Sunday, December 11, 2011

Congressional Hearings – Week of 12-12-11

Both the Senate and House will be working this week waiting to see what the leadership comes up with as far as compromise on the spending bill for the rest of the government. With a Friday deadline once again approaching it is always possible that another short term CR will be passed. The DOD authorization bill conference report is also expected this week. With all of that waiting going on there is only one committee hearing currently scheduled for this week that will be of interest to the chemical safety community, a Senate hearing on transportation issues.

HAZMAT Transportation

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will be holding an executive session (markup/final action) on Wednesday on four transportation related bills. Two of those bills will be of particular interest to the chemical safety and transportation communities;

• S 1950, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011; and

S 1952, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011.

Both bills were introduced last week, but there are currently no publicly available copies of the bill for review. Hopefully the GPO will have them available later today or tomorrow as there could be lots of interesting things in these two bills crafted by Sen. Lautenberg and co-sponsored by Chairman Rockefeller.

Pipeline Safety Bill

The House Rules Committee web site and the Majority Leader’s web site both indicate that HR 2845, Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, will be brought to the Floor this week to be considered ‘under the suspension of rules’. This procedure limits the amount of debate and prohibits amendments to the bill. It also requires a larger number of votes to pass the measure so it is reserved for relatively non-controversial bills. It is also an indicator that the leadership expects the bill to pass easily.

It is scheduled to be considered on Monday, though a vote, if a recorded vote is demanded (likely), could be postponed until Tuesday.

NOTE: This is not the pipeline safety bill that I have been following closely in this blog (HR 2937). I'll have more info on this bill in a later post.

DOD Authorization

The House-Senate Conference Committee was working on HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, last week. According to the Majority Leader’s web site the bill will be brought to the Floor later this week. This will be considered under a rule, but Rules Committee does not yet have a hearing scheduled on that Rule nor has the conference report been printed. Both are likely to happen on Tuesday with floor action on Wednesday or Thursday. It will be a closed rule with very limited debate. Bipartisan support is expected.

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