Date: 01/30/1996 11:18 am (Tuesday)
From: PATRICIA SCOTT
NEL-MIMI,DEWALD-TOMMY, . . .
Subject: Legis Update - Jan. 30
Note: to bypass distribution lists, type "NA"
Legislative Update - Week of January 30
The House is scheduled to recess on Thursday until
February 26. While the Senate schedule has not yet been set, it
is very likely they will also be in recess for most of February
(especially since they have several presidential candidates
anxious to hit the campaign trail). Action on the debt ceiling
will probably be addressed when Congress reconvenes at the end of
The continuing resolution (CR), which funds EPA through
March 15, was signed by the President last week. The bill
represents a 22% decrease from the President's Fiscal Year 1996
Budget Request. Because the CR ambiguously references language
in H.R. 2099, the conference report that was vetoed by the
President, EPA is seeking clarification from Congress whether we
are legally bound to fund the earmarks in H.R. 2099 and honor
language in the report which restricts certain EPA authorities.
Senate Appropriations Hearing
During her appearance before the Senate VA, HUD and
Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday,
Administrator Browner made very clear that the funding levels in
the conference report are still not adequate for EPA to carry out
its mission. While Senator Bond (R-MO), the subcommittee
chairman, seemed sympathetic, he explained that his committee
received one of the lowest allocations in the balanced budget
battle and that he cannot possibly provide the extra $966 million
that the White House wants. The Administrator, however, was
adamant that the funding levels in the bill are still
unacceptable. She highlighted examples of delays in cleanups,
enforcement actions and standard settings as a result of the
budget stalemate. However, even Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) the
ranking Minority Member, said that finding additional funds would
be difficult. Mikulski says, for example, that she supports
increased funding for the President's National Service program,
which is part of the overall VA, HUD, Independent AGencies bill.
Safe Drinking Water Act
Tomorrow, Jan. 31, Bob Perciasepe is scheduled to testify
before both the House Commerce Committee on Health and the
Environment and the House Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water
Resources and the Environment on the Safe Drinking Water Act
Action on Farm Bill
The Senate is scheduled to vote this week on a bill to
reauthorize a number of farm programs. The bill, which was
previously attached to the Balanced Budget proposal but slightly
modified, is mirrored after Congressman Roberts' "Freedom to
Farm" proposal (see below).
On Tuesday, the House Agriculture Committee will mark up
H.R. 2854, Congressman Roberts' bill, which provides farmers with
fixed, but declining payments over the next seven years. The
bill caps the Conservation Reserve Program at 36.4 million acres
and establishes a new environmental program that will help
livestock producers improve environmental and water quality. The
Livestock Environmental Assistance Fund (LEAP) would provide $100
million annually in technical or cost-sharing assistance to
contracted farmers who conduct management practices that protect
water, soil or related resources from degradation due to
livestock production. Practices might include site-specific
nutrient, manure, tillage or residue and grazing management.
Clean Water Act Reauthorization
OW staff will meet with Democratic staffers on the Senate
Environment and Public Works (SEPW) on February 1 to talk about
SRF issues. Other briefings for February will cover arid issues
( probably next week), followed by a briefing on CSOs and
The SEPW Committee, chaired by Senator John Chafee (R-
is expected to hold two to three hearings this Spring on non-
wetlands CWA issues. The issues will be clustered into the
1) industrial flexibility; 2) wet weather issues; and 3)
nonpoint sources and coastal issues. Senator Chafee says he
does not support a comprehensive overhaul of the CWA, which he
thinks is fundamentally sound. Bob Perciasepe testified before
the Committee in December on municipal issues.
Note: Last May, the House passed H.R. 961, a comprehensive CWA
rewrite, which is strongly opposed by the Administration. The
Statement of Administration policy on H.R. 961 states that the
bill "threatens to undermine achievements in the cleaning up the
Nation's waters and would significantly delay progress in
addressing remaining water pollution problems." The bill, for
example, reduces fundamental protections for wetlands by changing
criteria for wetland delineations, categorizing wetlands into
three categories; and providing compensation for landowners when
their property is devalued because of wetlands regulations.
Call me at 260-1956 if you would like a copy or summary of H.R.
Given the likelihood for major disagreements between the
House and Senate it is possible there will be a "pre-conference"
agreement between the House and Senate on mutually agreed upon
issues ( a Clean Water Lite?).