ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
- As part of the Washington Leaders’ Conference, on May 10, the Committee met with Patrick Bond of U.S. Senator Angus King’s office. The conversation featured an update on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as well as Q&A with Council members.
- Also in conjunction with the Washington Leaders’ Conference, on May 11, the Committee met with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office.
- On May 23, the Council hosted a special event, “The Economic Impact of Climate Change on the New England Economy,” featuring U.S. Senator Ed Markey. The event took place at the New England Aquarium, and featured panelists from the healthcare, financial, higher education, environmental and transportation sectors. Watch here.
- On Wednesday, July 19, the Committee hosted an in-person conversation featuring Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Read more here.
- The Committee recently named Mike Cuzzi, Principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs, as co-chair, joining longtime chair Mark Kalpin of Holland & Knight.
- The Committee has extended an invitation to ISO-NE President Gordon van Welie to speak at an event later this year and we are working with his staff on potential dates.
FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
- As part of the Washington Leaders’ Conference in May, the Committee met had two meetings with senior members of the House of Representatives. The Committee met with Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), who discussed matters before the House Financial Services Committee. The Committee then met with the Chief of Staff to House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), who answered a wide variety of questions regarding policy before the House of Representatives and priorities of the Republican House leadership.
- On July 11, 2023, The New England Council sent a letter to the New England House Delegation urging members to support R. 1807, the Improving Disclosure for Investors Act of 2023. This bipartisan bill would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to transition the default method for receiving investor documents and disclosures from paper to digital (eDelivery). More information about the letter can be found here.
- In September, the Committee submitted a comment letter on a recently proposed federal rule on supplemental benefits that concerns New England Council insurance carriers. This proposed rule focuses on short-term limited duration health products that have extended into their supplemental product space. If enacted, the rule would negatively impact Council members in this market, and our letter outlined those concerns. Read the letter.
- On March 31, the Committee submitted a comment letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division. The letter came in response to a Proposed Rule by the agency to address the upcoming end of the public health emergency, and specifically outlined changes to telemedicine prescribing of controlled substances. Identified as a high priority by the Healthcare committee members, the Council was eager to weigh in on this important issue and emphasize the desperate need for ongoing accessibility of mental health, substance use disorder, and other medical care via telemedicine. Read Comment Letter.
- In April and May, each of the four Healthcare Subcommittees met to discuss legislative priorities for the 118thCongress, and to brainstorm about programming.
- As part of the Washington Leaders Conference, the Committee met with Marvin Figueroa who serves as Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- On June 30, the Healthcare Committee convened for a planning meeting where we reviewed recent subcommittee findings, discussed ideas for fall programming, and were briefed on the Personal Health Investment Today Act, also known as the “PHIT” Act.
- The Committee is in the process of planning an event later this year focused on the public and private sector efforts to address behavioral health throughout the region. The event will feature remarks from at least one member of the New England delegation, followed by a panel discussion with NEC members in the behavioral health field.
HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
- As the FY2024 Appropriations process continues, the Council identified increased funding for the National Science Foundation as a top priority. To that end, on April 12, the Council sent a letter to the New England delegation urging them to support increasing NSF funding to $11.9 billion in FY2024. This amount is consistent with the NSF funding increase authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act that the Council supported and was passed into law last year. Read the Letter.
- In partnership with NEBHE, we crafted six Economic Impact Fact Sheets detailing the impact of Higher Education institutions in each New England state and the region as a whole. These have been shared with each New England Congressional Office and have received positive feedback. View the fact sheets here.
- During the Washington Leaders’ Conference, the Higher Ed Committee met with Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal on Wednesday, May 10, at the U.S. Department of Education. The group discussed the rising cost of Higher Education, changes to the FAFSA, and the recent Supreme Court decisions affecting Higher Education. Chair of the Higher Education Committee, President Robert Johnson of Western New England University led the conversation with many questions and comments being raised by other Committee members.
- On June 15, the Committee met as a follow-up to the May meeting with a policy staffer for the Undersecretary to continue the conversations as well as hear more about the Undersecretary’s priorities for the year.
- On September 13, the committee hosted a briefing with NEBHE on their recent Higher Education in Prison Commission report in partnership with MIT TEJI. Michael Thomas of NEBHE and Lee Perlman of MIT briefed the group. Watch here.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION WORKING GROUP
- During the Washington Leaders’ Conference, the working group held two meetings. The group met on May 10 with the Office of the National Cyber Director to discuss the Administration’s new National Cybersecurity Strategy, and on May 11 with the CHIPS for America Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- On June 20th we held a Tech and Innovation meeting which led to a conversation largely focused on AI. There was a request to gather information on the various pieces of legislation that exist, so we are doing so and will share this with members as it is available.
- On September 18, the Council host a New England Innovates event on the Blue Economy. Dr. Richard Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, will keynote the event, followed by a panel discussion with Council members in the sector. The event is being hosted by the New England Aquarium. This event is being rescheduled from its original date in March.
- Advocating for legislation to reverse a recent change in the tax code that requires businesses to amortize R&D expenses continues to be a top priority for the working group. Earlier this year, the Council endorsed bipartisan legislation in both the House and Senate on this issue. On September 27, we hosted a Hill day when a group of members met with New Engalnd House and Senate offices to advocate for this legislation. The group included representatives of various industries impacted by the changes, from defense, to technology, to healthcare and more.
- On October 16, the working group will host a meeting with former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who will discuss the future of the digital economy, data privacy, and AI regulation. RSVP here.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE
- On May 11, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met with Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH) in conjunction with our Washington Leaders’ Conference. Congressman Pappas – a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – to discuss a variety of items before the Committee. Among these were the status of discussions over raising the debt ceiling, expectations of a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, and other transportation issues impacting the region including the need to bring more electric vehicle charging stations to northern New England to foster tourism.
- On June 30, the Council sent a letter to all members of the New England House delegation to express support for legislation to reauthorize the policies and programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The five-year bill the Council supported will provide $4 billion per year for airport planning and development (including airport noise programs); $17.225 billion over five years for facilities and equipment; and a total of roughly $66.7 billion over the five years for FAA operations. Learn more about this legislation. Read the Council’s FAA letter. A similar letter to the region’s Senate delegation will be sent once that chamber shows movement on a bill.
- On October 10, the Committee will meet with Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA). Congressman Auchincloss is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is anticipated to be able to provide our members with an update as to what the Committee has done and is doing on T&I matters nationally and how the Committee’s policies and legislative agenda impact New England.
TRADE WORKING GROUP
- On July 17, the Trade Working Group held a virtual meeting with Mr. Jonathan Bosworth, Chief of Staff to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Congressman Blumenauer is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee. Mr. Bosworth discussed a wide range of trade topics including the expiration of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, ongoing trade and tariff policy related to China, the June passage of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative legislation, the U.S.-European Union Global Arrangement on steel, the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) electric vehicle tax credit, and bipartisan efforts to work with the Administration to bolster Congress’s role in the trade agreement process including the future of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).