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3/31/21

New Public Laws

March 11 – The president signed into law, H.R. 1319, to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 5 (Public Law 117–2).  This legislation is the Biden administration’s effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting economic impact to our country.  See Senate action of March 6, below, for provisions that affect federal employees and retirees.

Senate Actions

February 18 – The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing to examine the Coronavirus crisis, focusing on paving the way to an equitable recovery.  Testimony was given only by public witnesses.

February 22 – The Committee on the Budget approved S. Con. Res. 5, a bill to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2021.  This legislation is the Biden administration’s effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting economic impact to our country.

February 23 & 24 – The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held hearings to examine the nomination of Debra Anne Haaland, of New Mexico, to be Secretary of the Interior.  The nominee was introduced by Senators Heinrich and Representative Young, testified, and answered questions in her own behalf.

February 24 – The Senate agreed to S. Res. 75, celebrating Black History Month.

February 24 – The nomination of Kiran Arjandas Ahuja, of Massachusetts, to be Director of the Office of Personnel Management for a term of four years, was transmitted to the Senate.

February 24 – The Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine investing in transportation while addressing climate change, improving equity, and fostering economic growth and innovation.  Testimony was heard from Michigan Governor Gretchen E. Whitmer, Lansing; Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr., Annapolis; Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver, Colorado; and Victoria F. Sheehan, New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner, Washington, D.C., on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

February 24 – The Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing to examine native communities’ priorities in focus for the 117th Congress.  Testimony was heard from Carmen Lindsey, Board of Trustees Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair, Honolulu, Hawaii; Fawn R. Sharp, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, D.C.; Leonard Forsman, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Portland, Oregon; and Julie Kitka, Alaska Federation of Natives, Anchorage.

February 25 – The Senate agreed to S. Res. 76, congratulating the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association on the celebration of its 100th anniversary on February 19, 2021, and recognizing the vital contributions its members have made to the United States over the past 100 years.

February 25 – The Senate confirmed the nomination of Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Energy, by a vote of 64 yeas to 35 nays.

February 25 – The Committee on Armed Services held a hearing to examine Department of Defense support to the COVID–19 response.  Testimony was heard from Stacy A. Cummings, performing the duties of Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, Robert G. Salesses, performing the duties of Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security, and General Gustave F. Perna, Chief Operating Officer, Federal COVID–19 Response for Vaccine and Therapeutics, all of the Department of Defense.

February 25 The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing to examine the coronavirus crisis, focusing on next steps for rebuilding Main Street.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 1 – The Senate passed the following:

  • Res. 78, notifying the President of the United States of the election of the Honorable Sonceria Ann Berry as the Secretary of the Senate.
  • Res. 79, notifying the House of Representatives the election of the Honorable Sonceria Ann Berry as the Secretary of the Senate.
  • Res. 82, honoring the life and legacy of John Robert Lewis and commending John Robert Lewis for his towering achievements in the nonviolent struggle for civil rights.

March 1 – The Committee on the Judiciary adopted its rules of procedure for the 117th Congress, and ordered favorably reported the nomination of Merrick Brian Garland, of Maryland, to be Attorney General.

March 2 – The Committee on the Budget held a hearing to examine the nomination of Shalanda D. Young, of Louisiana, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  The nominee was introduced by Senator Leahy, and testified and answered questions in her own behalf.

March 2 – The Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation, focusing on the January 6, 2021 insurrection, domestic terrorism, and other threats.  Testimony was provided by Christopher A. Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice.

March 3 – The Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine the nominations of Brenda Mallory, of Maryland, to be a Member of the Council on Environmental Quality, who was introduced by Senator Blumenthal, and Janet Garvin McCabe, of Indiana, to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who was introduced by Representative Carson.  The nominees testified and answered questions in their own behalf.

March 3 – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Committee on Rules and Administration held a joint hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.  Testimony was provided by Robert G. Salesses, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security, and Major General William J. Walker, USA, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard, both of the Department of Defense; Jill Sanborn, Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice; and Melissa Smislova, Acting Under Secretary, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security.

March 4 – The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the nomination of Debra Anne Haaland, of New Mexico, to be Secretary of the Interior.

Also, the Committee announced the following subcommittee assignments for the 117th Congress:

Subcommittee on Energy: Senators Hirono (Chair), Wyden, Sanders, Heinrich, King, Cortez Masto, Hickenlooper, Hoeven, Risch, Murkowski, Lankford, Cassidy, Hyde-Smith, and Marshall.

Subcommittee on National Parks: Senators King (Chair), Sanders, Heinrich, Hirono, Kelly, Daines, Lee, Murkowski, Hoeven, and Lankford.

Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining: Senators Cortez Masto (Chair), Wyden, Heinrich, Hirono, King, Kelly, Hickenlooper, Lee, Risch, Daines, Murkowski, Lankford, Cassidy, and Hyde-Smith.

Subcommittee on Water and Power: Senators Wyden (Chair), Sanders, Cortez Masto, Kelly, Hickenlooper, Hyde-Smith, Risch, Lee, Hoeven, and Marshall.

Senators Manchin and Barrasso are ex officio members of each subcommittee.

March 4The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing to examine the nominations of Shalanda D. Young, of Louisiana, to be Deputy Director, who was introduced by Senators Leahy and Cassidy, and Jason Scott Miller, of Maryland, to be Deputy Director for Management, who was introduced by Representative Stevens, both of the Office of Management and Budget.  The nominees testified and answered questions in their own behalf.

March 6 – The Senate passed H.R. 1319, to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 5, with an amendment, by a vote of 50 yeas to 49 nays.  This legislation is the Biden administration’s effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting economic impact to our country.

Among other provisions, the following are of interest to federal employees and retirees:

  • Title II, Subtitles D & E, provide funding for Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and medical supplies as well as contact testing, tracing, and mitigation activities.
  • Title IV, Sec. 4001, establishes an Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund for federal employees unable to work due to being in quarantine for Covid-19, or caring for a family member due to the virus, up to 600 hours total, and with other limitations.
  • Title IV, Sec. 4016, provides eligibility for workers’ compensation payment for certain federal employees who came in contact with the public or co-workers in the course of their duties and who contracted Covid-19 between January 27, 2010 and January 27, 2023. This does not apply to federal employees who were solely teleworking during this time period.

The bill now returns to the House for further consideration of the Senate amendments.

March 8 – The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing to examine the COVID–19 response, focusing on an update from the frontlines.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 10 – The Senate confirmed the following nominations:

  • Merrick Brian Garland, of Maryland, to be Attorney General, by a vote of 70 yeas to 30 nays.
  • Michael Stanley Regan, of North Carolina, to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, by a vote of 66 yeas to 34 nays.

March 10 – The Committee on the Budget approved the nomination of Shalanda D. Young, of Committee: Louisiana, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

March 10 – The Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to examine climate change in the electricity sector and fostering economic growth, including electricity grid resilience and actions that should be undertaken by the Department of Energy and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Testimony was heard from Frank Rusco, Director of Natural Resources and Environment, Government Accountability Office; and public witnesses.

March 10 – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the nomination of Shalanda D. Young, of Louisiana, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

March 10 – The Committee on Indian Affairs held a roundtable discussion to examine Native communities and the climate crisis.  Among those participating were Charlene Nelson, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Tokeland, Washington; Timothy Davis, Blackfeet Nation, Browning, Montana; Amber Torres, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Schurz, Nevada; Shelley Buck, Prairie Island Indian Community, St. Paul, Minnesota; Craig Quanchello, Picuris Pueblo, Penasco, New Mexico; Livingston Wong, Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, Hawaii; and Nikoosh Carlo, CNC North Consulting, Seattle, Washington.

March 11 – The Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing to examine farmers and foresters, focusing on opportunities to lead in tackling climate change.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 15 – The Senate agreed to:

  • Res. 110, designating April 5, 2021, as “Gold Star Wives Day”.
  • Res. 111, designating March 29, 2021, as “Vietnam Veterans Day”.
  • The nomination of Debra Anne Haaland, of New Mexico, to be Secretary of the Interior, by a vote of 51 yeas to 40 nays.

March 15 – The Committee on Environment and Public Works announced the following subcommittee assignments for the 117th Congress:

Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure: Senators Cardin (Chair), Sanders, Whitehouse, Merkley, Duckworth, Stabenow, Kelly, Padilla, Cramer, Inhofe, Lummis, Shelby, Boozman, Wicker, Sullivan, and Graham.

Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety: Senators Markey (Chair), Cardin, Sanders, Whitehouse, Merkley, Duckworth, Stabenow, Padilla, Inhofe, Cramer, Lummis, Shelby, Boozman, Wicker, Ernst, and Graham.

Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water: Senators Duckworth (Chair), Cardin, Whitehouse, Markey, Stabenow, Kelly, Lummis, Inhofe, Cramer, Boozman, Sullivan, and Ernst.

Subcommittee on Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight: Senators Merkley (Chair), Sanders, Markey, Kelly, Padilla, Wicker, Shelby, Sullivan, Ernst, and Graham.

Senators Carper and Capito serve as ex officio members of each subcommittee.

March 16 – The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to examine ways to strengthen research and development in innovative transportation technologies with a focus on solutions that decrease emissions, reduce our reliance on foreign supply chains, and increase manufacturing in the United States.  Testimony was heard from Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy; and public witnesses.

March 17 – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the following bills, among others:

  • 272, to amend the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, to require the budget justifications and appropriation requests of agencies be made publicly available.
  • 583, to promote innovative acquisition techniques and procurement strategies.
  • 517, to provide for joint reports by relevant Federal agencies to Congress regarding incidents of terrorism.
  • 671, to require the collection of voluntary feedback on services provided by agencies.
  • 693, to provide for the halt in pension payments for Members of Congress sentenced for certain offenses.
  • 636, to require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to submit to Congress an annual report on projects that are over budget and behind schedule.
  • 522, to require each agency, in providing notice of a rule making, to include a link to a 100-word plain language summary of the proposed rule.
  • 664, to require the Comptroller General of the United States to review certain legislation in order to identify potential risks of duplication of and overlap with existing Federal programs, offices, and initiatives.

March 18 – The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing to examine the 21st century economy, focusing on protecting the financial system from risks associated with climate change.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 18 – The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing to examine the COVID–19 response, focusing on an update from Federal officials.  Testimony was heard from Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, David Kessler, Chief Science Officer, COVID Response, Peter Marks, Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, and Rochelle Walensky, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all of the Department of Health and Human Services.

March 18 – The Special Committee on Aging held a hearing to examine COVID–19 one year later, focusing on addressing health care needs for at-risk Americans.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 23 – The Senate agreed to:

  • Res. 123, designating March 2021 as “National Women’s History Month”.
  • Res. 125, recognizing the heritage, culture, and contributions of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women in the United States.

March 23 – The Senate confirmed the nomination of Shalanda D. Young, of Louisiana, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 63 yeas to 37 nays.

March 25 – The Senate passed H.R. 1868, to prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts, by a vote of 90 yeas to 2 nays.

March 25 – The Senate received notification of withdrawal by the Biden administration of the nomination of Neera Tanden, of Massachusetts, to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget, which was sent to the Senate on January 20, 2021.

House Actions

February 18 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing entitled “A Smarter Investment: Pathways to a Clean Energy Future”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 18 – The Committee on Natural Resources held an organizational meeting. The Committee adopted its rules for the 117th Congress.  A resolution concerning the staffing of the committee also was agreed to.

February 19 – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing entitled “The Science of COVID–19 Vaccines and Encouraging Vaccine Uptake”. Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 22 – The Speaker announced her appointment of the following Members to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: Representative Castor (FL), Chair; Representatives Bonamici, Brownley, Huffman, McEachin, Levin (CA), Casten, Neguse, Escobar, and Graves (LA).

February 22 – The Speaker announced her appointment of the following Members to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress: Representative Kilmer, Chair; Representatives Lofgren, Cleaver, Perlmutter, Phillips, Williams (GA), Timmons, Rodney Davis (IL), Latta, Reschenthaler, and Van Duyne.

February 22 – The Speaker announced her appointment of the following Members to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis: Representative Clyburn of South Carolina, Chair; Representatives Waters, Carolyn B. Maloney (NY), Velázquez, Foster, Raskin, Krishnamoorthi, Scalise, Jordan, Green (TN), and Malliotakis.

February 22 – The House observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the over 500,000 Americans who have passed away from the COVID–19 virus.

February 23 – The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Rules and Administration held a joint hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.  Testimony was heard from Acting Chief Robert J. Contee, III, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.; Steven A. Sund, former Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police; Michael C. Stenger, former Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, U.S. Senate; and Paul D. Irving, former Sergeant at Arms, U.S. House of Representatives.

February 23 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled “Pathway to Protection: Expanding Availability of COVID–19 Vaccines”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 23 – The Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing entitled “Revitalizing the Federal Workforce”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 24 – The House observed a moment of silence in memory of the late Honorable Ron Wright.  Rep. Wright passed away on February 7, 2021, from Covid-19.  The House also agreed to H. Res. 155, expressing the profound sorrow of the House of Representatives on the death of the Honorable Ronald J. Wright.

February 24 – The Committee on AppropriationsSubcommittee on Legislative Branch held a hearing entitled “Health and Wellness of Employees and State of Damage and Preservation as a Result of the January 6 Insurrection”.  Testimony was heard from Brett Blanton, Architect of the Capitol; Farar Elliott, Curator, U.S. House of Representatives; and Catherine Szpindor, Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives.

February 24 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled “Fanning the Flames: Disinformation and Extremism in the Media”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 24 – The Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing entitled “Confronting the Coronavirus: Perspectives on the COVID–19 Pandemic One Year Later”.  Testimony was heard from A. Nicole Clowers, Managing Director, Health Care Team, Government Accountability Office; and public witnesses.

February 24 – The Committee on the JudiciarySubcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing entitled “The Rise of Domestic Terrorism in America”. Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 25 – The Committee on Agriculture held a hearing entitled “Climate Change and the U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Sectors”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 25 – The Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch held a hearing entitled “U.S. Capitol Police and House Sergeant at Arms, Security Failures on January 6”.  Testimony was heard from Timothy Blodgett, Acting Sergeant at Arms; U.S. House of Representatives; and Yogananda D. Pittman, Acting Chief of Police, U.S. Capitol Police.

February 25 – The Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies held a hearing entitled “Strategies for Energy and Climate Innovation”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 25 – The Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy held a hearing entitled “Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 25 – The Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship and Capital Markets held a hearing entitled “Climate Change and Social Responsibility: Helping Corporate Boards and Investors Make Decisions for a Sustainable World”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

February 25 – The Committee on House Administration held a hearing entitled “Strengthening American Democracy”.  Testimony was heard from Shenna Bellows, Secretary of State, Maine; Ricky Hatch, County Clerk/Auditor, Weber County, Utah; and public witnesses.

February 26 – The House passed H.R. 803, the “Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act”, by a vote of 227 yeas to 200 nays.  This bill combines a number of park and public lands bills that passed the House during the previous 116th Congress, but were not considered in the Senate before the end of that Congress.  As passed by the House, the bill includes the following that are of importance to the National Park Service:

Title I – Section 102(c), designates a small amount of wilderness in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado.

Title II – Redwood National and State Parks, California:

  • Section 212, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to undertake initiatives to restore degraded redwood forest ecosystems in Redwood National and State Parks in partnership with the State of California, local agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.
  • Section 215, authorizes the establishment of a visitor center in Del Norte County, California, to assist in fulfilling the purposes of Redwood National and State Parks and the Smith River National Recreation Area.
  • Section 217, requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to evaluate the feasibility and suitability of establishing overnight accommodations on Federal land at the southern and northern boundaries or on land within 20 miles of the southern and northern boundaries of Redwood National and State parks in consultation with interested Federal, State, Tribal, and local entities, and private and nonprofit organizations.
  • Section 228, designates the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as a unit of the National Park System.
  • Section 233, designates, among other areas, approximately 31,000 acres in Redwood National Park as potential wilderness.
  • Section 234, designates, among other river segments, three segments of rivers in Redwood National Park as part of the wild and scenic rivers system.

Title III – designates certain rivers within Olympic National Park, Washington, as wild and scenic rivers.

Title V – establishes the San Gabriel National Recreation Area in the State of California as a unit of the National Park System.

Title VI – adjusts the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in California, to include the Rim of the Valley Corridor of 191,000 acres.

Title VII – Colorado National Parks:

  • Subtitle A, Sec. 719, removes a 15.5-acre parcel of land from potential wilderness within Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Subtitle D establishes in statute the Curecanti National Recreation Area in Colorado. Curecanti NRA is one of just a couple of National Park System units that have never been legislatively established by Congress.  Currently, the NRA is managed under a cooperative agreement between the NPS and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Title VIII – Authorizes the withdrawal of just over 1 million acres surrounding Grand Canyon National Park from mineral entry, leasing, and patent under the mining laws of the U.S.

Title IX – Codifies the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Grant Program (ORLP), by which LWCF funds are used to provide grants to entities primarily in urban and underserved areas for the purposes of outdoor recreation land acquisition and development.

Title X – The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are encouraged to ensure servicemember and veteran access to public lands designated by this act for the purposes of outdoor recreation and to participate in outdoor-related volunteer and wellness programs.

Title XII – Authorizes the addition of the Nystrom Elementary School – The Maritime Building to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historical Park, California.

Title XIII – Authorizes a minor boundary adjustment of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area to include approximately 62 acres of public land encompassing the decommissioned the U.S. Army Reserve Center owned by the City of Rio Vista, CA; the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Rio Vista; the Beach Drive Wastewater Treatment Plant, City of Rio Vista; and Sandy Beach County Park, Salano County, CA.

Title XIV – Extends the life of the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission, which expired on September 26, 2018, through September 26, 2028 and makes the extension retroactive to 2018.

Title XV – Requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of the coastline and adjacent areas to the Santa Monica Bay, California from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance Beach, including the areas in and around Ballona Creek and the Baldwin Hills and the San Pedro section of the City of Los Angeles, excluding the Port of Los Angeles north of Crescent Avenue, as a potential addition to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Title XVI – Requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a feasibility study of establishing the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area in Virginia and North Carolina.   The study area includes the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk in the State of Virginia; Isle of Wight County in the State of Virginia; Camden, Currituck, Gates, and Pasquotank counties in the State of North Carolina; and any areas adjacent that have similar heritage aspects to them.

Title XVII – Establishes a National Heritage Area System within the National Park Service composed of all currently established national heritage areas and any that will be established by Congress in future years.  Each national heritage area is authorized to receive up to $750,000 annually in appropriations from the National Park Service from FY 2022 through FY 2037.

Title XVIII – Modifies the boundary of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona, to include an additional 7.4 acres transferred from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and 3.8 acres transferred from the Bureau of Land Management.  The NPS also would transfer 3.5 acres to the BIA.  The NPS is authorized to enter into a cooperative management agreement with Arizona to manage 200 acres of State Trust Land.

Title XIX – Authorizes the transfer of approximately 98 acres of land from the Forest Service to the National Park Service to be added to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.  The NPS visitor center, administrative offices and a portion of the key road into the monument are located on this land and have been managed and used by the NPS for a number of years.

Title XX – Clarifies that nothing in the designation of wilderness areas under this act will limit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to manage for fire, insects, and diseases under the authority of the Wilderness Act.

Title XXI – Designates certain segments of the York River and its tributaries in Maine within the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Title XXII – Establishes the St. Croix National Heritage Area, consisting of the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Title XXIV – Requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to complete a report on the use of special recreation permits by recreation service providers serving environmental justice communities.

Title XXV – Requires the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Commerce, to conduct a study to determine whether the acreage to be withdrawn under this Act contains geothermal resources, or minerals needed for battery storage, renewable energy technology, and electric vehicles.

February 27 – The House passed H.R. 1319, to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 5, by a vote of 219 yeas to 212 nays.  This legislation is the Biden administration’s effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting economic impact to our country.

Among other provisions, the following are of interest to federal employees and retirees:

  • Title II, Subtitle B, Sec. 2103, provides eligibility for workers’ compensation payment for certain federal employees who came in contact with the public or co-workers in the course of their duties and who contracted Covid-19 between January 27, 2010 and January 27, 2023. This does not apply to federal employees who were solely teleworking during this time period.
  • Title III, Subtitle A, provides funding for Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and medical supplies as well as contact testing, tracing, and mitigation activities.
  • Title V, Subtitle B, Sec. 5111, establishes an Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund for federal employees unable to work due to being in quarantine for Covid-19, or caring for a family member due to the virus, up to 600 hours total, and with other limitations.

March 3 – The House passed H.R. 1, to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, by a vote of 220 yeas to 210 nays.

March 4 – The Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on the Insular Area Climate Change Act.  Testimony was heard from Jean-Pierre L. Oriol, Commissioner, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, U.S. Virgin Islands; Rafael A. Machargo Maldonado, Secretary, Department of Natural Resources, Puerto Rico; and public witnesses.

March 9 – The Chair announced the Speaker’s appointment of the following Members to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: Representatives Palmer, Carter (GA), Miller (WV), Armstrong, Crenshaw, and Gonzalez (OH).

March 9 – The Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing entitled “Modernizing Energy Development Laws for the Benefit of Taxpayers, Communities, and the Environment”.  Testimony was heard from Representatives Levin of California, Porter, and DeGette; Hilary Cooper, Commissioner, District 1, San Miguel County, Colorado; and public witnesses.

March 10 – The House agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1319, to provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 5, by a vote of 220 yeas to 211 nays.  This legislation is the Biden administration’s effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and the resulting economic impact to our country.  For a list of the provisions of interest to federal employees and retirees, see the Senate action of March 6 on H.R. 1319, above.  The bill now goes to the president to be signed into law.

March 10 – The clerk read a letter from Representative Fudge, wherein she resigned as Representative for the Eleventh Congressional District of Ohio, effective today, March 10, 2021.  The congresswoman resigned after the Senate confirmed her nomination the same day to be the new secretary of housing and urban development.  The Chair announced to the House that, in light of the resignation of the gentlewoman from Ohio, Ms. Fudge, the whole number of the House is 431.

March 10 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled “The Path Forward: Restoring the Vital Mission of EPA”. Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 11 – The Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing entitled “Clearing the Air: Science-Based Strategies to Protect Workers from COVID–19 Infections”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 11 – The Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing entitled “Building Back Better: Building Resilience for the Economy, Climate, and Ecosystems”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 12 – The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing entitled “The Science Behind Impacts of the Climate Crisis”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 16 – Read a letter from Representative Haaland, wherein she resigned as Representative for the First Congressional District of New Mexico, effective today, March 16, 2021.  Representative Haaland resigned after being confirmed by the Senate on March 15 as the secretary of the interior.  The Chair announced to the House that, in light of the resignation of the gentlewoman from New Mexico, Ms. Haaland, the whole number of the House is 430.

March 17 – The House passed:

  • J. Res. 17, removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment, by a vote of 222 yeas to 204 nays.
  • R. 1085, to award three congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, by a vote of 413 yeas to 12 nays.

March 17 – The Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense held a hearing entitled “Climate Change, National Security, and the Arctic”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 17 – The Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies held a hearing entitled “Domestic Manufacturing for a Clean Energy Future”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 17 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled “Leading the Way Forward: Biden Administration Actions to Increase COVID–19 Vaccinations”.  Testimony was heard from the following Department of Health and Human Services officials: Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and Peter Marks, M.D., Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

March 17 – The Committee on Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing entitled “From Rescue to Recovery: Building a Thriving and Inclusive Post-Pandemic Economy”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 17 The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing entitled “Brain Drain: Rebuilding the Federal Scientific Workforce”.  Testimony was heard from Candice Wright, Acting Director, Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics, Government Accountability Office; and public witnesses.

March 17The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing entitled “The Business Case for Climate Solutions”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 18 – The Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies held a hearing entitled “Efforts to Address Marine Plastic Pollution Through Recycling”.  Testimony was heard from Ginger Spencer, Public Works Director, Phoenix, Arizona; and public witnesses.

March 18 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing entitled “The CLEAN Future Act: Industrial Climate Policies to Create Jobs and Support Working Communities”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 18 – The Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing entitled “Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans”. Testimony was heard from Senator Duckworth, and Representatives Matsui, Chu, and Meng; and public witnesses.

March 18 – The Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing entitled “Restoring Abandoned Mine Lands, Local Economies, and the Environment”.  Testimony was heard from Representatives Cartwright and LaHood; Todd Parfitt, Director, Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming; and public witnesses.

March 19 – The House passed H.R. 1868, to prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts, by a vote of 246 yeas to 175 nays.

March 19 – The House observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the shootings in Georgia.

March 19 – The Chair announced:

  • the Speaker’s appointment of Representative Joyce (OH), to rank after Representative Latta, to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.
  • the Speaker’s appointment of Representative Miller-Meeks to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

March 19 – The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held an organizational meeting.  The Committee adopted its rules for the 117th Congress.

March 22 – The Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing entitled “H.R. 51: Making D.C. the 51st State”.  Testimony was heard from Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia, Washington D.C.; Fitzroy Lee, Interim Chief Financial Officer, Washington D.C.; Phil Mendelson, Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia, Washington D.C.; Mainon Schwartz, Legislative Attorney, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress; and public witnesses.

March 23 – The Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing entitled “Building Back Better: Examining the Future of America’s Public Lands”.  Testimony was heard from Brad Little, Governor, Idaho; and public witnesses.

March 24 – The Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing entitled “The CLEAN Future Act: Powering a Resilient and Prosperous America”.  Testimony was heard from only public witnesses.

March 24 – The Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism held a hearing entitled “State and Local Responses to Domestic Terrorism: The Attack on the U.S. Capitol and Beyond”.  Testimony was heard from Dana Nessel, Attorney General, Michigan; Aaron Ford, Attorney General, Nevada; and John Chisholm, District Attorney, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

March 24 – The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the following bills, among others:

  • R. 610, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to establish a grant program to support the restoration of San Francisco Bay.
  • R. 1144, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide assistance for programs and activities to protect the water quality of Puget Sound.
  • R. 1921, to amend the Federal Water Pollution Act to reauthorize the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program.