice, Interior, Veterans Affairs, and Labor. A full list of hearings can be accessed here.

House Homeland Security – On Tuesday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will appear before the panel to defend the fiscal year 2025 budget request for the department. More details on the hearing can be found here.

 House Natural Resources – On Wednesday morning, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will meet to discuss a draft bill that aims to improve forest management activities. Additional details, including a copy of the discussion draft, is available here.

House Oversight – On Tuesday morning, the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs will hold a hearing entitled, “How the Border Crisis Impacts Public Safety.” More information on the hearing, including a full witness list, can be accessed here.

 Senate Appropriations – This week, the committee will hear from several cabinet officials on the president’s fiscal year 2025 budget request, including Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. A full list of committee hearings for the week can be found here.