Around Washington for Monday, Oct. 14, 2013

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

West Monroe residents and “Duck Dynasty” television stars Willie and Korie Robertson were honored this past week in Washington, D.C., with the 15th annual Angels in Adoption award.

The honor came from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute that is co-chaired by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Sen. David Vitter, R-La.; and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, also are members.

The Robertsons and Landrieu built their families through adoptions, and they have advocated for improving adoption services worldwide.

“It’s important for people to know that we adopted Will before we became rich and famous,” Willie Robertson said in a news release.

“And I say that because I think sometimes people think that only the rich and famous have what it takes, the money, the staff, to give a home to a child. But the truth is anyone can do it, once you have committed to make that kind of difference in a child’s life.”

When asked, Robertson also reportedly would not rule out one day entering politics himself.

The other honoree was Deborra-Lee Furness, who is married to actor Hugh Jackman.

The honorees were joined onstage by New Orleans Saints co-owner and adoption advocate Rita Benson LeBlanc, who received the Paul Singer Award, and Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose real-life adoption story was the basis of the best-selling book and film “The Blind Side.”

Landrieu hosted Jackman, Furness and others at her home the night before the event.

Vitter feuding with White House over climate change

Vitter continued his feud this week with the Obama administration and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., over climate change and regulations on industry.

Vitter is the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that is chaired by Boxer.

Vitter sent a letter asking President Barack Obama to provide certain federal witnesses to speak about the administration’s climate plans at a committee hearing that Boxer is organizing for later in the month.

“There is little point in holding a hearing on climate change policy that excludes witnesses from the federal government best suited to explain (the President’s) Climate Action Plan,” Vitter wrote.

“As your Climate Action Plan sets in motion a litany of new actions with significant economic implications, those in your administration charged with implementing your agenda should be made available to testify as to the scope, purpose, and consequences of such unilateral action.”

The upcoming hearing is expected to cover a range of topics, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal for greenhouse gas performance standards for new power plants, which is the first step in the administration’s Climate Action Plan, as well as the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report that asserted that humans are causing much of the world’s ongoing climate change problems.

Vitter has contended that the EPA lacks transparency on revealing the scientific reasoning behind its rulemaking, which he argues is often unfairly detrimental to businesses and the economy.

Cassidy and Fleming file bill to continue leases and permits

Reps. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and John Fleming, R-Minden, filed legislation Friday to ensure that oil-and-gas permitting and new lease sales can continue during the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Their “Fiduciary Responsibility and Fairness Act” is part of a series of piecemeal bills the GOP-controlled House has passed to reopen certain parts of government.

Senate Democrats have refused to consider such bills and have instead asked the House to vote to reopen all of government, instead of just the parts that Republicans want open.

The Interior Department has asserted though that some oil-and-gas permitting is ongoing during the shutdown.

The bill by Cassidy and Fleming specifically calls on the government to continue providing services during the shutdown that are funded from user fee revenues, such as oil-and-gas permitting on new lease sales.

“The oil-and-gas industry generates more than 25 times what it costs the federal government to do permitting,” Cassidy stated.

“President Obama should allow new oil and gas permitting and stop hurting Louisiana families.”

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