The House has been busy reorganizing under Democratic Control. Most of the House Committees have been organized at this point, including the House Natural Resources Committee. The Chairman, Rep. Grijalva, has laid out his priorities for the Committee: 1) Oversight of the Department of Interior and EPA deregulatory decisions; 2) protecting public lands; 3) protecting the Endangered Species Act. Expect to see hearings on the horizon regarding climate change and its impact to our oceans and public lands. The House passed a NATO Support Act, as well as a Resolution disapproving of the President’s action to remove certain sanctions against the Russian Federation, and the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act.
The Senate has been busy processing amendments to S. 1, legislation showing support for Israel and Jordan. The Senate is expected to pass this legislation and move next to a Public Lands package of bills that will namely reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, among a slew of other legislative matters. It has been since December 2014 that a Public Lands package has been enacted. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a roundtable on the Arctic in January, and heard from experts on a variety of topics, including the lack of a U.S. presence in the area.
The big news in Washington is the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended with enactment of a 3-week Continuing Resolution (CR) which gives lawmakers an opportunity to solve the impasse or send the Federal government back into a partial shutdown. The CR expires on Feb. 15th. During the government shutdown, the Department of Interior continued to process drilling permits. In other news, President Trump issued an Executive Order sanctioning transactions involving the Madura regime and Venezuelan Government. He also issued an Executive Order to Buy American — directing the head of each executive department and agency to “encourage recipients of new Federal financial assistance awards to use, to the greatest extent practicable, iron and aluminum as well as, steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States in every contract, subcontract, purchase order, or sub‑award that is chargeable against such Federal financial assistance award.” Finally, trade continues to be the top topic in WDC as talks continue with China and other countries over ongoing disputes.