This Week on the Hill: TSCA Rewrite, Energy-Water Approps, Zika Pesticides in House; NDAA in Senate

May 23, 2016

This week, the Senate is set to power through their version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as the House revises a 40-year old law regulating toxic chemicals used in manufacturing and tries to come to an agreement on legislation to help Puerto Rico restructure its $70 billion debt.

The rewrite of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (H.R. 2576) is on the House Rules Committee agenda today ahead of a floor vote expected later this week. The legislation is the result of a bicameral compromise struck earlier this month, and House passage could lead to Senate consideration as early as this week. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has said that he expects the bill to reach the president’s desk before next week’s Memorial Day recess.

Other action in the House this week will include debate on the Energy-Water Development spending bill (H.R. 5055) and a Senate-passed energy policy modernization measure (S. 2012). An approval of the latter measure, which would streamline the permitting process for building liquefied natural gas terminals and improve the electric grid, would send the bill to conference with the Senate. House leaders are also setting up a second try at passing legislation (H.R. 897) to allow for certain pesticides used against Zika-bearing mosquitoes to be exempted from Clean Water Act permitting requirements through Sept. 30, 2018. That bill failed to reach the necessary two-thirds majority to be passed under suspension of the rules last week, and the Rules Committee is now teeing it up under procedures that require only a simple majority for passage.

In the Senate, lawmakers plan to start the week by taking up a bill (S. 2613) to reauthorize the national registry for sex offenders before moving to the chamber’s version of the fiscal 2017 NDAA. The upper chamber’s defense bill lacks the use of war funding for weapons development, but includes a provision struck from the House version that would require women to register for the Selective Service. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping that consideration of the NDAA – which sets Pentagon policy – will clear the way for defense appropriations legislation to be passed smoothly next month. Senate leadership may also take up a resolution this week that disapproves of the Labor Department’s contentious fiduciary rule, which legally requires investment advisers to act in their client’s best interest.

Off the floor, lawmakers will continue negotiations to advance compromise legislation addressing the Puerto Rico debt crisis. The House Natural Resources Committee is expected to mark up the new legislation on Wednesday, after their previous effort failed to be advanced out of the committee last month. Republican leaders are trying to reassure the more conservative members of their caucus to accept the deal struck by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the White House last week. Should the measure be approved by the committee this week, floor debate will likely be at the top of the House agenda after the Memorial Day recess.

Finally, House lawmakers will consider 30 measures under suspension of the rules today, most of which would rename federal buildings. A complete list of those bills can be found here.

‘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.