The House and the Senate will be back in session this week after a week of recess. The Senate will be completing work on the Marketplace Fairness Act, providing a legal framework for collecting taxes on certain on-line purchases, and is expected to consider legislation reauthorizing the Water Resources Development Act. The House will be considering legislation providing additional flexibility for employers dealing with overtime payments and another bill prioritizing federal payments should Congress fail to pass a debt ceiling increase.
The majority of the action will continue to occur in the committees where oversight of the FY2014 Budget request continues. Work on immigration reform will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and Senator Reid has announced that he intends to use the entire month of June to consider the issue on the floor. He expects to use July for some mixture of minimum wage increase and appropriations bills.
The House will use the end of May and most of June to consider a series of energy bills, ranging from proposals to expedited consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline and expanding domestic production, to efforts to support energy exports and restrict the regulatory activities of the EPA.
Although the timing is uncertain, the Chambers will have to address the debt ceiling again at some point in the next few months. With tax reform legislation still in the formative stages, the potential that such a proposal could be tied to the debt ceiling is unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility.
Other Items of Interest:
Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Urges Action on Efficiency: US Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to encourage the use of Energy Performance Savings Contracts (EPSCs). Energy Savings Performance Contracts allow government agencies to pay for energy efficiency upgrades through the savings in their energy bills, without any upfront cost to taxpayers. Energy-efficiency advocates have voiced concerns about the slow pace of approvals for some energy saving contracts in recent months. The administration has set a goal of signing $2 billion worth of ESPCs by 2014. To date, federal agencies have entered into $500 million of agreements toward that target.
Chairman Boxer Schedules Committee Vote on Nomination of Gina McCarthy: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced that the Committee would consider the nomination on May 9th. Senator Vitter (R-LA) and other Republicans on the EPW Committee had recently urgedthe Chairwoman to refrain from taking up the nomination until all the questions submitted had been addressed. In her announcement, Senator Boxer voiced support for the nominee and said that she had completed and answered over a thousand questions submitted to her by Members of the Committee.
New Report Released on Economic Benefits of LNG Exports: The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) released a new report showing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will benefit the U.S. economy and spur job creation. The report highlights how the natural gas industry has helped stimulate employment and small business growth across the country in recent years, especially in those states with expanded production. Looking at the vast economic benefits natural gas production has brought to our economy, the report asserts that increasing LNG exports will expand opportunities for small businesses to grow and create jobs.
Senators Request GAO Study of Fusion Reactor: A bipartisan group of energy policy leaders in the U.S. Senate sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting an investigation of the cost and feasibility of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and its effect on U.S. fusion programs. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is a fusion research demonstration reactor currently under construction in southern France, jointly financed and managed by the European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The United States has committed to fund 9.1 percent of the project’s cost, as well as contribute hardware and personnel. That cost has ballooned in recent years, and is a threat to other research efforts in a constrained budget environment.
Sec. Jewell Tours Offshore Rig: Last Friday, DOI Sec. Sally Jewell visited an offshore drilling rig and production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. She was accompanied by Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Jim Watson and a BSEE Gulf Region inspector on the visit, which included seeing first-hand LLOG’s drilling operations onboard the ENSCO 8502 rig, approximately 120 miles southeast of New Orleans, LA. There she observed a cementing operation for a production well and was briefed on LLOG’s development plan for the area. She also visited Chevron’s deepest producing facility in 6,500 feet water depth, a semi-a submersible platform approximately 125 miles southeast of New Orleans, LA. There she toured the production equipment and discussed Chevron’s deepwater strategy for exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico. Additional information on her trip can be viewed here.
HBW Ollison Fracking Report: See the latest updates on news and policy at the state, national and international levels affecting the use of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development. A copy of the report can be viewed here.
Notable Hearings and Events:
EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Research Meeting: On May 7th and 8th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a meeting of the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel to provide an opportunity for independent expert members of the ad hoc panel to provide comment on EPA’s study of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, May 7-8. The event will be available via webcast athttp://www.epa.gov/sab]
BLM Appropriations Budget Hearing: On May 7th and 9:30 AM in B-308 Rayburn, the House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Bureau of Land Management. Neil Kornze, principal deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management will be testifying. Additional information can be found on the Committee website:http://appropriations.house.gov.
Senate Hearing on Helium Legislation: On May 7th at 9:30AM in 366 Dirksen, the full Committee will hold a hearing on H.R.527, the “Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act,” to complete the privatization of the Federal helium reserve in a competitive market fashion that ensures stability in the helium markets while protecting the interests of American taxpayers. Tim Spisak, deputy assistant director for minerals and realty management in the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management; Walter Nelson, director of helium sourcing and supply chain for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; David Joyner, president of Air Liquide Helium America, Inc.; Carolyn Duran, senior materials manager for the Intel Corporation; and Moses Chan, professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University, will testify at the hearing. Additional information can be found here.
Hearing on Scientific and Environmental Issues Regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline: ON May 7th at 10 AM in 2318 Rayburn, the House Science Committee Energy Subcommittee and Environment Subcommittee will hold a joint hearing on “Keystone XL Pipeline: Examination of Scientific and Environmental Issues.” Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Department of Mineral Resources; Brigham McCown, principal and managing director of United Transportation Advisors LLC; Paul “Chip” Knappenberger, assistant director of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science; and Anthony Swift, attorney in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s International Program, will testify. Additional information can be found here.
Discussion on Natural Gas Exports: On May 7th at 10AM, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) will hold a discussion on “America’s Natural Gas: Should Exports be Restricted?
Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao; Claude Barfield, resident scholar at AEI; Ken Ditzel, principal at Charles River Associates; David Montgomery, senior vice president of NERA Economic Consulting; Wallace Tyner, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University; Benjamin Zycher, visiting scholar at AEI; and Arthur Brooks, president of AEI, will participate in the discussion. The event will be streamed live onhttp://www.american.com/watch/aei-livestream.
Hearing on US Energy Exports: On May 7th at 10AM n 2123 Rayburn, the Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “U.S. Energy Abundance: Exports and the Changing Global Energy Landscape.” The Honorable J. Bennett Johnston, Chairman Johnston & Associates; Honorable Byron Dorgan, Co-Chair Bipartisan Policy Center; Mr. James Bradbury, Senior Associate, Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute; Mr. Michael Breen, Executive Director Truman National Security Project; Mr. Mike Halleck, President Executive Columbiana County Board of Commissioners; and Ms. Amy Jaffe, Director, Energy & Sustainability, UC Davis Graduate School of Management; will testify. Additional information about the hearing can be found here.
Sec. Jewell to Testify on FY2014 Budget Request: On May 7th at 10:30 AM in 124 Dirksen, the Senate Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “FY2014 Budget Request for the Department of the Interior.” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell; Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes; Assistant Interior Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget Rhea Suh; Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Pam Haze of the Office of Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition, will testify. Additional information can be found on the Committee website:http://appropriations.senate.gov.
Hearing on DOI Hydraulic Fracturing Rule: On May 8th at 10AM in 1324 Longworth, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on “DOI Hydraulic Fracturing Rule: A Recipe for Government Waste, Duplication and Delay.” Additional information about the hearing can be found here.
Senate Committee Considers Hydropower Legislation: On May 8th at 11:30 in 366 Dirksen, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a full committee markup of S.306, the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act”; S.545, the “Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013”; S.761, the “Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013”; H.R.267, the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013”; and H.R.678, the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act.” Additional information on the markup can be viewed here.
House Committee Holds Hearing on EPA’s Budget Request: On May 8th at 1PM in 2359 Rayburn, the House Appropriations Committee Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe will testify. Additional information about the hearing can be found here.
Senate EPW Committee to Consider McCarthy Nomination: On May 9th at 9:15 AM in 406 Dirksen, the Senate Environment and Public Works will hold a full committee hearing on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Additional information on the meeting can be found here.
Hearing on Grid Reliability: On May 9th at 9:30 AM n 2123 Rayburn, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “American Energy Security and Innovation: Grid Reliability Challenges in a Shifting Energy Resource Landscape.” Additional information can be found here.
Member of the Day: US Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Committee Assignments: Financial Services
Chief of Staff: Adam Khun
Legislative Director: Jesse Walls
Experience: Rep. Stivers attended college at Ohio State University; he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and an MBA. Rep. Stivers worked for Bank One for seven years and the Ohio Company for three years before being elected to the Ohio State Senate. He held the state senate seat from 2003 through 2008. Rep. Stivers joined the Ohio National guard in 1985 and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2004-2005, Rep. Stivers served as a Battalion Commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2008, Stivers beat the one term, democrat incumbent in 2010. Currently, Rep. Stivers is serving his second term in Congress.
Importance: Rep. Stivers is a member of the Financial Services Committee where he primarily works on banking, insurance, housing, and consumer protection legislation. However, Rep. Stivers has taken interest in veterans and military issues as well as energy policy. Last Congress, Stivers authored legislation that would have opened untapped oil resources in the Outer Continental Shelf. In turn, revenues from offshore drilling leases would have increased and the new funds could have been used to fund infrastructure projects. The bill passed the House, but did not get signed into law.
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 Monday!
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