biden administration – Morrissey Agency http://morrisseyagency.com/ Tue, 08 Mar 2022 23:57:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://morrisseyagency.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/icon-120x120.jpg biden administration – Morrissey Agency http://morrisseyagency.com/ 32 32 USPS now allows customers to order more COVID tests https://morrisseyagency.com/usps-now-allows-customers-to-order-more-covid-tests/ Tue, 08 Mar 2022 23:08:17 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/usps-now-allows-customers-to-order-more-covid-tests/ The United States Postal Service (USPS) is constantly evolving its delivery process while dealing with staffing shortages and budget cuts. These changes haven’t always been welcomed: In late 2021, the USPS began slowing delivery of some packages, and complaints about mail delays haven’t stopped. It’s not all bad news, though – the agency just announced […]]]>

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is constantly evolving its delivery process while dealing with staffing shortages and budget cuts. These changes haven’t always been welcomed: In late 2021, the USPS began slowing delivery of some packages, and complaints about mail delays haven’t stopped. It’s not all bad news, though – the agency just announced an exciting update that might appease naysayers. Read on to find out what the USPS is finally letting you do.

RELATED: USPS just made this major change to deliveries, effective immediately.

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The USPS has been responsible for shipping and delivering free COVID tests to homes since January 2022, under an initiative by the President Joe Biden. For almost two months, people in the United States could not subscribe to a plan (with four tests included in each package) per household via a Swiss Post portal. But this limit has been lifted.

The order form on the USPS website now says everyone in the United States is eligible for another round of free testing. “U.S. households can place a total of two separate orders for free COVID-19 rapid home tests (four tests per order),” the Postal Service states. “If an order has already been placed for your address, you can place a second order now.”

WASHINGTON DC, USA - FEBRUARY 10, 2021: President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Department of Defense staff, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
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On March 7, the White House posted a video of President Biden informing people in the United States that the USPS portal had been updated to allow two separate test requests from each household. “Today I want you to know that if you have already ordered free tests, you can now order another set, shipped directly to your home and free of charge, so we are ready no matter what COVID-19 brings” , did he declare. . “Go visit covidtests.gov. Get your free test today.”

According to officials, it appears that the government has always planned to publish more free tests on time. The Biden administration said it had committed to buy a total of 1 billion home COVID tests for free distribution in the United States when the initiative was announced, but only 500 million tests were expected to be available to order when the USPS portal opened on the 18th January.

“The way we set this up was to make sure every household that wanted these tests could get them before we made a second round available,” Tom Inglesbythe White House testing coordinator, told NPR.

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United States Parcel Service (USPS) package delivered to a front door.
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The USPS received a bit of a backlash in February over delivery delays for the first round of free COVID tests. The Postal Service said the tests should ship within seven to 12 days of ordering, but according to NPR, some tests weren’t sent within that window due to a manufacturing delay.

But officials say that won’t be the case with future shipments. “As we open this second round, we’re going to ship immediately,” Inglesby told the outlet. “We have a fairly large stock of new tests ready to ship, so we expect orders to be delivered quickly.”

Delivery of federally provided home test for Covid-19 with US Postal Service envelope
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More than half of American households ordered tests in January and February of this year, as NPR reports. On March 2, the USPS revealed that it had already delivered over 68 million test kits with four tests per kit to households across the country, meaning a total of over 270 million COVID tests have already been requested.

But the program was created when the coronavirus was a much more widespread problem – fueled by the increased spread of the Omicron variant in late 2021 and early 2022 – and tests were harder to come by. The number of cases has dropped significantly since then, dropping more than 28% in last week aloneaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Biden administration does not plan to retire the program, however. According to NPR, officials are emphasizing a return to the normal phase, but are pushing free testing in case a new variant arises and increases infections again. At the same time, Inglesby told the outlet that the federal government is buying all of these tests “to keep the testing infrastructure strong.”

CONNECTION: If you receive this message from the USPS, do not open it.



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RTD says it will use $53 million from the federal government to bolster hiring https://morrisseyagency.com/rtd-says-it-will-use-53-million-from-the-federal-government-to-bolster-hiring/ Mon, 07 Mar 2022 23:18:36 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/rtd-says-it-will-use-53-million-from-the-federal-government-to-bolster-hiring/ A $53 million federal grant announced Monday will add gas to the Regional Transportation District’s reservoir as the agency tries to increase hiring this year and close staffing gaps that have kept it from restore more train and bus services. It is one of 35 struggling transit agencies in 18 states that will share $2.2 […]]]>


A $53 million federal grant announced Monday will add gas to the Regional Transportation District’s reservoir as the agency tries to increase hiring this year and close staffing gaps that have kept it from restore more train and bus services.

It is one of 35 struggling transit agencies in 18 states that will share $2.2 billion in federal pandemic relief funds awarded by the Biden administration under a competitive “driving” program. additional help”. For RTD, the new grant comes on top of $774 million in past relief funds that were awarded strictly on the basis of federal transit formulas.

As cities seek to fully reopen, transit systems scramble to win back ridership after being crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving major funding increases both to stay afloat and to invest in new fleets of electric buses. The Biden administration also plans to soon make $1.5 billion in grants available under last fall’s bipartisan infrastructure law, with a total of $7.5 billion over five years, for that transit agencies buy low-emission or zero-emission buses made by American workers and to build bus facilities.

RTD’s new $53.2 million grant won’t solve its staffing issues, but spokeswoman Laurie Huff said the agency plans to use it largely ‘to bolster transportation service delivery. together by recruiting and retaining talent”. The money will also relieve pressure for the remainder of RTD’s operating budget, set at $771 million this year.

Another tool to address staffing shortages is expected soon in the form of a new union contract proposal, currently being finalized, which would make RTD wages more competitive. The Denver Post reported last month that Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 told its members that the contract is set to increase base pay for operators, maintenance workers and other front-line employees by more than 25% over three years.

RTD train and bus timetables now provide around 70% of pre-pandemic service on average. A Post series recently reported that agency executives have laid out plans to restore service to 85% in the coming years, but high vacancies among operators and other staff are the main obstacle. Beyond that, RTD’s significant financial challenges stand in the way of a full return of service over the next five years, even as the agency adjusts to uncertain travel patterns.

The agency’s board will soon consider a “system optimization plan” that would increase transit service in high-demand areas, while reducing or phasing out some outlying commuter bus lines low attendance. The deadline for public comment on the plan is Wednesday.

During a Feb. 24 stop in Colorado, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told the Post that transit agencies across the country are facing similar challenges to RTD.

“Transit agencies have been really battered over the past few years by what’s happened with COVID, and we don’t yet know exactly what travel patterns will look like over the next 10 years,” Buttigieg said. “What we do know is that public transport can be a great, affordable, equitable, safe and climate-friendly option, and so as a policy we need to invest in this – but recognize that public transport common of the future may not seem exactly like the transit in the past, and that’s okay.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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Harris to celebrate ‘Bloody Sunday’ anniversary in Selma | News, Sports, Jobs https://morrisseyagency.com/harris-to-celebrate-bloody-sunday-anniversary-in-selma-news-sports-jobs/ Sun, 06 Mar 2022 15:13:40 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/harris-to-celebrate-bloody-sunday-anniversary-in-selma-news-sports-jobs/ FILE – Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event to celebrate Black History Month in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, in Washington. Harris is heading to Alabama this weekend to commemorate a key moment in the civil rights […]]]>







FILE – Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an event to celebrate Black History Month in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, in Washington. Harris is heading to Alabama this weekend to commemorate a key moment in the civil rights movement. Harris will speak in Selma at an event marking the 57th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the day in 1965 when white police attacked black suffrage protesters. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

SELMA, Ala. (AP) – Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Alabama on Sunday as the nation marks a watershed moment in the fight for the right to vote, a trip that comes amid congressional efforts to restore the landmark 1965 law on voting rights failed.

Harris travels to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 57th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the day in 1965 when white state troopers attacked black suffrage protesters trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The country’s first female vice president — as well as the first African American and Indian to hold the position — will speak at the site often referred to as hallowed ground in the fight for minority citizens’ suffrage.

On March 7, 1965, state troopers beat and gassed peaceful protesters, including young activist John Lewis, who later became a longtime Georgia congressman. he images of the violence shocked a nation and helped galvanize support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

His visit to the city that served as the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act comes as Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to update the landmark law and pass additional measures to make voting more convenient for people. .

The legislation, named after Lewis who died in 2020, is part of a larger election package that collapsed in the US Senate in February.

Visiting Alabama on a pilgrimage to Congress that coincides with the anniversary, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he hopes a compromise might still be able to save the voting rights bill named for Lewis.

“The John Lewis Bill means a lot to us because so many of us worked together on the Bill, with John being the leader and the inspiration,” Hoyer said during an interview in Birmingham on Friday.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted part of the 1965 law that required some states with a history of voting discrimination, primarily in the South, to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before proceeding. change the way they organize elections.

Proponents of ending preclearance have said the requirement – ​​although necessary in the 1960s – is no longer needed. Voting rights activists have warned that the end of preclearance is encouraging states to adopt a new wave of voting restrictions.

President Joe Biden used a small part of his State of the Union address to renew his call for Congress to act.

“The most basic right in America is the right to vote – and to make it count. And it’s under attack. State after state, new laws have been passed, not only to suppress the vote, but to overturn entire elections, Biden said.

The sweeping legislation called Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would reinstate the preclearance requirement and national standards for the operation of elections — such as making Election Day a holiday and allowing early voting nationwide — would establish rules for redistricting criteria.

The annual Bloody Sunday commemoration has become a regular stop for politicians to pay tribute to the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement and issue calls for action.

Harris will visit civil rights leaders before speaking at the foot of the bridge. The bridge, named after a Confederate general and noted leader of the Ku Klux Klan, has become an enduring symbol of the civil rights movement.

Harris will also participate in the annual event’s symbolic march across the bridge.

Several other members of President Joe Biden’s administration will also attend the event, including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Administrator of the Michael Regan Environmental Protection Agency.



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President Biden’s Vaccination Mandates for Federal Employees https://morrisseyagency.com/president-bidens-vaccination-mandates-for-federal-employees/ Sat, 05 Mar 2022 15:03:41 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/president-bidens-vaccination-mandates-for-federal-employees/ As the fate of two COVID-19 vaccination rules by federal agencies was decided in January by the United States Supreme Court, millions of employees working for the federal government, either directly or as sub -dealer, await further clarification. court orders halting presidential efforts to promote vaccination. Here is a brief update on the status of […]]]>

As the fate of two COVID-19 vaccination rules by federal agencies was decided in January by the United States Supreme Court, millions of employees working for the federal government, either directly or as sub -dealer, await further clarification. court orders halting presidential efforts to promote vaccination. Here is a brief update on the status of litigation challenging the extent of the president’s authority to command the executive branch.

Vaccination Mandate for Federal Employees

On February 9, 2022, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declined to lift the stay of Executive Order 14043, the executive order requiring vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 for federal employees. This order, directing all federal agencies to implement a policy requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, is one of two directives issued by President Joe Biden on September 9, 2021 as part of the his administration’s original plan of action (originally known as the “Path Out of the Pandemic” plan, which the Biden administration recently replaced with a new national COVID-19 preparedness plan) to fight the pandemic In progress. The stay had been issued by the District Court for the Southern District of Texas on January 21, 2022, in response to a request for a temporary injunction from plaintiffs led by a group of federal employees calling themselves “federals for freedom.” medical”. As noted in the dissent to the Fifth Circuit panel’s decision, a dozen district courts in other states, from Florida to Washington, had previously denied similar claims, but a single judge effectively halted “the exercise of the President’s authority over Article II [Executive Branch] employees.” Feds for Medical Freedom et al., c. Biden, no. 22-40043 to 3 (5and Cir., February 9, 2022, Higginson CJ dissenting).

The Federal Workforce Safety Task Force, tasked with developing and implementing guidance to help federal agencies maintain safe workplaces during the pandemic, released guidance after the prohibition of the vaccination mandate for federal employees, stating that the federal government would comply with the court order and take no action to implement or enforce the vaccination mandate while it remains in effect. The Fifth Circuit panel’s refusal to lift the injunction means, at least for now, that the federal government remains unable to proceed with President Biden’s plan to have every federal employee vaccinated against COVID-19.

Federal Vaccine Contractor Mandate

The other directive issued by President Biden on September 9, Executive Order 14042, Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors, mandated the vaccination of all contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government (described here). This order sparked a flurry of lawsuits filed in several states. As we previously explained, this order was halted when a court in the Southern District of Georgia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on the vaccination warrant for federal contractors. Four other district courts across the country have also issued preliminary injunctions of this warrant: the Eastern District of Kentucky, the Eastern District of Missouri, the Western District of Louisiana and the Intermediate District of Florida. An appeal of the Kentucky District Court’s injunction, which prohibits the enforcement of the contractor’s vaccine mandate in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, has been rejected by the United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Jan. 5, 2022. Appeals from Louisiana, Missouri, and decisions from Georgia are pending at the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits, respectively.

As with the mandate to vaccinate federal employees, the Federal Workforce Safety Task Force announced that the government would take no action to enforce the implementation of the executive order during and wherever orders or court injunctions prevent it from doing so. So far, only the Eleventh Circuit appeal has been fully briefed and will hear oral argument on the nationwide injunction issued by the Southern District of Georgia on Friday, April 8, 2022. The status quo is unlikely to change at any time before mid-April, so federal workers and contractors would likely have to wait until then to act on any related policies or initiatives.

©2022 Epstein Becker & Green, PC All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 64


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Supreme Court considers limiting EPA’s ability to fight climate change https://morrisseyagency.com/supreme-court-considers-limiting-epas-ability-to-fight-climate-change/ Mon, 28 Feb 2022 23:45:47 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/supreme-court-considers-limiting-epas-ability-to-fight-climate-change/ WASHINGTON — Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Monday questioned the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, suggesting the justices could strike a blow hard on the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change. The questioning during the two-hour argument was mostly technical, and several […]]]>

WASHINGTON — Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Monday questioned the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, suggesting the justices could strike a blow hard on the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change.

The questioning during the two-hour argument was mostly technical, and several conservative judges did not bow their hands. But those who did seemed skeptical that Congress had wanted to give the agency what they said was broad power to set national economic policy.

Climate change was only mentioned in passing and only to support the point that an executive agency should not be allowed to tackle such a broad issue without the express permission of Congress.

A ruling against the EPA would significantly reduce its ability to regulate the energy sector, limiting it to measures such as emissions controls at individual power plants and, in the absence of legislation, excluding more ambitions like a cap-and-trade system as experts issue increasingly dire warnings about accelerating global warming.

But the implications of a ruling against the agency could extend well beyond environmental policy and signal further that the court’s newly expanded six-judge conservative majority is deeply skeptical of the power of administrative agencies to solve problems. challenges facing the nation and the planet.

This skepticism has been evident in recent decisions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The court ruled, for example, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was not authorized to impose a moratorium on evictions and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was powerless to tell large employers to vaccinate their workers or to undergo frequent testing.

On Monday, similarly, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. told an EPA attorney that he questions whether the Clean Air Act “gives you the power to set industrial policy and energy policy and balance elements such as jobs, economic impact, potential catastrophic effects of climate change, as well as costs.

He added a note of apparent skepticism about climate change, saying it is a phenomenon “that some people regard as a matter of the survival of civilisation”.

General Counsel Elizabeth B. Prelogar, representing the EPA, responded that the court should not deny the agency “the much-needed flexibility to exercise common sense and common, well-established boundaries in this industry” for things like emissions credit trading.

She also noted that “the power plants are on our whole side in this case,” in part because “they want that kind of flexibility because it’s like nothing is wrong with them.”

Some judges seemed to think the case was more difficult than previous ones.

In the eviction moratorium case, Judge Amy Coney Barrett said, the issue was whether “the CDC can regulate the landlord-tenant relationship.”

“Here,” she says, “if we think of the EPA regulating greenhouse gases, well, there’s a correspondence between regulation and the wheelhouse of the agency, isn’t there? “

The justices appeared to have little appetite for an argument advanced by the Biden administration and environmental groups: that the four cases before the court were not ripe for a decision because there are no regulations in place. They argued that the court should wait to answer concrete questions rather than rule on hypothetical questions.

Ms. Prelogar said the administration was working on a new settlement, which the courts could consider after it is released.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Stephen G. Breyer have indicated they believe the Supreme Court need not wait. But Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said “the Solicitor General makes a strong argument that the states are not harmed here because, as it stands, there is no rule in place.”

Much of the argument centered on whether the Clean Air Act allowed the agency to enact sweeping regulations in the electricity sector and, more broadly, on the clarity with which Congress should authorize executive agencies to deal with major political and economic issues to make their regulations legal.

The court called this inquiry the “major issues doctrine”. Judges appeared divided on how this applied to the cases before them.

Jacob M. Roth, a lawyer for coal companies challenging the EPA’s authority, said the main distinction was between regulating individual power plants and the entire power industry. The latter, he said, was a major issue that did not have congressional authorization.

He used an analogy based on setting fuel performance standards for cars to describe the limits of EPA discretion.

“What we mean is I can get 30 miles per gallon, I can get 35 miles per gallon,” he said. “We don’t want to say that I can take the bus. We don’t mean I could stay home.

Lindsay S. See, solicitor general of West Virginia, said the agency shouldn’t be allowed to regulate an entire industry.

“This is a major question,” she said, “because it allows the EPA to determine what the electricity sector as a whole should look like and who can be part of it,” she said. she declared. “It turns the law into something about how a particular source can work most effectively.”

Last year, on the last full day of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, a federal appeals court in Washington overturned his administration’s plan to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. . The Trump administration said the Clean Air Act unambiguously limits the measures the agency can use to those “that can be put into service in a building, structure, facility, or facility.”

A three-judge split panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Trump administration’s plan, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, was based on a “fundamental misinterpretation” of the relevant law, prompted by a “tortured series of misreadings”.

“The EPA has broad discretion in carrying out its mandate,” the decision concluded. “But he cannot shirk his responsibility by dreaming up new limitations that the plain language of the law does not clearly require.”

The panel did not reinstate a 2015 Obama-era settlement, the Clean Power Plan, that would have forced utilities away from coal and towards renewable energy to reduce emissions. But he rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to replace that rule with what critics called toothless.

The appeals court ruling also paved the way for the Biden administration to impose tougher restrictions.

The Obama-era plan aimed to reduce electricity sector emissions by 32% by 2030 from 2005 levels. carbon emissions from power plants by phasing out coal and increasing renewable energy production.

The Clean Power Plan never came into effect. It was blocked in 2016 by the Supreme Court, which effectively ruled that states did not have to comply until a barrage of lawsuits from conservative states and the coal industry were cleared up. resolved. The ruling, followed by changes to the Supreme Court’s makeup that shifted it to the right, made environmental groups wary of what the court might do in climate change cases.

The Supreme Court heard all four cases, including West Virginia. vs. Environmental Protection Agency, n° 20-1530, the same day that a group of experts convened by the United Nations published the most comprehensive study to date on the threats posed by global warming. The report, endorsed by 195 governments, found that the dangers of climate change are greater and unfolding faster than expected and that humanity could find it difficult to adapt to the consequences unless greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse are rapidly reduced over the next few decades.

“Any further delay in anticipated concerted global action,” the report says, “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”

Brad Plume contributed report.


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Immigration agency adds ‘respect’ and ‘welcome’ to mission statement after Trump-era controversy https://morrisseyagency.com/immigration-agency-adds-respect-and-welcome-to-mission-statement-after-trump-era-controversy/ Wed, 09 Feb 2022 13:02:00 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/immigration-agency-adds-respect-and-welcome-to-mission-statement-after-trump-era-controversy/ Under the Biden administration, the agency takes a different approach, using words like “welcome” and “respect,” as well as shortening the length of the statement. The Trump-era change was made in February 2018 and came to represent a shift to a tougher approach with a statement that emphasized “safeguarding one’s integrity” and “securing the homeland”. […]]]>

Under the Biden administration, the agency takes a different approach, using words like “welcome” and “respect,” as well as shortening the length of the statement.

The Trump-era change was made in February 2018 and came to represent a shift to a tougher approach with a statement that emphasized “safeguarding one’s integrity” and “securing the homeland”. .
The pushback was swift as outside groups, a former agency executive and Democratic lawmakers condemned the move. The American Immigration Lawyers Association called it “an insidious attempt by the Trump administration to diminish the valuable contributions that immigrants have made” to the United States.
León Rodríguez, who served as a director under President Barack Obama, wrote in the Washington Post, “Regardless of the Trump administration’s rhetoric, we are, we always have been, and I’m optimistic enough to say that even in these times, we will always be a “nation of immigrants.”

The agency’s new mission statement reads, “USCIS delivers on America’s promise as a nation of welcome and opportunity with fairness, integrity, and respect for all those we serve.”

This is the agency’s third mission statement since 2005. USCIS is responsible for administering federal immigration benefits, programs, and other applications, including conducting naturalization ceremonies, processing green and verification of employment eligibility.

The Biden administration’s rhetoric on immigration has diverged sharply from that of the previous administration, emphasizing the contribution of immigrants to the United States and “welcome” strategies, as well as the decision to stop using the term “illegal alien” in public documents and speeches.
However, overhauling immigration policy has proven trickier for the administration as lawsuits and infighting have stalled policy changes, despite the lofty goals set by President Joe Biden when he took office. function.
Last year, USCIS gave employees the opportunity to submit words they felt best exemplified the agency’s work. The updated statement incorporates those comments, the Biden administration’s priorities and USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou’s vision for the agency, according to USCIS.

“This new mission statement reflects the inclusive nature of our country and this agency,” she said in a statement, adding that the United States “will remain a welcoming nation that welcomes people from all over the world who seek the family reunification, employment or professional opportunities”. , and humanitarian protection.”

Jaddou, who took office in August 2021, said USCIS is committed to “ensuring that the immigration system we administer is accessible and humane.”

In 2018, when L. Francis Cissna headed the agency, the full statement was changed to: “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s legal immigration system, maintaining its integrity and promise by effectively and fairly adjudicating applications for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and upholding our values.”

In a letter to employees at the time, Cissna said the agency responds to the American people and looks to USCIS to ensure those who qualify for immigration benefits receive them and those who do not. were not eligible did not receive them.

Prior to the Trump administration, the mission statement, which was the agency’s first, read: “USCIS secures America’s promise as an immigrant nation by providing accurate and helpful to our clients, providing immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.


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Tight hiring market could affect tax season as IRS seeks help https://morrisseyagency.com/tight-hiring-market-could-affect-tax-season-as-irs-seeks-help/ Wed, 09 Feb 2022 01:22:23 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/tight-hiring-market-could-affect-tax-season-as-irs-seeks-help/ Between unprocessed returns, unanswered correspondence and other actions, the IRS has millions of items piled high on its to-do list — and when the agency tried to hire 5,000 more people for the taxes in progress, less than 200 people applied. Taxpayer advocate Erin Collins illustrated the depth of the agency’s challenge on Tuesday before […]]]>

Between unprocessed returns, unanswered correspondence and other actions, the IRS has millions of items piled high on its to-do list — and when the agency tried to hire 5,000 more people for the taxes in progress, less than 200 people applied. Taxpayer advocate Erin Collins illustrated the depth of the agency’s challenge on Tuesday before a House committee, just weeks after she submitted a report advising lawmakers the tax authorities are in crisis.

Americans could have a frustrating filing season with long wait times and be unable to reach the IRS to answer their questions as millions anxiously wait to receive refunds.

Collins said some of the problems he had over the past year have only gotten worse.

“Taxpayer services need to improve. And for that to happen, the IRS needs to clear the backlog, pay those delayed refunds, and stay on top of its work,” Collins said. “Americans deserve better.”

The huge backlog has snowballed during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the statement submitted by Collins, the IRS still had 6 million original unprocessed individual returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual returns as of the end of December. Some taxpayers who submitted returns last April were still waiting for refunds 10 months later. At the start of February, there were also 1.5 million unprocessed quarterly employer declarations.

For taxpayers, the challenges have resulted in years of headaches and financial hardship. For Los Angeles small business owner Juliet Huck, that meant having to take out a small business loan to help stay afloat, after the agency failed to quickly send her the $6,000 she was owed on the 2019 tax return.

“I’m completely frustrated that after two years the issue hasn’t been resolved,” Huck said. “I don’t know how the IRS can expect us to pay on time, but if we don’t we will be penalized.”

Collins said Tuesday that the backlog should be the No. 1 priority. Filing a paper return, she said, remains “at the heart of the agency’s challenges and processing tax returns.” The IRS still has more than 3 million returns that need to be scanned, transcribed and processed, she said, calling paper returns the agency’s “kryptonite.” Although scanners can be used in some cases within the IRS, Collins explained Tuesday that paper returns must be manually entered into the system.

The IRS has moved 1,200 IRS employees with previous experience from other positions through September to help process inventory. But a recent effort to hire 5,000 positions to help the agency with tax filing season drew fewer than 200 applicants.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to hire enough people to get us out of this hole,” Collins said. The agency will also need more than the current 1,200 displaced staff to help, she said, and could potentially outsource work that doesn’t require specific expertise.

Long-term. Automation is another potential solution for some processes, Collins said, but it’s difficult to complete a major IT project and modernize a decades-old system when funding comes through ongoing congressional resolutions. . She told lawmakers the agency needed sustained multi-year funding.

Collins said taxpayers who want to help avoid delays should file electronically and avoid paper. Second, they must apply for direct deposit. Third, triple check for errors. Collins warned that stimulus payments and child tax credit advance payments could lead to further discrepancies this year, further slowing processing this tax filing season.

Taxpayers with questions may find it difficult to get answers. Of the more than 282 million calls to customer service representatives last year, only 32 million were answered, or 11%.

“Of the 1 in 9 callers who were able to reach an (agent), the IRS reported wait times averaged 23 minutes,” Collins said in her written statement. “The IRS wait time data excludes taxpayers who waited for long periods of time and hung up before a CSR answered their calls. Tax practitioners and taxpayers reported that wait times wait times were often much longer, and frustration and dissatisfaction were high throughout the year with the low level of telephone service.”

On Tuesday, Collins also said that at the peak of incoming calls during tax filing season, the IRS was only able to respond to 4%.

At Tuesday’s hearing, some Republicans argued for incentives to get people back to work — noting that people weren’t applying for IRS jobs. They blamed the Biden administration for urging people to stay home. Democrats pointed to years of agency funding cuts.

“The IRS was intentionally eviscerated as part of the former administration’s goal with its co-conspirators in the Republican Party, to do everything possible to uplift the fortunes of the rich, well-to-do and well-connected and prevent them to pay their fair share,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told CBS News. “That’s the bottom line. That’s the reality of why we are where we are.”

Scott MacFarlane contributed reporting.


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OFCCP Week in Review: January 2022 #4 | Direct Employers Association https://morrisseyagency.com/ofccp-week-in-review-january-2022-4-direct-employers-association/ Mon, 24 Jan 2022 22:27:19 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/ofccp-week-in-review-january-2022-4-direct-employers-association/ Friday, Jan. 21, 2022: Biden administration’s vaccination efforts limited to sole mandate for healthcare workers as court orders executive order requiring federal employees to be vaccinated In the latest losing streak for the Biden administration’s efforts to vaccinate the American workforce, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Friday Published a […]]]>

Friday, Jan. 21, 2022: Biden administration’s vaccination efforts limited to sole mandate for healthcare workers as court orders executive order requiring federal employees to be vaccinated

In the latest losing streak for the Biden administration’s efforts to vaccinate the American workforce, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Friday Published a nationwide injunction against President Biden’s executive order requiring all federal workers to consent to vaccination or risk firing. Feds for Medical Freedom, et al. vs. Biden, et al., Case No. 3:21-cv-00356 (SD Tex. January 21, 2022). Sitting in Texas, unsurprisingly, Judge Jeffrey V. Brown’s opinion relied heavily on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision against OSHA ETS in BST Holdings, LLC v OSHA, 17 F.4e 604, 618 (5th Cir. 2021). The substantial effect of Judge Brown’s decision means that the federal government has fewer rights than a private employer to require its employees to be vaccinated.

The backdrop: President Biden Published Executive Order 14043 (the “Executive Order”) requiring civilian federal government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or terminate their employment, with exceptions only as required by law. While noting that individuals should get vaccinated against COVID-19, Judge Brown determined that EO 14043, without congressional input, was “a bridge too far.”

Judge Brown began by rejecting the Biden administration’s procedural defenses alleging the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the claims. First, the Biden administration has argued that the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (the “Act”) excluded plaintiffs’ claims in the case were unfounded. Specifically, the government argued that the plaintiffs could not bring their action to court because the statute provided the exclusive avenue of redress for employees objecting to any material change in duties, responsibilities or terms of employment. work of their job. However, Judge Brown determined that “working conditions” generally only concerned the day-to-day, concrete parameters of a job, such as hours of work, discrete assignments, and the provision of necessary equipment and resources. As such, the compulsory vaccination did not constitute the “working conditions” of the plaintiffs’ employment. [Well, that is a bit of a stretch for Judge Brown.] Moreover, requiring plaintiffs to wait until they are terminated to challenge the warrant would create irreparable harm to plaintiffs.

Second, the court also rejected the Biden administration’s claim that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because none of the plaintiffs’ demands were “ripe.” However, Judge Brown found that because many complainants had already received letters suggesting that suspension or termination was imminent, received letters of reprimand, or faced other negative consequences, the threat to complainants was “real and imminent, and not conjectural or hypothetical. ”

Determining that the court had jurisdiction to hear the claims, Judge Brown then ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to an injunction staying the executive order. First, Judge Brown found that allowing the executive order to be implemented would cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs by forcing them to face a decision between their job or the vaccination. Further, the court found that the effect of the executive order to deny the plaintiffs meaningful employment opportunities in their chosen profession also constituted irreparable harm. The tribunal did not provide any public policy arguments regarding an employer’s ability to set terms and conditions of employment. Nor did the tribunal explain how the loss of a job could constitute irreparable harm given that nothing prevented plaintiffs from seeking alternative employment with one of the thousands of other employers that exist throughout the country.

Second, once Brown J. found irreparable harm, he went on to determine that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims. Judge Brown found that none of the legal bases relied on by the Biden administration to issue the vaccination warrant authorized the president’s action, finding that: (1) 5 USC § 3301 did not apply only to candidates for public office; (2) 5 USC § 3302 was limited in scope and did not allow the president to prescribe a mandate for vaccination; and (3) 5 USC § 7301 only authorized the regulation of conduct in the workplace, whereas vaccinating a person was tantamount to their “status” and constituted conduct that occurred outside the workplace. . Additionally, Judge Brown found that Article II of the Constitution does not grant the President the power to impose medical procedures on civilian federal employees.

Finally, Judge Brown determined that the interests of the plaintiffs outweighed the public interest in vaccinating the workforce given that more than 88% of the federal workforce had received at least one dose of vaccine. Thus, Judge Brown felt that imposing the injunction would not have a serious adverse effect on the fight to stop COVID-19 since the federal workforce was already largely vaccinated. Additionally, laying off unvaccinated employees would result in the loss of vital services needed to serve the public, Judge Brown found.

This case is all the more remarkable because with this vaccination mandate, President Biden was operating at the zenith of his delegated powers to order a vaccination mandate. Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution grants the President, among other things, the ability to manage and operate the federal government: “Executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America”. Boom. This is how Section 1 begins. Once sworn in as President, federal employees are his employees. So this decision is a bit of a surprise, except government-imposed vaccination mandates are so unpopular and this decision comes from the sovereign state of Texas (formerly the “Republic of Texas”).

This latest move follows a long string of defeats for the Biden administration in its efforts to increase vaccination against COVID-19. However, this case is unique in that it speaks to the substantial ability of the federal government to manage its own workforce. While this ruling only applies to the federal workforce, private employers should be aware of the reasoning behind this ruling as it provides a “road map” for employees looking to take action to end vaccination mandates from private employers. This case decision also alerts employers to the arguments a potential litigant might make and prepares them to craft their vaccination mandates carefully to potentially avoid the pitfalls of the Biden mandate.


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Live Covid News Updates: Vaccine Mandate, Omicron Variant Symptoms, Home Testing, CDC… https://morrisseyagency.com/live-covid-news-updates-vaccine-mandate-omicron-variant-symptoms-home-testing-cdc/ Sat, 22 Jan 2022 21:13:22 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/live-covid-news-updates-vaccine-mandate-omicron-variant-symptoms-home-testing-cdc/ US opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization the United States, the World Health Organizationis the main donor of resist proposals to make the agency more independentsaid four officials involved in the talks, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s long-term support for the UN agency. The proposal, made by the WHO working group on sustainable […]]]>

US opposes plans to strengthen World Health Organization

the United States, the World Health Organizationis the main donor of resist proposals to make the agency more independentsaid four officials involved in the talks, raising doubts about the Biden administration’s long-term support for the UN agency. The proposal, made by the WHO working group on sustainable financing, would increase the permanent annual contribution of each Member State, according to a WHO document posted online and dated Jan. 4.

The plan is part of a broader reform process galvanized by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the limits of the power of the WHO to intervene upstream of a crisis. But the US government opposes reform because he is concerned about WHO’s ability to deal with future threats, including China, U.S. officials said Reuters.

Rather, he pushes for the creation of a separate fund, directly controlled by donors, who finance the prevention and control of health emergencies. Four EU officials involved in the talks, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media, confirms the American opposition. The US government had no immediate comment.

the published proposal calls for Member States’ mandatory contributions will gradually increase from 2024 so that they realize half of the agency’s $2 billion base budget by 2028, compared to less than 20% currently, according to the document. WHO’s core budget aims to fight against pandemics and strengthen health systems worldwide. It also raises approximately an additional $1 billion per year to address specific global challenges such as Tropical diseases and flu.

Proponents say the current reliance on voluntary funding from member states and charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation forces the WHO to focus on priorities set by donors and makes it less adept at criticizing members when things go wrong.

The main donors of the European Union, including Germany, support the plan, as well as most African, South Asian, south american and Arab countries, said three of the European officials. The proposal is due to be discussed at the WHO’s executive board meeting next week, but the divisions mean no deal is expected.


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Biden administration takes new steps to improve job quality amid record resignations https://morrisseyagency.com/biden-administration-takes-new-steps-to-improve-job-quality-amid-record-resignations/ Fri, 21 Jan 2022 20:33:00 +0000 https://morrisseyagency.com/biden-administration-takes-new-steps-to-improve-job-quality-amid-record-resignations/ The program, called the Good Jobs Initiative, was unveiled by Walsh – the former mayor of Boston – at the winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington. The initiative, led by the Department of Labor, will establish a broad framework across the federal government to inform workers of their rights, including […]]]>

The program, called the Good Jobs Initiative, was unveiled by Walsh – the former mayor of Boston – at the winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington. The initiative, led by the Department of Labor, will establish a broad framework across the federal government to inform workers of their rights, including their right to bargain collectively, encourage employers to improve jobs to retain workers and deploy federal agencies to bolster the plan.

“We will work with all federal agencies to build job quality into all of our contracts and grants. apprenticeships, which open up opportunities for women and people of color and underserved communities across this great country,” Walsh said during his speech at the meeting. “We will be engaging employers to help them improve the job quality, so that every industry can attract and retain the talent it needs. We will speak directly to workers – ensuring they have the information they need to exercise their rights. , to find a good job and acquire in-demand skills. »

The new initiative comes as the US labor market faces complex and consequential changes – dubbed by some as the “great resignation”.

While the country no longer faces the record unemployment rate seen at the start of the pandemic, there is a labor shortage, leading many workplaces to struggle to keep up with demand.

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, but many of those quits are young people leaving for other jobs or better pay.

Yet labor force participation — that is, the number of people in the United States who are working or looking for work — has not improved at the same rate as the decline in unemployment since the pandemic.

Although there have been a variety of issues pushing Americans out of the workforce, early retirement has had a major impact. Nearly 70% of the 5 million people who left the labor force during the pandemic were over the age of 55, according to Goldman Sachs researchers, with many not wishing to return to work.
There are also other factors that have an impact on the labor market, such as the many women who have been forced out of the labor market during the pandemic and have not returned and the growing number of people who say they independent workers.

In an interview before announcing the Good Jobs Initiative, Walsh claimed that many Americans quit their jobs because they want more from their employers.

“I don’t think ‘the big quit’ is the real story when you look at (the fact that) more people joined the workforce last year than at any point in the last 25 years,” Walsh told CNN. “But I think a lot of people left the workforce because they weren’t making a good salary and for some reason decided to leave.”

The genesis of the initiative, Walsh said, was the sweeping bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law last fall. A priority of the initiative will be to support the implementation of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, providing guidance on the jobs created through infrastructure investments, according to the Labor Department.

“We want to make sure that when implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law, the jobs created are well-paying, good-quality jobs, and to make sure people have access to them,” he said. .

In addition, the initiative will centralize agency efforts to provide technical assistance on many job quality standards across the federal government, including anti-discrimination requirements, equal employment opportunity requirements in learning and supportive environments for free and fair union organizing and collective bargaining, according to the Department of Labor. DOL will also partner with the White House to support the agencies in their efforts.

In addition to federal efforts, Walsh on Friday called on mayors to partner with the Biden administration on the initiative and told CNN he plans to speak to governors next week about state involvement. .

In another federal effort this week to support workers amid the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it would provide $103 million to help retain healthcare workers by strengthening long-term efforts to reduce burnout and promote mental health.

The money for services comes as about one in four hospitals in the United States reports a “critical shortage of staff,” more than most of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to HHS data.

The funding, which is part of the U.S. bailout passed last spring, will “go to numerous organizations that oversee evidence-based programs, practices, and training. The focus will be on providers that offer services in underserved and rural communities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra at a press conference Thursday.

The DOL and Department of Transportation also announced new initiatives earlier this month aimed at addressing truck driver shortages and retaining drivers, which come amid a supply chain crisis at the national scale.


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