House conservatives criticized Obama on Tuesday for what they said was an attempt to unjustly claim credit for the surge in domestic fossil fuels production in the president’s State of the Union address.
“While the president frequently attempts to take credit for the current increase in domestic energy production, this is happening in spite of his policies, not because of them,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington said in a statement. “Despite President Obama’s repeated claims of making job creation and economic growth a priority, the reality is that he has actively chosen to ignore the economic potential and job opportunities that come with expanding American energy production and responsibly managing our nation’s natural resources.”
Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, similarly contended that while the administration paints itself as a champion of the natural-gas and oil boom, most production is actually taking place on private, not public, lands. Bishop also criticized the president’s comment during the speech that he would use executive authority to set aside more land for conservation.
“The president did get something right in that energy production is up, but it has little or nothing to do with him or his administration. The production occurring can be attributed to ingenuity and dedication on behalf of hardworking Americans and policies set into place before this administration,” Bishop said in a statement. “Energy production is in fact soaring on land that the president doesn’t control, but if you want to see where he really stands on energy production, look at his policies for public land use. Tonight, instead of unleashing the vast energy potential found throughout the 660 million acres of federal land, he instead said he intends … to lock up federal lands by executive fiat.”
Reaction to the speech followed party lines with Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee lauding the president for his pledge to act on conservation.
“Last week, over 100 Democrats joined together to ask the Obama administration to use its authority to protect and conserve national treasures,” DeFazio said in a statement. “I was very pleased to hear the president say he is willing to make critical conservation decisions that this deeply partisan Congress will not.”
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The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.