Good Tuesday! Summer is unofficially over and campaign season is in full swing as Election Day is now nine weeks away. But as Congress resumes business this month after a long hiatus in August, lawmakers also have some basic business to attend to, namely, keeping the federal government open past Sept. 30.
Here’s what you need to know.
White House seeks $47 billion in emergency funding as part of interim spending bill
Current federal government funding will run out at the end of the month. While Congress and the Biden administration are still working to reach a budget deal for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, lawmakers will first need to pass a short-term spending bill known as the resolution. continues to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of September. .
“The CR being discussed in the House would extend spending at roughly fiscal year 2022 levels until December 16, two and a half months into the new fiscal year, with exceptions for a number of” anomalies “allowing higher funding rates for various programs”, Paul M. Krawzak’s Roll Appel reports, noting that the duration of interim funding could still change. “The current plan is for the House to consider the interim bill the week of Sept. 12, leaving plenty of time, in theory, to push it through the Senate and Biden’s office.”
Biden administrator calls for $47 billion in additional spending: Neither party wants a shutdown before November’s midterm elections, but there could still be a few hurdles in the way of an interim funding bill.
The White House might have added a hurdle or two by asking that the short-term funding bill also include just over $47 billion in emergency spending for what it called four critical needs. : support for Ukraine, financing of the Covid-19 pandemic, response to monkeypox and recovery from a natural disaster.
The White House look for:
* $13.7 billion in aid to Ukraine, including $7.2 billion in additional funding for defence, $4.5 billion in budget support for the Ukrainian government and $2 billion to deal with the impact of the war on the energy supply of the United States.
* $22.4 billion for the Covid-19 response, including additional testing, development of new vaccines and treatments, and support for international pandemic efforts. (See more on this below.)
* $4.5 billion fight against the spread of monkeypox
* $6.5 billion to help states recover from natural disasters and extreme weather events.
The administration is reportedly seeking additional funding without compensatory cuts, disappointing budget hawks. “If these are really priorities for the White House, it should suggest accompanying spending cuts or revenue to pay for them,” said Maya MacGuineas, chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Republicans opposed providing additional pandemic funding and could have pushed for a “clean” funding extension or with less new spending provisions.
Other potential issues: Democrats would also struggle to find enough support to tie energy permit legislation pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to the must-have funding measure. And the Punchbowl news reports that Democratic leaders consider attaching a provision codifying same-sex marriage rights to the spending bill. “It would significantly raise the political stakes surrounding the vote on the continuing resolution,” Punchbowl notes.
Other impending deadlines: A number of other expiring programs could be addressed by adding them to the spending bill. “A key Food and Drug Administration user fee program, which accounts for nearly half of the agency’s annual budget, is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year,” Politico said. Remarks. “Congressional action is needed to prevent huge layoffs at the agency.”
The bottom line: Congress will have to fund the government via an interim spending measure that sets up another budget fight in the lame session after the midterm elections.
White House reiterates call for new Covid funding
On Tuesday, Biden administration officials again warned that the federal government is running out of funds to respond to a new surge of Covid-19, should it occur this fall and winter.
The White House has asked for billions in new funds to prepare for a new wave, but Congress has not acted on the request, with some lawmakers saying it has provided enough money, which could be repurposed from others. programs.
Speaking at a press briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha noted that the lack of funding has already had an effect. “We had to shut down COVIDTests.gov, a very popular program, where two-thirds of American households had ordered tests – shut it down because we don’t have enough tests in our inventory. We don’t have the capacity to continue”, Jha said. “Congress has not stepped up.”
New vaccination campaign: Meanwhile, health officials highlighted the new Covid-19 vaccine booster, which targets the latest virus variants and will soon be widely available. “By the end of this week, more than 90% of Americans will be living within five miles of these new, updated vaccines,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during the briefing.
President Biden and White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci have said Covid booster shots will likely become a regular thing. “This week, we are entering a new phase in our response to COVID-19,” Biden said in a statement. “We’re launching a new vaccine — our first in nearly two years — with a fresh approach. For most Americans, that means a COVID-19 vaccine, once a year, every fall.”
Biden’s $50 billion plan to boost US chip production
The Biden administration on Tuesday released new details on how it plans to spend about $50 billion in public funds to foster the production of computer chips in the United States.
The funds – provided as part of the $280 billion legislative package focused on strategically important science and technology that was signed into law by President Joe Biden in August – will be distributed by the Department of Commerce.
About $28 billion will be used for grants and loans to help build facilities that will produce next-generation computer chips. Another $10 billion will be used to expand existing facilities that produce the current generation of chips, such as those used in the automotive industry. And $11 billion will be spent on research and development of chip technology.
In order to secure funding, companies will need to demonstrate that their projects will advance ‘long-term strategic goals’, according to Commerce research Press release. These goals include recovering manufacturing capabilities that have recently migrated to China and Taiwan. The department also wants to see evidence that companies can attract additional sources of capital from private companies and public investment funds.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told the New York Times that his department would begin accepting applications for funding no later than February and that the money could start flowing next spring. The department will hire approximately 50 people to review applications.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a once-in-a-generation opportunity, to secure our national security, to revitalize American manufacturing, and to revitalize American innovation and research and development,” Raimondo said. “So while we are working urgently, we have to get it right, and that’s why we’re laying out the strategy now.”
Number of the day: 438.5 million dollars
Juul Labs, which makes the Juul e-cigarette, agreed to pay $438.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 33 states and Puerto Rico over how the company marketed its products to young people.
Juul’s sales techniques include aggressive social media campaigns, hiring young models to use the products, and providing free samples. The company also created sweet flavors to appeal to young people and manipulated the chemicals in its products to reduce throat irritation. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Juul was dominating the vape market “by deliberately engaging in an advertising campaign that appealed to young people, even though its e-cigarettes are both illegal for them and unhealthy. For the young”.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced it was removing Juul products from the US market, saying they “have played a disproportionate role in increasing youth vaping.” Juul sued to stop the ban, winning a temporary stay as the FDA reviews the company’s claim that its products can be used to help people quit smoking.
Under the terms of the settlement, Juul agreed to stop targeting young consumers, although the company said it voluntarily stopped doing so some time ago.
Views and analysis
- Congress returns and the main mission is to keep the lights on – Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer, Washington Post
- State Department offers big rewards for hacker information, for uncertain purposes –Tim Starks, Washington Post
- An increase for the elderly will do nothing against inflation –Jonathan Levin, Bloomberg
- Has Bidenomics been good for workers? – Paul Krugman, New York Times
- Biden administration cleared $34 billion in student debt –Ronda Lee, Yahoo Finance
- Closing schools should be the last option in a pandemic –Stephen L. Carter, Bloomberg
- Debtors, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shame –Astra Taylor, New York Times
- Economy, democracy and freedom: it’s a single argument – Michael Tomasky, New Republic
- The world is getting less flat – Paul Krugman, New York Times