Washington Weekly
Aug. 3, 2015

Last Week

The House departed Washington for the month of August, leaving a three month highway patch in the hands of the Senate to pass. In addition, the House passed the ASA-supported REINS Act, or the Regulatory from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act. The bill would revise provisions related to congressional review of agency rulemaking to require a federal agency promulgating a rule to include in its report to Congress and to the Comptroller General a classification of the rule as a major or nonmajor rule. Finally, the House also passed legislation addressing the Veterans Affairs Administration, allowing the VA to remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct. The Senate passed both a short-term highway funding bill that prevents a shutdown of highway repair projects, as well as longer-term legislation that would set the highway trust fund on a path for six-year authorization. More

This Week

The House is in recess. The Senate is in session, working on passing legislation removing funding from Planned Parenthood. Because the legislation will require 60 votes, it is not expected to pass, setting up a showdown for the fall. The Senate has also announced that it may take up long-stalled legislation addressing cybersecurity. More

Item of Interest

Regulatory watch — today, the White House is expected to announce new environmental regulations that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. Legal challenges to the rules, first proposed by the EPA in 2012 and 2014, are all but certain. Specifically, the regulation would demand that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first ever limits on the pollutant. More

Obama Doubles Down on Climate Rule
The Hill
The Obama administration recently unveiled a tougher climate change rule for power plants, demanding that generators cut their carbon dioxide output 32 percent in the first-ever limits on the pollutant. The historic regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency is the main pillar of President Barak Obama’s climate agenda. It is the biggest piece of his drive to create a legacy and go down in history as the first United States president to take comprehensive action against climate change by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxideMore

How Planned Parenthood Could Shut Down the Government
Calling next week’s Senate roll call to defund Planned Parenthood a “legislative show vote,” GOP firebrand Ted Cruz said Republicans should do everything they can to eliminate federal money for the group — even if it means a government shutdown fight this fall.More

Winners and Losers In President Obama's Global Warming Rule
National Journal
The first limits on carbon pollution from the nation's fleet of power plants ― the centerpiece of President Obama's climate-and-environmental agenda — has the potential to transform the American energy landscape, favoring renewables such as solar and striking another blow against coal. It will also keep politicians and lawyers busy, as Republicans and industry team up to stop the rules, while the administration and green groups work overtime to make sure that Obama's legacy play doesn't get derailed. Here are the winners and losers of Obama's clean-energy plan.More

Congress Regulates Internal Speech for Good Reason
Roll Call
It is often noted there are two kinds of members in Congress: the showhorses and the workhorses. That’s probably an oversimplification, since most members consider themselves workhorses, but with a flair for show. Politics, after all, is a lot like show business, with public attention and appreciation focused on those actors who are able to entertain and project their roles in a convincing and effective manner. On Broadway, the payoff is in audience acclaim and good reviews. In Congress, it is in media attention and re-election.More