Today on the Hill: Energy-Water Approps Vote in House; NDAA, TSCA in Senate

May 26, 2016

As lawmakers in both chambers prepare to break for the Memorial Day recess, the House plans to pass the fiscal 2017 Energy and Water Development spending bill (H.R. 5055) that would fund Energy Department and Army Corps of Engineers programs. The bill contains controversial amendments from both parties, including one that would bar the government from contracting with businesses that discriminate against LGBT individuals. A similar amendment caused chaos on the House floor last week after it was narrowly defeated. The House iteration of the Energy-Water spending bill also includes language blocked from the Senate version that would prevent the Obama Administration from going forward with a deal to purchase heavy water – a component used in certain nuclear reactors – from Iran. Even without the new contentious amendments, White House officials had threatened to veto the bill over “problematic ideological provisions.” 

The Senate, meanwhile, aims to reach agreement on a bipartisan rewrite of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) based on versions of the bill that each chamber passed last year. House lawmakers advanced the rewrite earlier this week and Senate approval will send the measure to the president’s desk. White House officials have signaled that they strongly support the bill.

Senate lawmakers will also continue their consideration of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but debate on the bill (S. 2943) is likely to spill over into June. Democrats have refused to fast-track the legislation, with Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) insisting that members of his party need to digest the massive measure’s details. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) has suggested that he will submit an amendment to ignore existing spending caps and add $18 billion in defense spending to the measure – a move that Democrats vehemently oppose.  

‘Today on the Hill’ includes updates provided by the House and Senate majority leaders, as well information derived from publications including Bloomberg Government, The Hill, Morning Consult, Kaiser Health News, Modern Healthcare, Inside Health Policy, and others.