Wednesday in Washington:
Hurry Up..And Wait:
The Senate will not be in session today to allow Members to attend services for the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. The House will be in session and will begin consideration of the FY2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. The House passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs FY2014 Appropriations bill yesterday. When the Senate reconvenes on Thursday, it will consider cloture motions on both the Farm Bill and legislation addressing student loan rates. Without an agreement on amendments, it is uncertain how these votes will turn out at this stage.
The House is continuing its investigations into fundraising activities of HHS Secretary Sebilius for outside groups pushing for implementation of the 2009 Affordable Care Act following admissions by the Secretary that she contacted 15 different healthcare organizations to solicit for donations. Investigations are also underway into the apparent discrepancies between testimony provided to Congress and findings of investigators regarding the DOJ’s monitoring of members of the media related to unauthorized releases of classified materials.
Other Items of Interest:
DOI Announces Auction of 165,000 Acres Offshore RI and MA for Wind Development: The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced its plans to hold the first-ever competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The auction, scheduled to take place on July 31, will offer 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for commercial wind energy leasing. The Wind Energy Area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is located 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. BOEM will auction the area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0486) and the South Lease Area (Lease OCS-A0487). The North Lease Area consists of about 97,500 acres and the South Lease Area covers about 67,250 acres.
Research on Rare Earth Elements in Alaska Could Help Identify New Locations for Extraction: The U.S. Geological Survey announced that recent research conducted on Alaska’s Bokan Mountain could help scientists understand how rare earth element deposits form. Bokan Mountain is one of the few known deposits where heavy rare earth elements are concentrated and can be more efficiently produced. These elements are very valuable and critical to the production of electrical equipment and a number of renewable energy technologies. The research is expected to help identify areas where other deposits might be located for efficient extraction in the future.
DOE Announces New Funding For Energy Efficiency: U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Monizannounced five manufacturing research and development projects to support energy efficient lighting products. The projects will focus on reducing manufacturing costs, while continuing to improve the quality and performance of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Today’s LED lighting is six or seven times more efficient than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer. The Energy Department’s $10 million investment will be matched by private sector funding. The projects will be located in NC, PA, WI, NY, and CA.
Energy Producing States Coalition Urges DOI to Return Sequestered Mineral Royalty Funds: The Energy Producing States Coalition, a group of state legislators from 12 states committed to pro-energy production policies at the state and federal levels, sent a letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget urging the Administration to follow existing law and return the $110 million in funding to the states as soon as the fiscal year 2014 begins on October 1, 2013.
Important Events and Hearings:
The Competitive Landscape for Nuclear Energy: Today at 8AM at the Willard Hotel in NW DC, the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (USNIC) will hold a USNIC Special Summit on “The Competitive Landscape for Nuclear Energy.” Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind.; Energy Information Administration (EIA) Administrator Adam Sieminski; Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Kristine Svinicki; Joyce Connery, director for Nuclear Energy Policy in the Executive Office of the President at the National Security Council; Llewellyn King, executive producer and host of the “White House Chronicle” on PBS Commentator; Jessica Farmer, vice president of the Export-Import Bank; and Rebecca Smith-Kevern, director of Light-Water Reactor Technologies at the Energy Department, will participate.
House Oversight Committee Evaluates the Blend Wall: Today at 10AM in 2154 Rayburn, the House Oversight Committee, Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements Subcommittee will hold ahearing entitled “Up Against the Blend Wall: Examining EPA’s Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
Energy Development in Indian Country: Today at 1PM in 628 Dirksen, the Indian Affairs Committee will hold a full committee meeting entitled “Roundtable – Energy Development in Indian Country.”
Member of the Day: US Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Committee Assignments: Armed Services and Natural Resources
Chief of Staff: Mary Springer
Legislative Director: Jaimie Miller
Experience: Rep. Wittman holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Virginia Tech. He worked for years for local governments and the state of Virginia as an environmental specialist. He was field director for the state Health Department’s Shellfish Sanitation Division. In his earlier years, he was a fisherman on the Chesapeake. He began his political career in 1986 by winning his first campaign for public office, earning himself a seat on the Montross Town Council. He served on the council for a decade, including four years as mayor. Later, he moved on to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, eventually becoming chairman, and in 2005 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Two years later, entered the special election race to replace the late Rep. JoAnn Davis and won his party’s nomination in a convention. He easily defeated the Democratic nominee in a December 2007 special election and has won re-election three times by at least 15 percentage points. Rep. Wittman has maintained a physical presence in his district by making the daily two-hour commute home to Montross when Congress is in session.
Importance: Rep. Wittman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources, where he is well-positioned to represent the needs of the First District, which has a large military and ship building industries. He is also a member of the Republican Study Committee where he focuses his efforts on restraining the growth and spending of the federal government. A champion of the Chesapeake Bay, he has extensive professional expertise in water quality, environment, fisheries, and other natural resource issues. He is a leading voice for the Chesapeake Bay, founding and co-chairing the House Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus to educate others in Congress about the Bay. He is also co-chairman of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.
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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