The House is in session today considering H.R. 444, the Require a Plan Act–a bill requiring the Administration to produce a budget that balances within the decade or a detailed accounting for when the budget will come into balance. Senate Democrats will be in Annapolis, MD for their retreat today and tomorrow, and House Democrats will go to their retreat in Leesburg, VA on Wednesday and Thursday. Before leaving DC, the Senate approved the motion to proceed to the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 by a vote of 85 to 8. The bill would authorize $650 million per year for the next ten years to assist victims of domestic abuse. The Senate will be back in session on Thursday to consider other amendments to the bill. A lot of focus will remain on Budget issues with the CBO releasing its annual Budget and Economic Outlook report, a day after the Administration failed to produce its annual budget proposal on time. The budget may be released a month late this year because of the debate and ultimate resolution of the fiscal cliff crisis at the beginning of the year.
Other Items of Interest:
Today, the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing entitled: Energy and Security–An Assessment of North American Energy Resources. Adam Sieminski with EIA, Daniel Yergin with IHS, Jennifer Morgan with World Resources Institute, Mary J. Hutzler with the Institute for Energy Research, and Harry Vidas with ICF International will testify.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski released a blueprint for energy security that included renewables, coal, oil, shale, natural gas, solar, geothermal, wind, hydroelectric power, and efficiency. A copy of the plan can be reviewed at: http://1.usa.gov/WT2LSm
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing Thursday on the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also testify at the end of the week before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. The panel may also vote on the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary. Despite his questioning of the nominee, Sen. John McCain has urged colleagues not to employ the filibuster against Sen.Hagel.
CNBC reported that US energy consumers spent $2,919 or 4% of income on fuel in 2012–highest level in three decades. Such a stat is likely to drive some conversation at upcoming hearings in the House and Senate. The report can be viewed at: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100431822
Karen Billups was named as the next Republican Staff Director of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, replacing McKie Campbell. Karen had served as Chief Counsel since 2008. Pat McCormick, who was previously special counsel on the committee staff, is the new chief counsel. The choice adds to the sense of continuity at the Committee as they promote Senator Murkowski’s priorities, which includes offshore revenue sharing legislation set to be introduced with Chairman Wyden and Senator Landrieu.
New Member of the Day: Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
Committee Assignments: Budget, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Small Business
Chief of Staff: Tyler Grassmeyer
Legislative Director: Courtney Titus
Experience: Before coming to the House Tom is of counsel at Rice, MacDonald, & Hicks Law Firm. Tom attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a masters degree in accounting and a law degree. After college, Tom worked at Deloitte & Touche in Charlotte where he earned his CPA certificate. In 1985 he returned to Myrtle Beach to practice Tax Law with the Van Osdell Law Firm. In 1997, Tom established his own practice, the Rice & MacDonald Law Firm. Since 2006 he has been included in Best Lawyers in America. In 2010, Tom was elected Chairman of Horry County Council.
Importance: As an attorney and a CPA, Rep. Rice has a unique understanding of the the challenges businesses face when trying to deal with changing regulatory and tax policies. He is a opponent of increasing tax burdens and believes that less government regulation will encourage greater investment. At the same time, he comes from a district that is in need of greater federal investment so he will be a voice for more targeted spending for transportation expenditures for projects in his district that will help create jobs and improve the economic competitiveness of his constituents. As a Member of the Budget Committee, the T&I Committee, and the Small Business Committee, he is in a unique position to advocate for projects and policies that could encourage additional energy development to support infrastructure upgrades.
Previous updates and new Member profiles can be viewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Hope you all have a great Tuesday!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006