By Ben Geman - 07/30/12 01:53 PM EDT
Our Hillicon Valley blog is providing in-depth coverage as supporters try to navigate the bill through the Capitol’s political maze. Keep up to date here.
Over in the House, Republicans will continue criticism of White House energy policies on several fronts this week.
The full House Energy and Commerce Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on GOP legislation that would curtail the Energy Department’s embattled loan guarantee program. A subcommittee approved the plan last week on a mostly party-line vote.
The program is in the GOP’s crosshairs following last year’s collapse of the solar panel company Solyndra and woes that have hit other federally backed green energy companies.
Defenders say the failures or problems a few companies have faced should not obscure the wider successes of the program designed to spur greater deployment of green energy technologies.
Also Wednesday, House Natural Resources Committee Republicans will likely cast aside Democratic objections and vote to authorize subpoenas of Interior Department aides.
Republicans say Interior has been thwarting their probe of the 2010 Obama administration decision to impose a six-month deepwater drilling freeze in response to the BP spill.
Democrats call the probe, which has already involved earlier subpoenas, a politically motivated fishing expedition.
In addition to the markup and subpoena votes, there will be several hearings.
On Tuesday, a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee panel will hold a field hearing in Ohio. The title: “The Green Agenda and the War on Coal: Perspectives from the Ohio Valley.”
On Thursday, a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hold a hearing on “growing differences for energy development on federal vs. non-federal lands.”
The hearing will provide a forum for Republicans and industry advocates who say the Obama administration is keeping too many federal lands and waters off-limits to drilling.
Also Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the “Oversight of the Actions, Independence and Accountability of the Acting Inspector General of the Department of the Interior.”
The hearing is related to the committee probe and subpoenas mentioned above. Republicans on the panel have accused acting Inspector General Mary Kendall of failing to properly review a key 2010 Interior Department drilling safety report that recommended six-month deepwater drilling freeze.
It's a charge she strongly denies. Click here for more on the tussle.
On Friday, the National Press Club will host remarks by Michael Bromwich, who led the overhaul of the Interior Department’s troubled offshore energy arm in the wake of the 2010 BP spill. He left Interior at the end of 2011.
Bromwich’s time at Interior was marked by frank exchanges with GOP lawmakers and oil industry representatives who bristled at new restrictions imposed after the spill. The event should be colorful.