November 28, 2016

Legislative Focus: House Democratic Leadership Elections, Government Funding
Congress is expected to continue work on an agreement to fund the government past the December 9th deadline. A short-term resolution that will provide funding through March is expected. With negotiations on the Water Resources Development Act progressing slowly, emergency relief for Flint, Michigan, as well as other riders, may be included in the resolution. Congress may also consider the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6).

On Tuesday, the House will take up 16 bills under suspension of the rules, including H.R. 5458, the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2016. House Democrats will hold their leadership elections on Wednesday. Later in the week, the House is expected to take up a package of biomedical innovation bills and possibly the defense authorization conference report.

Senate Floor: Convened at 3:00 p.m. ET Monday for a pro forma session. First votes are expected on Tuesday.

House Floor: Not in session. Convenes at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29th for consideration of 16 bills under suspension of the rules, with first votes expected at 6:30 p.m.

The Week in Review

EPA Announces Final Annual Mandatory Blending Volumes for Biofuels Under the RFS
On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an increase in renewable fuel volume requirements across all categories of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The announcement finalizes the volume requirements and associated percentage standards for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel for 2017, and for biomass-based diesel for 2018. Notably, the action would provide for an increase in non-advanced or “conventional” renewable fuels for 2017, meeting the 15 billion-gallon congressional target for conventional fuels. It would also cause total renewable fuel volumes to grow 1.2 billion gallons from 2016 to 2017, which would account for a 6 percent overall increase. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. More information here.

Federal Court Issues Emergency Injunction on Overtime Rule
Last week Judge Amos Mazzant, a President Obama appointee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, issued a preliminary injunction to delay implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulation increasing the number of workers eligible for overtime pay. The regulation, previously scheduled to take effect on December 1st, would double to $47,476 the salary threshold under which workers receive overtime pay in instances when they work more than 40 hours in a week. The injunction was issued due to a pending case before the court filed by 21 state attorneys general and a coalition of industry groups. The overtime regulation has often been mentioned as one of many regulations that could be voided under the Congressional Review Act during the 115th Congress.