Congress is back in session following the July 4th break and will be in town for the next two weeks before leaving again on July 15th for the national political conventions. The frequent breaks, however, have not slowed down many legislators who are trying to get important work done before the election and end of this session. Before leaving the nation’s capitol, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) once again advocated for a vote on the Water Resources Development Act, and the Senate Appropriations committee advanced its Interior Appropriations bill. While the House took an extended recess following a sit-in staged by Democrats, the Watershed’s very own Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced legislation to reform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now that Congress is back in session, members have gotten back to work quickly with the House passing several land management bills just this week.
While Congress has largely turned its attention to appropriations before leaving town for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, several major pieces of bi-partisan legislation have been approved in both the House and Senate and were signed into law by President Obama. Additionally, activity in the courts is having a significant impact on environmental regulation, including a victory for the clean water rule and a setback for fracking regulation on federal lands. Clean water and environmental issues will continue to be a major focus throughout the remaining months of 2016 with upcoming court decisions, appropriation bills, and authorizing legislation such as the Water Resources Development Act.
It has been an incredibly busy two weeks in Washington, DC as lawmakers work to advance legislation before the Memorial Day break. Once they return, the House and Senate will have just 25 and 27 legislative days, respectively, before Congress breaks again for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in July. In the last 14 days, we've seen major authorizing legislation, including the Water Resources Development Act and appropriations bills move through committee, as well as our very own Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.
Keeping up with policy decisions being made at the national level isn't always easy, so we thought it would be helpful to periodically provides some updates on important news coming out of Washington, DC that could impact the Delaware River Watershed. With appropriations season in full-swing, lawmakers in the nation's capital are beginning to slog through the annual process of deciding where the federal government will spend it's money in the coming fiscal year. Though we have faced continuing resolutions, omnibus spending bills, and a government shutdown over the past several years, the appropriations process is nevertheless important to keep an eye on as important policy and funding decisions are made that end up in the final budget. Equally important are the Obama Administration's various actions and spending decisions. While he may be in his final year in office, President Obama has continued pushing forward his agenda to combat climate change and protect and improve water quality.