Monday, November 17, 2014

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For

This Tuesday should see the U.S. Senate consider S. 2280, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.  Scheduling of the vote is seen by many as an attempt by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to help fellow-Democratic, incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the bill's co-sponsor. Landrieu is engaged in an uphill battle to retain her seat in a December 6 runoff election against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-6th-La.).  Cassidy took the lead in pushing a companion bill (H.R. 5682), which the House passed on Friday on a 252-161 vote.  As of Friday, the Senate bill's backers appeared to be one vote shy of the 60 filibuster-proof majority necessary to clear that chamber.

Also on the agenda for the week: Committee chairs for the new Congress will be decided, and the House is scheduled to vote today (Monday) on H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, to increase funding for the acquisition of conservation easements for migratory birds.

The full House will also consider H.R. 1422, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013 and H.R. 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014.  H.R. 1422 would provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, and for public participation.  H.R. 4012 would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency "from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such action is specifically identified and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results."

Following a shortened week's worth of work, both chambers will likely adjourn by Thursday and not return until after Thanksgiving.

Below are the U.S. House and Senate committee activities currently scheduled for this week that relate to Mississippi River Basin water resources.   Links are provided to the relevant committee web pages, and, as appropriate, to pieces of legislation. Many Congressional proceedings are webcast live, and these may be, as well (follow the appropriate committee activity link). Times are Eastern. This page will be updated as warranted. 
  • Senate Judiciary Committee meeting and possible vote on S. 2520, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Improvement Act of 2014, which, among other things, would restrict an exemption that agencies often use to deny records to FOIA requesters; 10:00 AM, room 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency field hearing: “Emergency Preparedness: Are We Ready For a 21st Century Hugo?” 1:00 PM, Tillman Hall, Clemson University, 101 Gantt Circle, Clemson, South Carolina.

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