Analysis from PESA Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley
The 117th Congress began last week but the schedule has been disrupted by the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Impeachment proceedings are expected to take up much of the floor time in the House and Senate over the next few weeks with a vote taken in the House on Wednesday. The Senate timeline is currently unclear.
Despite the dramatic and shocking disruption, we are starting to get a sense for what to expect over the next two years as regular business returns to normal. In a letter to the Democratic caucus, incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that climate legislation is among his top priorities.
“We will consider bold legislation to defeat the climate crisis by investing in clean infrastructure and manufacturing, which will create millions of good jobs for Americans, regardless of ZIP code,” he wrote.
This legislation will likely be along the lines of what the incoming Biden Administration has discussed.
On the House side, Rep. Kelly Castor, Chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, recently discussed plans to move forward on aggressive climate change legislation rather than issuing subpoenas to large oil and gas companies as some progressives want. She believes the U.S. financial sector will have to play an active role in pushing policy in conjunction with government action.
Very little legislation emerged from this Select Committee in the previous Congress because the Senate was controlled by Republicans. This situation is now reversed, so it is logical that the committee plans to be more legislatively active.
Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine initiative, announced several new procedures to accelerate distribution and combat new COVID strains that are circulating. The plan now is to release all available vaccine doses immediately rather than reserving doses so that all those who received a first dose would be guaranteed a second one.
Health officials anticipate that new doses will be produced in time for the necessary second dose. If a second dose is not available, they believe that one dose will provide enough immunity to provide some protection until the second doses are available.
This announcement is important to the OFS sector because it will likely accelerate the timeline for the OFS workforce to begin receiving a vaccine. In most states where there is significant OFS employment, individuals over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions are set to receive vaccines before essential workers. This first group comprises roughly 50% of the population.
In addition, because of problems with distribution, the federal government will provide resources and logistical help to states for setting up large vaccine distribution centers like the facility currently operating at Minute Maid Park in Houston. PESA is working closely with the Texas governor’s office and other groups monitoring this situation, and we will continue to update members as more information is available.
For more information about PESA’s advocacy efforts, contact Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.