E&E Daily's Bush talks impact of leadership uncertainty on energy legislation

How will yesterday's decision by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to drop out of the race for speaker affect the future of energy legislation in the House this fall? On today's The Cutting Edge, E&E Daily reporter Daniel Bush discusses the latest developments in the speakership race and explains how yesterday's news could affect votes on key energy issues.


Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. How will yesterday's House leadership stunner affect the future of key energy legislation? E&E Daily's Dan Bush has been tracking all the latest developments from Capitol Hill. Dan, very surprising day yesterday. How does Kevin McCarthy's decision to not seek the speakership impact the level of order we can expect from the House this fall?

Daniel Bush: Right now it's fair to say the House is in complete disarray. There's a scramble on to find somebody who can step up and run for speaker successfully, but right now it's unclear that any member of the GOP caucus has the 218 votes that they would need to win a floor vote, and at the same time, Congress is facing several huge fiscal issues, from raising the debt limit on November 5th to avoiding another government shutdown on December 11th. So the prospects for this stuff is tricky.

Monica Trauzzi: So obviously the crude oil export bill has received a lot of attention and been a big focus throughout the fall, including from the White House, where we've heard indications from the president that he would veto any such bill. Despite leadership uncertainty, the House has moved forward on the crude oil export bill, but there was some controversy. What were the most controversial amendments there?

Daniel Bush: Sure, so there's an amendment fight between Democrats and Republicans over key provisions of the bill. Democrats have been asking for stipulations, restrictions on the crude oil export bill in order to get their support. Some have called for a year delay in implementing it. Frank Pallone, the -- sorry, the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has put forward language that would require the president to sign off only if he determined that it didn't increase carbon emissions. So that's been the main fight, and Republicans have, so far, blocked Democratic amendments to the bill and appear, you know, eager to move forward with their version of the legislation.

Monica Trauzzi: So if this leadership uncertainty stretches beyond the end of October, what will the broader impacts be, then, on energy and the legislation that's trying to move through the House?

Daniel Bush: Sure. So the crude oil export ban bill is sort of one part of it, but there's been a broader debate over energy reform in general. There's a big package moving through the House right now. Fred Upton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, had hoped to put that bill on the floor sometime this fall, but obviously the speaker's race has thrown a wrench into that, and it's unclear at this point when there's time in the calendar for them to get to that legislation. So clearly there's going to be delay. We don't know yet how long.

Monica Trauzzi: So there are a lot of names going in the ring right now for who the next speaker could be. How could that person, that one person really shape the future and the agenda that we see coming out of the House?

Daniel Bush: It's going to be very difficult. You mentioned that there are several people sort of in the mix. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is being petitioned hard to get in. Somebody like him would have to unite the more moderate wing of the caucus with the Freedom Caucus in the Republican Party, the more conservative element. That's going to be very difficult to do, and it's going to affect, as you said, all sorts of legislation moving forward, and it's difficult at this point to see how the Republican Party in the near term can come together on these big energy and fiscal issues.

Monica Trauzzi: All right. Fascinating to watch. Thank you for coming on the show.

Daniel Bush: Thanks for having me.

Monica Trauzzi: More Cutting Edge coming next Friday. We'll see you then.

[End of Audio]



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