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The Week in Climate Hearings: Shutdown Imminent

Also: Deploy23, Goldbob Menendez, and a mining war with China

There’s a light schedule in Congressional committees this week, as legislators have to act by midnight Saturday, September 30th to keep the federal government running. And they’re off until Tuesday night in honor of Yom Kippur.

The Republican House leadership hasn’t yet introduced a continuing resolution to keep the government open, though the feckless Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is hoping his own caucus will back a 45-day extension while Congress negotiates spending bills.

On Friday, the House Rules Committee took its third stab at getting the $827 billion Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4365) to the House floor. Earlier versions of the rule setting the floor debate were rejected by an insurgent faction of Republicans on September 19th (roll call 398) and 21st (r.c. 402). This time—at the behest of the execrable Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)—the defense spending bill is packaged with:

  • The $91.5 billion Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 4367), which includes $26 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and cuts of $748 million for climate initiatives;

  • The “pathetic, punitive, and petty$25.3 billion Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4368), a 12 percent cut from the White House request; and

  • The $41.4 billion Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (H.R. 4665), a whopping 24 percent cut from the White House Request, attacking “extreme climate change goals that do nothing to lower global temperatures.”

The hardline GOP faction is increasingly clear they’re seeking either a government shutdown or the ouster of McCarthy if he works with Democrats to sideline them, so we shouldn’t be surprised if this attempt to bring these bills to the floor fails again.

The Senate is going to send a clean continuing resolution to the House, which McCarthy may try to bring for immediate passage before the Saturday deadline. There is also a discharge petition which could be used to sideline the insurgents but would take a week to work.

Tuesday, September 27: Deploy23

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Department of Energy and the Cleantech Leaders Climate Forum, are hosting a two-day conference on the Biden administration’s support for renewable-energy and decarbonization technologies. Demonstrate Deploy Decarbonize 2023 (Deploy23) is led by DOE Loan Programs Office director and LinkedIn power-user Jigar Shah, with White House climate advisor John Podesta and dozens of DOE officials presenting. Industry representatives from Tesla, carbon-capture and sequestration lobbyists, former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz, and many others will be in attendance for both the public and private sessions with the federal officials offering billions of dollars in cleantech loans and grants. Wednesday keynotes include Sierra Club president Ben Jealous and White House fossil-fuel-industry ally Mitch Landrieu.

It’s smart of them to have scheduled it for this week—it’s quite likely next week everyone at DOE will be furloughed.

Wednesday, September 28 Hearings

On Monday, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) defiantly rejected the charges against him.

On Wednesday morning, the House Financial Services committee will grill Securities and Exchange Commission Gary Gensler. As with the recent Senate Banking hearing, it’s likely Gensler will be pushed on the SEC’s proposed climate risk rule.

The chair of the Senate Banking subcommittee on insurance is Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who is now under indictment for accepting literal wads of cash and gold bars in exchange for aiding the Egyptian government. So it’s not certain he’ll be chairing Wednesday’s hearing on the state of flood insurance in America with witness Doug Quinn of the American Policyholder Association, who lost his home to Superstorm Sandy but received a meager insurance payout.

In the afternoon, Senate Indian Affairs chair Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) holds a hearing on water access in native communities with federal officials, tribal representatives, and law professor and Navajo water-rights advocate Heather Tanana.

Thursday, September 28 Hearings

Thursday morning, Senate Energy chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is holding a hearing entitled “Opportunities to Counter the People’s Republic of China’s Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains.” The opportunities mentioned by Manchin are “increased mining and processing in the United States as well as international engagement and trade,” not efficiency or recycling to reduce demand.

Senate Environment waste management chair Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is chairing the next in his series of hearings on the plastics crisis, this one on the explosion of beverage container waste.

And Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) chairs a House Small Business energy subcommittee hearing to criticize federal regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling.

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