Congressional Update

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Bill Brewster, NSWA Governmental Affairs Consultant

The House had a relatively quiet week. The most consequential action was passage of a bill that would transfer $8 billion from the treasury to the Highway Trust Fund to ensure the fund is solvent through the end of the year. The House-passed bill will sell off part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to pay for the extension. The Senate has been reluctant to endorse a short-term patch and will likely attempt to pass a multiyear transportation bill before August. The House also passed a bill aimed to alleviate water transfer problems in California. Similar to legislation passed in previous years, it is unclear whether the Senate will act on this bill.  Next week the House is scheduled to consider the conference report for the FY 16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate finished consideration of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. That bill passed with a large bipartisan majority. Next week the Senate could also consider the NDAA conference report.

By far the most talked about issue in Washington this week is the deal reached between Iran, the US and other western countries concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The deal would limit the amount of nuclear materials Iran could process and require strict oversight and inspections of the program. In exchange for allowing this access, Iran would see sanctions gradually lifted, including sanctions on oil exports as well as their ability to purchase weapons systems. Both the House and Senate have 60 days to review the deal and vote on disapproval. It is expected that both houses will vote to disapprove the deal sometime in September, but the President has said he will veto any such bill. It is unclear whether both the House and Senate have the votes to override a veto.

Upcoming Hearings
July 21 – 11:00am
Senate Finance Committee: Markup of bipartisan tax extenders package

July 22 – 10:00am
House Natural Resources Committee Oversight: “An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon”

July 23 – 2:00pm
House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere: Pursuing North American Energy Independence – Mexico’s Energy Reforms

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