the nevada independent logo
East front of the U.S. Capitol. July 16, 2018. (Humberto Sanchez/The Nevada Independent)

In its first week back in session after a two-week recess, the House approved legislation that would keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord while the Senate surpassed the 100th confirmation of a federal judge nominated by President Donald Trump.

A Senate panel also held a hearing on a bill that would revive a proposal to build a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The hearing included the appearance of Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, who gave testimony against the project.

The climate bill, which was supported by Democratic Reps. Steven Horsford and Susie Lee, would direct the president to develop a plan for the nation to cut greenhouse gas emissions to targets set under the Paris agreement, and it bars the president from using appropriated funds to take any action to advance the withdrawal from the agreement.

The measure passed 231 to 190, with only three Republicans joining Democrats in favor of the legislation. GOP Rep. Mark Amodei voted against the proposal.

Rep. Dina Titus missed votes this week while she recovers from a pinched sciatic nerve. But she took to Twitter to voice her support for the climate bill.

“Donald Trump’s denial of settled science is dangerous,” she wrote. “His decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement was unjustified and shortsighted. I will not stand by as my fellow Nevadans are put at risk. That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the #ClimateActionNow Act.”

The House added an amendment authored by Lee to the bill that would require the White House to take into account the problems caused by water shortages and droughts when addressing climate change.

“The water supply at Lake Mead is currently dangerously low and could reach emergency levels by 2020,” Lee said in a release. “That is why I introduced an amendment to make sure drought and water shortages are being addressed in the Climate Action Now Act.”

Nominations

The Senate on Thursday hit 100 judges confirmed in this legislative session with a nod to Rodolfo Ruiz to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Ruiz was confirmed on a 90 to 9 vote with both Cortez Masto and Rosen backing his nomination.

The uptick in confirmations comes after Senate Republicans voted last month to speed up the confirmation of the president’s nominations. Under the new process, enacted without support from Democrats, the Senate can continue to debate a nominee for up to two hours, rather than 30, after voting to cut off debate.

The upper chamber confirmed two more judges after Ruiz. On one of those, Joshua Wolson who was confirmed to be a district court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Cortez Masto voted against the nomination, while Rosen joined 11 other moderate Democrats who voted for Wolson, who was confirmed 65 to 33.

“Senator Rosen voted for Mr. Wolson after reviewing his record and determining he was qualified for the District Court position,” said Jorge Silva, a spokesman for Rosen.

Wolson also had the support of his home state senators, including Democrat Bob Casey and was not publicly opposed by any major advocacy organization.

Both senators also voted against William Cooper who was nonetheless confirmed, on a 68 to 31 vote, to be the general counsel at the Department of Energy.

The vote came the same day that Cortez Masto announced that she would release her ‘hold’ on Department of Energy nominees because she had reached an accord with the agency to remove plutonium that was secretly shipped to the state last year.

Senators typically use the move to slow down nominations as leverage in negotiations with the White House on home state priorities. But following the rules change on the nominations process, holds are less effective.

Under the deal, DOE pledged to begin to remove the plutonium by 2026 and that the agency would not ship any more to the state.

Yucca Mountain

Despite coming to agreement on the plutonium storage issue and releasing her blanket hold on DOE nominees, Cortez Masto said she voted against Cooper because of Energy Secretary RIck Perry and the Trump administration’s push to build the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

“Senator Cortez Masto voted against the Cooper nomination because, as General Counsel to the Department of Energy, Mr. Cooper will be Secretary Perry’s counsel on everything related to the opening of Yucca Mountain and in protest of this Administration’s lack of action and commitment to acting on climate change,” said Cortez Masto spokesman Ryan King.

Beyond the Cooper nomination, nuclear waste was a topic of interest in the Senate last week, including a hearing Wednesday on legislation put forward by Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso that would restart the process for licensing a national repository at Yucca Mountain.

In testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee, Cortez Masto and Rosen argued that building the project, which is opposed by all the Democrats in the congressional delegation and Gov. Steve Sisolak, is dangerous and would delay finding a better solution to the nation’s nuclear waste problem.

A visit to Yucca could be in the offing. Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, the panel’s top Democrat, to broached the idea in a conversation with Sisolak Tuesday after the governor wrote to Barrasso and Carper offering to meet.

The issue of Yucca also came up at another hearing Tuesday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, one on a nuclear energy bill that includes a provision to require DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop a 10-year strategic plan.

But Cortez Masto, who is on the panel, asked committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, about a separate bill Murkowski introduced last week that would require consent from the affected communities to designate a storage site. However, the measure is silent on Yucca, which drew criticism from Cortez Masto and Rosen.

“Senator Rosen believes that this bill in its current form is a non-starter and is just one more Republican-led piece of legislation that maintains the status quo of Yucca being deemed the nation’s permanent nuclear dumping ground,” said Rosen spokesman Silva.

Miscellany

State Sen. Pat Spearman was in Washington Tuesday when she appeared before the House Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil RIghts and Civil Liberties Subcommittee. The panel held a hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); Spearman helped lead the Nevada effort to pass the ratification through the state Senate. Nevada ratified the ERA in March 2017, the 36th of the 37 states that have done so. Two-thirds of state legislatures, or 38, are required to amend the Constitution under the constitutional convention process.

The hearing is the first on the ERA in 36 years. Horsford saluted Spearman’s appearance.

“I’m proud to co-sponsor the #ERA,” he wrote on Twitter. “And I won’t stop working with my colleagues to ensure women are given equal rights under our constitution.”

At a separate hearing Wednesday convened by the House Education and Labor Committee, Lee questioned Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta about a proposed $15 million cut in the president’s fiscal 2020 budget request to the DOL’s Reentry Employment Opportunities program, which provides aid for justice-involved youth, young adults, and formerly incarcerated adults to gain skills and find work.

“I think these are incredibly important programs in our community,” she told Acosta.

Acosta agreed and signaled that any reductions in funding would be up to Congress to decide.

“The budget proposal, I‘m sure, is going to be thoroughly vetted and it’s something we can talk about,” Acosta said.

For a full rundown of the measures the delegates supported or opposed this week, check out The Nevada Independent’s congressional vote tracker and other information below.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
Legislation sponsored:
S. 1263 – A bill to establish within the Smithsonian Institution the National Museum of the American Latino, and for other purposes.
Legislation co-sponsored:
S. 1307 – A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to improve nutrition in tribal areas, and for other purposes.
S. 1306 – A bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes.
S. 1300 – A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
S. 1289 – A bill to require the Secretary of Commerce to conduct an assessment and analysis of the effects of broadband deployment and adoption on the economy of the United States, and for other purposes.
S. 1288 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for increased investment in clean energy.
S. 1267 – A bill to establish within the Smithsonian Institution the National Museum of the American Latino, and for other purposes.
Legislation co-sponsored:
S. 1246 – A bill to extend the protections of the Fair Housing Act to persons suffering discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and for other purposes.
S. 1235 – A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, giving women in the United States the right to vote.
SEN. JACKY ROSEN
Legislation co-sponsored:
S. 1306 – A bill to amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes.
S. 1300 – A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a coin in commemoration of the opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.
S. 1299 – A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to local educational agencies to encourage girls and underrepresented minorities to pursue studies and careers in STEM fields.
S. 1235 – A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, giving women in the United States the right to vote.
REP. DINA TITUS
Legislation co-sponsored:
H.R. 2506 – To direct the Secretary of Labor to remove travel agencies from the partial list of establishments having no retail concept for the purposes of certain exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
H.R. 2476 – To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide funding to secure non-profit facilities from terrorist attacks, and for other purposes.
H.R. 2474 – To amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes.
H.R. 2430 – To provide for punishments for immigration-related fraud, and for other purposes.
REP. MARK AMODEI
Legislation co-sponsored:
H.R. 2509 – To amend the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 to provide for the establishment of a Ski Area Fee Retention Account.
H.R. 2207 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices.
REP. SUSIE LEE
Legislation sponsored:
H.R. 2499 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide the work opportunity tax credit with respect to hiring veterans who are receiving educational assistance under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or Defense.
Legislation co-sponsored:
H.R. 2504 – To award a Congressional Gold Medal to Willie O’Ree, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions and commitment to hockey, inclusion, and recreational opportunity.
REP. STEVEN HORSFORD
Legislation co-sponsored:
H.R. 2474 – To amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes.

 

 

NV Indy
2020 Election Center
Stories
Candidate Trackers
Endorsements, Ads, Policies, Visits
& More
visit now
Comment Policy (updated 10/4/19): Please keep your comments civil. We reserve the right to delete comments or ban users who engage in personal attacks, use an excess of profanity, make verifiably false statements or are otherwise nasty.
loading...

podcast iconINDYMATTERS PODCAST

    correct us
    ideas & story tips

    podcast iconCAFECITO CON LUZ Y MICHELLE

      EN ESPAÑOL

        @TheNVIndy ON TWITTER

        polilit logo