Thursday, May 14, 2015

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For (UPDATED)

Both the U.S. House and Senate are in session over the next two weeks, before recessing for the Memorial Day holiday week, and below are the activities currently scheduled this week that relate to Mississippi River Basin water resources.

In addition to the committee activity listed below, the House should take up H.R. 1732 (the "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015") on Tuesday. That bill would put a halt to the current "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rulemaking process, by directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed WOTUS rule within 30 days, and then consult with state and local officials on how to address the Clean Water Act jurisdiction issue within three months. Among a handful of amendments to be debated, the House will consider one offered by Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4).  The Edwards' amendment, proposed in anticipation of the bill's likely passage, would list policy provisions (based on concerns expressed by opponents of the rulemaking) that the Army Corps and U.S. EPA are prohibited from including in a final rule.

The bill should easily pass the lower chamber.  Last year a Republican House majority passed a similar measure with a 262-152 vote, including the support of 35 Democrats. The White House has threatened to veto H.R. 1732.

Links are provided below to the relevant committee web pages, and, where applicable, to pieces of legislation. Many Congressional proceedings are webcast live, and these should be, as well (follow the appropriate link).  All times are Eastern.  This page will be updated as warranted to reflect any committee activity changes.

  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on a discussion draft addressing Hydropower Regulatory Modernization; 10:00 AM, room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2016 funding request, budget justification, and oversight of programs administered by the Bureau of Land Management; 10:00 AM, Room 124, Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency markup session for several bills, including H.R. 1615, the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015; 10:00 AM, and subsequent days as may be necessary, room 311 Cannon House Office Building.
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research hearing to review the federal coordination and response regarding pollinator health; 1:30 PM, room 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources legislative hearing on H.R. 1644, "To amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to ensure transparency in the development of environmental regulations, and for other purposes. "Supporting Transparent Regulatory and Environmental Actions in Mining Act (STREAM Act);" 10:00 AM, room 1334 Longworth House Office Building.   H.R. 1644 would block the Department of Interior Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement from promulgating a new stream protection rule, while tasking the Board of Earth Sciences and Resources with studying the current stream buffer zone rule.
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies mark-up of Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill (including funding for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); 10:30 AM, room H-140 Capitol Building.
  • NEW -  Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure field hearing entitled, “Providing Necessary Flood Protection to Protect Coastal Communities;” 10:30 AM ET, 9:30 AM CDT; New Orleans Lakefront Airport - Walnut Room.

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