THE DAILY WHIP: FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

For Immediate Release:

April 26, 2013

Contact:

Katie GrantStephanie Young, 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:
10:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes” per side

11:15 – 11:45 a.m. 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 527 – Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) The bill would extend the Department of the Interior’s authority to operate the Federal Helium Reserve and allow it to continue selling crude helium after the program's debt is repaid. If Congress fails to act, our nation’s helium supply could be disrupted, resulting in price spikes and supply shortages for American businesses, including high-tech manufacturing firms; scientific research; and federal agencies, such as NASA. It requires that subsequent helium sales be made by the Secretary through a competitive auction system, allowing the price of federally-owned helium to be set by on supply & demand and maximizing the return to taxpayers. It also modifies the federal helium program to increase price transparency and promote greater competition in the private helium market by giving new refiners access to the federal helium reserve pipeline. The bill also provides protection for federal researchers, by phasing-out the federal reserve and ending private sales when reserves decline to 3 billion cubic feet of helium. Remaining helium would be reserved for federal agencies for medical and scientific uses.

The Rule provides for no further general debate and makes in order 4 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:

Reps. Collins/Austin Amendment. Restates that excess funds from the sale of the Reserve's helium are used to reduce the annual Federal budget deficit. 
Reps. Dent/Higgins/Esty Amendment. Delays implementation of the bill’s provisions for existing companies with contracts to receive helium from the reserve, delaying completely market-based helium pricing per terms of the current contracts until as late as 2018.
Rep. Holt Amendment. Requires an assessment of how closing the Federal Helium Reserve could influence helium availability, including options for insuring a reliable helium supply in coming decades.
Rep. Thornberry Amendment. Affirms the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to allow private entities to connect to and store helium in the Federal Helium Reserve for an appropriate fee.

Bill Text for H.R. 527:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 527:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Suspension (1 bill)

  1. H.R. __ – To provide the Secretary of Transportation with the flexibility to transfer certain funds to prevent reduced operations and staffing of the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes (Rep. Latham – Appropriations) – Would allow the Department of Transportation to shift $253 million in funds to the FAA's operations account. This would negate sequestration’s cuts of $232 million for FY2013 as well as provide an extra $21 million in funding flexibility through September 30.
 
The Daily Quote

 "The failure of House Republican leaders to pass a healthcare measure this week exposes a GOP weakness going into the high-profile debt-ceiling talks this summer. A number of high-ranking Republican lawmakers close to the whip operation told The Hill, on the condition of anonymity, that there has been a 'disconnect' with leadership lately. Unless rectified, that disconnect could hamper Republican efforts to go toe-to-toe with President Obama on raising the debt ceiling. Obama has steadfastly refused to negotiate on the issue while Republicans in the House and Senate are demanding cuts to accompany any debt-limit hike... When House GOP leaders schedule floor votes on legislation and then are forced to retreat, the party loses political leverage. That happened when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) couldn’t pass his Plan B bill during the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations late last year. Boehner’s fingerprints aren’t on the GOP ObamaCare measure, which some critics on the right have dubbed ‘CantorCare.’ Part of the problem behind the failure to get the votes is that Cantor is thinking nationally while many conservatives in gerrymandered districts are thinking locally.  Furthermore, rank-and-file Republicans are still grumbling that GOP leaders called for a vote on the Senate’s Violence Against Women Act, which was opposed by 138 House Republicans.”

-    The Hill, 4/26/13