Wednesday in Washington:
With both the House and the Senate in recess this week, activity in Washington is limited to staff meetings and preparation for the next work period. The scandals and investigations begun over the last few weeks do not appear to be going away, with the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announcing plans to subpoena more information from the State Department over Benghazi. Meanwhile Members are weighing next steps in the investigations into the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Sec. Sebelius’ fundraising activities, the DOJ’s monitoring of media organizations, EPA fee waivers for FOIA requests, and improper awarding of contracts through the DOE.
Other Items of Interest:
IRS Appoint GAO Official to be the Agency’s Chief Risk Officer and Senior Advisor: The Internal Revenue Service appointed David Fisher, chief financial officer of the Government Accountability Office, as a senior executive to help the tax agency recover from the controversy over its targeting of conservative groups. Fisher will be charged with improving internal controls and “restoring the integrity of IRS operations,” Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, said in a statement announcing Fisher’s appointment as the agency’s chief risk officer and senior adviser.
Senator Boxer Presses Safety Concerns Regarding Restart of San Onofre Reactor: Senator Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee releasedcorrespondence she says indicates that the companies involved knew of the safety challenges involved and may have misrepresented the facts to regulators. The reactor is currently shut down, but efforts are underway to bring the plant back on line.
New Report Promotes Benefits of Energy Efficiency Investments: Breaking Energy released an analysis the findings of a new report produced by the Rhodium Group and United Technologies on the benefits of enhanced energy efficiency for the nation’s buildings. The report finds that Americans spend $432 billion per year on energy, and a 30% improvement in efficiency by 2030 would represent $65 billion per year in savings. The total amount of investment to achieve these savings is $275 billion. The report makes policy recommendations for building labeling, better building codes, government and local government leadership, appliance standards, tax incentives, portfolio standards, and regulatory reform.
OIG Report on Oversight of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits: The Office of the Inspector General of the EPA released a report on deficiencies in the system and recommended that the Assistant Administrator for Water develop and implement oversight mechanisms that will help states and regions consistently comply with CWA §316(a) public notice requirements. The Agency agreed with the recommendation and committed to implementing corrective actions by June 30, 2013.
House Natural Resources Committee Announces Plans for ESA Hearing: Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) announced that the Committee would hold a hearing on the Endangered Species Act on June 4th at 10 AM in 1324 Longworth. The hearing will focus on state, local, and tribal efforts to support the conservation and recovery of species compared to the endless litigation and sue-and-settle tactics being used by anti-development groups and the federal government.
Member of the Day: US Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Committee Assignments: Energy and Commerce and House Republican Study Committee
Chief of Staff: Lynnel Ruckert
Legislative Director: Eric Zulkosky
Experience: Rep. Scalise was born and raised in the greater New Orleans area, growing up in Jefferson Parish and attending high school in Metairie. He graduated from Louisiana State University with B.S. in Computer Programming and minor in Political Science. He started his career in computer programming after attending Louisiana State University. He entered politics in 1995 as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, and served there for 12 years. He was elected to Congress in a special election in May of 2008. Scalise was overwhelmingly re-elected in November of 2008 and again in November of 2010 to continue serving Louisiana’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, a seat previously represented by Governor Bobby Jindal. In 2012, he served as captain of the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians, a group that host a yearly Mardi Gras celebration in Washington.
Importance: As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, he is one of the key voices shaping conservative policies and messaging in the 113th Congress. As a member of thel Energy and Commerce Committee, Scalise has already emerged as one of the leaders in Congress in pushing for a strong national energy policy that increases the supply of American oil and natural gas to lower gas prices at the pump and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. He serves as a Deputy Republican Whip. In addition to his Chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee, he serves as Vice Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he is a strong advocate for Louisiana’s energy interests, including offshore oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico. He has also worked to highlight the government waste and fraud associated with the loan program that supported Solyndra and a number of other now bankrupt alternative energy companies. He supports increasing offshore oil and gas leasing and favors measures to boost domestic oil production elsewhere, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Rep. Scalise is a staunch conservative with a unique ability to articulate conservative positions in entertaining and quotable ways. As such, he plays an important role in conducting oversight hearings and serving as one of the chief critics of the Obama Administration.
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 day!
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