The US Senate continues its consideration of the House passed debt limit increase today. As part of the agreement reached for consideration of the measure, the Senate will consider a number of amendments and a motion to commit. The amendments include a Portman amendment requiring spending offsets for debt ceiling increases, another Portman amendment approving automatic CRs when Congress fails to pass appropriations bills, a Toomey amendment requiring the Treasury to prioritize spending if the debt ceiling is not increased, a Paul amendment prohibiting the sale of military equipment to the Egyptian government, and a Vitter motion to commit to force additional spending cuts. After these are dispensed with, the legislation is expected to pass.
The other main event of the day will be Senator Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing for his nomination to serve as Secretary of Defense before the Senate Armed Services Committee. His views on Israel and a number of other issues along with his sometimes brusk demeanor have led a number of his former colleagues to publicly oppose his nomination. His confirmation is at risk, and today’s hearing is a critical juncture.
Other Items of Interest:
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appointed his former chief of staff, William “Mo” Cowan, to replace John Kerry for five months, which would make him the only African American Democrat in the Senate, the eighth African American Senator in the institution’s history, and mark the only time two African Americans have served in the Senate at the same time.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and the Need to Invest in the Nation’s Ports” at 10 AM today. Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army for civil works; Michael Christensen, deputy executive director of the Port of Los Angeles; Mike Loreno, president of the Associated Branch Pilots; James Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority; and Andrew Cairns, board member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute are scheduled to testify.
Yesterday, the U.S. EPA sent the Tier 3 standards rule to curb sulfur in gasoline to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The standards would lower sulfur allowed in gasoline from 30 parts per million to 10 parts per million. The rules have been in the works for years but have been delayed in the face of opposition from both the industry and members of Congress, notably Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The National Tank Truck Carriers released a study analyzing the impact that shale energy development has had on the trucking industry. Over 97 percent say it has had a positive impact on the industry. Additional information can be reviewed at the following link: http://t.co/zfFpPfhd
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities released a study yesterday identifying the Nome-Port Clarence region as the preferred site for a deep water port serving the maritime and oil and gas industries. A copy of the study can be viewed here:
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Committee Assignments: Natural Resources and Homeland Security
Chief of Staff: Rodney Emery
Executive Administrator: DeBorah Lynn Posey
Experience: Rep. Horsford is Nevada’s first African American Congressman. He was chief executive officer of the Culinary Training Institute, a joint management-labor initiative to provide trained workers for Las Vegas’s casinos and hotels, and served as state Senate majority leader.
His district includes the northern part of Clark County, where most of its population resides, and all or part of several rural counties around Las Vegas.
Importance: Rep. Horsford had unique challenges growing up with a mother who struggled with addiction and a father who was killed when Steven was just 19 years old. To support his siblings, he had to leave college early but he helped make sure his other siblings had the opportunity to succeed. He has Rosen quickly and been extraordinarily successful in all of his political endeavors. As a member of the Natural Resources Committee from a state that could soon become a significant oil and gas producer, he is in a position to advocate for policies that allow greater access while ensuring sufficient environmental stewardship.
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Hope you have a great Thursday!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006