A closer look at next week… Energy and NDAA

Congress returns to deal with legislation on energy and defense policy, although the ongoing failed rollout of ObamaCare is likely to again spice up the week and give the parties something to fight about if they drift too close to cooperating on legislation.

Republicans will likely warn that President Obama’s proposed administrative fix to avoid the cancelation of millions of insurance plans will not be effective. The House passed a legislative fix on Friday, and seven Senate Democrats have said they want a Senate vote on their own plan.

But so far, Democratic leaders have given no indication that they would schedule any vote in the Senate.

{mosads}With the ObamaCare vote out of the way, the House will spend the week on three energy bills. One of them would blunt pending regulations that require companies to disclose what chemicals are used in the hydraulic fracturing process, or fracking, which is used to extract energy.

The other would make it easier for companies to get drilling permits on federal lands. The bill would give the Department of the Interior 60 days to act, and failure to act would mean automatic approval of a permit.

A third bill would require the government to issue natural-gas pipeline permits no later than 12 months after an application is received.

The Senate is expected to finish work on a bill dealing with drug traceability, and spend the bulk of the week on the National Defense Authorization Act. That opens up a slew of potential amendments that senators could consider throughout the week.

As examples, senators are expected to offer amendments on such issues as restrictions on transferring Guantánamo detainees, military sexual assault, the war in Afghanistan, Syria and the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Below is a more detailed look at the week ahead:


The Senate starts at 2 p.m. and will hold four votes, starting with a 5:30 p.m. vote on a motion to end debate on the nomination of Robert Wilkins to be a U.S. judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. House Republicans have opposed these nominations to the D.C. Circuit by saying no more additions to the bench are needed.

If the vote fails, the Senate will immediately turn to a vote to end debate on H.R. 3204, the Drug Quality and Security Act. That bill is meant to make it easier to trace the origin of pharmaceuticals across the country.

If debate ends, the Senate will immediately vote on final passage of that bill.

Finally, the Senate will vote on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to S. 1197, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The House starts at noon, and in the afternoon it will consider up to five suspension bills:

H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, to make it easier to track federal spending more effectively.

H.R. 3343, amending the District of Columbia Home Rule Act to clarify rules regarding compensation for the Chief Financial Officer of the District.

H.R. 3487, amending the Federal Election Campaign Act to extend the authority of the FEC to impose civil penalties.

S.Con.Res. 25, a resolution allowing the use of Emancipation Hall to award Native American code talkers with the Congressional Gold Medal.

— H.R. 272, naming a future Department of Defense outpatient clinic after Gen. William Gourley.


The House starts at 10 a.m., and in the afternoon it will consider one energy bill:

— H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act. This bill would give the government 60 days to approve drilling permits on federal lands; missing that deadline would amount to an approval of that permit.

The Senate is in for the rest of the week, and is expected to focus on the NDAA bill.


The House starts again at 10 a.m., and in the afternoon it will take up:

H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act. This bill would mitigate pending Department of Interior regulations requiring the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking.

It would do so by prohibiting Interior from enforcing its rules in states that already have their own fracking rules.


The House starts at 9 a.m. and will finish the week with its last energy bill:

H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which sets a 12-month deadline for approving natural-gas pipeline permits.


The House and Senate are out. 

Tags energy fracking Interior
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