The Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, December 11, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975: Are We Positioning America for Success in an Era of Energy Abundance?”
America’s energy position today is much different than it was in the 1970s when the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 was written in response to the Arab oil embargo. Instead of oil and natural gas shortages, America now enjoys an abundance of energy supplies. In light of the dramatic changes in America’s energy outlook, the subcommittee will revisit and examine the current law to determine if it is still relevant in this era of abundance. U.S. Energy Information Administration Administrator Adam Sieminski will testify along with a panel of energy experts.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said, “Our energy landscape looks much different than it did 40 years ago, and the time is now ripe to revisit and consider whether some of the energy policies rooted in the past still make sense today. We need to take a comprehensive look at where we came from, where we are today, and where we want to go from here. We are now one of the world’s greatest energy superpowers, but we need the right policies in place to take full advantage of this position and ensure American consumers are reaping the greatest benefits from our newfound energy abundance.”
The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced its hearing schedule for the week of December 1. The committee will examine the Takata air bag ruptures and recalls and review the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing to review the Takata air bag ruptures and recalls. Members will examine the management and response by industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman, Takata’s Senior Vice President of Global Quality Assurance Hiroshi Shimizu, as well as representatives from Toyota, BMW, and Honda have been invited to testify. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
Also on Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing, “The Future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” Witnesses from the Congressional Research Service, the Government Accountability Office, and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission will testify regarding the current status of the CHIP program and how the president’s health care law has affected it as Subcommittee members prepare for a conversation about the program’s funding next year. Funding for CHIP is set to end after fiscal year 2015. The Majority Memorandum, a complete witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
10 AM2123 Rayburn HOBSubcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and TradeHearing on “Takata Airbag Ruptures and Recalls”
10:15 AM2322 Rayburn HOBSubcommittee on HealthHearing on “The Future of The Children’s Health Insurance Program”
With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House and Senate both acted last week to ensure that over 1.5 million satellite television subscribers will continue to receive broadcast programming. H.R. 5728, the STELA Reauthorization Act, is the bipartisan product of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. In addition to ensuring continued service for satellite subscribers, the legislation also makes a number of changes to improve the video marketplace for consumers.
While the legislation waits on the president’s signature, the La Grande Observer on Monday praised Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden’s work on the bipartisan and bicameral legislation. They note that the legislation, if signed into law, will “do some very good things for the residents in remote areas of Oregon.”
November 24, 2014
OUR VIEW: TV bill’s passage a good thing
As a flash-point issue or an example of monumental, epoch-changing legislation, the recent passage of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization might not appear noteworthy.
Yet it is one of those pieces of legislation the Congress tackles on a regular basis that you and I rarely hear about.
At its essence, the bill — dubbed STELAR — ensures nearly 1.5 million subscribers to satellite television will continue to have access to broadcast network programming after Jan. 1, 2015.
The bill — spearheaded by Oregon U.S. Rep. Greg Walden — gained passage by the U.S. House of Representatives last summer, but the new legislation is a compromise package between the House and the Senate. The new bill, while a compromise, will still accomplish the main objective of ensuring people who live in remote areas, like portions of Union and most of Wallowa County, can continue to get access to key local programming.
“If we do not act to extend these provisions by the end of this Congress, 1.5 million subscribers to satellite television, including many in Oregon, will not have access to broadcast network programming come New Year’s Day,” Walden said during debate on the bill.
Walden deserves a great deal of praise for his role in this matter, and, once again, his actions illustrate why he has become such a force for his constituents in the halls of Congress.
“This bill represents the best of how Congress works when it works together,” Walden said. “Today’s version of STELAR is a compromise bill that incorporates the provisions passed unanimously by the House earlier this year, with the provisions that passed by voice vote out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. By coming together to produce legislation with strong bipartisan, bicameral support we have demonstrated our clear commitment to the continued availability of broadcast programming to millions of subscribers and to some targeted and, in some cases, much needed reforms to our communications laws.”
The provisions of the compromise bill must be renewed by Dec. 31 and we hope that occurs. We also believe that this kind of lawmaking is too often ignored and forgotten by the body politic. Yes, STELAR isn’t a flash-point issue. It isn’t going to grab a lot of headlines. But it will, if the provisions are renewed, do some very good things for the residents in remote areas of Oregon.
We think that is a pretty good accomplishment.
Read the editorial online HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), has scheduled a hearing entitled “Takata Airbag Ruptures and Recalls” for Wednesday, December 3, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing will examine the management and response by industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the latest auto safety recalls regarding defective airbags made by the auto supplier Takata. Beginning in 2008, there have been a growing number of auto recalls to address faulty air bag inflators manufactured by Takata due to a risk air bags could improperly rupture causing serious injuries or even death. NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman, Takata’s Senior Vice President of Global Quality Assurance Hiroshi Shimizu, as well as representatives from Toyota, BMW, and Honda have been invited to testify. Additional witnesses may be announced.
Terry said, “Americans are weary of ever-expanding safety recalls and we need to know that there is an adequate plan in place to address safety risks. The manufacturers, suppliers, and regulators all bear responsibility in keeping drivers and their families safe. Our first priority is ensuring that all defective vehicles are fixed as soon as possible, but we must also review the actions leading up to and surrounding the recalls to understand how we got into this mess and how to avoid similar problems in the future.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “Airbags were intended to improve safety, but now we are in a situation where this life-saving tool is actually itself the subject of a safety recall. Drivers are becoming increasingly anxious as the recalls are expanded yet they are being told they can’t get their vehicles fixed. It is clear something must be done to restore the public’s trust and ensure safety on the roads.”
The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.Read More
WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) today wrote to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl LaFleur seeking information regarding any consultation between FERC and the Environmental Protection Agency in the development of EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other major rules impacting electric reliability.
The letter also calls on FERC to convene a technical conference with federal agencies and stakeholders to discuss the reliability challenges posed by new federal environmental regulations.
The request follows a recent report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) that raises concerns about EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal and its potential impact on the reliability of the nation’s electric grid. In the report, NERC questioned EPA's assumptions and called for additional reliability analysis.
Testimony from FERC commissioners at separate Senate and House hearings also suggests EPA did not properly consult with the commission when writing its proposed rule and ignored recommendations from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that a formal, documented process be established among relevant federal agencies to monitor reliability challenges.
“New environmental regulations pose one of the most serious threats to our nation’s electric grid. This administration continues to regulate too much too fast without proper consideration of the consequences for American consumers,” said Rep. Upton. “It is imperative that we know how these rules will impact reliability before they are implemented and that we have a plan in place to ensure that American families and businesses can keep the lights on.”
“The reliability of the grid is not optional,” said Sen. Murkowski. “It has been apparent for some time that we may need to protect the grid from our own federal actions and ensure the growing number of environmental rules do not negatively impact reliability. The challenge before us is maintaining and improving reliability and ensuring our energy supply remains affordable.”
"Recent reports have raised significant concerns over the reliability impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other rules as to whether our grid can sustain the president’s proposed electricity sector overhaul. We can’t afford to play a guessing game when it comes to reliability, and we need to be assured that EPA won’t simply leave Americans in the dark," said Rep. Whitfield.
To read the full letter to FERC, click HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today praised the Federal Communications Commission’s ongoing AWS-3 spectrum auction. Spurred by provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the auction has already resulted in over $35 billion in revenue which will pay to upgrade and relocate existing government spectrum users, fully fund FirstNet, the nation’s first interoperable public safety broadband network, and provide $20 billion to meet deficit reduction goals.
“The FCC’s airwave auction has been a remarkable success – a boon for American taxpayers. To date, the auction has already raised enough money to cover the expenses to upgrade and relocate government spectrum users, pay for a nationwide first responder broadband network, and provide $20 billion to reduce the deficit,” said Upton. “Importantly, it has also proved that increased cooperation between the many parts of our government can result in better spectrum use, more resources to fuel the cutting-edge communications tools of the 21st century, and a return on investment for the American people.”
“Our bipartisan work with the Pentagon, FCC, and NTIA helped identify solutions to free this valuable spectrum without harming the Defense Department’s ability to train the men and women that work every day to keep Americans safe,” added Walden. “With the first-of-their-kind incentive auctions up next, the FCC has an opportunity to continue America’s leadership in wireless. We look forward to seeing the same level of dedication, cooperation, and ingenuity as the Commission works to bring broadcasters to the auction. Chairman Wheeler and the entire commission should be applauded for their work on this auction. Let’s build upon this success as we look toward the next auction in 2016.”
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) earlier this year launched the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative with the goal of accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery cycle of new cures and treatments. The first phase of this effort has been listening, which spurred the committee to host an extensive national conversation that included eight hearings and four roundtables in Washington, D.C., as well as 15 roundtables hosted by committee members all across the country. These events, along with the ideas shared with email@example.com, have focused the initiative on six areas for reform:
Upton and DeGette are looking to introduce a discussion draft of legislation in January 2015.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) issued the following statement in response to the EPA’s announcement today that it would not issue a rule setting Renewable Fuel Standard targets for 2014:
“Businesses and consumers have been waiting a year now for clarity and guidance from EPA, but this decision to completely abandon the 2014 targets only adds to the growing uncertainty and frustration. EPA cannot just choose to arbitrarily ignore the law and the deadlines established by Congress. This unexpected announcement highlights that there are still significant challenges facing the RFS and underscores the need to come together and find a practical, bipartisan solution.”
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today applauded the United States Senate’s swift action to approve bipartisan legislation that ensures 1.5 million satellite television subscribers continue to receive broadcast programming and makes a number of changes to improve the video marketplace for consumers. H.R. 5728, the STELA Reauthorization Act is a bipartisan product of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The House approved H.R. 5728 by voice vote on Wednesday.
“When Americans flip on their TV, they aren’t thinking about legislative deadlines and complex policy negotiations – they just want it to work, with the programming they want. This bill makes sure satellite customers can keep accessing broadcast content, and it also starts the important process of modernizing our laws as consumers continue to change how and what they watch” said Upton. “I’m pleased with this bipartisan legislation that reflects the input and insight of both houses of Congress and look forward to that ongoing cooperation as we approach the dynamic issues of our innovation economy.”
H.R. 5728 has received the support of groups including 21st Century Fox, ABC / Disney, the American Cable Association, the American Television Alliance, CBS, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV & Dish Network, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and US Telecom.
Last summer fact checkers caught President Obama attempting to belittle the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline, busting him for using false and deflated jobs numbers. But it appears he didn’t learn his lesson. Yet again, the president is being called out for skewing the facts to fit his narrative so he can avoid making a decision on the project. The Washington Post’s fact checker today gave President Obama “Three Pinocchios” for his recent comments suggesting that most of the North American oil transported by the Keystone XL pipeline would be exported overseas. The Post pointed to the findings from the president’s own State Department to undercut his claims. Perhaps if the president could get his facts straight he would realize Keystone XL is clearly in the national interest and finally approve the landmark jobs and energy project.
November 20, 2014
Fact Checker: Obama’s claim that Keystone XL crude would go ‘everywhere else’ but the United States
…Twice during his recent overseas trip, President Obama asserted that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was designed to take Canadian crude oil to the world markets. The implication of the president’s words is that the United States would be simply a conveyor belt for the oil.
The pipeline would allow the Canadians “to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else,” the president said in Burma. The question he faced, he said in Australia, is whether “we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States.” Is this really the case?
First of all, the president leaves out a very important step. The crude oil would travel to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel (known as a distillate fuel in the trade). As our colleague Steven Mufson reported more than two years ago, the refineries on the Gulf Coast are “eagerly waiting” for the Canadian crude, since there isn’t enough oil in the area anymore to feed the refineries. …
Indeed, the State Department’s final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL project specifically disputed claims that the oil “would pass through the United States and be loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in markets such as Asia,” saying it was not economically justified. The State Department noted that the traditional sources of crude for the Gulf Coast, such as Mexico and Venezuela, are declining, and so refineries would have “significant incentive to obtain heavy crude from the oil sands.”
So then the question turns on what happens to that oil after it leaves the refinery. Oil is a global commodity, of course, and where it travels often depends on market conditions. In Obama’s telling, however, the refined Canadian oil goes “everywhere else” and “not to the United States.”
But that’s not right either, according to the State Department report. U.S. exports are not affected by various pipeline scenarios but instead by market conditions, such as “domestic demand versus domestic refining capacity, the cost of natural gas, and refining capacity abroad, including in foreign markets currently importing U.S. refined products such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Europe,” the report said. The demand for exports, in other words, is completely unrelated to building the Keystone XL pipeline. …
The Pinocchio Test
The president seriously overstates the percentage of Canadian crude that might be exported if the Keystone XL pipeline is built. He suggests all of it would be exported, without mentioning that it first would stop on the Gulf Coast to be refined into products. On top of that, current trends suggest that about one-third of that refined product would be exported. That is not insubstantial, but it is certainly much smaller than 100 percent.
All of this is laid out in the extensive report issued by the State Department earlier this year. The president might want to study it before he addresses the Keystone question again. In the meantime, he earns Three Pinocchios. We nearly made it Four Pinocchios, but it is correct that at least some of the product would be exported, based on current market conditions.
Read the full fact check online here.Read More
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