A Republican-led panel on Tuesday disparaged President Obama’s administration for not acting faster to restart its study of the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste-storage project in Nevada.
Representative John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel that held the hearing, said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “again appears to be stalling” action on the Nevada project, according to Bloomberg. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) oppose the effort to establish a subterranean atomic dump roughly 90 miles from Las Vegas.
NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane told the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee that her agency still lacks the funds to complete a required safety review of the potential facility, the wire service reported. She said the commission had yet to finish estimating how much money it would need for the environmental study.
Still, Macfarlane testified that her group is “now following the law, we are moving forward.” NRC staff members are working on a revised estimate of costs to complete the study, and will collect input from the public until the end of the month, she added.
A federal appeals court ruled on Aug. 13 that the commission had to accept or reject a permit for the proposed waste site, saying the administration was “flouting the law” by not completing the review.
House Republicans argue that current law clearly designates Yucca Mountain as the nation’s nuclear-waste repository.
“Compliance with the law is not optional,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) reportedly said at the Tuesday hearing. He argued jump-starting the Yucca Mountain program is the “clearest, fastest and most fiscally responsible way” for the United States to discard spent nuclear fuel.
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"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.