CategoryFederal

Federal Register weekly update: 575 documents added

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From September 12 through September 16, the Federal Register grew by 1,454 pages for a year-to-date total of 57,136 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 575 documents:

  • 474 notices
  • 11 presidential documents
  • 40 proposed rules
  • 50 final rules

Eight proposed rules, including exemption of certain records maintained by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) from the requirements of the Privacy Act from the Health and Human Services Department, and four final rules, including annual summary reporting requirements for investigational drugs under the Right to Try Act from the Food and Drug Administration were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Biden administration has issued 162 significant proposed rules, 179 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of September 16.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

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New York’s Democratic-held 3rd Congressional District draws attention following local Republican gains in 2021

Robert Zimmerman (D), George Devolder-Santos (R), Mekita Coe (People’s Party), and Melanie D’Arrigo (Working Families Party) are running in the general election for New York’s 3rd Congressional District on November 8, 2022.

Incumbent Tom Suozzi (D) is not running for re-election.

The 3rd District, located on Long Island including the northern portion of Nassau County and parts of Queens, voted for Democrats by an average margin of 13 percentage points between 2012 and 2020 before redistricting.

In 2021, Republican candidates won a number of local races in the district, including the defeat of Nassau County’s incumbent executive and winning the county’s open district attorney position.

As of June 2022, 40% of the district’s active voters were registered Democrats, 28% were registered Republicans, and 32% were either registered with some other party or unaffiliated.

Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committee member, owns a marketing communications company. Zimmerman said, “I’ll fight to defend abortion rights, stop gun violence, protect voting rights, address the climate crisis, and make Long Island and Queens more affordable for middle-class families.”

Devolder-Santos works in finance and investing and was the district’s Republican nominee in 2020. In a Candidate Connection survey submitted to Ballotpedia, Devolder-Santos said, “I will work to end the inflation crisis and lower gas prices … make New York’s Third Congressional District a safer place for everyone … [and] preserve the American dream for many generations to come.”



Sharice Davids (D), Amanda Adkins (R), and Steve Hohe (L) are running in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District

Incumbent Sharice Davids (D), Amanda Adkins (R), and Steve Hohe (L) are running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District.

This race is a rematch of the 2020 general election, when Davids defeated Adkins 53.6% to 43.6%. Hohe also ran that year and received 2.8% of the vote. Davids was first elected in 2018, when she defeated then-incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) 53.6% to 43.9%. Yoder had been in office since 2011.

The Kansas City Star’s Daniel Desrochers said, “After Adkins lost to Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids by 10 percentage points in 2020, the Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the district. … [It] went from one Democrats won in the presidential race in both 2016 and 2020 to boundaries that former President Donald Trump would have won in 2016 and President Joe Biden would have narrowly flipped four years later.”

The Cook Political Report’s PVI (Partisan Voting Index) for the old district was D+2, while the score for the redrawn district is R+1. President Joe Biden (D) would have carried the redrawn district in 2020 with 51.2% of the vote to former President Donald Trump’s (R) 46.7%, while Trump would have carried it in 2018 with 48.2% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 42.9%.

Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, worked as a lawyer and non-profit executive serving Native American communities before coming into office. Davids was one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, alongside former Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and was the first openly lesbian Native American elected to Congress.

Adkins is a former congressional staffer who served as chairwoman of the Kansas Republican Party from 2009 to 2013. Adkins also served on the executive committee of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and was a vice-president at the Cerner Corporation for 11 years.

Davids has focused on economic issues and said her willingness to work with Republicans on bipartisan legislation would help bring manufacturing jobs to Kansans. “I worked with both parties to boost manufacturing right here in America,” Davids said. “From health care to infrastructure to agriculture, I’ll work with anyone, regardless of party, to do what’s best for Kansas.” Davids has also highlighted her support for abortion rights. “My position is clear: I believe people have a right to make their own health care decisions, not the government, and I have stood up against extreme politicians who want to take away that right,” Davids said.

Adkins said Davids’s voting record is too aligned with the Biden administration and does not reflect the will of Davids’s constituents. Adkins also said the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a measure Davids voted for, was responsible for the increase in inflation in 2022. Adkins said, “Paying more for goods and services? Thank Sharice Davids, who voted for the $1.9 trillion spending bill that has fueled inflation to a 40-year high.” Adkins has also focused on immigration and said she supports building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 districts in the House are up for election. As of September 2, 2022, Democrats hold a 219-211 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant districts. Republicans need to gain a net of seven districts to win a majority in the chamber.



U.S. weekly unemployment insurance claims fall to 222,000

New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell 6,000 for the week ending September 3 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000. The previous week’s figure was revised down from 232,000 to 228,000. The four-week moving average as of September 3 fell to 233,000 from a revised 240,500 as of the week ending August 27.

The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 36,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.473 million for the week ending August 27. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.

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Tracker: Article III federal judicial nominations by president by days in office since 2001

Through Sept. 1, 2022, there were 890 authorized federal judicial posts and 81 vacancies. Seventy-nine of those were for Article III judgeships. This report is limited to Article III courts, where appointees are confirmed to lifetime judgeships. In the past month:

  • Two judges have been confirmed
  • Two judges have been nominated

By Sept. 1, 590 days in office, President Joe Biden (D) had nominated 132 judges to Article III judgeships. For historical comparison: 

  • President Donald Trump (R) had nominated 162 individuals, 86 of whom were ultimately confirmed to their positions.
  • President Barack Obama (D) had nominated 90 individuals, 65 of whom were confirmed.
  • President George W. Bush (R) had nominated 163 individuals, 100 of whom were confirmed.

The following data visualizations track the number of Article III judicial nominations by president by days in office during the Biden, Trump, Obama, and W. Bush administrations (2001-present). 

The first tracker is limited to successful nominations, where the nominee was ultimately confirmed to their respective court:

The second tracker counts all Article III nominations, including unsuccessful nominations (for example, the nomination was withdrawn or the U.S. Senate did not vote on the nomination), renominations of individuals to the same court, and recess appointments. A recess appointment is when the president appoints a federal official while the Senate is in recess.

The data contained in these charts is compiled by Ballotpedia staff from publicly available information provided by the Federal Judicial Center. The comparison by days shown between the presidents is not reflective of the larger states of the federal judiciary during their respective administrations and is intended solely to track nominations by president by day.

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Federal Register weekly update: More than 200 presidential documents issued so far in 2022

The Federal Register is a daily journal of federal government activity that includes presidential documents, proposed and final rules, and public notices. It is a common measure of an administration’s regulatory activity, accounting for both regulatory and deregulatory actions.

From September 5 through September 9, the Federal Register grew by 1,386 pages for a year-to-date total of 55,682 pages.

The Federal Register hit an all-time high of 95,894 pages in 2016.

This week’s Federal Register featured the following 460 documents:

  • 339 notices
  • 13 presidential documents
  • 33 proposed rules
  • 75 final rules

Six proposed rules, including a request for comments on a new framework for indemnity regulations from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and five final rules, including indemnification regulations for AmeriCorps employees from the Corporation for National and Community Service were deemed significant under E.O. 12866—defined by the potential to have large impacts on the economy, environment, public health, or state or local governments. Significant actions may also conflict with presidential priorities or other agency rules. The Biden administration has issued 154 significant proposed rules, 175 significant final rules, and one significant notice as of September 9.

Ballotpedia maintains page counts and other information about the Federal Register as part of its Administrative State Project. The project is a neutral, nonpartisan encyclopedic resource that defines and analyzes the administrative state, including its philosophical origins, legal and judicial precedents, and scholarly examinations of its consequences. The project also monitors and reports on measures of federal government activity.

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Rhode Island sees first open U.S. House seat since 2010

The filing deadline for candidates running for Congress in Rhode Island this year was July 15, 2022. Nine candidates are running for Rhode Island’s two U.S. House districts, including seven Democrats and two Republicans. That’s 4.5 candidates per district, more than the 2.5 candidates per district in 2020 and the three in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Rhode Island was apportioned two districts, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • The nine candidates running this year are four more than the five who ran in 2020 and three more than the six who ran in 2018. Seven candidates ran in 2016, six in 2014, and 12 in 2012.
  • There is an open seat for the first time since 2010. Rep. Jim Langevin (D), the incumbent in the 2nd district, is retiring.
  • Seven candidates—six Democrats and one Republican—are running to replace Langevin, the most candidates running for a seat this year. 
  • Rep. David Cicilline (R), the incumbent in the 1st district, is running for re-election and is not facing any primary challengers. 
  • The Democratic primary in the 2nd district is the only contested primary this year. That number is a decade low. There were two contested primaries in 2020, 2018, 2016, and 2014. There were four contested primaries in 2012.
  • Democratic and Republican candidates filed to run in both districts,  so no seats are guaranteed to either party this year.

Rhode Island and two other states—Delaware and New Hampshire—are holding their congressional primaries on September 13, 2022. In Rhode Island, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes, even if he or she does not win an outright majority of votes cast.



Three Republicans and one Democrat are running in ranked-choice voting election for U.S. Senate in Alaska

Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), Kelly Tshibaka (R), Patricia Chesbro (D), and Buzz Kelley (R) are running for a seat in the U.S. Senate from Alaska on November 8, 2022.

The four candidates advanced from the top-four primary held on August 16, 2022, the first time Alaska used such a system in a Senate race since voters there approved it in 2020. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, ran in a single primary. Murkowski, Tshibaka, Chesbro, and Kelley received the most votes and advanced to the general election, where the winner will be decided using ranked-choice voting.

Murkowski and Tshibaka have led in media attention and together received more than 80% of the primary vote, with Murkowski receiving 45% and Tshibaka receiving 38.6%. FiveThirtyEight’s Geoffrey Skelley and Zoha Qamar wrote, “the ranked choice voting process seems likely to set up a contest between the two leading Republicans, [Murkowski and Tshibaka].”

Murkowski first took office in 2002. Lisa Murkowski’s father, Frank Murkowski (R), was a senator from 1981 to 2002, when he resigned to become governor of Alaska. After taking office, the elder Murkowski appointed his daughter to the U.S. Senate seat. In 2010, after losing the Republican nomination, Lisa Murkowski successfully ran for re-election as a write-in candidate, only the second senator in U.S. history to do so. In 2016, Murkowski was re-elected with 44.4% of the vote, defeating second-place finisher Joe Miller (L) by 15.2 percentage points.

Murkowski has highlighted her seniority and said her willingness to work with Democrats has helped steer federal funding to Alaska. Murkowski said, “This race is about who can deliver best for Alaska. Through my seniority and ability to work across party lines, I’m getting real results for Alaska.” Murkowski has also highlighted her support for energy development in the state and said her vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has already brought billions to Alaska.

Tshibaka, a former commissioner at the Alaska Department of Administration, has accused Murkowski of not using her seniority to block more of President Joe Biden’s (D) agenda. Tshibaka said, “Lisa Murkowski has enabled Biden’s agenda by casting the tie-breaking deciding vote to advance his anti-energy Interior Secretary nominee and confirming over 90% of his radical nominees.” Tshibaka has also focused on economic issues and said she supports a Parental Bill of Rights that would give parents “a right to be fully informed and to approve of any sex education, gender identification, or race theory material being presented or discussed with their child.”

In February 2021, Murkowski voted to convict then-President Donald Trump (R) after the U.S. House impeached him over the events surrounding the January 6 breach of the Capitol. In June 2021, Trump endorsed Tshibaka. The Republican Party of Alaska also endorsed Tshibaka.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and fellow Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) endorsed Murkowski. Murkowski also has the endorsements of several Democratic elected officials, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D) and Kyrsten Sinema (D).

Chesbro, a retired educator who serves on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning Commission, has highlighted her support for renewable energy. In her responses to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, Chesbro said, “We cannot turn off the spigot on fossil fuels. We can invest in our future through developing our renewable resources to create the energy on which we depend” Chesbro has also focused on her support for abortion rights.

Kelley, a retired mechanic, said he supports lowering government spending and said the United States should become energy independent through oil exploration and solar energy development. Kelley also said he supports unions. “Union jobs provide a good income. Those union hands then go out into their communities and spend that money. That is how you have an economy folks,” Kelley said. 

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. Thirty-five of 100 seats are up for election, including one special election. Democrats have an effective majority, with the chamber split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris (D) having the tie-breaking vote. Fourteen seats held by Democrats and 21 seats held by Republicans are up for election in 2022.



Peltola, Palin, Begich, and Bye advance from Alaska U.S. House primary

Mary Peltola (D), Sarah Palin (R), Nicholas Begich III (R), and Chris Bye (L) advanced from the top-four primary election for U.S. House in Alaska. Peltola received 37%, followed by Palin with 30% and Begich with 26%. Tara Sweeney (R) finished fourth with 4% but withdrew from the race. Since it was more than 64 days before the general election, the fifth-place finisher, Bye, advanced with 0.6% of the vote. 

The primary was held Aug. 16, the same day as a special election for the same office. Peltola won the ranked-choice voting special election against Palin and Begich, meaning she’ll be the incumbent heading into the regular general election. Peltola had finished fourth in the top-four special primary behind Palin, Begich, and Al Gross (I). Gross, the third-place finisher, withdrew from the special election. 

Former Rep. Don Young (R) died in March. Young had been in office since 1973. 

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Upcoming Article III Judicial Vacancies

According to the latest vacancy data from the U.S. Courts, there were 37 total announced upcoming vacancies for Article III judgeships. Article III judgeships refer to federal judges who serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of International Trade, or one of the 13 U.S. courts of appeal or 94 U.S. district courts. These are lifetime appointments made by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

These positions are not yet vacant but will be at some point in the future with every judge having announced his or her intent to either leave the bench or assume senior status. In the meantime, these judges will continue to serve in their current positions.

The president and Senate do not need to wait for a position to become vacant before they can start the confirmation process for a successor. For example, Julie Rikelman was nominated to succeed Judge Sandra Lynch on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit after she assumes senior status upon Rikelman’s confirmation. There are currently 15 nominees pending for upcoming vacancies.

Twenty-four vacancy effective dates have not been determined because the judge has not announced the date he or she will leave the bench. The next upcoming scheduled vacancy will take place on Sept. 30, 2022, when U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge Robert Mariani assumes senior status.

In addition to these 37 upcoming vacancies, there are 80 current Article III vacancies in the federal judiciary out of the 870 total Article III judgeships. Including non-Article III judges from the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States territorial courts, there are 82 vacancies out of 890 active federal judicial positions.

President Joe Biden (D) has nominated 141 individuals to federal judgeships on Article III courts. Seventy-six of those nominees have been confirmed. Of the 65 nominees going through the confirmation process, 22 are awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate, five are awaiting a committee vote, and 38 are awaiting a committee hearing.