Monday, November 16, 2015

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

Big-ticket legislative items will consume the attention of Congress this week, ahead of its planned Thanksgiving week recess. Surface transportation program authorization expires on Friday, and House and Senate conferees will work early in the week to resolve a handful of differences between the Senate and House long-term bill versions.  House and Senate appropriators will be working this week on an omnibus 2016 fiscal year spending package that both meets the conditions of the bipartisan budget deal signed into law three weeks ago, and that can pass both chambers while avoiding a Presidential veto over policy riders.  Republicans plan to propose a number of spending bill riders (or amendments) that address contentious energy and environmental policies, including one restricting funding to implement the final Waters of the U.S. rule.  The continuing resolution currently funding the federal government expires on December 11. The alternatives to passing an omnibus bill by then are a federal government shutdown or yet another short-term extension.

Below are the U.S. House and Senate activities currently scheduled for this week that relate to Mississippi River Basin and Coastal Louisiana water resources.  Links are provided to the relevant committee web pages and 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. This information will be updated as needed. 

Tuesday, November 17
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine past wildfire seasons to inform and improve future Federal wildland fire management strategies; 10:00 AM, room 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting to mark up several bills, including S. 611, the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act; and H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015;  4:00 PM, room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
Wednesday, November 18
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining the International Climate Negotiations; 9:30 AM, room 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
  • House Budget Committee hearing entitled, "Does Biennial Budgeting Fit in a Rewrite of the Budget Process?" 9:45 AM, room 210 Cannon House Office Building. 
  • House Natural Resources Committee legislative hearing on "Protecting America's Recreation and Conservation Act" (discussion draft) to "reauthorize and reform the Land and Water Conservation Fund;" 10:00 AM, room 1324 Longworth House Office Building.
  • House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on the "Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty;" 10:00 AM, room 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
  • NEW - Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting to consider several pieces of legislation, including S. 556, the "Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015," a bill "to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting," and the nomination of Suzette M. Kimball, Ph.D. to be Director of the United States Geological Survey; 9:30 AM, room 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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