Energy and Climate Debate -
Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess early next week to a full schedule starring the six-year reauthorization of federal highway programs, which expires December 4 now that chambers passed last week a two-week extension (H.R. 3996) of the Highway Trust Fund’s authority, as well as the omnibus spending bill to fund the government after December 11. Policy riders are likely to be the biggest obstacle to negotiating a final agreement, with potential environmental riders including the Environmental Protection Agency’s waters of the United States and ozone rules. Congress may also finalize a tax extenders agreement before the end of the year. When Congress returns next year for a schedule truncated by the presidential election, the House will arrive January 5 for 28 weeks and the Senate January 11 for 31 weeks, both punctuated by extended recesses throughout the year, though with eyes on issues such as cybersecurity, tax reform, and trade, among others.
The upper chamber approved, 52-46, measures (S. J. Res. 23 and S. J. Res. 24) November 17 disapproving the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant rules, both of which have companion Congressional Review Act resolutions in the House (H. J. Res. 71, H. J. Res. 72), and White House has already threatened to veto the measures. When it comes to it, Congress will not have the votes to override the veto. The House will address energy issues, including H.R. 8, portions of which were adopted as an amendment to the highway bill, and the power plan opposition efforts on the floor the week of November 30. The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the power plant resolutions November 18.
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