Welcome to the January edition of A Capitol View. This edition includes updates on the SMI team, battery grants, news from Congress, congressional retirements, and a summary and analysis of the FY22 NDAA from SMI’s very own.


Meet SMI’s Newest Team Member, Leigh Maiden!

Leigh Maiden joined SMI’s team as an Associate last month.

Leigh Maiden has seven years of experience working on Capitol Hill where she became a widely respected defense and appropriations expert. During her time in Congress, Leigh supported a wide range of national security, defense, intelligence, foreign affairs, and veterans’ affairs legislation.
Prior to joining SMI, Leigh served as the Legislative Director to Congressman Filemon Vela (TX), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and the Deputy Chair of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. She also served as the Military Legislative Assistant (MLA) to the HASC Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Chairman, Jim Langevin (RI). Leigh began her career on Capitol Hill working for Senator Joe Manchin (WV), serving the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee as his Defense Legislative Correspondent. Leigh has held internships with former Senators Jay Rockefeller (WV) and Bill Nelson (FL), the Foreign Service Institute, and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Before joining SMI, Leigh was a member of the government relations team at Anduril Industries, a defense technology company.

Leigh is a West Virginia native and enjoys returning home often for whitewater rafting excursions, horseback riding, snowboarding, and spending time with her family. She looks forward to bringing her diverse background in national security policy and budgetary expertise to advance the priorities of SMI’s clients in Congress.

Leigh received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Politics and International Affairs and in Economics from Wake Forest University and holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Find Leigh’s press release here and her contact information here.


Battery Manufacturing Grants in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

By SMI’s Dr. Drew Ronneberg, VP

As domestic transportation infrastructure moves away from its reliance on gasoline and diesel in favor of electricity, the United States risks losing recent gains in energy security with increased dependence on overseas Li-ion battery supply chains. Li-ion battery manufacturing relies heavily on imported raw materials like lithium, cobalt, and nickel. High demand for raw materials like cobalt work to exacerbate already dangerous working conditions in conflict-ridden countries. Additionally, the production of key battery components (e.g., anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes) and full cells is concentrated in China and the rest of Asia.

By establishing domestic supply chains for Li-ion batteries, the US can accomplish two goals. First, domestic production of raw materials and battery components can reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions that occur because of armed conflict or trade disputes. This increases domestic supply chain efficiency and resiliency, while decreasing our dependence on conflict materials and imports from non-allied states. In addition, the establishment of domestic supply chains maximizes the economic benefit of producing EV batteries, including the creation of well-paying, highly skilled manufacturing jobs for Americans.

To address this issue, Congress has appropriated $6 billion dollars’ worth of manufacturing grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to incentivize the onshoring of EV battery supply chains. These manufacturing grants, which require at least a 50% industry cost share, will target the upstream production and processing of raw materials as well as the downstream manufacturing of battery components, cells, and battery packs.
The Department of Energy is expected to release its first Battery Manufacturing solicitation early this year. As former officials with the Department of Energy, Drew Ronneberg and Pat Davis have worked on similar funding opportunities under the 2009 Recovery Act. If your company is interested in applying to the upcoming Battery Manufacturing grants, please contact drew@strategicmi.com


SMI’s Summary and Analysis of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

On December 27, 2021, President Biden signed the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, making it the 60th annual version of the bill to complete its journey through the halls of Congress. The final bill amounted to a massive 3,268 pages, providing policy groundwork and fiscal authorizations for the Department of Defense and related agencies.

Over the past few weeks, SMI’s team of analysts have put together an in-depth summary of key procurement and research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) provisions to provide insight and brief analysis into congressional opinions, notable programs, and broader policy trends.

Click here to download a PDF of the summary.


What’s Happening in Congress?

Senate Democrats’ efforts to change the longstanding filibuster rule, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), failed last Wednesday in a final floor vote of 52-48. The chances of a successful floor vote for Democrats were lowered after Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) voted with GOP members against the rule change, resulting in heavy criticism from President Biden and fellow Democrats. The change would have created a “talking filibuster,” which requires members to speak on the floor in order to block legislation. As Schumer reiterated his vehement support of a changed filibuster, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) characterized the efforts as undemocratic and politically divisive.

The Democrats’ failure to win Wednesday’s floor vote on the filibuster led to their failure to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, a key piece of legislation that motivated changing the filibuster. Under Schumer’s proposed changes to the rule, a floor vote on voting-related legislation would only require a simple majority to advance to final passage. The Act would bring massive reforms to electoral processes, redistricting, and campaign finance laws.

This is not the only attempt at election reform taking place in Congress. A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senator Susan Collins (ME) is pursuing alternative reforms via discussions on narrower changes to how state vote counts are certified in Congress. Included in this group are Senator Mitt Romney (UT), Senator Joe Manchin (WV), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), and Senator Roger Wicker (MS). The group is set to meet in person in the coming week to begin drafting legislation.


Congressional Retirements

Here is the most recent list of members of Congress not seeking reelection.

Senators

Richard Shelby                       AL                   Retiring

Roy Blunt                                MO                  Retiring

Richard Burr                           NC                   Retiring

Rob Portman                           OH                  Retiring

Rob Portman                           OH                  Retiring

Pat Toomey                             PA                    Retiring

Patrick Leahy                          VT                    Retiring

Representatives

Ann Kirkpatrick                      AZ-02            Retiring

Jerry McNerney                      CA-09            Retiring

Jackie Speier                           CA-14             Retiring

Karen Bass                               CA-37            Running for Mayor

Lucille Roybal-Allard             CA-40           Retiring

Alan Lowenthal                       CA-47            Retiring

Ed Perlmutter                         CO-07            Retiring

Stephanie Murphy                  FL-07            Retiring

Val Demings                            FL-10             Running for Senate

Charlie Crist                             FL-13             Running for Governor

Bobby Rush                            IL-01               Retiring

Cheri Bustos                           IL-17               Retiring

John Yarmuth                         KY-03            Retiring

Anthony Brown                      MD-04           Running for Attorney General

Anthony Brown                      MD-04           Running for Attorney General

Brenda Lawrence                   MI-14             Retiring

G.K. Butterfield                      NC-01             Retiring

David Price                             NC-04             Retiring

Albio Sires                              NJ-08              Retiring

Tom Suozzi                             NY-03             Running for Governor

Tim Ryan                                OH-13             Running for Senate

Peter DeFazio                         OR-04            Retiring

Conor Lamb                            PA-17              Running for Senate

Mike Doyle                             PA-18               Retiring

Jim Langevin                         RI-02               Retiring

Eddie Bernice Johnson       TX-30              Retiring

Filemon Vela                         TX-34              Retiring

Peter Welch                            VT-AL             Running for Senate

Ron Kind                                WI-03              Retiring

Mo Brooks                              AL-05             Running for Senate

Devin Nunes                           CA-22             Resigned his seat*

Jody Hice                                GA-10             Running for Secretary of State

Adam Kinzinger                     IL-16               Retiring

Trey Hollingsworth                IN-09             Retiring

Vicky Hartzler                        MO-04           Running for Senate

Billy Long                               MO-07            Running for Senate

Ted Budd                                NC-13              Running for Senate

Lee Zeldin                               NY-01              Running for Governor

Tom Reed                               NY-23              Retiring

John Katko                              NY-24            Retiring

Anthony Gonzalez                  OH-16            Retiring

Louie Gohmert                        TX-01            Retiring

Kevin Brady                            TX-08             Retiring