The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress
After a two week break, both chambers are in session this week—the House from Monday through Thursday, and the Senate from Monday through Friday.
It’s cherry blossom season in the rest of D.C., but inside Congress it’s appropriations season. After passing its budget resolution last month, Congress is back in session with the intent to pass its twelve annual spending bills for fiscal year 2016. A memo from Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated that the first appropriations bill for the upcoming fiscal year will make it to the floor during the last week of April, leaving plenty of work to be done. During the recess, House and Senate negotiators drafted a compromise budget between the two chambers, and lawmakers are expected to reconcile this in the coming weeks.
Appropriators must come to a final agreement to provide guidelines for spending limits by May 15, and neither the House nor Senate can move forward to floor consideration of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2016 until the final budget is adopted. The first two measures headed to the floor are the easiest of the twelve to pass—but the process allows for members to offer an unlimited number of amendments during this time.
Fish and Wildlife Under Review
The Senate regulatory oversight subpanel of the Environment and Public Works Committee panel will meet Tuesday to examine the management of several environmental agencies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as part of the Department of the Interior, will be among those under the microscope, and the focus will likely be on management of federal programs that provide grants to restore and manage sport fishing and wildlife. The hearing will provide Republicans, who have been highly critical of the Obama administration’s management and leadership, an opportunity to scrutinize agency practices.
A New Move to Derail Clean Water Protections
Hearings in both chambers this week could derail the process for clarifying protections for headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Sportsmen, including opponents of Pebble Mine, are urging Congress to let the rulemaking process play out, rather than slam the efforts of hunters, anglers, farmers, and business owners who have submitted more than one million comments on the original proposed rule since last March.
Also this week:
Tuesday, April 14
- House Hearing on bill to kill U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power
- House Hearing on federal water rules, Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans
Wednesday, April 15
- House Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on Communities and the Environment, Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands
- Read the letter that 115 sportsmen’s organizations are sending to this committee in advance of the hearing, calling for lawmakers to oppose the sale or transfer of federally-managed public lands.
- House Energy and water appropriations mark-up, Appropriations Committee
- Senate Hearing on NRC budget, Environment and Public Works