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Capitol Hill Update, February 22, 2016
The House and Senate are in session this week. The major issues occupying the attention of legislators on the Hill are the vacancy on the Supreme Court due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the efforts by House Republican leadership to come up with an annual budget.
The Senate will return this week to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), this bill aims to "modernize" and streamline existing energy regulations, merely adjusting the federal energy bureaucracy rather than reining it in. Worse, this bill actually creates a number of new recipients for government energy subsidies and permanently extends a federal program for buying up more private land. Supporters of the bill point to its loosening of export permits for Liquefied Natural Gas, but that one very good policy does not outweigh the rest of this technocratic proposal. FreedomWorks has issued a Key Vote: NO for the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
This week the House Budget Committee was scheduled to consider a budget, with the goal that the House would have had votes on various budget proposals next week. That effort has now been delayed, as many conservatives in the House are working to get the Republican leadership to advance a more fiscally responsible budget.
This Thursday and Friday, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act, introduced by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1). The SHARE Act would make federal lands far more accessible to hunters and fishers, and would reverse a ban on importing antique weapons and musical instruments that contain ivory.