Tuesday, June 2, 2015

UPDATED: Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For

Both the U.S. House and Senate return this week from their Memorial Day recesses, and below are their activities currently scheduled for the week that relate to Mississippi River Basin water resources.

In addition to the committee activities listed, the House on Monday passed H.R. 944, a bill to reauthorize the National Estuary Program - a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency place-based program to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of 28 estuaries of national significance, including the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in southeastern Louisiana (bounded on the east by the Mississippi River).  H.R. 944 would cut $8 million from the National Estuary Program's current level of funding.

Staring on Tuesday, the House is also planning to debate and vote this week on a fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill relating to Mississippi River water resources: H.R.2578 - the "Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act." That bill would provide funding for, among other agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation.  The White House has threatened to veto the bill if passed by Congress in its present form.  The White House objections to H.R. 2578 are based, in part, on the bill's funding level for NOAA's Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction program, "which precludes needed long-term infrastructure investments to collect critical environmental data," and on the "funding levels provided for the National Ocean Service and climate research programs, which are 15 percent and 32 percent below the FY 2016 Budget request, respectively."

Links are provided 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. 

  • House Rules Committee meeting to set the rules for House debate of H.R. 2578, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016; 5:00 PM, room H-313 The Capitol.
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing on the "Financial Health of Farm Country;" 10:00 AM, room 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing "to receive testimony on the status of drought conditions throughout the western United States and actions states and others are taking to address them;" 10:00 AM, room 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Ensuring Transparency through the Freedom of Information Act;" 2:00 PM, room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building (continues on Wednesday).
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Ensuring Transparency through the Freedom of Information Act;" 9:00 AM, room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee business meeting to consider (among other items) a "resolution expressing the Sense of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship that the Waters of the United States rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities;" 10:00 AM, room 428A Russell Senate Office Building.
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing on a Discussion Draft: "Returning Resilience to our Overgrown, Fire-prone National Forests Act of 2015;" 2:00 PM, room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on "EPA Regulatory Overreach: Impacts on American Competitiveness" (including consideration of the impacts of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction ("Waters of the United States") rule); 9:00 AM, room 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing "Examining Practical Solutions to Improve the Federal Regulatory Process;" 1:15 PM, room 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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