In the first two weeks of April 2023, which comprised all of 10 business days, federal regulators finalized 132 new rules and proposed another 112. These actions and other notices from government agencies added up to 3,773 pages in the Federal Register, bringing the 2023 total to 23,284 pages. Of those, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accounted for nine rules, 12 proposed rules and 39 notices.
The U.S. Congress left Washington, D.C. for its annual two-week Easter recess on March 30, not to return until April 17. Prior to their departure, House Republicans passed an energy package that has zero chance of moving in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The GOP also has yet to offer its own federal budget proposal in response to the one released by President Biden on March 9, causing the White House to attack the party and refuse to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to discuss the looming debt-ceiling crisis.
The president proposes and Congress disposes is a common refrain here in Washington, D.C. each spring when the president of the United States releases the annual budget request, known as the PBR. The media and members of both parties will make much noise in the coming weeks about the president’s overspending, how Republicans want to cut vital programs and why the current deficit situation is unsustainable.
There is a saying in Washington, D.C.: “If you can’t legislate it, regulate it.” President Biden, like others before him, now faces a divided Congress that puts a damper on his legislative agenda. As the Biden administration turns to regulations to implement their priorities, Republican lawmakers are increasing their use of the little-known Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back regulations they oppose.
Add the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the list of bodies getting in on the industrial decarbonization game. On March 9, the WTO will hold an event titled “Trade Forum on Decarbonization Standards: Promoting coherence and transparency in the steel sector.” The event will hear perspectives on challenges and opportunities around decarbonization standards and the potential role of the WTO in promoting trade-related international cooperation, with a focus on the iron and steel supply chain.
Consider this a public service announcement. Prior to filing your OSHA Section 300A forms electronically by the March 2, 2023, deadline, filers must set up a new Injury Tracking Application (ITA) account with Login.gov.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative received nearly 1,497 comments from the public by the January 17th deadline as part of its review of the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports. The review is required by law and covers all four lists subject to the tariffs. Lists 1, 2 and 3, with a total of roughly 6,800 products listed, have a 25% tariff rate on imports from China, while List 4a has about 3,200 Chinese imports subject to a 7.5% tariff rate.
After several days of will they or won’t they, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives elected a new Speaker and began the process of organizing the lower chamber in this 118th Congress. The question now is, what next? Most expect an initial period of relative quiet in January before the storm of hearings, investigations and accusations begin by the spring.
On Dec. 20, 2022, members of Congress released a bipartisan $1.7 trillion FY 2023 federal government spending bill that increases funding for both defense and non-defense programs. President Biden is expected to sign a final package to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2023. However, businesses may focus on what the bill omitted rather than what lawmakers included.
While far from a Trump-style trade war, President Biden and the U.S. Congress are walking a fine line after the new electric-vehicle subsidy law went into effect on Aug. 16, 2022. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a $7,500 combined tax credit for electric vehicles manufactured in North America. This change reduced the number of current models eligible for the credit from more than 60 to fewer than 20.