The House and Senate are in session today and both are beginning the process of reviewing appropriations legislation to fund the government through the end of the year. The House will be considering two pieces of legislation today: H.R. 668 requiring annual budgets produced by the executive branch to include an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit; and H.R. 338 updating anti-smuggling programs for tobacco products in American territories.
Other Items of Interest:
Chairman of House Appropriations Committee released the legislative text for the continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded through the end of the fiscal year. The bill provides $1.043 trillion in non-emergency funding which is reduced to $982 billion by the automatic sequestration cuts. Additional information and a copy of the legislative text can be reviewed here.
During an interview over the weekend on CSPAN, Senator Wyden said that he had Majority Leader Harry Ried’s commitment to bring a comprehensive energy package to the floor of the Senate this year. As the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Wyden has shown a willingness to work with Members of both parties and the potential of a bipartisan package of energy bills being assembled and brought to floor is very good, especially if Sen. Reid has committed floor time to the effort. What the package will contain and when such consideration could occur remain uncertain.
The new slate of energy and environmental cabinet Members is now almost set. Yesterday, the White House formally nominated Gina McCarthy to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy.
Sen. David Vitter and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter to EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Assistant Administrator, Gina McCarthy, seeking the science underpinning the agency’s upcoming review of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and criticizing the agency’s lack of transparency and use of secret data. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
At 10:00 AM, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on American Energy Security and Innovation: The Role of a Diverse Electricity Generation Portfolio. Representatives from AEP, Entergy, and Exel will be among individuals testifying. Additional information about the hearing and the individuals testifying can be viewed here.
At 10:00 AM, the House Natural Resources Committee Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee will hold a hearing on America’s Offshore Energy Resources: Creating Jobs, Securing America, and Lowering Prices. The Committee will hear testimony from a variety of offshore interests including offshore wind, tub boat operators, economic development officials, and port officials. Additional information about the hearing and the individuals testifying can be viewed here.
At 11:00 AM, the House T&I Committee Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Freight and Passenger Rail in America’s Transportation System. The Committee will hear testimony from Washington State DOT, AAR, Amtrak, and the United Transportation Union. Additional information about the hearing and individuals testifying can be viewed here.
At 2:00 PM, the House Natural Resources Committee Water and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on H.R.254, the Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act; and H.R.678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. Additional information on the bills and the hearing can be viewed here.
New Member of the Day: Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)
Committee Assignments: Science and Transportation & Infrastructure
Chief of Staff: Julie Sweet
Legislative Director: Tony Baker
Congresswoman Esty is the U.S. Representative for the 5th Congressional District of Connecticut. The district spans northwest and central Connecticut and includes Danbury, Litchfield County, the Farmington Valley, Meriden and her hometown of Cheshire, as well as the Naugatuck Valley. She served in the Connecticut General Assembly (2009-2011) and the Cheshire Town Council (2005-2008) where she focused on responsible budgeting and job creation. On the Town Council, she worked to balance the budget while providing property tax relief to seniors and ensuring adequate funding for public schools. In the General Assembly, she returned 10% of her salary to taxpayers. She graduated from Harvard University in 1981 and earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1985. After clerking for US District Judge Robert Keeton of Massachusetts, she joined the firm of Sidley Austin and served as a member of the Supreme Court bar. She later went on to work in health care and Medicare policy as a Senior Research scholar at Yale and to teach as an adjunct professor at American University.
Despite some of her progressive positions on social issues, Rep. Esty is a moderate and a deficit hawk with experience balancing and prioritizing budgets. Job creation and economic development are top priorities for the Congresswoman. She supports investments in infrastructure, research and development, and job training, and has been an outspoken proponent of green jobs. As the Representative of Newtown, CT, she is a strong proponent of gun control legislation. She is replacing Rep. Chris Murphy who successfully ran for US Senate. She defeated Andrew Roraback by a three-point margin in the race to represent the right-leaning 5th District. Roraback was supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Connecticut governor Jodi Rell. With seats on both the Science Committee and T&I, she is expected to be a proponent of aggressive oversight of existing government programs and careful allocation of resources to programs and projects with the greatest opportunity to support jobs and manufacturing.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. You can review previous updates and new member profiles at http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great Tuesday!