Lily Batchelder and Richard Revesz appear before Congress

On June 9, both Professor Lily Batchelder and Richard Revesz, Lawrence King Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, visited Capitol Hill to testify before Congressional committees.

Lily BatchelderBatchelder, who previously served as both the majority chief tax counsel for the US Senate Finance Committee and deputy director of the National Economic Council and deputy assistant to the president, testified at a House Committee on the Budget hearing titled “The Need to Control Automatic Spending and Unauthorized Programs.”

In her submitted testimony, Batchelder proffered three main points: Congress should cut tax expenditures because, in many cases, they are both costly and highly regressive; deficit reduction must involve both revenue increases and spending cuts, with an emphasis on the former; and spending caps are not a good means of reducing mandatory spending.

“Such caps take a meat axe to complicated policy problems where we need a scalpel,” Batchelder told the committee. In her written testimony, she concluded that “the aging of the population, rising income disparities, and the natural growth of health care costs mean demands on federal resources are not going away. Cutting tax expenditures represents the fairest and most efficient way to address our nation’s fiscal needs.”

Richard ReveszRevesz spoke before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. At the hearing, “Implications of the Supreme Court Stay of the Clean Power Plan,” he addressed what the stay means for the Environmental Protection Agency until the Court issues a definitive ruling.

“Even though these implementation-related activities do not create enforceable obligations for states or sources, opponents of the Clean Power Plan claim that EPA is required to cease work on them,” Revesz said in his oral testimony. “But there is ample precedent for EPA continuing to work on implementation-related matters during a stay of a regulation. Indeed, EPA has done so under the last three presidential administrations, both Republican and Democratic. In arguing that EPA must put its pencil down, opponents confuse the effects of a stay with those of an injunction, which the Supreme Court did not issue.”

Revesz suggested in both oral and written testimony that continuation of the EPA’s work on implementation-related matters will yield multiple benefits, including help for states still preparing to comply voluntarily with the new regulations as well as the ability of electric utilities to prepare long-term resource plans, thus increasing energy predictability.

Posted June 13, 2016