Around Washington for Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

by jordan blum

jblum@theadvocate.com

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., failed in his attempt to push a bill on the Senate floor to block potential future federal “bailouts” of state and local governments in the aftermath of Detroit filing for bankruptcy.

Vitter sought to push the bill through with “unanimous consent” ­ — meaning one person could block it, and a few Democrats did.

“When you look at situations like Detroit — the largest ever municipal bankruptcy — and when you look at our fiscal situation in Washington at the federal level, it’s clear that this bar against bailing out state and local government is very, very much needed,” Vitter said.

President Barack Obama has not yet backed any bailouts for Detroit.

Anti-carbon tax amendment

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, successfully attached an anti-carbon tax amendment onto legislation that passed the House on Friday.

The problem is the amendment is attached to an Environmental Protection Agency bill considered dead-on-arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Although President Barack Obama has not proposed any explicit “carbon tax” on industrial pollution, the administration is planning to include a “social cost of carbon” consideration into future EPA rulemaking.

“President Obama’s plan to impose a tax on carbon would cause household electricity rates to skyrocket while destroying millions of American jobs,” Scalise said after the bill passed. “The Obama Administration has used every trick in the book to implement its radical agenda through back-door regulations.”

Landrieu pushes pipeline

Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., filed a joint resolution to express the sense that Congress supports construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the national interest of the United States.

“We have studied this project for long enough. We know its tremendous economic benefits and the critical role it will have for our nation’s energy security,” Landrieu said about the pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas. “With Nebraska now on board, every state involved has realized this project is a job creator with minimal effects on the environment.”

The Obama administration has delayed a decision on whether to approve the pipeline.

Republicans and some Democrats were upset with the president last week when he argued the pipeline would not create many long-term jobs.

The nonpartisan, fact-checking news website, PolitiFact, deemed Obama’s statements to be “false.” Obama argued that about 2,000 jobs would be created during construction and as few as 50 long-term jobs.

PolitiFact noted that most estimates put the average jobs during construction at about 3,900 and that the president did not factor in indirect jobs long term.

Delegation visits Louisiana

Congress is taking an August recess starting this week, and that means the Louisiana delegation will be seen more within the state coming up, including a slew of town hall meetings.

On Tuesday, Vitter has scheduled town hall meetings in St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes.

He will be at the St. Helena Police Jury Building, 17911 La. 43 N., Greensburg, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., he will visit with the public at the Hammond City Council Chambers, 310 E. Charles St.

“I always look forward to my town hall meetings in Louisiana because they keep me energized and in tune with what’s going on in the real world,” Vitter said in the announcement.

Also on Tuesday, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, has a town hall meeting planned from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Lafayette Holiday Inn’s Bayou Room, 2032 NE Evangeline Thruway.

Boustany is expected to discuss issues facing Louisiana and to answer questions from members of the public.

Next week, Vitter will host a town hall meeting on Aug. 15 in Baton Rouge.

The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Jones Creek Regional Branch Library, 6222 Jones Creek Road.

Service Academy Day

Vitter is teaming up with Scalise and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, to arrange a “Service Academy Day” on Wednesday in New Orleans.

They invited representatives from the U.S. Military, Air Force, Naval, Merchant Marine and Coast Guard academies to help explain the nomination process to potential applicants and the requirements for applying to each academy.

The event will be from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Wednesday at the Federal City Auditorium in New Orleans.

Service Academy Day is free and open to the public.

All high school students and their parents are welcome to attend. Students who are unable to attend can contact Vitter’s office in Metairie at (504) 589-2753 for more information on the application process and to find out about another similar event in September.

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com