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Capital Thinking ~ February 4, 2013


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  • 1. February 4, 2013
  • 2. General LegislativeToday, February 4, 2013, the House will meet at 2:00 pm for legislative business. Votes will bepostponed until 6:30 pm. Legislation Considered under Suspension of the Rules will include: (1)H.R. 297 – Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013; (2) H.R. 235 – VeteranEmergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013; and (3) H.R. 225 – National PediatricResearch Network Act of 2013. On Tuesday, February 5 and Wednesday, February 6, the Housewill meet for legislative business to consider H.R. 444 – Require a PLAN Act (Subject to a Rule).Last votes expected no later than noon on Wednesday.The Senate will meet today at 2:30 to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.47, theViolence Against Women Act.Debt LimitLEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY  Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase Passed by Senate. Following House passage of H.R. 325, the “No Budget No Pay Act of 2013,” the Senate, on January 31, also approved the measure. The bill passed 64-34 with 12 Republicans joining all but three Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The proposal would suspend the debt ceiling until May 18, 2013. As its name suggests, the legislation would also withhold pay for Members of Congress if a budget resolution fails to pass their Chamber, with pay withheld until a budget is passed or the current Congress expires (January 2015).Agriculture & FoodLEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY  Immigration Reform. Last week, the bipartisan “Group of 8” working on immigration issues in the Senate—Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ)—released their five-page framework for immigration policy, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a faster track for agricultural workers. The plan also proposed a workable, labor program aimed at farmers and dairy producers that focused on improving the current H-2A visa system for temporary agricultural workers. Senators Rubio and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will continue to lead negotiations between agricultural labor advocates and businesses to try to work out a deal on agricultural provisions in the Senate proposal.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 1 of 12
  • 3. In the House, no proposal was presented last week, although a small group of bipartisan Representatives—including Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and John Carter (R-TX)—may be working on an immigration plan behind the scenes. President Barack Obama also announced his immigration principles, which would provide agricultural workers with provisional legal status along with undocumented immigrants, but would not afford special treatment for agricultural workers. The President has made clear that he will unveil and push his own immigration legislation in the spring, if very little progress is made in Congress.  Upcoming Hearings. In both the House and the Senate, the Judiciary Committees will hold separate hearings on immigration reform. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing this Tuesday, February 5, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing next Wednesday, February 13.REGULATORY ACTIVITY  Competitive Foods. On Friday, February 1, the Department of Agriculture released an advance copy of its proposed rule on competitive foods (foods sold to students outside of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program). The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register next week. The Department aligned the proposed nutrition standards with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and considered authoritative scientific recommendations for such standards. The proposed nutrition standards apply to all age groups of students, but some exceptions include food items with caffeine. Under the proposed rule, any food sold in schools must: o be either a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, a protein food, a “whole-grain rich” grain product (50% or more whole grains by weight or have whole grains as the first ingredient), or a combination food that contains at least ¼ cup of fruit or vegetable; or o contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of a naturally occurring nutrient cited as a public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (i.e., calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or fiber). The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered and an implementing rule is published to ensure that schools and vendors have adequate time to adapt. Stakeholders will have 60 days from the time the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register to submit written comments.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the authors of thissection: Dana Weekes at 202-457-6307 or and Karen Kudelko at 202-457-5132 or Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 2 of 12
  • 4. Budget, AppropriationsLEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY  Sandy Supplemental and Debt Ceiling Legislation Cleared for President’s Signature. As expected, last week the Senate approved a $50.6 billion emergency disaster appropriations package (H.R. 152) and a measure to suspend the debt ceiling through May 18 (H.R. 325). Senate Democrats defeated spending offset amendments to both measures.  President’s FY 2014 Budget Proposal Delayed. The President is statutorily required to deliver his budget request to Congress by the first Monday in February – which is today. However, the prolonged uncertainty surrounding sequestration and the resolution of the FY 2013 appropriations process delayed the “pass back” process in which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) works with the agencies to determine their individual requests. Hence, the President’s FY 2014 Budget Proposal is not expected before March 4.  House Begins FY 2014 Budget Resolution Process. This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will commence “listening sessions” to gather input from rank-and- file Republicans on the FY 2014 Budget Resolution. As previously reported, House Republicans intend to produce a plan that will balance the budget within 10 years.  Sequestration and FY 2013 Appropriations. Discussions continue on how to replace the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts scheduled to go into effect on March 1 through the modified sequestration process (the fiscal cliff agreement delayed sequestration by two months and offset $24 billion of the total $109 billion in spending reductions mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act (P.L.112-25)). Senate Democrats are developing a sequestration replacement measure that may include some spending cuts but will rely heavily on revenue. House Republicans, coming away from recent votes, which increased taxes (the fiscal cliff agreement) and extended the debt ceiling without equivalent spending offsets, will likely move a bill that would replace sequestration with reductions to entitlement spending (the House passed two similar measures in 2012). With Congress again at an impasse, there is a growing consensus that sequestration will occur on March 1, particularly because many Members believe that federal agencies have sufficient flexibility to maneuver funding and stall the impact of sequestration for several weeks – until Congress must address the expiration of the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (CR) and thus will have another opportunity to replace sequestration. In mid-January, OMB directed federal agencies to prepare for sequestration and the CR expiration. As such, Pentagon officials put in place a civilian hiring freeze and are discussing furloughs for current civilian employees.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 3 of 12
  • 5. Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Pam Welsh at ACTIVITY Senator Rockefeller Survey. In September 2012, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) sent a letter to all Fortune 500 chief executives that included a survey of the companies’ cybersecurity policies and their positions on specific legislative proposals, such as voluntary standards for critical infrastructure. Last week, Chairman Rockefeller released the results of the survey which showed that respondents were generally in favor of voluntary cybersecurity standards. He plans to use this information to push back against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which disagreed with legislation in previous Congresses that included potentially burdensome cybersecurity standards for the private sector. Media reports indicated the U.S. Chamber sought to downplay the apparent CEO support for voluntary standards.EXECUTIVE ACTIVITY Cyber Command Expansion. The Pentagon announced last week that it has approved a major expansion of its cybersecurity force over the next several years. The Department of Defense’s Cyber Command is currently made up of about 900 personnel and will be expanded to include 4,900 troops and civilians under the plan proposed by the head of Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander. The plan calls for the creation of three types of Cyber Command forces: 1) national mission forces that would protect computer systems connected to critical infrastructure; 2) combat mission forces that would help commanders abroad plan and execute offensive operations; and 3) cyber protection forces to fortify the Defense Department’s networks. Given that the plan comes at a time when the Pentagon is being asked to cut spending, this expansion illustrates the importance of cybersecurity to senior military officials. Though many stakeholders have praised the expansion of the Pentagon’s cybersecurity force, some have raised concerns about how the Department of Defense will be able to recruit and train such a large number of qualified cybersecurity personnel. Executive Order. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D- DE) recently stated that the White House is likely to issue the cybersecurity Executive Order (EO) sometime after the President’s State of the Union address on February 12. After the EO is released, Senator Carper noted that he plans to hold a joint hearing with the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to review the measures in the order and get stakeholder feedback prior to drafting and introducing new cybersecurity legislation.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 4 of 12
  • 6. Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Amy Davenport at 202-457-6528 or ACTIVITY  School Safety. On January 31, House Republican leaders on the Education and the Workforce Committee wrote to cabinet officials – including Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – to express concerns and seek further details related to the school safety components of President Obama’s recommendations to curb gun violence. Specifically, the lawmakers are concerned with cost estimates and implementation timelines of executive actions the President took January 16. While it is expected the President’s FY 2014 Budget Request may include additional funding for the newly proposed measures, lawmakers have requested to be briefed in full by February 7. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) plans to use the information provided as part of the Committee’s comprehensive review of programs and policies under its jurisdiction to determine the efficacy of school safety programs in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.  Immigration Reform. A bipartisan group of eight Senators – including Republicans John McCain (AZ), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marco Rubio (FL) and Jeff Flake (AZ) and Democrats Chuck Schumer (NY), Dick Durbin (IL), Robert Menendez (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO) – unveiled at a press conference on Monday, January 28 a proposal for immigration reform, making it a top priority issue in Congress this year. The Senators noted that many details still need to be worked out, but they hope to have a draft bill available by early March, which would improve border security and enhance employment verification while also creating a path to legal status and citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants. Specifically, the proposal includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors, often referred to as DREAMers. This proposed path to citizenship is derived from legislation which seeks to make college more affordable and remove certain barriers to access for undocumented children. Another small bipartisan group of Senators, including Republicans Orrin Hatch (UT) and Rubio and Democrats Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Chris Coons (DE), introduced a separate legislation (S. 169, The Immigration Innovation Act of 2013) last week to increase visas for legal immigrants with advanced skills in STEM fields. Such a measure is likely to be included in a larger reform package. President Obama spoke in support of immigration reform at a high school in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, January 29 where he called for swift action on the Hill. While the President isPatton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 5 of 12
  • 7. generally supportive of the parameters set forth by both groups, the Administration is expected to unveil its draft legislation in early spring if progress in Congress stalls.  Campus Crime Reporting Changes and VAWA. As reported last week, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, S. 47) measure introduced in January has quickly gained momentum in the Senate, already reaching 59 cosponsors. Additionally, the Senate’s primary sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced last week that 60 Senators now support the measure, which he has moved to be considered on the Senate floor. As previously reported, the bill includes an expansion of the Clery Act to include incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  Hearings and Events. As expected and forecasted in earlier editions of Capital Thinking published in January, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) has turned his attention to the Administration’s No Child Left Behind waivers. The Committee will hold its first hearing on the issue on Thursday, February 7. The hearing is titled "No Child Left Behind: Early Lessons from State Flexibility Waivers. The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday, February 5 entitled “Challenges and Opportunities Facing Americas Schools and Workplaces.”Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the authors of thissection: Amy Budner Smith at 202-457-6154 or and Dana Weekes at 202-457-6307 or ACTIVITY Energy Taxes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hinted last week that the Senate will consider eliminating oil and gas company tax preferences as a way of averting automatic spending cuts to a wide range of defense and social programs set to occur March 1 (unless Congress changes current law). The President’s spokesman added that, “the idea that you need to subsidize an industry that has enjoyed record profits—that taxpayers have to subsidize it—just doesn’t make sense in a time when we have to make choices about how best to use our resources.” Multiple efforts by Senate th Democrats in the 112 Congress to eliminate the tax preferences enjoyed by major integrated oil companies were not successful. Congressional Hearings. On Tuesday, February 5, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “American Energy Security and Innovation: An Assessment of North America’s Energy Resources.” On Wednesday, February 6, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “American Competitiveness: The Role of Research and Development.” The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee plans to hold a hearing regarding LNG exports on February 12.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 6 of 12
  • 8. REGULATORY ACTIVITY DOE Advisory Committee Meetings. The Department of Energy’s Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee will host a webinar meeting on February 15. The State Energy Advisory Board will host a teleconference meeting on February 21 to make recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee will meet February 21 - 22. The Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee will meet February 28 - March 1. OCS SEMS Rule. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has submitted proposed revisions to Safety and Environmental Management Systems regulations to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. There is no legal deadline to release the final rule, though it is expected this spring. Coal. The National Coal Council will next meet on March 7 in Washington, DC. USEITI. The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on February 13 at the Interior Department. Gulf OCS Lease Sales. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will host five public meetings in the Gulf States, March 26 - April 1, regarding two future offshore drilling lease sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. The meetings will review the proposals, alternatives, and mitigating measures to be analyzed in the required environmental documentation process. Nuclear. Comments on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s draft regulatory guide, “Quality Assurance Program Requirements (Operations)” are due by April 1. The updated standard incorporates operational experience since the original standard was developed.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Tanya DeRivi at 202-457-6504 or ServicesLEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY Senate Republicans to Block CFPB Director Nomination. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 42 other Republicans sent a letter to President Obama objecting to the nomination of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Republicans oppose the current organization of the CFPB, established by the Dodd-Frank Act. Instead of one Director, Republicans prefer governance by a board of directors.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 7 of 12
  • 9.  House Committee to Review Federal Housing Administration. On Wednesday, February 6, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining the Proper Role of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in our Mortgage Insurance Market.” Housing finance experts and analysts will testify about the FHA’s financial condition and its role in the housing market. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has also announced a second hearing will take place on February 13 featuring FHA Commissioner Carol Galante.REGULATORY ACTIVITY CFTC to Hold Roundtable on Customer Protection. On Tuesday, February 5, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will host a roundtable titled, “Enhancing Protections Afforded Customers and Customer Funds Held by Futures Commission Merchants and Derivatives Clearing Organizations.” The roundtable will focus on: the role of an “Examination Expert” to review Self- Regulatory Organization (SRO) examination programs; the proposed disclosures of firm specific risks and financial reporting; the proposed requirement for segregation and secured acknowledgement letters; and the proposed residual interest requirements for Futures Commission Merchants. SEC to Discuss JOBS Act; Decimalization. On Tuesday, February 5, the Securities and Exchange Commission will hold a roundtable on decimalization. The event will feature three panel discussions. The first will address the impact of tick sizes on small and middle capitalization companies; the economic consequences (including the costs and benefits) of increasing or decreasing minimum tick sizes; and whether other policy alternatives might better address the concerns animating Section 106(b) of the JOBS Act. The second panel will address the impact of tick sizes on the securities market in general, including what benefits may have been achieved, and what, if any, negative effects have resulted. The third panel will address potential methods for analysis of the issues, including whether and how to conduct a pilot for alternative minimum tick sizes. A full agenda and the panelists’ bios are available on the SEC’s website.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Matthew Kulkin at 202-457-6056 or CareLEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY House Oversight Hearing. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 5, titled “Government Spending: How Can We Best Address the Billions of Dollars Wasted Every Year?” House VA Hearing. The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has scheduled a hearing on February 5, titled “Analyzing VA’s Actions to Prevent Legionnaire’s Disease in Pittsburgh.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 8 of 12
  • 10.  Finance Recommendations on Fraud and Abuse. Six current and former members of the Senate Finance Committee, led by Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), released a comprehensive report outlining recommendations from more than 160 stakeholders in the health care community on ways to improve federal efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Joining Hatch and Baucus on the report are Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Tom Carper (D-DE). Recommendations include increasing federal funding of state Medicaid anti-fraud activities; eliminating duplication and redundancy in Federal and state Medicare/Medicaid anti-fraud programs; changing certain Medicare payment policies that, through disparate pricing issues, lead to fraud, waste, and abuse; ensuring that provider enrollment policies are consistent and utilized effectively; requiring the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to use existing statutory authorities (e.g., moratorium, mandatory compliance programs) that they have yet to utilize; clarifying the circumstances in which use of care and the setting for care is appropriate such as when it is appropriate to use inpatient care versus outpatient; making numerous process changes to how the various CMS audit contractors operate to ensure they are doing so efficiently and effectively; balancing the incentives for Medicare contractors to identify overpayments with penalties for contractors whose findings are overturned on appeal through the CMS administrative process; and creating an advisory panel to provide clinical input as a component of contractor oversight.REGULATORY ACTIVITY CMS Bundled Payment Initiative. CMS announced that over 500 organizations will begin participating in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative. Through this new initiative, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, CMS will test how bundling payments for episodes of care can result in more coordinated care for beneficiaries and lower costs for Medicare. Medicare Competitive Bidding Round 2. CMS announced that it is expanding the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program that replaces the existing fee schedule amounts in selected areas with prices based on suppliers’ bids. The new prices will go into effect in July, with anticipated savings of $25.7 billion to the Part B trust fund and $17.1 billion in savings to beneficiaries between 2013 and 2022. ACA Regs. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Functions: Eligibility for Exemptions; Miscellaneous Minimum Essential Coverage Provisions Proposed Rule. This proposed rule would implement certain functions of the Affordable Insurance Exchanges (“Exchanges”). These specific statutory functions include determining eligibility for and granting certificates of exemption from the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining minimum essential coverage as described in section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code. Additionally, this proposed rule implements the responsibility of the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, to designate other health benefits coverage as minimum essential coverage by providing that certain coverage be designated as minimum essential coverage. It also outlines substantive and procedural requirements that other types of individual coverage must fulfill in order to be certified as minimum essential coverage under the Internal Revenue Code. Comments are due on March 18 by 5 pm.Patton Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 9 of 12
  • 11. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released the Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit Final Rule. These final regulations provide guidance to individuals related to employees who may enroll in eligible employer sponsored coverage and who wish to enroll in qualified health plans through Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges) and claim the premium tax credit. The IRS also released the Shared Responsibility Payment for Not Maintaining Minimum Essential Coverage Proposed Rule. These proposed regulations provide guidance on the liability for the shared responsibility payment for not maintaining minimum essential coverage. Comments are due on May 2 by 5 pm.OTHER HEALTH NEWS MACPAC Meeting. The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission will hold a public meeting on February 12 and 13. The agenda will be released in advance of the meeting. IOM Meetings. The Board on Health Care Services will hold its second workshop on “Implementing a st National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21 Century” on February 11 - 12. The purpose of this workshop is to examine ongoing activities in the implementation of the recommendations put forth in the IOM consensus report, A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century. Workshop sessions and discussions will highlight progress made by NCI and the Clinical Trials Network, funding needs and opportunities, strategies for prioritizing trial concepts, addressing ongoing and future implementation challenges, opportunities for the development of effective partnerships to accelerate innovation, and current regulatory issues. The Board will also hold a meeting on February 13 - 14 on “International Regulatory Harmonization Amid Globalization of Biomedical Research and Medical Product Development.” This public workshop will address needs for international harmonization of regulatory standards to support the development, evaluation and surveillance of biomedical products. Specifically, the discussions at the workshop will help identify principles, potential approaches, and strategies to advance the development or evolution of more harmonized regulatory standards.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Eugenia Edwards at 202-457-5622 or Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 10 of 12
  • 12. International, Defense, and Homeland SecurityLEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH ACTIVITY Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and State Department Developments. Following Hillary Clinton’s departure from the State Department on Friday, new Secretary of State John Kerry will settle in at Foggy Bottom next week. Secretary-designate Kerry was confirmed by his former Senate colleagues on a 94-3 vote this past Tuesday. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) officially will take over as SFRC Chair next week. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and Defense Department Developments. Secretary of Defense-designate Chuck Hagel’s performance before the SASC at his nomination hearing on Thursday likely did not win the former Senator any new votes for his confirmation, but it may not have lost him any, either. SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) could schedule a Committee vote on the nomination as soon as this coming Thursday. SASC Republicans already had expressed varying degrees of skepticism regarding President Obama’s choice in the lead-up to the hearing, and Senator Hagel’s responses to their pointed questions simply may have cemented their “no” votes on the nomination. Most non-SASC Republicans also will vote against Senator Hagel on the Senate floor, and HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) announced his opposition following Thursday’s hearing. However, Senate Appropriations Defense (SAC-D) Subcommittee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) has not retracted his support for the nomination, and fellow SAC-D Member Susan Collins (R-ME) offered kind words for Senator Hagel following their January 15 meeting. Meanwhile, SASC Member Joe Manchin (D-WV), considered by many to be the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, focused more at the hearing on the combative tone of his Republican colleagues than on critiquing Secretary-designate Hagel’s record. Indeed, no Senate Democrat has come out in opposition to Senator Hagel’s nomination, and few observers expect that status to change in the coming week. House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Developments. On Tuesday, February 5, two HFAC Subcommittees will hold hearings. The Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, now headed by new Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and new Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-FL), will examine what the Subcommittee deems “The Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation” in the Palestinian Authority. Concurrently, HFAC’s Global Human Rights and Terrorism Subcommittees, chaired by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), respectively, will join the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications Subcommittee in examining global Internet freedom issues.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the author of thissection: Scott Thompson at 202-457-6110 or Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 11 of 12
  • 13. Transportation th  Priorities for the 113 Congress. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently sat down with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee th Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) to share priorities for the 113 Congress and MAP-21 reauthorization. Transportation funding was the main topic of discussion with Boxer declaring that “everything’s on the table” and that the Chairmen think there’s a way to do “a different tax that is a user fee that will really reach people…who drive cars that are plug-in hybrid.”  LaHood leaving DOT. On January 29, Ray LaHood announced that he will step down as the Secretary of Transportation. Rumored potential replacements include National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman, former Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who received a strong endorsement from Chairman Boxer.  New Starts/Small Starts Final Rule. On January 31, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) held the first of three webinars on the New Starts final rule published on January 9 in the Federal Register and the accompanying proposed policy guidance. The following two webinars will take place on Tuesday, February 5 and Wednesday, February 13. Comments must be received on or before March 11.  National Infrastructure Bank. With the departure of John Kerry (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) from the Senate, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) will lead the effort to establish a national infrastructure bank (NIB). Last Congress, Kerry, Hutchison and Warner worked together to advance the Building and Upgrading Infrastructure for Long-Term Development (BUILD) Act, which proposed the establishment of a NIB for transportation, water, and energy facilities projects. The BUILD Act was also encompassed in President Obama’s American Jobs Act and had been considered for inclusion in MAP-21 but was withdrawn during the Senate Banking Committee’s markup of the transit title.Contact InformationFor additional insights about likely policy developments, please feel free to contact the authors of thissection: Jessica Monahan at 202-457-6302 or and Jared Fleisher at 202-457-6341 or Boggs Capital Thinking Weekly Update | February 4, 2013 12 of 12