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The post-approps to-do list

Apr 10, 2024
Illustration of the Capitol Building with radial beams emerging from the dome

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Now that we're (finally) past appropriations, the Hill is set for a fight about what next to prioritize on energy.

Why it matters: Lawmakers will be doing a lot of scene-setting for the lame duck session over the next few months. But they'll also have to get through a crucial slate of nominees and kick-start negotiations on must-pass bills.

We've got a few thoughts about their to-do list …

1. Take your supplements: Top of mind on the Hill right now is Speaker Mike Johnson's proposal to tie Ukraine aid to unpausing the Biden administration's LNG permits pause.

  • Given House GOP crankiness about the supplemental and skepticism from the White House, it doesn't look likely to work.
  • A smattering of Dems don't like the LNG pause, but the viability of this trade could depend on legislative language.
  • "Something that mandates a certain volume of exports, or specifies projects or requires approvals, is different in character than something that says that the pause is not allowed," said ClearView managing director Kevin Book.

2. Great permitting debate: We're expecting Sen. Joe Manchin to drop a consensus environmental permitting proposal by early summer.

  • Any real movement would probably happen during lame duck, but Republicans would be unlikely to make a deal if they come out of the election with the White House and/or Congress.
  • As Manchin put it this week: "The staffs have been very diligent, but there's not much time here."

3. Nom nom nom: The Senate will be looking in the coming months to confirm the three FERC nominees and the renominated Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Chris Hanson.

  • Manchin said there are "three good nominees" for FERC, but it's not exactly clear yet when they'll move out of the committee.
  • As for Hanson, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she expects the Environment and Public Works Committee to hold his hearing in the next two weeks.
  • Capito said she met with him yesterday: "I do have some questions about the way the commission's been run."

4. Farm bill woes: Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to get the farm bill done, but they're still muddled in disputes about IRA climate money.

  • In an ominous sign, Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow replied, "I don't know; I'm doing everything I can" when asked whether she was optimistic they'll get it done.

5. Uranium savages: We'll be watching to see whether lawmakers use the NDAA to pass the Russian uranium ban.

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