October brought a whirlwind of activity to the House. With Democrats impeachment proceedings moving along at brusque pace, a slew of hearings was held aimed at collecting testimony from various Administration and intelligence officials. Regarding natural resources and energy issues, the HNR and HSCC committees held a series of hearings examining global climate change, oversight of the oil and gas industry, and eco-friendly workforce development policies. Additionally, the House passed two bills restricting oil and gas development in the Chaco and Grand Canyon areas. On the trade front, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said recently that negotiations between the Trump administration and Democrats to secure changes to the new North American trade pact are close to wrapping up, stressing that Democrats’ top concern is enforcing the deal.
Essentially the gatekeeper to all legislative issues, Senate Republicans have found themselves at the center of House Democrats impeachment hearing and the surrounding media buzz. Despite increased public pressure, Leader McConnell has signaled that he and other republicans are not prepared to impeach the president. The SENR committee has been relatively quiet as of late, holding a few hearings looking at energy efficiency, the strategic petroleum reserve, and emissions reduction. Despite the House passing two bills exempting the Chaco and Grand Canyon areas from oil and gas development, it remains unlikely that O&G related legislation will see floor time.
On the trade front, Senator Chuck Grassley has begun to apply public pressure on House Speaker Pelosi in attempt to complete the deal.
The White House spent October addressing various domestic and international issues.On the energy front, the President has continued his boisterous rhetoric in support of the oil and gas industry. Early in the month he spoke at a PA refinery where he touted the industry and his plan for American industry dominance. Foreign policy has taken center stage this month as well. The US withdrawal from Syria, bubbling tensions with Iran and Turkey, and new North Korean missile tests are issues that have received significant public pushback, and despite a brief victory with the US killing of ISIS leader Baghdadi, the Administration is stretched on all fronts with no easy end in sight. The ever-present impeachment inquiry is marching along, with the President relying on Senate Republicans to parry Democrats insistence on his removal from office.