Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 30, 2015

Posts in "Appropriations/Budget"

December 30, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2015

The 114th Congress will convene next week with Republican majorities controlling both chambers. Here is a look at energy issues on the horizon.

Keystone XL Pipeline – A still-pending Nebraska court decision means the Barack Obama administration won’t likely act on the pipeline before the new Congress is seated, leaving some time for Republicans to force an approval or for the White House to use the pipeline as a bargaining chip to advance other priorities.

Cross-border Infrastructure – And what about the next Keystone? A push to give Congress and agencies control of the permitting process that has stymied the Keystone project resulted in a measure that was passed in the House and got as far as the Senate calendar last month. Under GOP control, similar legislation could possibly land on the president’s desk, though the White House has threatened a veto.

Oil Prices – The more than 40-percent tumble in global oil prices will have wide-ranging effects that will be seen throughout 2015. Shale producers in the United States have already announced plans to scale back new investment by as much as 75 percent. Lower prices have ramifications for Russia, which is already dealing with the effects of sanctions. Though speculators expect an eventual rebound in prices, sustained long-term cheaper oil could erode the incentives for U.S. liquefied natural gas exports.

Tax Overhaul – House and Senate finance leaders on both side of the aisle have promised renewed efforts to make permanent changes to the tax code that could end up providing more clarity for renewable energy credits or revisions to breaks for fossil fuels.

Energy Efficiency – After falling just short of a procedural hurdle Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., will likely try to rekindle bipartisan support for their energy efficiency legislation.

EPA Regulations – Proposed restrictions on carbon dioxide, ozone levels and other EPA regulations were a lightning rod for Republican criticism this year, with energy funding hitting a roadblock blamed in part on an amendment from then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The intensity of GOP objections is likely to increase as McConnell takes leadership of the Senate and the agency moves forward with its proposals.

Energy Xtra will resume regular publication on Jan. 5 — Have a safe and happy New Year’s!

December 19, 2014

ICYMI Spending Bill, Yucca & Fast Reactors

Congress adjourned this week after some last-minute spending drama and dozens of confirmations, and there were other developments on the energy and environmental front.

The omnibus spending measure, for instance, provided money for recovery at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico after several mishaps that included radiation leaks, and money for the controversial  International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, or ITER.

Full story

December 16, 2014

Omnibus Funds WIPP Recovery

(Energy Department)

(Energy Department)

The spending bill Congress passed last week includes $320 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. The funds are intended to support cleanup and recovery efforts following a fire and radiation release at the underground facility in February. Full story

Chambers Compromised to Fund ITER

Technicians work at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in November in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, southern France. (ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Technicians work last month at the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance,  France.
(ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

The House and Senate appropriators met in the middle to continue funding the troubled International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or ITER. Full story

December 12, 2014

ICYMI: Omnibus, Ozone and Mexico

The Senate will consider the House-passed omnibus spending package as soon as today, but lawmakers would need procedural agreements to expedite the process before Monday. The measure includes $34.2 billion for energy and water programs but it would dole out no additional funds for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The bill would include $345 million and a requirement to continue construction on the mixed oxide plutonium facility. Appropriators also tucked in a provision to throw a $97 million lifeline to the troubled American Centrifuge Project. Full story

December 11, 2014

American Centrifuge to Get Funding Lifeline

(Centrus Energy)

(Centrus Energy)

The omnibus spending bill moving through Congress would provide $97 million for domestic uranium enrichment to maintain the American Centrifuge Project though September. Full story

Spending Bill Covers MOX Construction

A 2012 view of construction of the mixed oxide facility (Energy Department)

A 2012 view of construction of the mixed oxide facility (Energy Department)

The massive spending package Congress is working to move this week includes a provision for $345 million to fund the contentious mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility in South Carolina. Full story

December 10, 2014

No New Yucca Funds in Spending Bill

(Justice Department)

(Justice Department)

Congressional appropriators on Tuesday introduced a sweeping fiscal 2015 spending bill (HR 83) that includes $34.2 billion for energy and water programs but it would dole out no additional funds for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Full story

December 5, 2014

ICYMI: GOP Agenda, Oil Outlook & Spending Bill

We kicked off the week with two pieces from CQ Roll Call’s Geof Koss who provided a look into the principles likely to guide the Republican energy agenda in the next Congress – focusing first on incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has made no secret of her plans for the committee, and then on the framework from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Full story

December 4, 2014

Spending Bill Expected Monday

Capitol grounds crew workers prepare the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Nov. 25 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Capitol grounds crew workers prepare the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Nov. 25 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

House and Senate appropriators are hammering out the final details to a $1 trillion spending bill that funds most of the government through September, CR Roll Call’s Tamar Hallerman reports: Full story

December 3, 2014

Camp: Extenders E-bike Omission not a Jab

As the House prepared to vote on a bill to extend dozens of tax credits for 2014, one missing credit raised eyebrows. Full story

December 2, 2014

Upton Eyes the ‘Architecture of Abundance’ for Energy

The following is a special report, which CQ Roll Call subscribers received last week.

After peeking inside Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s, R-Alaska, energy manifesto Monday for clues on how she’ll run the Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year, we turn today to the corresponding plan by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Full story

December 1, 2014

Murkowski’s Energy Manifesto Hiding in Plain Sight

The following is a special report, which CQ Roll Call subscribers received last week.

There’s plenty of speculation about what Republicans will do on energy in the 114th Congress, and while a lot of details remain to be sorted out, the House and Senate chairs with primary jurisdiction have dropped plenty of hints about their thinking. Full story

This Week: Smart Grid, China & Offshore

Congress is back to sort out funding issues before a deadline next week and potentially wrap up some lame duck priorities.   Full story

November 26, 2014

GAO to DOE: Get Better Cost Estimates

January 2012 construction aerial

January 2012 view of construction on the mixed oxide fuel fabricating facility in South Carolina. (NNSA)

The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Agency need clearer guidelines for developing cost estimates, the Government Accountability Office said. Full story

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