Max Baucus is bailing on the Senate to become ambassador to China at just the right time for advocates of exporting U.S. natural gas and crude oil.
As we explained here, the Montana Democrat’s confirmation would put Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., on a likely path to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners, in a short analysis, notes that Landrieu would be replacing export skeptic Ron Wyden, D-Ore., atop the energy panel as the petroleum industry is seeking faster gas-export approvals from regulators.
“To the extent that Wyden’s preferences and relationship with [Energy Secretary Ernest] Moniz may have factored into a possible ‘pause’ in [gas-export] authorizations, the prospects of that pause (or at least its duration) could diminish with Landrieu at the helm of the Committee,” ClearView writes of Landrieu, an ally of oil and gas companies.
Oil producers are also pushing to dismantle statutory limits and federal policies that basically ban U.S. crude exports.
ClearView notes that Landrieu’s paring with ranking Republican Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, could accelerate that battle.
“We would suggest that an Energy Committee led by two oil-state senators could engage in considerably more substantive debate than we anticipated prior to 2015,” they write, and predict that “robust debate in 2014 could set the stage for possible legislative change in 2015.”
Landrieu would become chairwoman if Wyden, as expected, takes the Finance Committee top slot that Baucus would vacate.
Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., outranks Landrieu on the energy committee, but a Banking aide said that Johnson probably won’t seek the energy gavel.
What We're Following See More »
The great restroom war of 2016 continues apace, as eleven states have sued the Obama administration in federal court, claiming its federal guidance on how schools should accommodate transgender students "has no basis in law." "The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The lawsuit argues that the federal government has worked to turn workplaces and schools 'into laboratories for a massive social experiment.'"
By a 29-10 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee today passed the bill to allow Puerto Rico to restructure its $70 billion in debt. The legislation "would establish an oversight board to help the commonwealth restructure its un-payable debt and craft an economic recovery plan."
"Though every major party nominee since 1976 has released his tax returns while running for president, the practice has never been required by law. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants to change that. The senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which handles tax issues, introduced a bill on Wednesday that would force presidential candidates to release their most recent tax returns. The Presidential Tax Transparency Act, as the bill is called, would require candidates to make their latest three years of tax returns public no later than 15 days after becoming the nominee."