October 19, 2017
On October 19, the Senate passed a fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution (H.Con.Res.71) with an amendment in the nature of a substitute (S.Amdt.1116), which sets the stage for passing tax reform legislation. Part of the Senate amendment includes instructions for both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to write legislative recommendations by November 13 that would result in $1 billion in new revenue over ten years to offset federal tax cuts. The recommendations for increased revenue could include leasing additional federal lands, redirecting oil and gas revenues currently shared with state governments, and ending federal support for agencies currently responsible for marketing hydropower.
Concerned that this legislation would unlock the sale of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's (ANWR) coastal plain, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and nine Democratic cosponsors offered an amendment (S.Amdt.1301) to strike the language directing the committees to find increased revenue from S.Amdt.1116. During the Senate floor debate on this issue, Senator Cantwell explained that ANWR is one of the most pristine areas of the United States, and our nation has been protecting it for decades for a reason. The amendment failed by a vote of 48-52, mostly divided along party lines. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, stated that upcoming hearings would be transparent and open to all ideas, and she has not ruled out the possibility of opening ANWR to energy leases.
Once the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources report their legislative recommendations, the language would be packaged into a large tax reform bill.
Sources: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, E&E News, Library of Congress