Thursday in Washington:
President Obama will be in Mexico City today for bilateral meetings with Mexican President Peña Nieto. With the Congressional recess winding down, work is ramping up in preparation for the Members’ return next week. The Senate will be finishing its work on the Marketplace Fairness Act and may move to consideration of legislation reauthorizing the Water Resources Development Act.
In the Committees, oversight will continue on aspects of the Keystone XL pipeline and the FY2014 budget while hearings will begin on immigration reform and the Boston Marathon attack. The House will begin consideration of a number of energy related bills this month, including H.R 3 and measures to increase access to federal mineral resources and restrict EPA regulations increasing energy prices for consumers.
Looking out a bit further, the Senate intends to spend the entire month of June working on immigration reform, and the time before the August recess is planned for addressing an increase in the federal minimum wage and the annual appropriations bills.
Other Items of Interest:
House Natural Resources Committee Plans Hearing on Fracking Rule: The House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), announced a hearing for May 8th on the proposed rule. Since November of 2010 when the Administration mentioned possible new federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, the committee has conducted oversight hearings on the issue highlighting the harm such regulations could have on economic growth and energy development. The latest hearing is in response to a report in The Hill newspaper that the Interior Department would be releasing its new proposed rule of hydraulic fracturing within weeks.
House Science Committee To Hold Keystone XL Hearing: The House Science Committee, led by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), announced a hearing planned for May 7th on the scientific and environmental issues associated with the Keystone XL pipeline. The Committee will hear testimony from Lynn Helms, Director, Department of Mineral Resources, North Dakota Industrial Commission;
Brigham A. McCown, Principal and Managing Director, United Transportation Advisors LLC; Anthony Swift, Attorney, International Program, Natural Resources Defense Council; and Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute.
President Selects Former Mayor of Boulder to Head EPA Region 8: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator Bob Perciasepe announced President Obama’s selection of Shaun McGrath as regional administrator for EPA’s regional office in Denver. EPA Region 8 includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 27 Tribal Nations. In addition to serving as Mayor of Boulder, his experience includes working for the energy and environmental-planning policy firm Wheelhouse Associates and serving as the executive director of the American Solar Energy Society in Boulder. He also was a deputy director of White House intergovernmental affairs in the current administration.
HBW Resources Releases Greenfield Offshore Energy Report: The report released yesterday highlights critical legislative and regulatory activities impacting access and development of offshore energy resources. The weekly report is composed by Brent Greenfield, HBW Resources’ Director of Ocean Policy. This week, the report covered activities involving DOI, BOEM, BSEE, Oil Spill Liability, EPA, NMFS, ESA, the Coast Guard, and the USEITI.
Tax Reform Tactic of Interest: Prospects of comprehensive tax reform have been stirring with the announcement of Senator Baucus’s retirement, but it is a House tactic to force a conference on tax reform that is worth noting at this stage. All revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives. Speaker Boehner has designated H.R. 1 as the shell for a tax reform plan and has assured Chairman Camp that he will not pass another tax bill out of the House until tax reform is passed. For the Senate to pass any tax provisions, they would have to use the shell provided by the House in the form of H.R. 1. The House could then force a conference on comprehensive tax reform. If the House is able to pass a bill and then refrain from passing other revenue measures, pressure could build for the Senate to engage as tax provisions expire other revenue issues emerge.
Member of the Day: US Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Committee Assignments: Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; Foreign Relations; Indian Affairs
Chief of Staff: Dan Kunsman
Legislative Director: Bryn Stewart
Experience: Commonly known among Wyoming residents as Wyoming’s physician, Sen. Barrasso was sworn into the U.S. Senate in 2007. Prior to his service in the U.S. Senate, he was a state senator from 2003 to 2007 and an orthopedic surgeon in Casper for 24 years. During his practice, Sen. Barrasso was named Physician of the Year and also served as the medical director for the state’s Health Fairs which brought low-cost health screening exams to people across the state. The Senator lives with his wife Bobbi and three children in Casper.
Importance: In 2007, Sen. Barrasso was appointed by the Governor of Wyoming to fill the seat held by Senator Craig Thomas, who had passed away mid-term. Sen. Barrasso then ran in 2008 to fulfill the rest of the term. He won with 73% of the vote. In 2012, he ran again for the seat and won with 76% of the vote. As part of the Senate Republican leadership team, he chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee and is one of the foremost energy policy advocates in the Senate. He is also a leader on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where he has consistently pressed for more access to federal lands and resources for energy development. On the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, he has sought common-sense regulatory policies that encourage investment and economic growth in the energy sector. He also serves as Chairman of the Senate Western Caucus leading efforts to reform federal land use policies and ensure private property rights.
If you have any questions, please give me a call anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed at: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you have a great Thursday!
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