The White House issued veto threats Tuesday to a pair of House bills that would limit the federal government’s ability to regulate energy production.
The administration’s opposition comes as no surprise, and neither proposal is likely to pass the Senate. One bill, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., would limit the government to 60 days to reject onshore drilling permits before they are considered automatically approved. Other provisions would require more area to be made available for leasing and impose fees on protests of drilling projects.
That proposal “would undermine the nation’s energy security; roll back policies that support the continued growth of safe and responsible energy production in the United States; discourage environmental analysis and civic engagement in federal decision-making; direct that federal lands be managed for the primary purpose of energy development rather than for thoughtfully balanced multiple uses; and undermine public resource management plans that establish a balance between energy development and resource protection,” the White House said in a release.
The other bill would limit the Interior Department from mandating hydraulic-fracturing regulations in states that already have their own standards. That legislation is sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas.
The plan “would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management in the Department of the Interior from ensuring that hydraulic fracturing activities taking place on federal and Indian lands are managed in a safe and responsible manner,” the White House said in a second release.
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The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.