The Senate has approved an interim spending bill keeping the federal government open for another three weeks as congressional talks continue on a deal to enact the 12 annual spending bills as part of a single package.
Senate action on the so-called Continuing Resolution (CR) came the same week. reports that a wave of undocumented immigrants were allowed to enter the country.
Meanwhile, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) slammed fellow Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee. GOP members of the panel blocked a slate of Federal Reserve nominees from running for the Senate, including Chairman Jerome Powell, by boycotting the meeting and denying the committee a quorum.
Also this week, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) unveiled legislation to repeal tariffs on solar panels, which she says threatens more than 6,000 jobs in Nevada.
President Joe Biden signed the CR into law on Friday after it passed the Senate 66 to 27. Cortez Masto voted for the funding measure, but Rosen missed the final two votes on Thursday. She had to prepare for “a routine, pre-scheduled medical procedure,” her office said. They noted that she stayed in DC and would have voted for it, though the outcome was never really in doubt.
The action on the CR came after the Senate approved three nominations, including Robert Calif, to lead the Food and Drug Administration. Califf was confirmed by a vote of 50 to 46, with Cortez Masto and Rosen endorsing the nomination. Six Republicans also supported Califf and five Democrats opposed him.
The Senate had planned to consider the bipartisan postal reform bill passed by the House. But sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) Monday stalled a plan to quickly bring the measure back to the ground. He fears the bill, which would require future retired postal workers to enroll in Medicare, could threaten Medicare’s solvency.
Currently, about a quarter of postal retirees eligible for Medicare do not enroll and remain on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which provides coverage to approximately 8 million federal and postal workers, retirees, and their families.
The House is on recess during President’s Day. The Senate is also out next week.
Amodei signed a letter dated Monday from all GOP members of the House Appropriations Committee calling on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to investigate reports of illegal immigrants released into the United States
“Residents of Northern Nevada are rightly concerned about reports of illegal immigrants being released into our communities at taxpayer expense and deserve responses that will shed light on the long-term impact of these actions,” said said Amodei. said in a press release.
The letter arrives as The New York Times reported that immigration officials have been overwhelmed by a growing number of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum after arriving at the southern border since last year and cleared about 94,000 people under a accelerated “catch and release” process.
The process did not set court dates for immigrants. Instead, they were asked to register with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials within 60 days, the Times noted. But local ICE offices could not provide an appointment, which forced them to continue to contact ICE to begin their legal proceedings.
According to FoxNews, DHS reported 153,941 encounters with migrants last month, nearly double the 78,414 reported for January 2021 and more than quadruple the 36,585 for January 2020. DHS also reported that 62,573 migrants were released in the United States last month. That’s almost as much as those rented from August to October last year, according to Fox.
With the DHS budget under control, Amodei said he and his colleagues “expect a prompt and comprehensive numerical breakdown from DHS directly addressing these concerns so that we can take appropriate action to protect taxpayer dollars and keep families safe.”
Cortez Masto said she was “disappointed” with fellow Republicans on the Banking Committee, who declined to show up to vote on the Federal Reserve nominees on Tuesday because of concerns about one of the five nominees being considered.
“They can be here to vote ‘no,'” Cortez Masto said. “All we’re trying to do is get them off the committee.”
The panel convened on Tuesday to consider nominations of Powell for a second term as Fed chairman, Lael Brainard as vice chairman and economists Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to join the board of governors.
But the committee’s 12 GOP members declined to attend and denied the panel a quorum, a deadlock tactic aimed at preventing the panel from advancing the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin, Biden’s pick to be the top banking regulator. from the Fed. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a filing committee member, said he wanted her to answer more questions about her time working for a Colorado-based payment processing company, Reserve Trust. Toomey wants to know if Raskin, who once served at the Fed, lobbied his former Fed colleagues for access to Fed clearing, payment and settlement services, typically used by banks.
There are currently three vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, which is made up of seven members. Cortez Masto argued that a full Fed board was needed to help fight inflation, one of the Fed’s main functions.
“I hear everyday about the impact of high prices in my state, from everyone,” Cortez Masto said.
Rosen introduced a bill that would repeal the so-called Section 201 tariffs on solar panels.
Tariffs are used to give domestically produced goods a price advantage over similar imported goods, and they increase government revenue.
“Solar tariffs are hurting America’s clean energy economy by raising prices for American families and costing us jobs in this key industry, while not incentivizing domestic manufacturing,” Rosen said.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. solar industry has lost nearly 13,000 jobs since the tariffs were imposed in 2018, and about 20,000 projected new solar jobs have never been realized. Most workers in the domestic solar industry, around 90%, work in non-manufacturing jobs – such as installation, maintenance, operation, distribution and development – and depend on the availability of affordable solar panels . Nevada has the largest solar economy and the most solar jobs per capita in the nation.
The bill would also create a Department of Energy program to improve domestic production and manufacturing of solar panels and other solar energy components.
His bill comes after President Joe Biden recently extended tariffs by four years. However, he exempted two-sided panels, known as bifacial solar panels, which produce power from both sides and are better suited for large-scale projects.
the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would provide $17 million to protect Lake Tahoe from invasive species and $50 million to promote conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem in the West. The funds, to be disbursed over five years, come from the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted last year.
“This new bipartisan Infrastructure Act funding will help protect Lake Tahoe from invasive species and sagebrush ecosystems from persistent threats such as drought and wildfires,” Rosen said in a statement.
Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) has unveiled legislation designating Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. The bill would permanently protect nearly 450,000 acres of biologically diverse and culturally significant land in the Mojave Desert.
Avi Kwa Ame is the Mojave name for “Spirit Mountain” and a spiritual center for the Yuman-speaking tribes along the Colorado River.
Titus and Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) have written to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recommending the creation of the new national monument.
For a full look at the measures delegates supported or opposed this week, see The Nevada IndependentCongressional vote tracking and other information below.
SEN. Jacky Rosen
S.3608 – A bill to amend Subchapter III of Chapter 99 of the United States Harmonized Tariff Schedule to repeal tariff increases and a tariff quota on certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and to require the Secretary of Energy to establish and carry out a program to support and encourage the manufacture of solar energy components in the United States, and for other purposes.
S.3658 – A bill to amend the Higher Education Act 1965 to provide for an interest-free deferral on student loans for borrowers participating in a medical or dental internship or residency program.
REPRESENTING. DINA TITUS
HR 6751 – To establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in the State of Nevada and for other purposes.
This article was last updated on February 19, 2022, at 8:20 am note that Senator Jacky Rosen’s medical procedure took place in Washington. CC