Monday, August 31, 2009

CFATS Hearing on September 11th

Last week William_Allmond reported on Twitter that there would be a CFATS hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, September 11th. That would be the end of the first week back from recess. I have been able to confirm that there will be a hearing of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee at 10:00 a.m. that day. This is apparently the same Subcommittee hearing that was cancelled before the recess because of the Committee being tied up with the mark-up of the health care reform bill. That mark-up is still pending, of course, but it appears that the Democrats are confident that they can get that finished earlier in the week. It is way too early to have this hearing appear on the Energy and Commerce Committee web site, but I have been told that Under Secretary Rand Beers has been asked to testify and he will probably bring along Sue Armstrong from ISCD as he did in the similar hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee last June. He would discuss policy, she would supply answers on details of the program. This hearing is likely to look at both HR 2868 and HR 3258 as they are essentially companion bills. With that in mind I would expect that Beers and Armstrong would be joined by someone from the EPA for the first panel of the hearing. It is unlikely that these two bills will make it to the House floor (much less the Senate) before the current CFATS authorization expires on October 4th. The DHS budget bill that would extend the CFATS authorization one year is still stalled, waiting for Speaker Pelosi to appoint the House Conferees. Once the Conference Committee can meet it should not take long to iron out the differences between the two version of that bill. Quick passage in both the Senate and House should follow relatively quickly if things don’t get bogged down on the health care and the cap and trade bills.

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