Both the House and Senate are in Session today. The House will convene at 10AM and begin consideration of a resolution on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. The Senate will begin discussions on a Democratic plan to avert the sequestration. The Senate completed their work on Senator Hagel’s nomination to serve as the next Sec. of Defense yesterday. His nomination overcame a filibuster yesterday when cloture was invoked by a vote of 71-27. Despite strong opposition to the nomination from some of his Senate critics, the nomination passed 58-41.
The Senate will likely have a vote regarding the Democratic plan to avert the sequester some time on Thursday. Whether or not a Republican alternative will be offered and taken up for a vote is uncertain. House Democratsiare expected to attempt to add the Senate proposal to the VAWA reauthorization, but House Rules may preclude a vote from happening.
Other Items of Interest:
Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a study on Tuesday detailing how royalty-free leases granted to oil and gas companies in the 1990’s could end up costing the US more than $15.5 billion over the next ten years in lost revenues and up to $40 billion overall under certain circumstances. A copy of the report can be viewed here: http://1.usa.gov/15NKNoI
On Tuesday, the House Science Committee Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on mid-level ethanol blends, focusing on the potential impacts of higher ethanol content on vehicle engines and pump station infrastructure. A summary of the hearing along with links to the testimony can be viewed here:
RPC releases “Anatomy of the Sequester” document describing the levels of spending if the sequester were imposed or waived. The document can be viewed here: http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/anatomy-of-the-sequester
Senate Democrats unveiled their plan to avert the sequester yesterday which includes tax increases, defense cuts, and cuts to farm programs. A copy of the legislative text can be viewed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4cfweztzx6bwczp/Sequester%20Sen%20Dem%20bill.pdf
A summary of the plan can be viewed here: Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/s/87dggzgg3n7zv9g/Sequester%20Sen%20Dem%20Summary.doc
On Tuesday, DOI announced that the sequester could delay offshore oil and gas permitting in the Gulf of Mexico could affect more than 500 exploration plans and development documents that are anticipated for review this year. Onshore, nearly 300 oil and gas leases issued for public land in western states could be threatened, and delays in coal leasing could defer $50-60 millions of dollars in revenue sharing among states and the Treasury.
An earlier memo from DOI on the impacts of the sequestration can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/13VOIfa
The Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Jack Lew to serve as the next Sec. Of Treasury by a vote of 19-5. The nomination will now move to the Senate floor, where it is expected to pass following debate over some of the nominee’s more controversial past activities.
Following Jack Lew’s written answers to questions from Senator Hatch indicating that the Obama administration is not considering a carbon tax to address climate changed, Brookings released a study on the economic benefits of a carbon tax while NAM released a study on the economic harm of such an effort.
The Brookings report can be viewed here: http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/the_many_benefits_of_a_carbon_tax/
The NAM report can be viewed here: http://www.nam.org/~/media/64FDD87B13C44C3E8E95CC805E4E5952.ashx?utm_source=nam&utm_medium=alias&utm_campaign=CarbonTax+Full+Report
The BLM issued its first Rapid Ecoregional Assessment, or REA, summarizing the conditions of the Colorado Plateau. The initial REA encompass lands in four states, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. It has an area of 32,387 square miles and includes land administered by 16 BLM field offices. Additional information can be found at: http://on.doi.gov/WqQFgP
Copy of EIA presentation on future shale gas and tight oil: http://bit.ly/15iwerR
Chief of Staff: Kay Rand
Deputy COS: Toby McGrath
Legislative Director: Chad Metzler
Experience: Senator King was born in Alexandria, Va., March 31, 1944; he graduated Dartmouth College in 1966; he graduated from University of Virginia law school in 1969; he served as a counsel on the Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics; he was a public television program host and co-producer; he was a energy conservative company owner; and he was governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003.
Importance: Senator King is one of two independents serving in the US Senate. He ran on a platform or reform and moderation and stated that he hoped to serve as a bridge between the parties in Washington, DC. He decided to caucus with Democrats in the Senate, but claimed it would not affect his independence. King opposes drilling in ANWR but has said he is open to building the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canada as long as there are tough environmental controls. He holds the same view on hydraulic fracturing. King has been a partner in a wind energy company and was an executive with several other alternative energy firms, and believes that development of new fossil fuel resources should not usurp a long-range goal to obtain more energy through renewable resources. High energy costs and King’s pragmatic approach to policy could provide interesting opportunities for compromise on both energy and environmental issues before the Senate.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Hope you all have a great Wednesday!
Michael D. Zehr
HBW Resources, LLC
1666 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006