Thursday in Washington:
Progress on Capitol Hill:
The House and the Senate are both in session today. The House is in the process of working through the 103 amendments offered to the Farm Bill (H.R. 1947), but intends to complete consideration of the bill today. The Senate continues to weigh amendments and progress on immigration reform legislation (S. 744).
In the Committees today are two hearings of particular interest. The Subcommittees on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and Energy and Power of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a joint hearing to examine how America’s energy boom is helping to revive American manufacturing and giving American manufacturers a competitive edge in the global marketplace. At the same time the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade of the House Small Business Committee will be holding a hearing on the benefits of low cost energy to U.S. small businesses.
Other Items of Interest:
Agriculture Groups and the National Ocean Policy Coalition Urge Action on Farm Bill: Agriculture groups and the National Ocean Policy Coalition urged approval of an amendment offered by US Rep. Flores to H.R. 1947 requiring an OIG study of funds expended by the USDA in furtherance of the National Ocean Policy. Despite requirements in E.O. 13547 for annual reports to Congress on activities and resources expended by the departments and agencies involved (including USDA), no reports have been submitted. The agriculture letter was signed by the Agricultural Retailers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Loggers Council, CropLife America, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Onion Association, the Public Lands Council, and The Fertilizer Institute. A copy of the NOPC’s letter can be viewed here. The amendment was passed in the late evening on June 19th.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Legislation: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee passed four pieces of legislation at a markup on June 19th. The bills include: H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (31 to 16); H.R. 2226, the Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act (27 to 19); H.R. 2279, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act (25-18); and H.R. 2318, the Federal Facility Accountability Act (26-18).
DOI Hosts Workshop on Mitigation Efforts For Large Infrastructure Projects: Officials from DOI, CEQ, USDA, BLM, USFWS, DOT, and the Army Corps of Engineers met with state and local officials, ENGOs, and members of industry to discuss environmental and cultural mitigation efforts for large infrastructure projects. The event follows President Obama’s May 17th Presidential Memorandum to improve permitting of large infrastructure projects, including energy projects, while ensuring positive outcomes for communities and the environment.
Senate Passes 14 Bills Approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee: Despite slow movement on legislation and a perception of gridlock in the Capitol, particularly in the US Senate, Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Murkowski were able to get full Senate approval of 14 bills reported out of their committee. A full list of the bills can be viewed here. What makes this noteworthy is not the content of the bills, but rather that it happened at all. Of particular interest was passage of a bill S. 244, a bill Sponsored by Sen. Hoeven to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to modify the Pilot Project offices of the Federal Permit Streamlining Pilot Project. The legislation is the Senate companion Rep. Cramer’s bill H.R.767, which passed the House in May, virtually guaranteeing its passage into law.
Senators Challenge Social Cost of Carbon Calculations: U.S. Senators Vitter (R-LA), Blunt (R-MO), Sessions (R-AL), Barrasso (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Wicker (R-MS), and Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), challenging the recent revision of the Administration’s estimate for the social cost of carbon (SCC), which will be used in developing regulations. The Senators contend that the calculation was skewed to advance policy objectives rather than reflect science.
Important Hearings and Events:
House Committee Evaluates Competitive Advantage of Low-Cost US Energy: Today at 10 AM in 2123 Rayburn, the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee and Energy and Power Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a joint hearing entitled: “A Competitive Edge for American Manufacturing: Abundant American Energy.” Additional information on the hearing can be reviewed here.
House Small Business Committee Considers Benefits of Increased Domestic Energy Production: Today at 10 AM in 2360 Rayburn, the Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on “The New Energy Paradigm: Its Potential for Small Businesses and the Economy,” focusing on the economic benefits of increased oil and natural gas production. John Larson, vice president for economics and country risk at IHS Global Insight, Washington, D.C.; Simon Ormerod, CEO of Ajax Rolled Ring & Machine, York, S.C., representing the Forging Industry Association; and Chuck Grobe, commissioner of Moffat County, Craig, Colo., will testify.
DOI Evaluates PEIS for Seismic Activities: Today at 1 PM at NOAA, the Interior Department (DOI); Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will hold a meeting on preparing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate potential environmental effects of multiple geological and geophysical (G&G) activities in Outer Continental Shelf waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).Additional information can be requested by contacting Beth Nord at 504-736-2995.
Consumer Energy Alliance Hosts U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA): Today at 3 PM at the US Iron and Steel Institute in Washington, DC, Consumer Energy Alliance will host U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas for a discussion on energy policies under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives and impacts these policies could have for consumers in California and around the country. The meeting will also cover CEA’s recent grassroots effort generating over 332,000 comments in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and other efforts the group is leading to promote energy access and policies supported by energy consumers and domestic manufacturers.
New Member of the Day: US Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Committee Assignments: Foreign Affairs and Financial Services
Chief of Staff: Doug Coutts
Legislative Director: Jonathan Hiler
Experience: Rep. Cotton grew up on his family’s cattle farm in Dardanelle. He graduated with honors from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After completing law school, Tom clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals and then entered private practice, where he concentrated in labor, employment, and constitutional law. He left his law practice to join the Army. He declined offers for a direct commission as an Army JAG officer, instead opting to serve as an infantryman. He spent five years on active duty and was deployed to Baghdad in 2006 as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne. In Baghdad, Tom was responsible for a 41-man air-assault infantry platoon and planned and led daily combat patrols. After his tour in Iraq, he was assigned as a platoon leader at The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was responsible for conducting military honors funerals for veterans. In 2008, he volunteered to return to combat and was deployed to eastern Afghanistan as the operations officer of a provincial reconstruction team, where he planned and resourced daily counterinsurgency and reconstruction operations for an 83-member joint and interagency team. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal. Following his active-duty service, Tom worked as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company.
Importance: Few Members of Congress have the military experience or educational background that Rep. Cotton brings with him as a Member of the 113th Congress. The seat that he holds had been held Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), a leader of the Congressional Blue Dog Caucus. His military experience along with the work he did for McKinsey Company advising a wide assortment of companies from health care to oil and gas gives Rep. Cotton a very broad perspective with regard to federal policies and how they interact with the private sector. As a member of both the Foreign Relations Committee and the Financial Services Committee, he is in a good position to draw upon his experiences as he represents his constituents. In addition to large agricultural operations and a number of federal labs, Rep. Cotton’s district is home to a number of large independent oil and gas producers. He is pragmatic, organized, and ambitious, and he has been mentioned as a potential contender for higher office down the road, either in Arkansas or on the national stage.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime. Previous updates and Member profiles can be reviewed here: http://www.mzehrhbw.wordpress.com. Hope you all have a great day!
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