Energy, environment Cabinet leaders to defend budget plan

Source: By Manuel Quiñones, E&E News • Posted: Monday, April 25, 2022

Michael Regan, Jennifer Granholm and Deb Haaland.

(Left to right) EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland are scheduled to defend the president’s budget request this week. Francis Chung/E&E News

A host of administration officials leading energy and environment agencies will be on Capitol Hill this week defending President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget, including spending increases to address climate change.

EPA Administration Michael Regan will answer questions from House appropriators after appearing at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ahead of the two-week recess (E&E Daily, April 7).

The White House proposed $11.9 billion for EPA, about a 25 percent increase over current funds. The president sought a significant increase for the current fiscal year, only to see lawmakers increase the agency’s spending by about $300 million.

Lawmakers will quiz Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on why the administration wants to increase spending by more than $3 billion, including a $4 billion appropriation for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (E&E Daily, March 29).

House appropriators and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee will also push her on energy prices, releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and implementation of the infrastructure law.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland may get one of the toughest grillings, with oil and gas drilling on public land subject to intense debate ahead of the midterm elections. The White House wants roughly $4 billion more for Interior compared to current spending (Greenwire, March 28).

Commerce, Transportation, Agriculture

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will appear before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where lawmakers may ask about the administration’s proposals on climate and fisheries.

NOAA would see its spending go up by $1 billion to almost $7 billion. The National Weather Service would see $1.2 billion, a roughly $100 million increase. NOAA Fisheries would get a $100 million increase to $1.1 billion (Greenwire, March 28).

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack may get more of a grilling on climate issues, with many Republicans deeply concerned about the department’s role on the issue. The White House wants a 12 percent increase for USDA, including money for climate hubs and greenhouse gas monitoring (E&E News PM, March 28).

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will also answer questions on the administration’s work implementing the infrastructure law, along with his department’s request for $27 billion in discretionary spending (E&E News PM, March 28).

Army Corps, Forest Service

Army Corps of Engineers leaders will have to contend with House appropriators, particularly Energy and Water Chair Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), asking why the administration wants to cut the agency’s spending.

The president’s budget would set aside $6.6 billion for the corps, a drop from the roughly $8 billion Congress approved for the agency in this year’s omnibus package.

Lawmakers, however, are likely to ignore the cuts, and administration officials have pointed to more than $22 billion in supplemental funding for the corps from the infrastructure law and disaster relief appropriations (E&E Daily, April 7).

Separately, Forest Service Chief Randy Moore will defend the administration’s plan to increase spending on wildland fire management and $25 million for climate-related research.

Other hearings

Hearing on the State Department budget may yield questions about the administration’s proposals to increase international spending on climate change programs despite continued Republican resistance.

Hearings on Defense Department and military construction spending may also touch on climate change preparedness, as well as efforts to clean up toxics, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Lawmakers are also keen on questioning officials on cybersecurity concerns. Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has been on the Hill repeatedly in recent months and is set to appear again this week.

Calendar

TUESDAY

Schedule: The Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the State Department budget is at 10 a.m. in 106 Dirksen and via webcast.

Witness: Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Schedule: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department budget is at 10 a.m. in 192 Dirksen and via webcast.

Witness: Attorney General Merrick Garland.

WEDNESDAY

Schedule: The Senate Commerce hearing on the Commerce Department budget is at 9:30 a.m. in 253 Russell and via webcast.

Witness: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Schedule: The House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee hearing on the Coast Guard budget is at 10 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witnesses: TBA.

Schedule: The House Small Business hearing on the Small Business Administration budget is at 10 a.m. in 2360 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Homeland Security budget is at 10 a.m. in 2359 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Food and Drug Administration budget is at 10 a.m. via webcast.

Witness: FDA Commissioner Robert Califf.

Schedule: The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the Health and Human Services budget is at 10:15 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command budget is at 10:30 a.m. in H-405 Capitol (closed).

Witness: Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command.

Schedule: The House Budget hearing on the Defense budget is at 10:30 a.m. in 210 Cannon and via webcast.

Witness: Michael McCord, Defense comptroller and chief financial officer.

Schedule: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the State Department budget is at 2 p.m. in 192 Dirksen and via webcast.

Witness: Blinken.

Schedule: The House Homeland Security hearing on the Homeland Security budget is at 2 p.m. in 310 Cannon and via webcast.

Witness: Mayorkas.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Forest Service budget is at 2 p.m. via webcast.

Witness: Forest Service Chief Randy Moore.

Schedule: The House Appropriations hearing on the Army Corps and Bureau of Reclamation budget is at 2:30 p.m. in 2362-B Rayburn and via webcast.

Witnesses:

  • Michael Connor, assistant Army secretary for civil works.
  • Scott Spellmon, Army Corps commanding general and chief of engineers.
  • David Palumbo, Bureau of Reclamation deputy commissioner of operations.
  • Tanya Trujillo, assistant Interior secretary for water and science.

THURSDAY

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Interior budget is at 9 a.m. via webcast.

Witness: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Agriculture budget is at 10 a.m. via webcast.

Witness: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the State Department budget is at 10 a.m. via webcast.

Witness: Blinken.

Schedule: The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the Energy Department budget is at 10 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Schedule: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Food and Drug Administration budget is at 10 a.m. in 124 Dirksen and via webcast.

Witness: Califf.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Air Force installations is at 2 p.m. in 2358-A Rayburn and via webcast.

Witnesses:

  • JoAnne Bass, Air Force chief master sergeant.
  • Bruce Hollywood, Space Force assistant chief operations officer.
  • Brig. Gen. William Kale, Air Force director of civil engineers.
  • Edwin Oshiba, acting assistant Air Force secretary for installations, environment and energy.
  • Roger Towberman, Space Force chief master sergeant.

Schedule: The House Ways and Means hearing on the Health and Human Services budget is at 10:30 a.m. in 1100 Longworth and via webcast.

Witness: Becerra.

Schedule: The Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Transportation budget is at 10:30 a.m. in 192 Dirksen and via webcast.

Witness: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Schedule: The House Foreign Affairs hearing on the State Department budget is at 1 p.m. in 2172 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witnesses: TBA.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency budget is at 1:30 p.m in 2359 Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Jen Easterly, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department budget is at 2 p.m. via webcast.

Witness: Garland.

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Energy budget is at 2:30 p.m. in 2362-B Rayburn and via webcast.

Witness: Granholm.

FRIDAY

Schedule: The House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the EPA budget is at 9 a.m. via webcast.

Witnesses:

  • EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
  • EPA Chief Financial Officer Faisal Amin.

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