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President Joe Biden is unveiling a series of new actions to protect Americans from extreme heat conditions, as communities around the country continue to struggle with record high temperatures and the lingering effects of Canadian wildfires.
Biden has asked the Labor Department to issue a hazard alert, reaffirming that workers have heat-related protections under federal law, according to the White House.
As part of the alert, the DOL will provide information on what employers should do to protect workers from extreme heat and ensure employees are aware of their rights. The agency will also ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations and increase inspections in high-risk industries such as construction and agriculture.
Biden will also announce that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investing up to $7 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to improve weather predictions and that the Interior Department is investing $152 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law to bring clean drinking water to communities across the West. The Interior investments will increase water storage capacity and lay pipeline to deliver drinking water to communities most impacted by drought.
The president will be joined for the White House announcement by Mayors Kate Gallego of Phoenix, Arizona; and Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, Texas, to hear firsthand how communities are being affected by the extreme temperatures.
Record temperatures across the country have impacted more than 100 million Americans. The US has also been suffering from the effects of unprecedented wildfires in Canada, which blanketed east coast cities with toxic smoke and led to air quality alerts in multiple states.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that tackling climate change has been one of Biden’s primary goals since he took office. Some progressive lawmakers and activists have called on the president to declare a climate emergency which would unlock sweeping executive powers, including blocking crude oil exports and placing other limits on fossil fuels. Biden considered the move last summer but ultimately decided against it. Jenny Leonard previews the announcement.
- The House will finish votes on its first fiscal 2024 spending bill.
- Senators continue considering the annual defense policy bill.
- The president will discuss actions to protect communities from extreme heat shortly before noon.
- Biden meets with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni around 3 p.m.
- Around 7:30 p.m. Biden delivers remarks at the Truman Civil Rights Symposium at the National Archives in Washington.
- Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.
Democrats’ Climate Push
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed Wednesday to pass an even bigger climate bill than the landmark Inflation Reduction Act if Democrats gain full control of Washington in next year’s election.
Ever since July was dubbed “ESG Month,” House Democrats have been orchestrating a counter-intuitive message: Defend capitalism and free markets.
The Justice Department and EPA are investigating the potential health and environmental risks from lead-covered telecoms cables across the US, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Drug Prices in Hill Focus
The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday advanced a series of bipartisan proposals to tackle some of the problems with the entities that manage prescription drug coverage, as lawmakers face an unclear path forward on passing a larger drug pricing package.
- Lawmakers are ramping up bipartisan efforts to crack down on pharmacy benefit managers, accusing the industry middlemen of driving up drug costs and putting small and rural pharmacies out of business. Read BGOV’s OnPoint.
- Top Democrats on multiple House committees joined Wednesday to propose legislation that would expand the number of drugs subject to government price negotiations, even as Medicare faces several court challenges from the pharmaceutical industry. Read more.
A bill designed to give consumers more information on their health care expenditures was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, paving the way for a full House vote on the measure that’s likely to reflect the same party-line divisions that characterized Wednesday’s vote.
More from Congress
A gusher of federal dollars is at stake as lawmakers push agriculture and nutrition goals this fall in a five-year bill that governs food and farm policies.
Lawmakers who blame major social media companies for a crisis in youth mental health are moving ahead with kids’ online safety and privacy legislation.
Legislation championed by crypto advocates that sets clearer rules for the nascent industry was approved by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
Rep. Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.) offered an amendment to the House version of the NDAA that would direct the Secretary of Defense to sell or rent out “smart sleeper” bassinets at military exchanges. The provision is included in the House-passed version of the bill.
Federal anti-terrorism standards for chemical facilities are close to lapsing after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked an attempt to streamline an extension bill in the Senate.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) vowed to battle ‘junk fees’ with legislation as lawmakers grapple with how to curb the often-unexpected and hidden costs for consumers.
The IRS together with Treasury will explore solutions to curb widespread fraud associated with a pandemic-era credit and share them with Congress, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel told tax practitioners.
What Else We’re Reading
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says that a combination of export controls and domestic incentives will be needed for the US and its allies to fight a glut of semiconductor chips she warns will come with China’s aggressive industry subsidies.
Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su backed workers’ right to strike as part of efforts to achieve fair pay, which she said should be the main focus for contract talks covering hundreds of thousands of workers taking place across the country this summer.
We’re excited to launch the third annual edition of “They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40,” Bloomberg Law’s award recognizing the accomplishments of stellar young lawyers nationwide, from appellate aces to white collar wizzes.
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