Monday, March 11, 2013

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch That Could Effect Water Resources

Here are the activities scheduled this week in the U.S. House and Senate that could have a significant impact on the Mississippi River Basin's water and natural resources.  Where available, links are provided to the relevant Committee and legislation pages on the Internet.  Many of the proceedings are webcast live (follow the appropriate link).

Tuesday, March 12
  • On Tuesday, the House will meet for legislative business, when it is scheduled to consider H.R. 1035, a bill sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) of the Financial Services Committee, to require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to undertake a study of voluntary community-based flood insurance options and how such options might be incorporated into the national flood insurance program.  
  • The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to hold a March 13 hearing on National Forest Management Impacts on Rural Economies; Communities.  The meeting will be held at 10 AM (Eastern) in room 1300 of the Longworth House Office Building, and stream live over the Internet. The only witness currently scheduled to testify is U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.
Wednesday, March 13
  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a 9:30 AM hearing on water infrastructure financing (room B-308, Rayburn House Office Building).  Witnesses currently scheduled to testify include Mike Shapiro, U.S. EPA deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Water; Alfredo Gomez, director of natural resources at the Government Accountability Office; Aurel Arndt, general manager of the Lehigh County Authority (Pennsylvania); Ben Grumbles, president of the U.S. Water Alliance; Howard Neukrug, commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department; Jeff Sterba, president of American Water; and Thad Wilson, vice president of M3 Capital Partners LLC.
Wednesday, March 13 and Thursday, March 14
Budget Resolutions
  • House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) is set to release his Fiscal Year 2014 budget plan on Tuesday, and the Budget Committee may consider the Budget Resolution as early as Wednesday, March 13.  The proposed resolution would set tax and spending targets for the entire federal government for the next Fiscal Year (starting October 1, 2013). While the House has been somewhat diligent in passing annual Budget Resolutions in the past several years, the Senate has not.  Collectively, however, the House and Senate Budget Committee leaders have committed themselves to moving Congress back toward its more traditional role of passing a Budget Resolution each year, rather than relying upon the stopgap funding measures that have characterized the recent past.
  • The Senate Budget Committee is expected to debate its own Fiscal Year 2014 budget resolution on Thursday.
Generally Speaking
  • Senate Democrats will also move forward this week with their plan to fund the government from March 27 through the end of the fiscal year in September.   The House passed its version of the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution (H R 933) last week, sending it on to the Senate for its consideration.  Senate Democrats are expected to modify the House bill by providing more federal agencies added flexibility in setting their budgets under the terms of sequestration by altering the base from which the cuts are made.

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