Roundup: Power grid / Pandemic relief package / Job seekers survey

    Inquiry: Federal regulators say they are launching an “inquiry” into the operations of the bulk-power system during the severe winter storm that left millions without power in subfreezing temperatures in Louisiana, Texas and other states. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation announced the inquiry earlier today. Officials said the immediate emphasis will remain on restoring power to customers and securing the reliability of the bulk-power system, but they will work with other federal agencies, states, regional entities and utilities to identify problems with the performance of the bulk-power system and identify solutions. Read the full story. 

    Hurdle cleared: A Democratic-led effort to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package has passed its latest challenge with House committees advancing measures that will soon be combined into a single bill expected to clear the full House by the end of February. Their goal is to have COVID-19 relief approved by mid-March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires. See a rundown of the relief package contents here.  

    Pessimistic: A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about half of U.S. adults who are currently unemployed, furloughed or temporarily laid off and are looking for a job are pessimistic about their prospects for future employment, and most say they’ve seriously considered changing fields or occupations since they’ve been unemployed. See the report here.