THE DAILY WHIP: THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2013

For Immediate Release:

April 25, 2013

Contact:

Katie GrantStephanie Young, 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes” per side

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.

**Members are advised that today, the House is only expected to consider the Rule and general debate for H.R. 527. Tomorrow, the House will consider amendments and vote on final passage of H.R. 527.  

H.Res. 178 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 527 – Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) (One Hour of Debate) The Rules committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Natural Resources.  The Rule allows 4 amendments debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions and it also waives all points of order against the legislation.

Begin Consideration of H.R. 527 – Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) (One Hour of Debate) 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 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. Ensures 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. Requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to honor existing contracts for the supply and delivery of helium that are set to expire October 1, 2015.
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)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Friday, April 26: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 527 – Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources).

 
The Daily Quote

“House Republican leadership abruptly pulled a health care bill from the floor after concerns from conservatives that it extended President Barack Obama’s health care law. The legislation, which was championed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, had opposition from all corners of the conservative universe… Things were not running smoothly in GOP leadership. Cantor announced a vote on this legislation last Thursday, well before GOP leadership surveyed its members to see if the bill had enough support, according to Republicans involved in the process… The Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation and tea party groups have urged Republican lawmakers to oppose the bill, which was authored by GOP Reps. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Michael Burgess of Texas and Ann Wagner of Missouri. Club for Growth said it would include this vote in its annual rating of members of Congress. Brent Bozell, a tea party leader, dubbed the bill ‘CantorCare’ in a news release Tuesday. Republican lawmakers privately fretted that the bill would bolster Obamacare, which the GOP has long tried to dismantle.”

Politico, 4/24/13