With Hurricane Sandy cleanup underway and the November election just two days away, debate over energy and environment issues has been renewed on the campaign trail and during pre-lame duck discussions.
Congress will return next week for the lame duck session, during which it will hammer out as much of a deal on the fiscal cliff as possible, including debating any potential tax extenders inclusions. Other energy-relevant areas of potential debate include the Farm Bill, Defense Reauthorization, and energy efficiency legislation.
The outcome of the Farm Bill, which expired in September, will largely depend on the results of the election. If Governor Romney wins the White House and Republicans capture the Senate, House Republicans are likely to wait until January to vote on the bill, though it continues to remain an election issue. If the Farm Bill does pass during the lame duck session, it will be as a part of a down payment to temporarily ward off sequestration.
Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) sent a letter October 31 calling on their Republican colleagues in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a hearing during the lame duck session on Hurricane Sandy, extreme weather, and climate change. Two days later, they sent a similar letter urging their colleagues to work on bipartisan energy efficiency legislation during the end of the year session.