The 115th Congress convened on Tuesday with both the House and Senate swearing in new members.  The House also re-elected Paul Ryan to be Speaker of the House, among other administrative duties.  The schedules in both chambers this week looks light, but next week things speed up as the Senate takes up a budget bill that allows the Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or at least parts of the ACA.  This kicks off what looks like a pretty aggressive legislative lineup that includes changes to environmental and other regulations, budget cuts to some agencies (EPA?) and increases to others (Defense?), tax cuts, and more.

Clean Water Rule

Policy folks will be closely watching the fate of the Clean Water Rule under President-elect Trump. The Clean Water Rule was finalized under the Obama Administration to provide clarity on the extent of the Clean Water Act for one-third of the nation’s waterways. The rule has been the focus of several legal battles already and concerns are mounting that the Trump Administration would not continue to defend the rule in court. Other actions, such as a withdrawal of the rule, are not out of the question either, as President-elect Trump has stated his intent to roll it back. The Coalition is a strong supporter of the Clean Water Rule and the Clean Water Act, as important tools to protect our Great Lakes from pollution.

Targeting Regulation

With the House convened, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) introduced HR21, a bill that would make it easier for Congress to undo regulations put into place by the Obama Administration since June of 2016. The bill passed the House on Wednesday afternoon. HR26, known as the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS, would require Congress to approve regulations, like those from the EPA, before they are implemented. The regulatory authority of the EPA and other government agencies would be significantly curtailed.

Senator office and committee assignments

Only two new Great Lakes Senators: Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.). See the chart below for Senator’s offices and committee assignments.

The new addresses for House members can be found here.

116th – Great Lakes SENATE Members
First Last Party Office Committee
Tammy Baldwin D SH-717 Hart Appropriations
Sherrod Brown D SH-713 Hart Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Bob Casey D SR-393 Russell Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Joe Donnelly D SH-720 Hart Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Tammy Duckworth D SD-G12 Dirksen Commerce, Science and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment & Public Works
Richard Durbin D SH-711 Hart Leadership; Appropriations
Al Franken D SH-309 Hart Energy and Natural Resources
Kirsten Gillibrand D SR-478 Russell Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Environment & Public Works
Ron Johnson R SH-328 Hart Budget; Commerce, Science and Transportation
Amy Klobuchar D SH-302 Hart Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; Commerce, Science and Transportation
Gary Peters D SH-724 Hart Commerce, Science and Transportation
Rob Portman R SR-448 Russell Energy and Natural Resources; Finance
Charles Schumer D SH-322 Hart Minority Leader
Debbie Stabenow D SH-731 Hart Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry – ranking member; Energy and Natural Resources; Budget; Finance
Pat Toomey R SR-248 Russell Budget; Finance
Todd Young R SR-B33 Russell Commerce, Science and Transportation