Energy and Climate Debate -
Following a busy week for the Obama Administration during which it held several energy and climate events in anticipation of the international climate negotiations at the end of the year in Paris, the Administration now turns its attention on the climate front to behind the scenes negotiations in the final five weeks leading up to the twenty-first Conference of Parties. In the meantime, in the midst of working out leadership issues, retiring Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) reached this week a bipartisan agreement, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, with other House and Senate leaders and the White House on a two-year $80 billion budget deal that would suspend the federal debt limit until March 2017 and raise spending caps for defense and non-defense programs. To pay for some of the additional spending, the measure would allow the federal government to sell more than 8 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve between 2018 and 2025, and some policy riders factor into the equation as well.
The House passed the measure Wednesday evening, which moved as a substitute amendment to H.R. 1314, which both chambers have already passed, before Thursday’s election of a new speaker, Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), to replace Speaker Boehner. The Senate is expected also to clear the measure, effectively drawing to a close the budget battles of the past several years. In addition to the budget and new leadership, the House has already had an active week; the lower chamber approved October 27 a renewal of the Export-Import Bank after voting to discharge consideration of the bill from the Rules Committee early this week. Also on Tuesday, the House approved by voice vote a three week extension of federal highway, transit, and safety programs, authority for which expires October 29, through November 20. The Senate followed suit on Wednesday, just one day before the current authorization expires, and the White House has indicated that the president will sign the three-week extension.
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