THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014

For Immediate Release:

June 25, 2014

Contact:

Stephanie Young, Mariel Saez 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”

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

**Members are advised that following last votes, the House is expected to consider general debate of H.R. 4899. All amendments to the bill will be considered tomorrow.

H.Res. 641 – Rule providing for consideration of both H.R. 4899 – Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources/Judiciary) and H.R. 4923 – Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Rep. Simpson – Appropriations) (One Hour of Debate). The Rules committee has recommended one Rule which provides for consideration of two bills.

For H.R. 4899, 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 for 10 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offer and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

For H.R. 4923, the Rules Committee has recommended a modified open Rule that allows any amendments that comply with House Rules to be considered. The Rule provides for one hour of general debate, equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations. The Rule allows any Member to submit an amendment that complies with the House Rules, but only provides for 10 minutes of debate per amendment equally divided between the proponent and an opponent, and does not permit unlimited pro forma amendments. Lastly, the Rule provides up to 10 pro forma amendments for the purpose of debate offered by the Chair and Ranking Member or their designee and one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter of New York to consider both bills under an open Rule. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 6 – Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (Rep. Gardner – Energy and Commerce). This bill changes the Department of Energy’s (DOE) existing approval process for applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, which currently allows DOE to evaluate the impacts of LNG exports on domestic natural gas prices for consumers and manufacturers through a public interest review. H.R. 6 requires a final public interest determination on pending applications in 90 days, before the completion of environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act. While the bill would expedite the DOE’s decision-making, because it shortens the time the agency has to consider the LNG terminal’s environmental review conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), it may force the Department to unnecessarily deny export applications.

H.R. 6 is unnecessary; the Department of Energy has already approved seven export applications and when those facilities are constructed, the United States will go from exporting no LNG to being the world’s second-largest exporter.  Speeding up DOE’s approval process, when the first export terminal will not be operational until 2015 at the earliest, will in no way accelerate any actual LNG exports.

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, provides for no further general debate and makes in order 4 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offer and an opponent. The amendments are:

Gardner/Gene Green Manager’s Amendment. Strikes the decision deadline in the underlying bill and replaces it with a requirement that DOE make a final public interest determination on an application to export LNG no later than 30 days after the conclusion of the project's NEPA environmental review. For the purposes of making a public interest determination, the NEPA review would be considered concluded: 30 days after publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement; 30 days after publication by DOE of a “Finding of No Significant Impact” in the case of project for which an Environmental Assessment has been prepared; or upon a determination that the project is eligible for a Categorical Exclusion pursuant to NEPA.
Holt/Quigley Amendment. Requires the Secretary of Energy to consider how proposed natural gas exports will affect domestic natural gas prices, jobs and manufacturing when making a public interest determination.
DeFazio Amendment. Requires an applicant to disclose any intention to use eminent domain for any construction necessary to support the LNG export project.
Turner/Ryan (OH) Amendment. Expresses the sense of Congress that it is in the public interest of the United States to approve the export of U.S. natural gas which will help boost American job creation, diversify world natural gas sources, increase global market competition, and enhance the energy security of strategic allies.

Bill Text for H.R. 6:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 6:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Begin Consideration of H.R. 4899 – Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources/Judiciary) (One Hour of Debate). This bill is the combination of two partisan Republican bills that have already passed the House this Congress and is coming to the Floor with no Committee action.  Republicans are bringing this bill to the Floor under the guise that domestic energy production is only booming on private lands and that more drilling on public lands and waters will directly lead to lower consumer gas prices. However, this is not the case – as on shore oil production from federal lands is up nearly 30% since 2008 and gas prices have not gone down.  Further, domestic oil production is at a 25-year high, and net imports are at a 29-year low, yet prices at the pump have not changed.  This bill would do nothing to lower gas prices, but would prove costly to the public, as well as threaten tourism and recreation.
 
Title I of the bill is comprised of H.R. 2231 - “Offshore Energy and Jobs Act.”  This bill would direct the Interior Department to develop a new five-year offshore leasing plan that makes available for oil and gas exploration and development at least 50% of the unleased coastal areas with the most potential for energy production. The bill would create a nationwide revenue sharing system so coastal states would receive a 37.5% share of the federal royalties (revenue from offshore oil and gas leasing and development is currently one of the largest non-tax revenue streams for the federal government). This provision would allow states to use these revenues “for any purpose as determined by the laws of that State.” The bill also requires the plan to establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal under the Administration’s current 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing plan of 3 million barrels of oil per day and 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day by 2027 (which is triple current production levels). Lastly, the bill requires that drilling be allowed off the coasts of California, South Carolina, and Virginia, and statutorily reorganizes the Interior Department agencies that oversee offshore leasing and permitting, safety inspections and revenue collection.

Title II of the bill, comprised of H.R. 1965 – “Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act” – combines 5 Republican bills related to onshore drilling. The first bill, H.R. 1965, would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lease at least 25% of lands nominated by the oil and gas industry and to automatically approve any permit which has not been formally decided upon within 60 days. Further, it limits judicial review to 60 days after an approval and prohibits prevailing plaintiffs from recouping court and attorney’s fees.
 
The second bill, H.R. 1394, would direct Federal land managers to manage lands for the primary purpose of energy and mineral production, making all other uses, like hunting, fishing, camping, grazing, and conservation, secondary.
 
The third bill, H.R. 1964, would require the Secretary of the Interior to develop regulations to require action on drilling permits in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) within 60 days, despite existing regulations that already require consideration of such applications within 90 days.  Further, it would require the BLM to ensure that NPR-A leases are within 25 miles of roads and pipelines, forcing the development of a road and pipeline network despite no pending BLM applications to construct either.
 
The fourth bill, H.R. 555, would give the Secretary of the Interior the ability to conduct further onshore oil and gas lease sales using internet-based auctions, but does not require the Secretary to do so.
 
The fifth bill, H.R. 1548, would prohibit BLM from enforcing fracking regulations on tribal lands without the consent of the tribal government.

All amendments will be considered starting tomorrow.

Bill Text for H.R. 4899:
PDF Version

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, June 26: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 4899 – Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources/Judiciary).

 
The Daily Quote

“Mounting opposition among House Republicans to reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is stirring alarm among business groups, adding new tensions to a long-standing alliance with the GOP that has grown increasingly shaky with the rise of tea-party-aligned lawmakers. Business owners and trade groups already frustrated this year by the House's inaction on an immigration overhaul pushed back this week against the latest evidence of conservative lawmakers dismissing industry priorities. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers have made reauthorizing the agency, which helps support U.S. exports, one of their top goals… ‘Business tools that promote jobs and economic development in the U.S. and in Texas are suddenly the bad guy,’ said Tony Bennett, president of the Texas Association of Manufacturers, who rejected lawmakers' criticisms of the agency. ‘It's just red meat for conservative voters not informed on such a complicated issue.’”

-    Wall Street Journal, 6/24/2014