1. Congress took one last stab at overturning the Obama Administration’s controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rulemaking. However, on January 21, the Senate failed to override the President’s veto of Congress’ resolution disapproving the NECA-opposed rule.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN) and Joe Manchin (WV) joined Senate Republicans in voting to proceed with the veto override. Sen. Susan Collins (ME) was the only Republican to vote against the veto override. This vote is the last step Congress can take to stop the WOTUS rule. In the meantime, the rule is working its way through the courts, where a 50-state stay of the rule went into effect October 9, 2015.
2. The full Senate is expected to begin debate on its version of a wide-ranging energy policy bill next week. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill in July 2015.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012) is the result of months of negotiations between Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The bill addresses key NECA priorities such energy efficiency, infrastructure, and supply issues.
3. Last week, Republican leaders laid out a blueprint for 2016 at their annual retreat that provides a plan of action for this coming election year but also lays the groundwork for further action in 2017.
NECA’s Look Ahead: As reported to NECA staff during a member briefing held January 15, the House and Senate both plan to get an early start on the nation’s budget -- about a month earlier than usual. The next step is to get back to normalization of the federal appropriations spending process and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) vowed the House would pass all 12 appropriations bills this year, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1994. Lastly, Speaker Ryan announced that the Republican Conference agreed to develop what he called “a bold, pro-growth agenda” to be presented to the country in the coming months focusing on five issue areas: national security, jobs and economic growth, health care, poverty and opportunity, and constitutional authority. NECA will continue to work with Congressional leaders to ensure our priorities are included in Congress’ 2016 plans.