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Window on Washington – October 24, 2022, Vol. 6, Issue 40

October 24, 2022

Outlook for This Week in the Nation’s Capital

Congress. Congress is in recess this week. Shortly after returning from the midterm election break, both parties will hold votes on their leadership. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday declined to state whether or not she intends to serve another term as the House Democratic leader.

FY22 Budget Report. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House Office of Management and Budget last week released the final budget results for FY22, which showed the deficit fell by $1.4T, largely due to the expiration of large COVID spending programs. While the smaller deficit represents a 50 percent decrease from FY21, it was $344B higher than OMB estimated in August. With respect to the federal debt limit, President Biden said last week he does not favor abolishing the limit after pressure from House Democrats to eliminate the debt limit as a political issue. Conservatives in Congress have already publicly said they support using the debt limit as leverage for spending cuts when it is expected to be reached by the end of next summer.

November Elections.  The midterm elections are 15 days away. According to a NBC News poll released yesterday, Democrats hold a one-point advantage in the generic ballot among registered voters, though Republicans lead among likely voters. The poll found that voters continue to be most concerned about the state of the economy, as well as threats to democracy. As of yesterday, nearly 7.5M voters have already voted. Candidates for Senate in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alaska, and New Hampshire will debate this week, with the debate in Pennsylvania highly anticipated. Control for the Senate is expected to be close, as FiveThirtyEight over the weekend downgraded Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate to a 55 percent likelihood.  Both parties increasingly are targeting their efforts to different, parallel segments of the electorate, leading to increased polarization in the country and intensifying partisanship at the federal level.

Biden Administration.  President Biden will attend a Democratic National Committee event before hosting a Diwali reception with Vice President Harris. He will on Tuesday receive a COVID booster and make remarks about the fight against the pandemic. President Biden will host Israeli President Isaac Herzog for an official visit on Wednesday. He will also host virtual fundraising events for endangered Democrats in Nevada, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. Thursday, Biden will travel to Syracuse, New York for an event at a new Micron facility. Biden will again travel to Pennsylvania this week for a John Fetterman fundraiser on Friday.

Last Week in the Nation’s Capital


Budget & Appropriations

Senior Democratic Lawmakers Push for Abolishing Debt Limit: A group of top House Democrats are calling on leadership to abolish the debt ceiling during the lame-duck session in a bid to deny Republicans the ability to use a vote on raising the debt limit to force spending cuts. (Washington Examiner)

House Republicans Expected to Make Push for Deep Spending Cuts in the New Congress.  With Republicans poised to take the House majority in two weeks, conservatives are eager to play hardball on the debt limit and government funding, but narrow margins in either chamber may frustrate their efforts.  (Politico)


Budget Wonks’ Say in Telehealth’s Future: As this Congress winds down, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) is pressing colleagues to take up legislation to extend the Health and Human Services Department’s pandemic rules that allow Medicare beneficiaries to more easily have virtual appointments with their doctors. His CONNECT for Health Act to bolster telehealth access has the backing of more than 60 senators, but it’s up to party leaders whether to bring it, or another bill, up for a vote. (Politico)


Republicans Introduce Bill to Restrict LGBTQ-related Programs: Congressional Republicans introduced what some are calling a national version of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill — or what critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) and 32 other Republican members of Congress introduced the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022, which would prohibit the use of federal funds “to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, and for other purposes.” (NBC News)

Banking & Housing

Elizabeth Warren Fumed after an Appeals Court Ruling found CFPB’s Funding Mechanism Unconstitutional: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is up in arms over an appeals court ruling that found the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding mechanism to be unconstitutional. Republicans, who have worked for years to clamp down on the CFPB, are cheering the decision. (Politico)

Senate Dems Press SEC Chair to Slow Wall Street Rules: Senate Democrats are privately urging SEC Chair Gary Gensler to slow work and take more time for feedback on a slew of regulations rattling Wall Street, as tensions surrounding the agency’s Biden-era agenda reach a boiling point. (Politico)


Can Congress Buy in to Digital Dollar without Legislation: The White House’s exploration of a government-backed digital dollar is raising an implicit question that has received little attention: What role does Congress have in the decision? (Roll Call)

Tax Reform

GOP Campaigns Against The IRS, Vowing to Slash Its Funding: IRS pleas for more funding from Congress — made over the years by one leader after another — finally paid off this summer when Democrats tucked an $80 billion boost for the agency into their flagship climate and health care law. Fortified with a new funding stream, the IRS is making plans to clear a massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns, upgrade technology that is decades out of date and, yes, hire more auditors. (AP)


GOP Leaders McConnell, McCarthy Headed for Collision on Ukraine Aid: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are headed for a collision next year on spending more money to help Ukraine. McConnell has led Republican support for sending generous military and financial aid to Kyiv, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin could threaten Poland and other European allies if not stopped in Ukraine. (The Hill)

A Look into Proposed Tech Amendments for the 2023 NDAA: Funding for new and emerging technologies is featured heavily in several Senate amendments proposed for the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, underscoring Capitol Hill’s enthusiasm and technology’s increasing role in modernizing national security. Among the leading topics present in the slew of the more tech-centric amendments is artificial intelligence. (Next Gov)

Rep. Lamborn says U.S. Lagging China, Russia on Hypersonic Weapons: Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R-CO) concerns were echoed by academics and weapons experts who joined The Hill’s Tuesday event, “National Security at the Speed of Sound: Hypersonics in American Defense”. Lamborn, the ranking member on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said the U.S. must expedite its testing capabilities in order to catch up to other nations. He pointed specifically to HBTSS satellites, which could track hypersonic weapons from China and elsewhere. (The Hill)

Homeland Security & Immigration

J.D. Vance Wants a Border Wall Battle with Biden: Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R-OH) thinks it’s time for Republicans to have another fight over a southern border wall, this time with President Joe Biden. If the GOP seizes full control of Congress in the midterms, the Ohio Republican said the party should use its majorities to extract border wall money from the Biden administration as a condition of funding portions of the government. (Politico)

Immigration Advocates Feel Abandoned as They Stare at Biden’s First-term Checklist: Immigration advocates believe the Biden administration hasn’t prioritized immigration reform, even shying away from the subject in the run-up to midterms. They are demanding the passage of permanent protection for DACA recipients, including a pathway to citizenship. (Politico)


Democrats Call for Reversal of Trump-era Change to Ghost Gun Regulation: A coalition of congressional Democrats called on President Biden to reverse a Trump-era change to the regulation of 3D-printed ghost guns and return oversight to the State Department as munitions. (The Hill)


Sen. Rosen Requests Info on Cyber Threats Targeting Aviation Sector: In a letter addressed to the Department of Transportation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) asked the agencies to provide her with information regarding the recent cyberattacks that hit a dozen websites of major U.S. airports recently. (The Hill)

House Republicans Want Briefings on Huawei Gear in U.S. Networks: Reps. James Comer (R-KY), who is ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and committee member Glenn Grothman (R-WI) are raising concerns over reported failures to remove equipment made by China-based Huawei from United States-based cellular communications networks despite the threat that Huawei gear poses to U.S. national security. (MeriTalk)

Environment & Interior

Common Ground Elusive as Manchin Permitting Bill Awaits Action: Democrats and Republicans are far apart on overhauling federal permitting, leaving little common ground if and when lawmakers take another stab at moving Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) stalled bill, observers say. But that disparity may not matter if the bill hitches a ride on a must-pass vehicle such as the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act or a year-end omnibus spending bill. (Bloomberg Law)


Democrats Passed a Huge Climate Bill. Now They’re Talking Oil: Democrats’ messaging war over high gasoline prices is overshadowing one of their hardest-fought legislative achievements — the climate bill that President Joe Biden signed just two months ago. (Politico)

Lawmakers Question How Public Access to Federal Research Will be Achieved: The top Democrat and top Republican on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee sent a letter to newly confirmed White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Arati Prabhakar asking for details about the implementation of new guidance that directs federal agencies to make federally-funded research publicly accessible. (NextGov)

Congress Wagered on ‘Low-Carbon’ Concrete. Will it Pay Off: Democrats are betting that billions of dollars in government spending will help address the construction industry’s persistent climate problems. They tucked nearly $6 billion inside the Inflation Reduction Act for the Department of Energy to help reduce concrete’s significant carbon footprint. That total is nearly a third more than was in the Democrats’ earlier “Build Back Better” bill. (E&E News)

U.S. Senate Panel Advances Bill to Rein in OPEC+ Over Oil Output Cut: A U.S. Senate committee last week quietly advanced a bill that seeks to rein in OPEC+ after the oil producer group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia this month agreed to cut output. The legislation could be debated by lawmakers after the Nov. 8 midterm elections. (Reuters)


Budget & Appropriations

Deficit Cut in Half Last Year, but More Red Ink Lurks: The federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 fell to just under $1.4 trillion, a 50 percent drop from the fiscal 2021 shortfall, the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget reported Friday. (Roll Call)

Biden Dismisses Calls for Abolishing Debt Limit: President Joe Biden on Friday rejected a push from congressional Democrats to get rid of the statutory debt ceiling, calling the idea of doing so “irresponsible.” Biden’s statement comes as Democrats are bracing for a showdown expected late next year with Republicans over the federal borrowing limit deadline. (Roll Call)


Biden says Codifying Abortion Rights Would be Top Priority if Democrats Keep Congress: President Joe Biden pledged last week that his first legislative priority would be to codify abortion rights protections upended when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, if Democrats hold control of the House and Senate next year. (Roll Call)

FDA Advisory Committee Votes to Pull Drug for Premature Births: A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee in a rare move last week voted 14-1 to pull the only available drug aimed at lowering the risk of premature births from the market, citing a lack of evidence that the medication shows any benefit. (Roll Call)

CDC Advisers Recommend Adding Covid Shots to Routine Immunization Schedules for Kids, Adults: The CDC’s independent vaccine advisers voted 15-0 last Thursday to add most Covid-19 vaccines offered in the U.S. to the childhood, adolescent and adult immunization schedules. The immunization schedules, which are updated every fall before going into effect the following year, consolidate all of the CDC’s vaccine recommendations in one document for states that use them as guidance for school entry requirements and busy physicians. The additions formalize recommendations the CDC has already made on Covid vaccination in individuals ages 6 months and older for shots that the FDA has approved or has authorized for emergency use. (Politico)

CDC Director Walensky Tests Positive For COVID-19: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, according to a release from the agency. Walensky tested positive Friday night and is experiencing mild symptoms, the CDC said. The director is isolating at her home and will participate in planned meetings virtually in accordance with CDC guidelines. (The Hill)

‘No Quick Fixes’ – Walensky’s Push for Change at CDC Meets Reality: The CDC’s new push to get information about health crises out faster to Americans is already running up against its limited authority, congressional inaction and the agency’s own entrenched culture. In August, Director Rochelle Walensky ordered an overhaul of the CDC after its bungled Covid-19 response, including a drive to share research and data sooner and be more open with the public about what agency scientists do — and don’t — know. (Politico)

Biden Administration to Expand Use of Medication to Treat Addiction in Pregnant Women: President Biden will move to expand the use of medication to treat addiction in pregnant women through a new initiative as part of the administration’s strategy to improve maternal health.  The initiative will develop training and technical assistance about medications for opioid addiction treatment, like buprenorphine and methadone, for women who are part of government programs through the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. It also will offer opioid addition education to women’s health providers through the Department of Veterans Affairs. (The Hill)

Labor & Workforce

The Nationwide Injunction on Contractors Vaccine Mandate is Lifted, But Agencies Told Not to Enforce It – Yet: A nationwide injunction on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors has been officially lifted, but the federal government told agencies to hold off on enforcing the mandate. (GovExec)

Department of Education

Biden’s Student Debt Relief Plan is Temporarily Blocked: A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan — halting any debt from being erased. But the administration is encouraging people to continue submitting their applications. (NPR)

Student Debt Relief Can Move ‘Full Speed Ahead’ Despite Temporary Hold, Education Secretary Pledges: The head of the Education Department pledged Saturday to keep “moving full speed ahead” on plans to implement President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program, coming a day after a federal appeals court put a temporary hold on it, barring the administration from canceling loans covered under the policy while it’s under review. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona doubled down on the administration’s commitment to providing student debt relief in an op-ed published Saturday and encouraged those eligible to continue applying through the live online application. (CNN)

Banking & Housing/HUD

SEC Watchdog says Staff Worried About Workload Under Gensler: A federal watchdog for the SEC is warning that employees are strained as they try to roll out an ambitious overhaul of Wall Street regulations driven by Chair Gary Gensler. The SEC inspector general said in a report that agency managers were concerned that the uptick in rulemaking activity is stretching staff thin. (Politico)

Appeals Court says Financial Watchdog Agency CFPB’s Structure is Unconstitutional: A federal appeals court has ruled that the funding structure of the nation’s most powerful financial watchdog agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is unconstitutional. (NPR)

Treasury Department Looks for Climate Risks Lurking in Property Insurance: The Treasury Department is launching a first-of-its-kind initiative to uncover climate-related risks to private insurance markets. Property insurance is becoming harder to find and more expensive in states like California that have been hard hit by climate change-related extreme weather events. (Axios)


Banking Agencies to Provide Guidance on Crypto after Better Understanding Risks: Banking regulators expect to provide industry guidance to financial institutions on crypto-related activities once agencies better understand the associated risks, said Martin Gruenberg, the acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Gruenberg also added that a potential future payments system based on the use of stablecoin should complement the Federal Reserve’s forthcoming FedNow service, as well as a possible U.S. central bank digital currency. (Reuters)

Tax Reform/IRS

IRS Bumps Up Estate-Tax Exclusion to $12.92 Million for 2023: Ultra-wealthy Americans can soon protect more assets from federal estate taxes, the IRS announced last week. Starting in 2023, individuals can transfer up to $12.92 million to heirs, during life or at death, without triggering a federal estate-tax bill, up from $12.06 million in 2022. (CNBC)

IRS Increases 401(k), IRA Contribution Limits for Inflation: The Internal Revenue Service is raising contribution limits for tax-deferred retirement plans by a record 9.8% for 2023 because of inflation. Starting next year, Americans can contribute up to $22,500 into 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans — $2,000 more than the current $20,500 contribution limit, the IRS announced Friday. (Axios)

The IRS Just Changed its Tax Brackets: The IRS said it is adjusting many of its rules to account for the impact of inflation, ranging from individual income tax brackets for 2023 to the standard deduction. The changes could mean tax savings for some taxpayers next year. (CBS News)


States Divided on Setting Targets for Curbing Highway Emissions: Republican state officials are slamming a new Biden administration proposal to reduce greenhouse gases generated from vehicles traveling on highways, calling it illegal and unworkable, even as officials from Democratic states are enthusiastically backing the plan. (Route Fifty)

U.S. FAA says Some Boeing 737 MAX 7 Submissions Incomplete, Need Review: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told Boeing Co that some key documents submitted as part of the agency’s ongoing certification review of the 737 MAX 7 are incomplete and others need a reassessment by the U.S. planemaker. (Reuters)


NOAA Releases Winter Weather Outlook: The Climate Prediction Center’s official winter forecast has been released, and it splits the country in two: hot and dry down south, and a mystery up north. (The Hill)

America’s Top Aerospace Sleuths Join UFO Hunt: America’s top aerospace engineers and scientists are joining forces to protect us from UFOs. The country’s largest organization of government and private sector technical experts is launching a project to study “unidentified aerial phenomena,” after concluding that recent incursions by mysterious craft pose a safety hazard to military and commercial aircraft, according to people involved in the effort. (Politico)

China Looked at Putting a Monitoring Satellite in Retrograde Geostationary Orbit Via the Moon: China appears to have considered boosting its space situational awareness capabilities by placing a satellite in a retrograde orbit out at the geostationary belt. A paper published in Nature Scientific Reports by authors from the Xi’an Satellite Control Center looks at using a lunar swingby to insert a satellite into a retrograde orbit out at the geostationary belt (GEO) for monitoring activities and debris warning. (Space News)

The U.S. is Researching Ways to Block the Sun: With climate change continuing apace, including higher temperatures, rising sea levels and more extreme weather the threat of impacts like large scale population displacements has researchers exploring all options. The situation is so dire that the US government has now directed the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to create a working group with relevant science agencies to develop a five-year research plan for studying solar geoengineering, new technologies which could redirect or block some solar energy. (Free Think) 

Seeds Launching to the Moon in 2025 Will Test Plant Resilience: In collaboration with start-up Lunaria One, scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) want to grow plants on the moon by 2025. The Australian Lunar Experiment Promoting Horticulture (ALEPH-1) payload will launch aboard SpaceIL’s Beresheet 2 lander, a project Israel announced shortly after its first moon mission failed in 2020. China carried a similar experiment on its Chang’e 4 lander that successfully sprouted cotton seeds. (Space)

After Many Years of Searching – Potential First Traces of the Universe’s Earliest Stars Discovered: The ancient chemical remains of the first stars to light the universe may have been found by astronomers. The researchers discovered an unusual ratio of elements that, in their opinion, could only come from the debris produced by the all-consuming explosion of a 300 solar-mass first-generation star using an innovative analysis of a distant quasar observed by the 8.1-meter Gemini North telescope on Hawai’i, operated by the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab. (SciTechDaily)

NASA announces 16 people who will study UFOs to see what’s natural – and what isn’t: What is behind all these UFO sightings? We may find out. NASA announced the 16 people who will spend the next nine months studying unidentified aerial phenomena, also known as UFOs. (USA Today)


White House Seeks More Ukraine Weapons Support in Senate NDAA: The Biden administration last Tuesday laid out its vision for the Senate version of the annual Pentagon policy bill on a range of issues, including a new nuclear missile, visas for Afghans and a lack of funds for military construction projects. (Roll Call)

Military Suicides Drop as Leaders Push New Programs: Suicides across the active duty U.S. military decreased over the past 18 months, driven by sharp drops in the Air Force and Marine Corps last year and a similar decline among Army soldiers during the first six months of this year, according to a new Pentagon report and preliminary data for 2022. (AP)

Space Force Tries to Turn Over a New Leaf in Satellite Procurement: The Space Force is planning its next major procurement of satellites — a constellation in medium Earth orbit that will track missile launches — as the service’s acquisitions come under increasing scrutiny. The Space Systems Command next year will seek industry bids for as many as four infrared sensing satellites in medium Earth orbit (MEO) for missile warning and tracking. The satellites will add a new layer to the Pentagon’s planned multi-orbit architecture of space sensors. (Space News)

The Military’s Network Warfare Experiment Scaled Up This Year: Project Convergence 2022, the third iteration of the military’s massive networked warfare experiment, saw autonomous helicopters and futuristic augmented headgear, but the real focus was enlarging the experiment to better replicate a major conflict and include forces from other services and allies. The U.S. Army-led experiment attempted to create a lot more targets, challenges, and complexities to test out futuristic concepts. (Defense One)

Biden Defense Secretary Holds Call with Russian Counterpart: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart on Friday, the first time the pair are known to have spoken in more than five months. Austin “emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication” in the call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to a readout from the Pentagon. (The Hill)

DHS & Immigration

Top CDC Official says Title 42 Border Policy ‘Came from Outside’: A top health official told a House select subcommittee that a directive that has restricted asylum access at the southwest border since the pandemic was drafted without input from the nation’s top health agency but was instead “handed to” them, a report published Monday states. (Roll Call)

Ethiopia Designated for Temporary Protection Status (TPS): Amidst a long and grueling civil war, Secretary Mayorkas directed the DHS to designate Ethiopia as eligible for TPS for 18 months. Individuals will be eligible for TPS status if they have resided in the United States before October 20, 2022. This would allow Ethiopian nationals to reside and work in the U.S. for the duration of their status. Immigration advocates are now urging Congress to provide a path for Ethiopian refugees to stay permanently in the U.S. (The Hill)

Migrant Border Crossings in Fiscal Year 2022 Topped 2.76 Million, Breaking Previous Record: The number of undocumented immigrant crossings at the southwest border for fiscal year 2022 topped 2.76 million, breaking the previous annual record by more than 1 million, according to Customs and Border Protection data. (NBC News)


White House Cyber Director Defends ‘Tough’ National Cybersecurity Strategy Ahead of Release: National Cyber Director Chris Inglis is expected to release the Biden administration’s first comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy soon, a document that many expect will meet industry pushback as it could expand the government’s role in protecting the nation’s digital infrastructure. The Biden administration recently issued its national security strategy, clearing the way for the imminent release of Inglis’s document. The strategy will be the first since the Trump administration released its national cybersecurity strategy in 2018. (Cyberscoop)

White House Leaders See ‘Momentum’ in Ambitious Federal Cybersecurity Overhaul: The effort to overhaul federal cyber defenses has “momentum” behind it, most notably in helping agencies distill broad cybersecurity objectives into specific technology investments as part of the annual budgeting process, according to Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha, who said the White House’s zero trust strategy gives cybersecurity leaders the ability to “disaggregate and do strategy-based budgeting all the way down to a technology investment.” The strategy lays out five zero trust “pillars” and corresponding actions agencies should take before the end of fiscal 2024. (Federal News Network)


USDA Begins Debt Relief Payments for Thousands of Farmers: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that thousands of farmers in debt have received $800 million in loan relief and that his department will use congressional funding to take a more proactive approach to reduce delinquencies and foreclosures. (Roll Call)


After Raising Hope, Biden Still Lacks Climate Migration Plan: Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden issued what was widely hailed as a landmark executive order calling for the U.S. government to study and plan for the impact of climate change on migration. And less than a year later, his administration released the first U.S. government assessment of the vast rippling effects of a warming Earth on international security and displacement of people. (AP)

EPA Opens Civil Right Probe of Mississippi after Jackson Water Crisis: The Environmental Protection Agency is launching an investigation into whether the Republican-controlled state of Mississippi violated the Civil Rights Act by depriving the predominantly Black city of Jackson of federal funds to repair its beleaguered water system. (Politico)

GAO says ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Water Systems Serving Millions: “Forever chemicals” have been identified in water systems that serve about 9.5 million people in just six states, according to a new analysis of state data by a congressional watchdog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report this week saying that the toxic chemicals had been found in at least 18 percent of water systems in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio and Vermont. (The Hill)

U.S. EPA begins work to set up $27 billion green bank: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday began the process of designing a $27 billion green bank that will offer grants to disadvantaged communities around the United States to deploy low- or zero-emissions projects. (Reuters)

Department of Energy

Biden says Oil Companies Should Ramp Up Production and Cut Prices at the Pump Instead of Buying Back Stock, Paying Dividends: President Joe Biden said oil companies need to use their record profits to ramp up production rather than to enrich shareholders. “My message to the American energy companies is this: You should not be using your profits to buy back stock or for dividends. Not now. Not while a war is raging,” Biden said. “You should be using these record-breaking profits to increase production and refining.” (CNBC)

U.S. Grid Data Needed for Faster Solar, Wind Build: An anticipated surge in solar and wind installations following President Biden’s historic climate bill has increased the urgency of grid interconnection reforms. A lack of grid capacity and long interconnection queues are delaying solar, wind and storage projects across the U.S. Over 1.4 TW of new power generation and storage projects were queueing for grid connection at the end of 2021, triple the amount in 2016. (Reuters)

Faster, Wetter Hurricanes Are on the Way, say Department of Energy Scientists: The U.S. Atlantic Coast is becoming a hotbed for rapidly intensifying hurricanes, as climate change fuels wetter and more severe storm systems, a new study has found. (The Hill)

Federal Government Needs 30,000 New Electric Vehicles per Year to Meet Emission Goals: Meeting federal emissions goals may require federal agencies to acquire about 30,000 emissions-free vehicles per year and about 25 times the current number of charging ports, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). (The Hill)

FERC says ISO-NE, ERCOT, MISO Face Possible Capacity Shortfalls in Extreme Winter Weather: New England has adequate power supplies for normal winter weather, but could face shortfalls if there is a long cold stretch because of its limited ability to import natural gas, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s annual winter energy market and reliability assessment released last Thursday. (UtilityDive)

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