Biobased and Renewable Products News: Capitol Hill

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 >
May 2, 2013
Leaders Announce Plans To Consider Farm Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated publicly that he would like the full Senate to consider a Farm Bill this month after the Senate Agriculture Committee marks up and passes its version of the legislation. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has reportedly stated that she plans to schedule a mark-up of her Committee's version of the next Farm Bill sometime this month. Biofuel and renewable chemical supporters are working hard to ensure that this year's version of the next five-year Farm Bill will include a strong energy title that helps ... read more >
May 2, 2013
McCarthy’s Nomination Hits Roadblocks
Senate Republicans are increasing their opposition to President Obama's pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy. Last month, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee member Jeff Sessions (R-LA) stated publicly that he expected the nomination to pass the Committee and the full Senate. Since that time, eight Republican members of the Committee have requested that Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) delay a Committee vote on the nomination scheduled for May 8 until McCarthy responds to their requests for new EPA transparency measures. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) ... read more >
April 25, 2013
U.S. House Energy And Commerce Committee Releases Second RFS White Paper And Comment Request
On April 18, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued the second in an expected series of white papers issued by the Committee to "[set] out a number of emerging issues with the RFS." The topic of the first white paper was the blend wall. This second white paper addresses the impacts of the RFS on the agriculture sector, and largely stems out of the "food versus fuel" debate. The paper asks several questions on which the Committee seeks comment by April 29, 2013. One question asks the impact of the RFS on corn prices. In response to the drought last year, ... read more >
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