No votes are expected today as the Senate finished up most of its business for the week last evening. The Senate approved the short-term debt ceiling fix yesterday setting up a strong push to complete budget resolutions in the House and Senate by April 15th. Failure to do so would result in Members’ salaries being withheld. The Hagel confirmation hearing did little to allay concerns about the Senator’s positions and may not have helped his prospects of confirmation. Looking to the future, Congress has to deal with sequestration, a potential government shutdown if appropriations for the rest of the year are not determined, and another debt limit extension by the end of May. Both House and Senate will be in session next week. The Senate will be considering the Violence Against Women Act while the House considers a balanced budget proposal.
Other Items of Interest:
On January 31st, EPA proposed new percentage standards for the RFS in 2013. The proposed 2013 overall volumes and standards are:
Biomass-based diesel (1.28 billion gallons; 1.12 percent)
Advanced biofuels (2.75 billion gallons; 1.60 percent)
Cellulosic biofuels (14 million gallons; 0.008 percent)
Total renewable fuels (16.55 billion gallons; 9.63 percent)
Additional information can be reviewed at: http://t.co/YizCetdq
U.S. Senator John Barrasso introduced the “Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013 (S.192).” The bipartisan legislation gives North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member nations, Japan, and others the same preferential treatment as other free trade partners with respect to exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG). Its co-sponsors are Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and David Vitter (R-La.). Additional information on the bill can be reviewed at: http://1.usa.gov/12dEsm5
Senator Begich introduced his own offshore revenue sharing bill for energy exploration activities in the Arctic. The bill would provide 37.5 percent of bonus bids and royalty from energy development — both conventional and renewable — off Alaska’s coast to help shore up public-sector infrastructure, mitigate development impacts and bolster emergency response capacity. The bill is separate from the larger effort by Sen. Wyden, Sen. Landrieu, and Sen. Murkowski, but some of the provisions are worth a look, like the pipeline transport requirement. A copy of the legislation can be viewed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9u106qd4vl1homf/Begich%20Offshore%20bill.pdf
Next Tuesday, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing entitled “An Assessment of North America’s Energy Resources.”
The Department of the Interior U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) Advisory Committee will hold its first public meeting on February 13, 2013, in Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public, but all interested in attending should preregister by close of business February 6, 2013. Individuals requesting to make comments at the public Committee meeting will be allocated up to 3 minutes as time permits. To register, contact Ms. Shirley Conway by February 6 via email at Shirley.Conway@onrr.gov, by phone at (202) 513-0598 or fax (202) 513-0682.
New Member of the Day: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Committee Assignments: Transportation and Infrastructure, Oversight and Government Reform, and Science
Chief of Staff: Hans Hoeg
Deputy COS: Gary Howard
Legislative Director: Seana Cranston
Experience: Rep. Thomas Massie earned two engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He founded SensAble Technologies, Inc., based on his invention that made computers easier to use, and raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents. Ten years ago, he moved back home to Kentucky with his wife and high school sweetheart, Rhonda, to raise their four children on a farm. In 2010, Massie won the race for Lewis County Judge Executive. In the first nine months of his administration, he eliminated enough wasteful government spending to pay his first three years salary as Judge Executive.
Importance: With an MIT education and a background in science and engineering, Rep. Massie has the scientific background to engage on matters of climate change and EPA regulation with a level of sophistication and understanding unique to Members of Congress. Rep. Massie is a conservative with strong libertarian influences similar to that of Senator Rand Paul. With positions on T&I, Science, and Oversight, he will likely play a key role in much of the oversight of the EPA that is planned for the 113th Congress.
Previous updates and New Member profiles can be reviewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Hope you all have a great Friday and a nice weekend!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006