Biobased and Renewable Products News: Capitol Hill

May 30, 2013
Senate May Vote On McCarthy Nomination This Summer
While Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) continues his hold on Gina McCarthy's nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has stated publicly that he intends to force full Senate consideration of her nomination as early as the week after the July Fourth recess. As we have reported, on May 16, 2013, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved McCarthy's nomination by a 10-8 vote along party lines. Senator Blunt has placed a hold on the nomination until he is satisfied that the Obama Administration will move ... read more >
May 30, 2013
Group Of Democratic Senators Work Toward Climate Legislation
A group of Democratic Senators have formed a "clearinghouse" group that meets with key stakeholders in their effort to build support and develop a strategy to move climate change legislation this year. The group is co-chaired by Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ron Wyden (D-OR). Members of the clearinghouse include Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Brian ... read more >
May 24, 2013
Farm Bill
Full Senate consideration began this week of its version of the next five-year Farm Bill, S. 964, the Agriculture, Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. As we reported last week, on May 14, S. 964 was passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by a vote of 15-5. Importantly, it includes an energy title with mandatory funding and eligibility for renewable chemicals. The Senate continues to debate amendments to the bill. It has been reported that Senate leadership is still processing which of the nearly 200 amendments to the bill will receive a vote. For this ... read more >
May 24, 2013
McCarthy Nomination
On May 16, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) voted 10-8 to approve President Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy. McCarthy is currently EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. The vote was along party lines, with ten Democrats voting for her nomination and eight Republicans against it. McCarthy has worked for moderate Republicans in the past, and she is generally respected for her knowledge and fair approach. Among the Republicans on the Senate EPW Committee, Ranking Member David Vitter ... read more >
May 24, 2013
Foreign Fuels Reduction Act
Last week, Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced S. 977, the Foreign Fuels Reduction Act. The purpose of the bill is to help prevent sugarcane ethanol imported from Brazil from being used to fulfill the annual advanced renewable volume obligations (RVO). Under the RFS, EPA may lower the cellulosic RVOs each year, while maintaining the overall advanced RVOs. To date, EPA has chosen this way to implement the RFS so lowered cellulosic volumes could be made up by advanced fuels. Imported sugarcane ethanol has largely made up the difference. S.977 would require EPA to ... read more >
May 17, 2013
Farm Bill
  This week, the Agriculture Committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed their versions of the next five-year Farm Bill. The full Senate is expected to consider its version of the Farm Bill on May 20, while the full House is not expected to consider its version until later this year. Below, please find brief summaries of Farm Bill activities this week, particularly as they relate to renewable chemicals and biofuels. Senate On May 14, 2013, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, led by Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), marked-up ... read more >
May 17, 2013
McCarthy Nomination Moves Forward
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted 10-8 along party lines May 16 to advance Gina McCarthy's nomination for EPA Administrator. No Republicans voted in support of McCarthy, although the Committee's top Republican, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), indicated he would vote for McCarthy when her nomination reaches the Senate floor if EPA responds in the next two weeks to his specific requests for answers on EPA's transparency. McCarthy's nomination has been delayed since May 9, when Republicans boycotted a scheduled vote and left the Committee without a ... read more >
May 9, 2013
Ongoing Legislative Efforts To Pass A Farm Bill With A Strong Energy Title
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to testify today, May 9, 2013, on the Administration's Fiscal Year 2014 USDA budget request before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. Secretary Vilsack's testimony comes as the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up its version of the next five year Farm Bill on Tuesday, May 14, and the House Agriculture Committee is set to mark up its version of the legislation on Wednesday, May 15. On May 6, Senators Al ... read more >
May 9, 2013
Tax Reform Efforts Continue
The Chairs of the House and Senate tax writing committees have both stated that comprehensive tax reform in this Congress is a top priority. To this end, both have been working to assess current incentives and have been seeking feedback from key stakeholders whose views are important to include as they consider wholesale reform of the U.S. Tax Code. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) formed eleven working groups to work with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to assess the current tax code and outline options for reform. As a result of this work, on Monday, May 6, ... read more >
May 9, 2013
Senate Committee Postpones Vote On McCarthy Nomination
Washington political grandstanding was center stage on May 9, 2013, as Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was forced to postpone the Committee's vote on President Obama's nominee for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy. All Republican members of the Committee boycotted the May 9 meeting, prompting Senator Boxer to delay the vote while criticizing the Committee's GOP members as being "obstructionists," adding that Ms. McCarthy is the "most qualified EPA nominee" ever to come before ... read more >
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