Washington Week Ahead: Focus on Water, Highway Transportation

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014 - The House is in recess this week but the Senate has a busy schedule, with lots of news expected on the transportation front - both on water and on land.

Firstly, key lawmakers behind the long-awaited $8.2 billion Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) say they plan to finalize paperwork on a House-Senate conference agreement this week, allowing the measure to go before both chambers soon for final passage. The bill will fund projects that maintain and improve the nation's port and inland waterway system. The last water resources bill was enacted in 2007

The agreement was announced Friday by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee They said details of the legislation would be released when the conference report is filed.

Together we can feed the Bees"

In addition, Boxer's Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday will markup legislation that will fund federal highway projects for the next six years. The text of the measure is being released today. 

This week's tentative events on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington include:

Monday, May 12.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will give remarks at the 2014 Excellence in Government Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. He'll be discussing USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will release the text of the long-awaited highway funding bill. Markup of the measure is set for Thursday. The current Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act expires Sept. 30.

Tuesday, May 13.

10 a.m. Senate Agriculture Committee holds a hearing on High Frequency and Automated Trading in Futures Markets. The hearing will examine high frequency trading and other forms of automated trading in the derivatives markets and what the Commodity Futures Trading Commission can do to help ensure market integrity. Russell 328A.

10 a.m. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing to consider the nominations of Dr. Suzette M. Kimball, to be director of the United States Geological Survey; Estevan R. Lopez, to be Commissioner of Reclamation; and Dr. Monica C. Regalbuto, to be an assistant secretary of energy (Environmental Management). Dirksen 366.

10:30 a.m. Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing on Expanding Economic Opportunity for Women and Families. Witnesses are Dr. Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; AnnMarie Duchon, associate director of accommodation services at University of Massachusetts-Amherst; and Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women's Forum. Dirksen 608.

3 p.m. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife holds a hearing on Solving the Problem of Polluted Transportation Infrastructure: Stormwater Runoff. Dirksen 406.

Wednesday, May 14.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee's Subcomittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations, and the District of Columbia holds a hearing to examine the potential relationship between investment in mitigation and disaster response and recovery expenditures, discuss the potential impact of mitigation investments on the sustainability and success of the National Flood Insurance Program, highlight innovative examples of mitigation incentives (including public private partnerships) across the country, and offer suggestions for how to overcome barriers that may prevent or deter mitigation from being utilized across the Federal government. Witnesses include David Miller, associate administrator,  Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration; Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Christopher Currie, director, Emergency Management and National Preparedness Issues, Government Accountability Office; Chad Berginnis, executive director, Association of State Floodplain Managers; and Robert Detlefson, vice president of public policy, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, testifying on behalf of the BuildStrong Coalition. Dirksen 342.

Thursday, May 15.

8:30 a.m. - World Wildlife Fund and Coca-Cola Co. convene a day-long dialogue called Water For Our Future. One of the panelist at an 11:30 a.m. discussion on Water for Food is Ann Bartuska, USDA deputy under secretary for Research, Education and Economics. 1777 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.

9:30 a.m. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations holds a hearing on Online Advertising and Hidden Hazards to Consumer Security and Data Privacy. The panel will examine data collection processes and security vulnerabilities that have inflicted significant costs on Internet users and American businesses. A witness list will be available Monday, May 12, 2014. Dirksen 342.

10 a.m. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will markup the legislation that funds federal highway projects for the next six years. The current Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act expires Sept. 30.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security holds a hearing on Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Local Perspectives on Moving America. This hearing will focus on the reauthorization of surface transportation programs and explore the impacts of transportation investments on states, local communities, and users of the transportation system. The hearing will also highlight how transportation investments help drive the economy and create jobs.  Russell 253.

2:30 p.m. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions holds a hearing on the State of Tobacco Use and Regulation in the U.S. Dirksen 430.

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