On June 19, Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26) gave PESA Members a Congressional update during a government affairs townhall webinar. Led by PESA Advisory Board Member and Government Affairs Committee Chair Todd Ennenga, Halliburton, Tim Tarpley, Vice President Government Affairs, PESA, and Maria Suarez, Director Government Affairs, PESA, the discussion centered around activity in the House and Senate regarding COVID-19 responses and the effect on the OFS sector.
The Committee previously hosted Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7) and Rep. Brian (TX-36) in what will be a series of webinars with elected officials as the pandemic and related crisis continues.
Rep. Burgess, who also addressed PESA Members in February during the group’s Washington D.C. Fly In, discussed potential bills, his committee work and COVID-19.
Rep. Burgess opened the discussion by mentioning that he joined Rep. Fletcher and Sen. Kathy Hogan (ND) to introduce a measure to authorize the federal government to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Although the measure was not part of the CARES Act, the bipartisan group continues to push the legislation with the hope that it could be included in future packages. In terms of additional stimulus, Rep. Burgess says another package will likely pass in July and would be the next likely vehicle for passage of the SPR provision. Rep. Burgess indicated that the provision will likely have to be traded into the package in return for a provision favored by the House majority.
During the discussion, Rep. Burgess highlighted the current composition of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and indicated his intention to run for Chairman of the committee. Rep. Burgess is currently the most senior Texan member of the body and hopes to chair the committee in the next Congress to advocate for the Texas energy industry.
Questions from the audience focused on COVID-19 and rising numbers in Houston, Harris County and Texas. Rep. Burgess predicts that a vaccine will not be available until late fall but emphasizes how intensely private and public medical experts are working together to find solutions.
Concluding the townhall, Maria Suarez discussed several state updates, including details on primary elections in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Additionally, Suarez noted recent regulatory moves in Louisiana that ensure no local governments can ban natural gas utility services and new rules adopted in Colorado to guard well integrity and protect groundwater.
If you would like to join the Government Affairs Committee, contact Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.