(Congressman Mark Amodei) – We are officially 100 days into the House Republican majority in Congress, and we have wasted no time producing results for the American people. Since we kicked off the 118th Congress, House Republicans have passed 59 bills, including landmark energy legislation to boost American domestic energy production and lower energy costs for you.
In this report, I’m going to highlight this critical energy legislation, as well as break down a couple of topics that have been dominating the news cycle…
PASSED: THE LOWER ENERGY COSTS ACT
Our nation is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that can meet our energy needs. Yet, since taking office, President Biden has issued executive orders and supported policies that have undermined domestic energy and mineral production all while making us dangerously reliant on foreign adversaries. Make no mistake, the Biden Administration is directly to blame for American’s pain at the pump and the country’s ongoing energy crisis.
To combat this energy crisis, House Republicans recently passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act along with my support. This comprehensive legislation will unleash American energy and lower costs for families by:
• Increasing domestic energy production.
• Reforming the permitting process for all industries.
• Reversing anti-energy policies advanced by the Biden Administration.
• Streamlining energy infrastructure and exports.
• Boosting the production and processing of critical minerals.
One noteworthy provision included in this package will modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), legislation from the 1970s that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of proposed energy, mineral, and infrastructure projects before making permitting decisions. NEPA is filled with duplicative assessments and is all too often weaponized by litigious groups, making it near impossible for important projects to move forward. According to the National Mining Association, the average permitting process often takes 7 to 10 years, sometimes even longer.
This significant provision of H.R. 1 will streamline NEPA by limiting the environmental review deadlines to 3 years, designating one lead agency to oversee the permitting process, and limiting the window that lawsuits can be filed to 120 days after a project permit is filed.
Creating a more efficient permitting process is especially important for Nevada, as almost half of the country’s lithium deposits are located in our state, giving us the potential to lead in renewable energy development. If we allow our current failed permitting process to keep these minerals in the ground, it will be impossible to meet renewable energy goals.
While I just focused on one of the many provisions included in the Lower Energy Costs Act, please know that all the provisions in this package will create a better and more secure energy future for Nevadans. Now this legislation will head to the Senate, where it will serve as a starting point for further negotiations.
I am optimistic that the House and Senate can come to a compromise on this energy package, especially since Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wants to pass some sort of bicameral energy package this Congress. I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of this legislation.
BIDEN USES FIRST VETO TO POLITICIZE AMERICANS’ 401(K)S
Back in November, the Biden Administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled a new rule that allows retirement plan managers to prioritize environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues over financial returns when making investment decisions on behalf of American workers and seniors.
This new rule goes directly against the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, a law which required retirement plan managers to make investment decisions based only on the financial factors that generate the least risk and the greatest return to workers and retirees.
Retirement plans should be exclusively focused on delivering maximum returns, not advancing the left’s political agenda. ESG funds have underperformed for years and investors are exposed to more risk when investing in ESG. That’s why the House and Senate recently voted in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation that would overrule the Administration and kill the DOL’s new rule. Unfortunately, President Biden issued his first veto to strike down this legislation.
At a time when American retirement savings and 401k balances have already taken a hit due to record-high inflation and stock market uncertainty, the last thing the Biden Administration should do is double down on any effort to further undermine the financial security of millions of Americans. Nevada’s hardworking families deserve better, and I was glad to join my colleagues in voting to override the President’s veto. I will be sure to keep you informed about what happens next.
CHINA USING TIKTOK TO SPY ON AMERICANS
TikTok is now one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Here in the United States, TikTok has been downloaded over 210 million times and is especially popular among teenagers and young adults. TikTok’s popularity stems from its aggressive algorithm that recommends content based on a users’ previous engagement and personalized data.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese internet technology company with clear and proven ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). From 2014 to 2017, the CCP passed several laws requiring all Chinese tech companies (including ByteDance) to allow CCP officials access to user data.
Recently, TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee, where both Republican and Democrat lawmakers pressed him over privacy and data concerns. It’s safe to say this hearing did not go well for TikTok.
One of the most revealing moments of Chew’s testimony was when Representative Neal Dunn of Florida asked whether ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, had “spied on American citizens.” Chew refused to give a direct answer.
The hearing further confirmed what my colleagues and I already knew: TikTok is an instrument used by our greatest adversary to collect private data and spy on Americans. If legislation to ban TikTok comes to the House Floor, I will support it.
A few weeks back, we learned about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a major financial institution in California that catered to tech, private equity, and venture capital firms.
Some are blaming SVB’s management for its collapse, and others are blaming the regulators responsible for overseeing the bank. While I believe that blame rests with both, it was also the high interest rate environment that led to this bank’s demise.
As you know, our nation is facing record-high inflation caused by Democrats’ excessive government spending. In 2022, the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates to alleviate the inflation crisis, and these higher borrowing costs decreased the momentum of tech stocks that SVB had previously benefited from. As sales and revenue declined, many of SVB’s clients began to draw down on cash they had stockpiled to keep their respective operations running smoothly.
SVB had invested a massive amount of its clients’ deposits into assets that had lost value, and in some cases, were impossible for the bank to liquidate. Meanwhile, more and more clients needed access to their money. This all came to a head a couple of weeks ago when SVB no longer had enough cash to accommodate withdrawals. News quickly spread, and within hours there was “a run on the bank” with many clients trying unsuccessfully to withdraw all their money from SVB.
There is still a lot that we don’t know about SVB’s collapse, and I look forward to the impending Congressional hearings that will investigate how state and federal regulators missed the warning signs. I will keep you informed about what I learn.
Rest assured, what happened with SVB is not indicative of the overall health of our banking system. SVB was not the type of consumer bank that most Americans bank with; it was primarily a business bank that was heavily involved in tech startups. Our nation’s banking system is healthy, and most banks are far more diversified.
I recently met with the Nevada Bankers Association and heard from President & CEO Phyllis Gurgevich along with representatives from Town & Country Bank and Western Alliance. They confirmed that our banks remain strong.
DEBT CEILING UPDATE
Earlier this week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy delivered a speech at the New York Stock Exchange, highlighting the need for a responsible debt increase.
As you may know, the debt ceiling is expected to be reached during the summer of 2023. Our national debt is currently at an all-time high, which has been further exacerbated after the past two years of unchecked spending by the Biden Administration.
As a fiscal conservative, I believe that if Congress raises the debt ceiling, it must be done in tandem with measures to cut wasteful spending and spur economic growth for all Americans. An increase in the debt limit without spending controls will only schedule another debt crisis on the American people’s calendar.
Unfortunately, rather than working with House Republicans on a reasonable solution to our nation’s debt crisis, President Biden is demanding that Congress raise the debt ceiling without implementing any changes to how the government spends the American taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Biden’s extreme position has dire ramifications for the entire country.
Speaker McCarthy proposed a sensible debt ceiling increase paired with a set of spending cuts and policy changes to reduce inflation and grow the American economy. In the coming weeks, the House will vote on Speaker McCarthy’s plan, and it is my sincere hope that the President and Congressional Democrats get on board.
We cannot afford to default on our debt, and a no-strings-attached debt limit increase will not pass the House.
Rep. Amodei represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional District