Energy issues dominate the hearing schedule in Congress this week.

A House and Senate conference committee on comprehensive energy legislation is scheduled to meet formally for the first time on Thursday. Members will be working out the differences between their two versions of legislation that could be the first update to federal energy policy since 2007. The Senate passed its bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in April, while the House narrowly passed its own version of energy modernization legislation on a party-line vote, meaning there will be significant issues for the conference committee to work through this fall.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to review the Federal Power Act, particularly the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and electricity markets over the past 20 years.

There are two House Foreign Affairs hearings scheduled on Thursday afternoon that are focused on energy markets. The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a joint hearing with the Energy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to discuss energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific is also scheduled to meet to discuss opportunities to advance U.S. energy policy in Asia, particularly the region’s dependence on liquefied natural gas from the United States and the economic and security interests involved.

On Friday morning, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets will hold an oversight hearing on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the devastating flooding that occurred in Louisiana in August. The agency has approved more than $100 million in disaster relief grants for flood victims, but Congress may be asked to provide additional emergency funds to assist with the recovery effort.

While not Energy related per se., on Thursday, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will meet to discuss the Obama administration’s $400 million cash payment of U.S. taxpayer funds to Iran that has been linked to the release of several U.S. hostages. The payout has come under intense scrutiny, particularly from congressional Republicans. The hearing will focus on the $400 million cash payment and the implications on U.S. efforts to inhibit terrorism financing.

The Iran payout is also the subject of a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice is scheduled to hold an oversight hearing on the lack of transparency on money from the Judgment Fund, a permanent Treasury Department account used to pay judgments and claims against the United States.

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Senate Panel Reaches Deal On Iran Sanctions Bill

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday announced a bipartisan agreement allowing Congress to review any nuclear agreement with Iran, rejecting pleas from the White House that congressional action could derail ongoing international negotiations.

Under the compromise Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress would have 30 days to review the nuclear deal, and President Barack Obama would have 12 days to sign off — or more likely veto the proposal — with Congress granted an additional 10 days to consider an override vote. The measure would also require the administration offer regular reports on Iran’s support of terrorist groups and other activities.

“This puts in place a process — the administration is still fully free to go ahead and complete its negotiations — but as it relates to the sanctions, that again Congress put in place, it has to lay before us; we have the ability to look at every detail,” Corker told Bloomberg TV. “Those congressional sanctions cannot be waived until Congress completes its work.” (Credit: AP).

However, despite bipartisan support for the agreement, the White House has repeatedly promised to veto any attempt to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, arguing that it could undermine a still-unfinished agreement announced by the U.S., Iran and other world powers in early April.

“The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: If this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it,” Obama said in January. “For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” (Credit: AP).

Under the current Iran deal framework, the country would reduce the number of centrifuges in operation by at least two-thirds and convert the centrifuges at its Fordow facility to research and other applications, according to the White House.

In exchange, the European Union would lift its nuclear-related sanctions in a phase-out period, with the framework of the separate U.S. sanctions remaining in place for a possible snapback, according to the statement.

In order to ensure Iran’s compliance with the deal, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors will have access to Iranian nuclear facilities, its supply chain and mining facilities. The deal faces a June 30 deadline.