Both the House and Senate are in session today. The House will be considering a measure to freeze the salaries of the federal workforce through the end of the year. The Senate remains stalled as leaders try to resolve how to complete the consideration of Senator Hagel’s nomination to serve as the next Secretary of Defense. Sen. Reid filed cloture on the nomination marking the first time such an action has been required for a Secretary of Defense. Rumors also circulated yesterday that Gina McCarthy could be nominated as soon as today to serve as the next EPA administrator.
Today at 1 PM, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy, Health Care and Entitlements will hold a hearing on the impact of rising energy prices on American families and small businesses, and the role government regulations play in increased costs. Since 2000, the amount that families spend on energy has increased to 20 percent of real income, up from 12 percent in 2001. Seventy-nine percent of Americans say the increase, which includes rising gas prices, hurts their finances.
At 10 AM,the House Science Committee will be holding a hearing on the State of the Environment: Evaluating Progress and Priorities. The House Natural Resources Committee will be holding a hearing at the same time on the future of the Federal Helium Program.
Other Items of Interest:
Sen. Menendez & 16 Senators introduce legislation to increase taxes on oil and gas producers. Information on the proposal can be reviewed here: http://t.co/sqQMSFMt
The Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee announced the formation of working groups for tax reform. There will be 11 bipartisan working groups–the energy working group will be led by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA). More information can be reviewed at: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=320022
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) is working on a long-term extension of the continuing resolution through the end of the fiscal year. The cost of the package is expected to be $1.043 trillion and will provide the Defense Department with greater flexibility in how to allocate the mandatory sequestration cuts. The Speaker had indicated a desire for a slightly less costly alternative ($974 billion). The Chairman and the Speaker are both eager to resolve this issue before the expiration of the CR occurs next month.
House Democratic Appropriators released a report on the impact of sequestration on energy development and approval processes affecting the oil and gas industry and the potential for the cuts to slow down environmental permitting http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Upton-Sequestration-Hearings-2013-2-13.pdf
American Airlines and US Airways will announce a merger today, creating the world’s largest air carrier and putting 86 percent of domestic air travel in the hands of four big airlines. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/american-airlines-approves-merger-with-us-air/2013/02/13/1e2b2a3c-7556-11e2-95e4-6148e45d7adb_story.html
Committee Assignments: Transportation & Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Government Reform
Chief of Staff: Kenneth West
Legislative Director: Kevin Klein
Experience: Congressman Mark Meadows was born in France and grew up on Florida. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Business Management and worked for Tampa Electric before moving to North Carolina in 1986. He and his wife opened a small restaurant in NC which they eventually sold. Since then, he has been involved in real estate development. He served on the State Economic Development Board and held a number of positions within the state party including Chairman of the Macon County Republican Party.
Importance: Rep. Meadows is strong fiscal and social conservative who was elected on a platform emphasizing reducing the role of the federal government and combating the debt. He supports reducing the corporate tax to 20 percent, allowing tax-free repatriation, reducing government regulation and duplication, reducing oil imports, and promoting domestic energy exploration. With positions on the T&I, Oversight, and Foreign Relations, he is in a good position to advocate for policies that promote energy development for economic and national security benefit. As NC considers expanded onshore and offshore energy development, he could be some a very important spokesman for opening up new areas for energy exploration.
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006