Wednesday, June 10, 2015

House Amends and Passes HR 2577

Yesterday the House finished action on the FY 2016 THUD spending bill, HR 2577. While there were no new provisions in the original bill that would be of specific interest to readers of this blog there were a couple of amendments brought to the floor that might peak that interest. The bill passed by a very close (216 to 210) due to the defection of 31 Republicans.

Pipeline Safety Amendments

There were a couple of amendments from Rep Capps (D,CA) that proposed modifying some of the funding for the pipeline safety segments of the bill. She attempted (CREC, 613-15, pg H3856) to increase the industry funded Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund by almost $28 Million, but was defeated on a vote that was very similar to the final vote on the bill, 202 to 222.

She was successful (CREC, 6-3-15, pg H3856) in adding an amendment that would earmark $1 Million of the PHMSA funding for completing the regulation for requiring the addition automated shut shutoff valves and leak detection on pipelines. This was not new funding, just specifying how some of the standard appropriation for the Oil Pollution Spill Liabilty Trust Fund would be spent.

HHFT Funding

There was an attempt by Rep. Gosar (R,AZ) to strip funding (CREC, 6-4-15, pg H3886) for the enforcement of the recent DOT Highly-Hazardous Flammable Train (HHFT) regulations. While most of Gosar’s ire was directed at the new railcar standards, the amendment would have stopped all funding for the enforcement of the regulation. This amendment was defeated in a mainly bipartisan vote of 136 to 286.


Rep. Newhouse (R,WA) introduced an amendment that would prevent the FAA from spending money to implement or enforce their recent rulemaking on Drones unless agricultural uses were specifically addressed. The original amendment (CREC, 6-9-15, pg H3978) was withdrawn due to a registered point of order on the language (presumably the standard ‘legislating in a spending bill’ objection). A modified version was subsequently offered that would prohibit implementing any drone rules unless they followed the restricted category certificate requirements of 14 CFR 21.25(b)(1).

The second version of the amendment was adopted by a voice vote.

Moving Forward

The close vote in the House indicates that there might be problems in getting this bill onto the floor of the Senate for consideration. The Democrats in the Senate have already indicated that they intent to oppose any spending bills that continue the sequestration program, but the Republican leadership had hoped that this bill would get to the floor with the backing of some moderate Democrats. If any Republican Senators join those from the House that objected to this bill, there is no way that there will be enough Democratic votes available to bring this bill to the floor.

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