THE SOURCE - Fall 2016 - (Page 29)

legislative outlook Early Recess and Elections Halt Progress By Scott Morrison and Dan lapato T he presidential conventions are nearly upon us, and as such, Congress will take an extended recess from the end of June through early September to prepare for and participate in them. Thus, an already short legislative work year is even more compressed leaving Congress little time to follow up on some of the early, hard fought victories such as energy legislation. for now, Congress appears to be stuck attempting to slog through the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government after passing pipeline safety legislation leaving the energy bill for consideration during the post-election lame duck. In contrast, on the regulatory side, aPGa and other organizations are waiting for the Department of Energy (DOE) to release a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) on the furnace rule, which could be issued at any time. Regular order on appropriations bills has long been the stated goal for Democrats and Republicans when they are in control of Congress. That is to say, that each of the 12 appropriations bills would be considered and passed separately throughout the year. However, Congress is out of practice on regular order as for many years, more contentious or high-profile issues or runof-the-mill partisanship made individual consideration of each bill impractical. This has led to routine passage of continuing resolutions, which merely maintain current spending levels and/or omnibus appropriations bills, which combine many of the bills into one massive spending bill. This year, Majority leader McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker of the House Ryan (R-Wisc.) have both pledged to work through regular order, but the results have been very different perhaps due to the differing incentives and challenges facing the Senate and House. In the Currently, the two energy bills are going to a conference committee in which both chambers negotiate a compromise bill. Senate, Republicans have a slim margin of control holding 54 seats to Democrats 46 seats. In addition, the 2016 election is expected to be close for a number of Republican senators up for re-election, which may explain why the Senate has kept appropriations bills free of controversial "riders" and consequently they have passed eight appropriations bills out of committee, well ahead of the House for the first time in decades. Speaker Ryan has had a more difficult time in the House under regular order as it allows members to offer amendments that can often be highly controversial. Democrats have taken advantage of this session by offering controversial amendments on lGBT rights and other issues to put Republicans in difficult positions. Offering such amendments is standard practice for both parties. Moreover, the House Republican party is highly fractured between establishment Republicans such as Speaker Ryan and the more conservative House freedom Caucus members who strongly disagree with Speaker Ryan about spending levels and other issues. In addition, as Republican control of the House is highly unlikely to be lost given the Republicans' strong 247-person majority, there is less risk in pursuing potentially controversial issues as part of appropriations bills. These factors have led to difficulty in passing appropriations bills putting Speaker Ryan in the difficult position of needing to pass these bills, but needing Democrats to achieve said goal. It appears that appropriations bills will take up the majority of the time before the end of recess with only a few smaller pieces of legislation that may receive consideration, such as an opioid addiction continued on page 30 THE SOURCE | fall 2016, vOl. 9, ISSUE 1 29 »

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Fall 2016

First Person
APGA Events
Q&A: Representative Blackburn
A Successful CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally
Richmond Breweries Tout Benefits of Natural Gas
Presidential Candidates Outline their Energy Plans
The Rising Cost of Natural Gas Transport
CNG for Public Transportation
APGA Hosts Second Southeast Tour
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Fall 2016