The Senate will be in session today considering the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. At noon, William Cowan will be sworn in as the next Senator from Massachusetts replacing John Kerry, who was confirmed to serve as Sec. of State last week. The House will not be in session today while House Democrats are in Leesburg,VA for their retreat where they are expected to discuss strategies for dealing with the nation’s mounting fiscal issues.
In the near-term, congressional leaders must find a way of dealing with the sequester, finalize appropriations for the rest of the year through another CR or an omnibus spending bill, produce and pass budget resolutions in both chambers or have their salaries withheld, and raise the nation’s debt limit yet again–all within the next 1-3 months. The energy industry is viewed by many as a very attractive source of new revenues to support these initiatives which have been a topic of discussion at the retreats this week.
In terms of Hill activity, most of the focus today will be on the John Brennan CIA nomination hearing–new memos recently made public call into question some of America’s tactics in the ongoing war on terror and targeted strikes against suspected terrorists.
Other Items of Interest:
Sally Jewell, the CEO of REI, was nominated to replace Sec. Salazar as Sec. of Interior. An engineer by training, Jewell has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry having worked for Mobil Oil before shifting to the banking industry specializing in evaluating investments in the sector. Reactions to the pick were mixed from both extractive industries hoping for additional access to federal lands and anti-development groups seeking greater protections. Her nomination was endorsed by nearly all major environmental groups. The nomination, which will have to go through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, could generate some controversy with the ranking Member in a dispute with DOI over a number of Alaska priorities and other Members concerns about her previous financial support for some groups opposed to the work and mission of the BLM.
Reps. Gregg Harper and Jim Matheson introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R.550) reforming the RFS by compelling the EPA to base its annual cellulosic biofuel requirements on the previous year’s actual production. The bill has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee. Background and a copy of the bill can be viewed at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:6:./temp/~bdaD2G::|/bss/|
The Council on Foreign Relations released a study yesterday touting the benefits of increasing taxes on oil and gas as part of fiscal reform. A copy of the study can be downloaded and reviewed here: http://www.cfr.org/energy/using-oil-taxes-improve-fiscal-reform/p29713
Rep. Paul Broun of GA became the first contender to enter the contest for the Senate seat held by Saxby Chambliss. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana has drawn his first challenger: Republican former state Sen. Corey Stapleton. While both races are expected to draw heated primaries, other notable contests for Iowa, Arkansas, and Alaska have yet to draw top tier challengers.
US Senator Marco Rubio (R-DC) will be giving the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union Address next week.
The inclusion of carbon emissions data from “oil and gas systems” and the fact it was highlighted as the second largest emitter of carbon in the EPA’s announcement along with the Administrations new push on climate change has fed growing concerns that an aggressive push to use GHG regs to clamp down on energy development is coming sooner rather than later. The announcement and the data can be reviewed here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/715f5837da2615ef85257b09005ea7af!OpenDocument
Committee Assignments: Armed Services and Natural Resources
Chief of Staff: Naomi Andrews
Legislative Director: Matthew Vallone
Experience: This is Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s second stint in the US House of Representatives. She represented New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District from 2007 to 2011 before losing to Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta in the 2010 midterm elections. She won the rematch in 2012. Shea-Porter grew up in the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, attending local public schools, and graduating from the University of New Hampshire. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social services and a master’s degree in public administration. A social worker by profession, she directed senior centers in New Orleans and Maryland. She attributes her decision to run for Congress to her experience as a volunteer relief worker in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when she was shocked by what she perceived to be the federal government’s slow response to the disaster.
Importance: As with other Members that lose a seat and then fight to get it back, Congresswoman Shea-Porter is very aware of the repercussions of policy decisions and positions on issues of importance to the people of her district. With three anti-establishment elections in a row, Members like Shea-Porter are currently touting themselves as pragmatic problem solvers, willing to make concessions in some instances to make progress overall. She is a strong supporter of alternative fuels and renewables, but also has a large number of constituents reliant upon home heating oil in the winter, the price of which can be affected by access and regulatory policies. As a Member of the Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Shea-Porter is in a position to support policies encouraging responsible development of both conventional and alternative energy sources beneficial to her district.
Previous updates and new Member profiles can be viewed at: https://mzehrhbw.wordpress.com.
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