The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress
The Senate and the House are both in session.
One appropriation bill passed, 11 more to go. Last week the Senate passed a $37.5-billion Energy and Water Appropriations Bill on a 90-8 vote. The TRCP supported passage of this bill because it increased funding for water conservation and did not include harmful language blocking the administration’s Clean Water Rule that clarifies the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The House has yet to take up its version of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill.
This week the Senate will consider “The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act” and combine it with “The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.” The Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up legislation that affects the U.S. Department of Agriculture funding levels.
The House is expected to begin considering appropriation bills this week by starting with the military construction spending bill.
While Congress is making progress processing appropriations bills, many of the appropriations bills likely won’t be signed into law until Congress passes a continuing resolution or an omnibus bill in the lame duck. It took the Senate three weeks to pass the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. The chamber only has 29 legislative days before the national party conventions and 46 legislative days before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
The National Defense Authorization Act is no place for attacks on critical conservation programs for sage grouse. The House begins consideration of its version of “The National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA) this week. The House bill includes language that would block conservation of critical habitat for greater sage grouse. Democrats are expected to offer an amendment to strike the language about sage grouse and two other endangered species provisions related to the lesser prairie chicken and burying beetle.
The Senate Armed Services Committee passed their version of the NDAA last week. This version did not include language regarding the greater sage grouse, but we’re anticipating that it could be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor as early as next week.
What’s the summer forecast look like for Western states? On Tuesday, two drought bills offered by Senators Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Flake (R-Ariz.) will be debated by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. Sen. Feinstein’s bill would primarily focus on California’s drought and change the state’s water facility operations, while Sen. Flake’s legislation would be directed at the Army Corps of Engineers to update a better forecasting plan for water storage. This will be the first time the Senate will consider comprehensive drought legislation that is directed toward Western states’ concerns.
Hearings and mark-ups:
Tuesday, May 17
Fisheries: Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife hearing on marine debris
Fish: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Ocean hearing entitled; “The Implications of President Obama’s National Ocean Policy”
Conservation: House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing entitled; “Focus on the Farm Economy: Impacts of Environmental Regulations and Voluntary Conservation Solutions”
Water: House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers chief’s reports
Water: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on drought legislation
Federal Regulations: House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing on judicial review
Agriculture, FY17 Spending Levels: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture mark-up on the agriculture spending bill
Wednesday, May 18
Energy: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mark-up on coal ash, nuclear bills
NOAA, FY17 Spending Levels: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies mark-up on the Fiscal Year 2017 commerce, justice, and science related spending bill
Public Lands: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs hearing on legislation about transferring land to an Alaskan tribe
Thursday, May 19
DOI: House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing on the U.S. Department of Interior’s economic development opportunities
Agriculture, FY17 Spending Levels: Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up on the agriculture spending bill
Energy: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to survey the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program