President Obama has set in motion long-standing plans to carry out a wide-ranging initiative to survey the American energy landscape and ensure that domestic energy-security objectives align with current energy policy.
The president signed a memorandum on Thursday formally launching the Quadrennial Energy Review, a survey of U.S. energy production, infrastructure, and transport set to be completed by an interagency task force. The task force will be led by high-ranking officials from the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Department of Energy will play a key role in supporting the task force’s work.
The president first outlined his plans to create a QER in a speech delivered at Georgetown University last June, when he unveiled his climate action plan, highlighting energy and environment policy priorities for his second-term agenda.
The first QER, to be completed in one year, will identify ways the administration can improve infrastructure and mitigate risks involved in energy transport and delivery, an issue that has taken on increasing significance in the wake of several recent accidents involving trains carrying crude oil. The report will also make recommendations for electric-grid modernization and improvements to the vast network of pipelines used to transport oil and natural gas across the country.
Executive-branch officials heralded the announcement as a first step towards creating a blueprint for strengthening domestic energy production.
According to a White House blog post authored by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz: “Over four years, successive installments of the QER will provide a comprehensive set of recommendations on how best to transform America’s energy production, delivery, and consumption systems to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The QER will identify important opportunities to modernize, expand, replace, or transform our energy infrastructure system so that it better accommodates changes in energy supply, integrates cutting-edge information and security technologies, and meets increasing demand for new consumer services.”
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.