THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013

For Immediate Release:

September 18, 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 – 2:30 p.m. 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

**MEMBERS ARE ADVISED THAT CLOSE VOTES ARE EXPECTED TOMORROW ON H.R. 3102 – NUTRITION REFORM AND WORK OPPORTUNITY ACT. ANY EXPECTED ABSENCES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE WHIP’S OFFICE AT X5-3130.

H.Res. 347 – Rule providing for consideration H.R. 761 – National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 (Rep. Amodei – Natural Resource) (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 5 amendments debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. It allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions. It also waives all points of order against the legislation. The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter of New York to consider H.R. 761 under an open Rule. The Committee also rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter to make in order an amendment offered by Ranking Member DeFazio that would require an 8 percent royalty fee from the net return on any new hardrock mining operations on federal land.

H.R. 761 – National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013 (Rep. Amodei – Natural Resource) (One Hour of Debate). The bill would reduce or eliminate environmental reviews, and give mining companies control over the timing of permitting decisions, for virtually all types of mining operations on federal public land, not just those involving strategic or critical minerals.  It does this by defining “strategic and critical” minerals so broadly that they would include everything from minerals like gold, silver, copper and uranium (which are critical to defense, energy infrastructure & production, and manufacturing) to plentiful materials such as sand, clay, gravel and potentially even coal.  Further, the bill deems all mines to be “infrastructure projects” in order to put them in line with an Executive Order aimed at reducing permitting time for surface transportation, aviation, pipelines and other infrastructure projects that have lesser environmental effects than mining. Lastly, it requires the Interior Department to waive compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) if the federal or state permitting process is deemed “adequate” and requires federal agencies to enter into agreements with mining companies to set time limits for each part of the permit review process and limit total review time to 30 months.

In addition to reducing or eliminating environmental reviews in order to receive mining permits, the bill would also limit the judicial review of mine permits, barring any civil action not filed within 60 days after a final federal agency action.

The Rule makes in order 5 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:

Rep. Lowenthal Amendment. Clarifies that the definition of "Strategic and Critical Minerals" only includes the minerals identified by the National Research Council (NRC) as strategic and critical minerals (and any additional minerals added by the Secretary that meet the NRC's criteria). Also clarifies that the definition of "Mineral Exploration or Mine Permit" in this underlying legislation only refers to mineral exploration or mine permit for strategic and critical minerals.
Rep. Veasey Amendment. Designates the Secretary of Interior to publish no later than 60 days after enactment of the bill a list of "Strategic and Critical Minerals" for the purpose of the bill. The Secretary must update the list every 5 years.
Rep. Connolly Amendment. Requires an Environmental Impact Statement to be conducted for mineral exploration and mining projects on federal lands to be subjected to review prior to approval. Removes the arbitrary limit on the time frame for such reviews contained in the underlying bill.
Rep. Hastings (FL) Amendment. Requires that mining companies provide financial assurance that the cost of environmental cleanup after mining operations conducted pursuant to the provisions of the bill cease. Such assurance shall be provided by financial insurance instruments in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit or other instrument that would routinely be accepted in commerce.
Rep. Pearce Amendment. Clarifies the intention of the bill that it will not impact Secretarial Order 3324, a 2012 order issued by the Interior Secretary governing the production of oil/gas and potash on Bureau of Land Management lands.

Bill Text for H.R. 761:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 761:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Postponed Suspension (1 bill)

  1. H.R. 301 – To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, as amended (Rep. Wolf – Foreign Affairs)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, September 19: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider H.R. 3102 – Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act (Rep. Lucas – Agriculture) (Subject to a Rule).

 
The Daily Quote

“GOP Sen. John McCain said ‘it's a suicide note’ to use the debt-ceiling measure to try to hobble the health-care law. ‘To think that somehow we are going to prevail in an argument to defund Obamacare is just the height of foolishness,’ the Arizona senator said. ‘The advantage rests with the president of the United States.’”

-    Bloomberg, 9/18/13