Energy and Climate Debate:
We are half way through a busy September, and Congress will focus much of the rest of the month on a continuing resolution. Energy and climate issues will garner some attention in committee hearings this week, and the Administration is preparing for Pope Francis’ visit next week and a number of events this month and next as the global climate negotiations in Paris near.
The Senate will spend much of this week on the Iran nuclear deal, and the House will debate lawsuit abuse reduction (H.R. 758), defunding Planned Parenthood, hastening environmental reviews of federally sponsored construction projects (H.R. 348), and abortion legislation, as well as 9 other bills on its suspension calendar. With a short week due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday, House leadership plans to take up next week a continuing resolution, legislation intended to keep the government funded after the current fiscal year ends September 30. But appropriations leadership needs to finalize the stopgap measure first, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) indicated over the weekend that no decisions have been made on its provisions, though they indicated that they need to have some additional conversations about discretionary funding. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that Congressional Republicans do not have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and even if they did, President Obama would veto the measure, but there is still some discussion on the House side about including a ban on federal funding for the organization in the continuing resolution. Majority Leader McConnell does not plan to include similar language on the Senate side, and hopes to ensure quickly that the government remains open after September 30. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Chair Mike Simpson (R-ID) said September 11 that the resolution is at least likely to be free of energy and environment policy riders, whatever else it contains. Discussions are also underway over the timing of the resolution, with the House considering a measure that funds the government through the middle of December, and some in the Senate preferring a version that goes through November. Once a CR is finalized, and it is likely to be a clean one, Congress will move to a number of additional looming issues for the rest of the year.
Please see full Update below for more information.