Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Capitol Hill This Week - What to Watch For

The "Federal Water Quality Protection Act" (S. 1140), a Senate bill that would overturn the Obama Administration's Clean Water Rule (or "WOTUS" - Waters of the United States - rule), will be considered on the floor of the Senate this week, according to the Senate schedule.  The chamber has set aside time to debate the legislation on Tuesday, and at about 2:30 PM, Senators will vote on a motion to limit debate on the measure (called a cloture vote). The bill has 46 co-sponsors (43 Republican and three Democratic), and appears unlikely to gain the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.

This week, the Senate may also debate and vote on S.J.Res.22 - a Congressional Review Act (or "CRA") resolution to block the WOTUS rule. The Congressional Review Act of 1996 established expedited congressional procedures for disapproving a broad range of regulatory rules issued by federal agencies.  Using the CRA process allows measures to pass the Senate on only a simple majority vote; however, resolution passage is a steep legislative hill to climb, especially in the face of a likely Presidential veto (a two-thirds majority is still required under CRA procedures to override a veto). Only one CRA challenge has ever successfully passed Congress to become law, and most CRA resolutions are used primarily for messaging purposes.  For details on how CRA challenges work, you can read this Congressional Research Service July 29 report on alternatives available to Congress to address the WOTUS rule.

Below are the U.S. House and Senate committee (and other Capitol Hill) activities currently scheduled for this week that relate to Mississippi River Basin water resources. Links are provided to the relevant committee web pages and to appropriate pieces of legislation.  Many Congressional proceedings are webcast live, and these may be, as well (follow the respective meeting or hearing link).  All times are Eastern unless otherwise indicated. This information will be updated as warranted. 

Monday, November 2
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute briefing: Farming and Water Quality: Conservation Policies Working to Reduce Nutrient Loss (presenters include representatives of University of Illinois, Ohio Farm Bureau, Illinois farming community, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and American Farmland Trust); 2:00 PM, room 203-02 Capitol Visitor Center (webcast live here).
  • House Rules Committee meeting to set the framework for House consideration of H.R. 22 (the legislative vehicle being used to carry the House's multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs); 5:00 PM, room H-313 The Capitol (consideration of bill continued on Tuesday).
Tuesday, November 3
  • House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Environment hearing on the "Renewable Fuel Standard: A Ten Year Review of Costs and Benefits;" 10:00 AM, room 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law hearing on H.R. 3438, the Require Evaluation before Implementing Executive Wishlists ("REVIEW") Act of 2015; and H.R. 2631, the Regulatory Predictability for Business Growth Act of 2015; 10:00 AM, room 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • House Rules Committee meeting to set the framework for House consideration of H.R. 22 (the legislative vehicle being used to carry the House's multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs); 3:00 PM, room H-313 The Capitol (assuming the measure is cleared by the Rules Committee on Tuesday, the bill could be considered by the full House sometime later in the week).
Wednesday, November 4
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands legislative hearing on two bills, including H.R. 3342, to provide for the stability of title to certain lands in the northern Louisiana (including Peggys and Hog Islands, surrounding Lake Bistineau); 10:00 AM, room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
  • House Agriculture Committee hearing on "American Agriculture and our National Security;" 10:00 AM, room 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
  • POSTPONED - House Interior Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Interior hearing on the Department of Interior stream protection rule; 2:00 PM, room 2247 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Senate Budget Committee hearing "to examine reforming the Federal budget process, focusing on a biennial approach to better budgeting;" 10:30 AM, room 608 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Thursday, November 5
  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing on "Agency Progress in Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations;" 9:30 AM, room 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on "Wildfire: Stakeholder Perspectives on Budgetary Impacts and Threats to Natural Resources on Federal, State and Private Lands;" 10:00 AM, room 328A Russell Senate Office Building.
Friday, November 6
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance field hearing entitled “New Orleans: Ten Years After the Storm;” 12:00 noon (Central Time), New Orleans, Louisiana.

No comments:

Post a Comment