Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hastings wants to consolidate House energy responsibilities

Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the US House Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member who is in line to become chairman in January, is recommending consolidation of the House’s energy jurisdiction by moving the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy responsibilities to a new Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“It advances our Republican all-of-the-above approach to energy,” he said in a Nov. 18 letter to House Republican Conference members. “The Natural Resources Committee currently oversees all energy development on federal lands and offshore: oil, natural gas, hydropower, wind, solar, coal, geothermal, uranium, minerals…everything. The Commerce Committee currently oversees the Department of Energy and general energy policy as it relates to oil, natural gas, nuclear, renewable, etc. Energy is currently divided in two halves – and this proposal would marry together our nation’s broad energy policy with the vast majority of America’s actual energy resources that are on our federal lands and offshore.”

It also would make the two committees’ power more level, Hastings argued. He called Energy and Commerce “a Goliath” which spawned both health-care reform and global climate change legislation, including a provision to establish a domestic carbon cap-and-trade program, in the current Congress. He said his proposal would enable both House committees to be more effective and achieve real oversight and legislative accomplishments. “It also aligns jurisdiction with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – a simplification that advances our ability to ultimately achieve legislative successes,” he maintained.

Consolidating House energy jurisdiction into the Natural Resources Committee has been discussed for some time, Hastings said. “But this is the moment that a decision can be made to align the structure of the House toward creating a cohesive and comprehensive national energy policy that has the capability to spur real, long-term job creation and economic growth,” he declared. “Energy deserves the concentrated attention of a committee with full jurisdiction over such a sweeping issue.”


Blogger nicksinwashdc said...

It didn’t take long for Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to respond to the Hastings proposal. Not too surprisingly, they didn’t like it one bit.

“As committee members and veterans of many partisan battles, we have wide experience and deep knowledge in matters that fall under our historic and current jurisdiction,” Ranking Minority Member Joe Barton (R-Tex.) and 17 other GOP Energy and Commerce members said in a Nov. 18 letter to Speaker-Elect John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

They said that before the 23 Republicans on the committee pushed chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and other majority members this year through a 17-day health care bill markup during which 350 amendments were offered and 54 were debated, they demanded four days of markup of the global climate change bill Waxman and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the committee’s Energy and Environment Subcommittee, cosponsored.

“Deals were offered and soundly rejected as the possibility of 300 amendments and the actual debate on 47 of them exposed the failings of the cap-and-trade scheme. Though the cap and trade bill barely passed the House, it went nowhere in the Senate, largely in part [due] to the hard work of our committee,” the letter continued.

“Our tactical, competent opposition sent resounding messages to the American people – and they sent a resounding message back,” Barton and the other Energy and Commerce Republicans added. “They like what we’ve done to prevent the expansion of government and to prevent the loss of additional jobs. They like what we’ve done to stand up to Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda. They acknowledge our work by handing us a second chance, and as we go about our Committee business we will make sure that second chance is not wasted.

“With respect, the worst possible way to answer the American people’s cry for transparency and responsibility would be to cut an inside-Washington deal that ferrets jurisdiction away from committees that have proven their moxie and sends it to committees that haven’t experienced a true partisan fight in the past two years,” the letter said. “Transferring historic Rule X jurisdiction away from the committee that knows it and does it best is irresponsible and breaks trust with the people who gave us a second chance earlier this month. We will vote against a rules package that includes any diminution in our committee’s jurisdiction.”

November 19, 2010 at 8:50 AM  

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