House and Senate leaders are hoping to close the lame duck session of the 112th Congress by December 24, though there remains a chance that they will return to complete a fiscal cliff deal the week between Christmas and New Years. Though a final agreement is still forthcoming, all potential components, including tax extender items such as the production tax credit, are being discussed and scored.
More than 100 groups representing wild life enthusiasts, sportsmen, consumers, conservationists, and environmental advocates sent a letter to Congress December 4 expressing their support for the production tax credit. Additionally, the Western Governors’ Association urged Congress to extend the tax credit December 7.
House Natural Resources Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-MA) led 70 of his colleagues December 6 in sending a letter to President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) asking for a fiscal cliff agreement to include eliminating breaks and other loopholes currently provided to the oil and gas industry.
As fiscal cliff negotiations continue, Congress will move on other issues this week. The Senate will consider a motion to proceed to a bill (S. 3254) that would extend a deposit insurance program. The House plans to appoint conferees on the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R 3410) to come to a consensus with their Senate counterparts.
Though movement on climate change legislation during the lame duck session is unexpected, the 113th Congress may bring renewed efforts on the issue. Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer (D-A) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have indicated that they intend to introduce climate change legislation in the coming year. Others, including Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), have indicated interest in reopening the debate soon. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a joint Yale-George Mason University survey found that in September 2012 70 percent of Americans believed that climate change is real compared to 57 percent in January 2010.