The House is not in session today, but the Senate will be. The Senate still must resolve passage of the Sandy Disaster Aid package, deal with attempts to modify the Senate filibuster rules, and take up the House passed debt limit extension, something Majority Leader Harry Reid has agreed to pursue.
Before adjourning, the House successfully passed legislation increasing the nation’s debt limit through May 19th despite some efforts by House Democratic Leadership to thwart the proposal. The legislation includes provisions withholding Congressional pay if a budget resolution is not passed by both chambers.
Other Items of Interest:
Senator Hoeven and a bipartisan group of 53 Senator sent a letter to President Obama urging swift approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. A copy of the letter can be reviewed here:
The Interior Department has sent to the White House a revised version of a proposed regulation governing oil and gas drilling that involves hydraulic fracturing on federal land, with a requirement for disclosure of chemicals used in fracking. OMB said the new proposal would “provide for disclosure to the public of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on public land and Indian land, strengthen regulations related to well-bore integrity, and address issues related to flowback water.” After the OMB interagency review, BLM will issue the revamped proposed rule for public comment some time in the first quarter with final action expected by July. The last round of regs generated over 170,000 public comments.
On Jan. 23, the Government Accountability Office recommended that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration take steps to improve the quality of data it collects on pipeline incident response times. The issue will be further explored at a field hearing in Charlston, WV on Jan. 28th. The GAO report, Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Guidance Needed to Improve Pipeline Operator Incident Response is available at http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/651408.pdf.
New Member of the Day: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
Committee Assignments: Natural Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure
Chief of Staff: Karl Ahlgren
Legislative Director: Brittnee Preston
Experience: Rep. Mullin represents Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District previously held by conservative democrat Rep. Dan Boren, who did not run for re-election. Shortly after Mullin graduated from Stilwell High School, his father fell ill and the family’s small plumbing company encountered financial troubles. Markwayne was only 20 years old but he and his wife, Christie, took over with only six employees. He stabilized the business and diversified into other businesses that now employ over 120 people. Mullin was a highschool and college wrestler and he is a rodeo and mixed martial arts enthusiast as well as an avid hunter. Mullin is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is one of only two Native Americans serving in the House — the other being Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma).
Importance: As a small business owner, Rep. Mullin is a fierce proponent of removing government regulations and lowering taxes. As a member of both the Natural Resources Committee and T&I Committee he is in an ideal position to advance the interests of his district which includes crucial ports, mineral deposits, and tribal lands. With an eye on removing government red tape, he is expected to be a reliable advocate for reforming permitting processes on federal lands.
If you have any questions, please give me a call at any time. Hope you have a great Thursday!