Energy issues on the table for Trump’s Hill visit

Source: Manuel Quiñones, Sean Reilly and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2016

Republican lawmakers are likely to ask their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, for more details about his energy policy plans during meetings on Capitol Hill today.

Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans in the morning at the GOP’s headquarters near the Capitol. Senators will meet with the real estate mogul later in the morning at National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said his last encounter with Trump covered energy, health care and other issues that would “unite us as a Republican Party.” Similar agenda items could re-emerge today.

Energy industry advocates and some lawmakers have wondered about Trump’s policy knowledge and priorities. At least, they say, he is committed to more development.

Concerning oil and gas drilling on public lands, for example, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “wants to shut it down,” Barrasso said. Trump, he said, “is realistic about the need for energy.”

“He knows how important it is for the jobs, for the economy and for our energy security to be relying on American energy — red, white and blue energy,” Barrasso said.

Barrasso, a member of his party’s leadership team in the Senate and part of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also heads the national GOP committee charged with hammering out the party’s platform in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this month.

The 112-delegate platform committee will meet this Sunday for the first time, Barrasso said. While he expected the final product to resemble the document adopted four years ago, he said that “this is going to be a delegate-driven platform, and they’re going to have a lot to say.” Barrasso added that he expects Trump to embrace the platform.

Trump’s campaign has been in touch with aides for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been trying to win a speaking slot in Cleveland. Other national leaders under consideration for convention speaking roles include former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, according to the Associated Press.

A spokeswoman for Capito confirmed today that the senator would be in Cleveland; however, she did not respond to questions about plans to address the convention. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she would not be in Cleveland.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has signed up to serve as a delegate for Trump, said earlier this week that he hoped all members attend the meetings today and take advantage of the “unique opportunity” to ask questions and express concerns.

But he signaled less-than-perfect attendance was no big deal. “I don’t think I’ve ever been to a conference where every single member has attended,” McCarthy said, adding that there may be opportunities for Trump to meet with members one on one.

“Members will be treated to all different angles and ideas, and probably some people will give their opinions and ideas on how to run the campaign,” he said.

Asked about his comfort level with Trump being the GOP’s likely nominee, McCarthy replied: “I always look for constant improvement.”

Reporter Nick Sobczyk contributed.