In This Issue:
- Energy and Climate
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Education
- Department of State
- Department of Treasury
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Excerpt from Energy and Climate Debate:
Congress has a full two week schedule prior to the Memorial Day recess, and defense programs, the Highway Trust Fund, and trade promotion authority are driving the agenda while energy and tax issues begin to ramp up in earnest.
As Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plan to soon introduce their broad bipartisan energy package, they have told their colleagues to submit their legislation in anticipation of the larger package. With a May 7 committee-imposed deadline for bills to be considered for inclusion in the broad energy package, senators from both sides of the aisle introduced a large number of energy bills last week, led by Senator Murkowski, who introduced 17 measures herself. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing April 30 on 22 energy efficiency bills as panel leadership prepares to introduce a broad energy bill this summer. The hearing is the first of four that the committee will hold in the next month on the four titles of the energy package: efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and accountability. The next hearing is this Thursday on infrastructure issues, during which the committee will consider another 22 measures. The following week, the committee will consider 30 bills for potential inclusion under the supply title of the legislation, and the committee will hold a final hearing, on accountability and oversight, the first week of June. Once the hearings are complete, committee staff will form joint working groups to put together official bill language, and markups will follow soon thereafter. In the meantime, Senator Cantwell continues to lead the effort to address energy tax extenders by reinstating, extending, or making permanent a handful of expired clean energy tax credits, including potentially incorporating them into a broad energy bill via a tax title, for which there is historical precedence. Earlier this year, Senator Cantwell’s staff considered how to build on what then-Senator Max Baucus proposed last Congress on a technology neutral or performance based energy tax policy. Two of the Senate Finance Committee Working Groups, the Business Income Tax Working Group, co-chaired by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and the Community Development and Infrastructure Working Group, co-chaired by Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), are claiming jurisdiction over the energy portions of tax reform. With comprehensive tax reform increasingly unlikely before the 2016 election cycle, Senator Cantwell is focusing her efforts on the tax extender pieces, including the Production Tax Credit, the Investment Tax Credit, the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit, and other clean energy provisions. She has already offered an amendment a number of times this session to make the clean energy tax provisions permanent, and plans to continue to offer the language to any moving legislation.
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