THE SOURCE - Winter 2015 - (Page 22)

legislative outlook High Profile Issues Set to Dominate the Rest of 2015 By Scott Morrison and Dan Lapato B oth chambers of Congress returned to session after the August recess ready to tackle high profile issues like the Iran Nuclear Deal, Planned Parenthood, government funding, and the debt ceiling. Despite these high profile issues, which are magnified by presidential campaigns, there are still several energy issues that may be considered in 2015 including comprehensive energy legislation, pipeline safety, the highway bill, and various energy issues on the regulatory front. The most high profile issue that Congress considered upon its return was the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama with Iran. The deal seeks to substantially reduce Iran's nuclear weapons development capability by reducing its uranium stockpile, decreasing the number of centrifuges it possesses, and establishing a robust inspections regime to ensure that Iran complies with the terms of the agreement. In exchange, Iran received a lifting of international sanctions that were levied against Iran in order to bring them to the negotiating table. These sanctions have crippled Iran's economy, hampering the regime and causing hardship for Iranians. In addition, Iran will continue to be able to enrich uranium to very low levels and do research on non-weapons nuclear issues. Republicans universally oppose the deal and have argued that the agreement paves the way for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Republicans have also argued that the deal should be scrapped and the process should start over to ensure that Iran gives up its nuclear program entirely. Democrats and deal supporters argue that such a deal is unrealistic and represents the best opportunity to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. Congress voted on the motion to disapprove the deal, but the legislation failed. Planned Parenthood will also receive much debate on Capitol Hill. Planned Parenthood provides women with a variety of women's health services including abortions. The organization received $528 million in federal funding last year, none of which can be used on abortions due to a 1977 law that prohibits it. A scandal erupted this summer when an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, met with and filmed conversations with Planned Parenthood staff and released video of Planned Parenthood staffers discussing how the organization provides fetal tissue and organs from abortions to researchers. 22 THE SOURCE | THE vOiCE and CHOiCE Of pUbliC gaS The Center for Medical Progress alleges that the videos provide evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue and organs for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood denies that charge and counters that they are providing the tissue and organs to researchers and receiving funds that only cover their costs, which is legal. Conservative members of the House are now willing to shut down the government in order to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. However, Republican leadership, which controls both chambers, prefers to investigate the issue and hold hearings rather than shut down the government. No resolution has emerged thus far. The debt ceiling will also be an issue over the next few months. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Congress this July that measures to maintain funding of government operations will be exhausted by the end of October. The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in which its legislature approves

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Winter 2015

UP-TO-DATE: APGA helps readers keep current on public natural gas industry issues
APGA Events
First Person
Where Do APGA’s Furnace Rule Comments Stand Today?
Natural Gas Heat Pumps: Is the Timing Right?
Natural Gas Outlook for Winter 2015-2016
Pipeline to New Markets
Remember to Move Over
Legislative Outlook
The Launch of the APGA Community
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Winter 2015