The House took the lead on energy issues last week.  On Wednesday, the House approved H.R. 2609, the FY14 Energy and Water Appropriations bill; the package includes $30.4 billion in funding, including $24.6 billion for the Department of Energy.  However, as the $34.8 billion Senate version allocates $28.2 billion for the Department of Energy, a conference is needed to reconcile the two bills. 

The next day, the House approved H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013.  A conference committee is also needed for this bill, as there are many differences between the House and Senate versions, namely an energy title present in the Senate bill but lacking in the House version.  More detailed discussions on the two bills are below.

The Obama Administration focused on China last week, as the fifth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue were held on Wednesday and Thursday.  Five joint initiatives to reduce carbon emissions came out of the meeting. Please see below for more information on the dialogue.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) set the stage for a contentious fight over nominations by filing cloture on seven presidential nominations including Gina McCarthy for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor, and Fred Hochberg for President of the Export-Import Bank.  The nominations could be voted upon as early as tomorrow.

Also this week, Senator-elect Ed Markey will be sworn in on Tuesday, and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee will vote Wednesday to determine his replacement as Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee.  A caucus-wide vote will follow.  Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) are the top candidates for the job.  Additionally, the House will consider H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act.