Week ahead: Senate looks to move on Trump energy nominees

Week ahead: Senate looks to move on Trump energy nominees

A Senate committee is scheduled to vote on three key Trump administration nominees in the coming week.

The Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee will meet on Wednesday morning to vote on the nominations of Annie Caputo and David Wright to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and Susan Bodine's nomination to be the assistant administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Caputo is a senior advisor to committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThis week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul Dissent is democratic: Stop calling McCain, Corker, Flake RINOs The farm bill presents a chance to lighten the regulatory burden of farmers MORE (R-Wyo.) and Wright is a former utilities regulator in South Carolina. Both nominees are expected to clear the committee and go to the floor for a final confirmation vote.

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Moving the NRC nominees will be a rare bright spot for President Trump's push to get his political appointees in office. Trump has moved slowly to nominate officials to administration posts. But if the Senate confirms Caputo and Wright, the NRC will once again have a full slate of five commissioners.

Senators easily confirmed NRC Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki to a new term late last month.

Bodine, meanwhile, is only the second person Trump has nominated to a position at the EPA, after Administrator Scott Pruitt. Democrats have raised concerns that Bodine's work in the private sector will lead to a slowdown in the agency's enforcement activities.

Elsewhere, the House will vote on a California drought bill next week. The legislation -- from Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and 14 other Republicans from California -- would roll back regulations on water storage projects and increase the delivery of water to the state's Central Valley.

The House passed a separate bill last month to speed up the permitting process for dams and reservoirs, another response to the years-long drought in California that ended earlier this year.

House appropriators are also scheduled to consider the chamber's energy and water spending bill at a hearing on Wednesday. The bill aims to spend $37.56 billion on the Department of Energy and other agencies in 2018, a $209 million cut from current funding levels but $3.65 billion more than President Trump requested.

Monday also marks the end of the comment period for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's review of federal monument designations dating back to the 1990s.

Zinke's study, mandated by President Trump in April, has already yielded a recommendation that Trump consider shrinking the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument, a controversial 1.3 million acre feature in Utah that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Russian social media is the modern-day Trojan horse Trump records robo-call for Gillespie: He'll help 'make America great again' MORE designated in December.

But Zinke is also considering the status of 27 large monuments designated since 1996. In April, Zinke said his goal was to decide if those monuments should be "rescinded, resized or modified in order to better benefit our public lands."

The comment period for the review ends Monday, with Zinke's report due to Trump in late August.

 

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