Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pipeline Safety Discussion Draft

Yesterday I reported that the Energy and Power Subcommittee will be looking at pipeline safety in a hearing later this week. I noted that they had a link to a discussion draft of possible proposed legislation on that topic on their web site and that I would try to review that draft before the hearing. It turns out that this was easier than I had imagined since this draft is essentially the same as the reported version of S 275 that I reviewed in some detail on Sunday.

If and when this bill actually gets introduced in the House it will effectively be a companion bill to S 275. Since this is based upon the reported version of the bill, it will be closer to the final version passed in the Senate than would be a typical companion bill that is introduced at about the same time as its counterpart in the other house.

What’s more important here though is that the Republican controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering sponsoring language of a companion bill to one sponsored by liberal Senator Lautenberg shows that this bill has a very good chance of passing in both houses. The Senate bill will inevitably be amended in the floor consideration and the Committee can be expected to make some revisions to their version of the bill.

The one section of the bill where there will almost certainly be differences in the two bills will be in §27, the section that provides the authorization for appropriations. We can expect that the figures in the final House version will generally be lower than in the Senate version, emblematic of the differences in fiscal policy of the two bodies. I expect that spending issue in this bill will be easier to resolve than the larger budget matters currently consuming Congress and the Administration.

It looks like the Senate may actually take up this bill before the House, so the Energy and Commerce Committee language will almost certainly be substituted for the Senate language when S 275 comes up for floor action in the House. Differences will then be worked out in Conference. Given the bipartisan support being shown here, the conference process should not be too difficult as long as this bill doesn’t get buried by the on-going spending and borrowing battle that is going on in Congress.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */