Wednesday in Washington:
Both the House and Senate will be in session today. House Republicans introduced their budget plan yesterday, and Senate Democrats are expected to release their plan today. Both have until mid-April to approve budget resolutions to avoid having their salaries withheld. The Senate will take up the House passed Continuing Resolution and appropriations bill for the remainder of the fiscal year at some point today and will begin the consideration of a substitute amendment offered by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski. The consideration of the appropriations measures were stalled on Tuesday By Senator Coburn, who objected to moving forward on the legislation until he and his staff had a chance to review the text. A summary of the Senate Appropriations proposal can be viewed here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.download&id=774f2839-8bd6-41fd-ae93-0a7e050c4e18
While the House will take up legislation removing waiver authority of work requirements for TANF recipients, the remainder of the week is expected to be dominated by discussions over the competing budget proposals and the need to pass some version of a CR before March 27th.
Other Items of Interest:
Chairman Ryan Releases House Republican Budget Proposal
The plan would balance the budget within ten years while implementing reforms to both entitlement programs and the tax code. The plan calls for expanded oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands and waters, approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and elimination of the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program. The plan would also eliminate an existing BLM requirement that proceeds from land sales be used to purchase other lands, directing 70 percent of those proceeds to deficit reduction. DOI could keep no more than $60 million per year from land sales. The portions specific to energy begin on page 48 of the document. A copy of the proposal can be viewed here: http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fy14budget.pdf.
Minority Members of Senate EPW Committee Question McCarthy About E-mails
Sen. Vitter (R-LA) along with five other senators sent a letter requesting answers from Gina McCarthy on her involvement with Dr. Al Armendariz, former Region 6 EPA administrator, to “shame states” and punish traditional energy producers such as oil, natural gas and utilities like coal. Dr. Armendariz emailed senior-level EPA officials and outlined numerous EPA efforts during his tenure that were designed to restrain domestic fossil fuel production, as proof that his mission at EPA had been accomplished. Dr. Armendariz expressly highlights McCArthy’s new air regulations, as the “icing on the cake.” A copy of the letter to Gina McCarthy can be viewed here: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=2b1b7857-303b-479f-800c-f67336cfea59.
Environmental Group Urges President to Use Executive Power to Address GHGs
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions released a report urging the President to use his existing authority to address emissions of non-carbon-dioxide greenhouse gases that have an immediate impact on man-made global warming. Last April, the EPA finalized new source performance standards and hazardous air pollutant regulations for oil and gas production and gas processing, transmission and storage facilities.The rules include the requirement to use “green completions” at natural gas wells to limit emissions. The report urges EPA to evaluate the potential for additional reductions from across the natural gas value chain at oil and gas facilities not covered by the recent new source standards. A copy of the report can be viewed here:
Chairman Camp Releases Small Business Tax Reform Proposal
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a third discussion draft as part of the Committee’s broader effort on comprehensive tax reform to lower rates while making the tax code simpler and fairer. The third draft is specifically focused on reducing the burden the tax code imposes on small businesses. The summary, fact sheet, and discussion draft can be reviewed here: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/taxreform/default.aspx.
Chairwoman Mikulski Introduces CR Appropriations Bill With Modifications
The legislation would provide additional flexibility to many departments and agencies dealing with the effects of the filibuster. Specifically, the bill modifies the House passed CR by allowing greater flexibility for agriculture, commerce, science, homeland security and certain surface transportation programs. A copy of the substitute can be viewed here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5mriqi1bzussxna/Mikulski%20Senate%20CR%20Substitute.pdf.
Senate Appropriations/CR Excludes House Language Prohibiting NOP Funding
The Explanatory Statement for the Commerce-Justice-Science component of the Senate Substitute Continuing Resolution unveiled contains the following language regarding NOP and Sec. 553 (2012 Flores amendment de-funding NOP): “National Ocean Policy (NOP).—Section 553 of H.R. 5326 of the 112th Congress regarding the NOP is not included. However, it is noted that no funding was requested to implement the NOP. It is expected that NOAA programs will be carried out pursuant to their authorized purposes.” The legislation would provide $4 million for NOAA’s Regional Ocean Partnership (ROP) Grant program. A copy of the Explanatory Statement can be viewed here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.download&id=a0635b35-24e0-4672-8cfb-5af04857994b.
Democratic Members Float Carbon Tax Proposal
Rep. Waxman (D-CA), Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. Schatz (D-HI), and Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) released draft legislation that would effectively create a carbon tax based on greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Under the draft bill, industrial facilities would be required to pay a fee for each ton of carbon pollution reported under the EPA’s existing GHG emissions reporting program. The Treasury Department would be responsible for collecting the fees. The draft carbon pricing legislation is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mb208yh0hldbhxs/Carbon%20Pollution%20Fee%20Discussion%20Draft.pdf.
House Committee to Hold Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Hearing
At 10:00 AM today, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee hearing on “The Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.” Additional information about the hearing can be found here: http://naturalresources.house.gov.
House Committee to Review Federal Support for Energy Technologies
At 3:00 PM today, the House Science Committee Energy Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “Federal Financial Support for Energy Technologies: Assessing Costs and Benefits.” Additional information on the hearing and the witnesses can be viewed here: http://science.house.gov.
House Committee to Review Onshore Oil and Gas Development
At 10:00 AM on March 14th, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing entitled “America’s Onshore Energy Resources: Creating Jobs, Securing America, and Lowering Prices.” Additional information on the hearing and the witnesses can be viewed here: http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=320973.
House Committee to Review Western Hemisphere Energy Security
At 10:00 AM on March 14th, the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled “U.S. Energy Security: Enhancing Partnerships with Mexico and Canada.” Additional information and witness testimony can be reviewed here: http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-us-energy-security-enhancing-partnerships-mexico-and-canada.
Shale Gas in China Discussion
9:00 AM on March 15th, the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a discussion entitled “Shale Gas Revolution in China: Game Changer for Coal?” The director of IHS CERA (China) and a staff scientist from the Natural Resources Defense Council will guide this discussion. You can find more information or RSVP for the event here: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/rsvp?eid=26296&pid=99.
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN)
Committee Assignments: Agriculture and Transportation & Infrastructure
Chief of Staff: Mike Misterek
Deputy COS: Jodie Torkelson
Legislative Director: Jim Swinderski
Returning to Congress in 2013 after more than 32 years in domestic and international business and community work. He grew up in Brainerd, MN on the Cuyuna Range in the heart of the state’s lake country. He worked his way through the University of Minnesota as a proud Local 638 UPS Teamster, and later taught high school social studies in Royalton, MN. He directed the North Central Minnesota 19-unit Head Start program and was curriculum coordinator for the Little Falls Adult Education program. He did post-graduate work at St. Cloud State University, Central Lakes College and the University of Maryland. He began his public service in 1968, representing Morrison County in the Minnesota House of Representatives for 2 terms. At 24, he was one of the youngest people ever to serve in the Minnesota Legislature. He was elected to Congress in 1974. He served three terms before deciding to leave in 1980. He established his own business, U.S. Export Corporation, he worked to build and operate the Minnesota World Trade Center. He later served as president of the Minnesota World Trade Center Corporation and chaired the International Association of World Trade Centers’ Trade and Policy Committee. He also owned of Emily Wood Products, a small sawmill and pallet factory.
Elected again to Congress in 2012, he retains his pervious seniority as a 4th term Member. By defeating freshman Republican Chip Cravaack, he reclaimed a seat for Democrats that they had previously held since 1947. With three terms of prior experience, from 1975 to 1981, Nolan is the most senior freshman in the 113th Congress. As a Member of the T&I Committee he will have a say in writing a new surface transportation bill and influence policy affecting the Port of Duluth-Superior, the busiest Great Lakes port and an exporting destination for coal, grain and taconite ore mined from Minnesota’s Iron Range.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and new Member profiles can be reviewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great Wednesday!
Vice President US Federal Affairs
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