WASHINGTON – As the 117th Congress settled in this week, President Joe Biden signed more executive orders, the Senate confirmed two more cabinet positions, and Colorado’s delegation all got behind the U.S. Space Command remaining in Colorado Springs.
Here’s a roundup of events from Washington:
Letters and billsOn Tuesday, the entire Colorado delegation signed a letter to Biden urging him to conduct a review of the Trump administration’s late decision to move the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama. The letter speculated that the decision was based solely on politics.
According to the letter, the move would “undermine our national security mission and our superiority in space.”
Also on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and 21 other members of Congress signed a letter to Biden expressing support for a fully functioning Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction. A similar letter was signed by Colorado’s senators last week.
On Wednesday, alongside 38 other Senate Democrats, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced a bill that would ensure D.C. becomes the 51st state and receives full representation in Congress.
“It betrays our values as a democracy to deny over 700,000 Americans representation because they live and work in our nation’s capital,” Bennet said in a statement.
On Friday, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which aims to eliminate the gender wage gap. Bennet and fellow Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper expressed their support for the act via Twitter.
“Women are STILL making less money for doing the same jobs as their male counterparts,” Hickenlooper said in a tweet. “It’s unacceptable – especially with so many women in essential roles helping fight this pandemic.”
Committee assignmentsU.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Rifle., Colorado’s freshman congresswoman, was assigned to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she will join three other Coloradans. Boebert was vocal about her interest in being placed on the committee that deals with legislation related to tribal lands, federal conservation, energy, natural resources, public lands, water and wildlife.
“I’ll pursue policies that increase access and ensure multiple-use for sportsmen and other public land enthusiasts, allow for responsible energy production while protecting the environment, reduce our dependency on rare earths and critical minerals from China, empower tribes, increase storage and protect precious water supplies, and promote job creation while removing unnecessary regulations and red tape,” Boebert said in a statement.
Boebert also was assigned to the House Committee on the Budget.
“It is far past time that Congress gets it (sic) fiscal house in order, prioritize the values of the American people, and put an end to Washington’s wasteful federal spending,” Boebert said in a statement. “As a mother of four and a small business owner, I know it takes discipline and tough choices to balance a budget. We can no longer afford to spend and borrow away our children’s future.”
The House Budget Committee is responsible for overseeing legislation related to the federal budget and monitoring the activity of entities funded by the budget.
Hickenlooper, Colorado’s freshman senator, has yet to receive his committee assignments.
Executive ordersPresident Joe Biden has defined the early days of his presidency with a slew of executive orders reversing policies from the Trump administration and addressing the pandemic. This week, he made a few more executive actions on a range of topics, tribal sovereignty and climate change.
On Tuesday, Biden signed an executive order that affirms tribal sovereignty, urging all executive departments and agencies to engage more regularly and meaningfully with tribal leaders and officials in creating new policies that might affect tribal communities.
“The United States has made solemn promises to Tribal Nations for more than two centuries,” the executive order says. “Honoring those commitments is particularly vital now, as our Nation faces crises related to health, the economy, racial justice, and climate change – all of which disproportionately harm Native Americans.”
On Wednesday, Biden signed an executive order aimed at making climate change a central focus and consideration in the creation and oversight of U.S. policy domestically and abroad. It also mandates a pause on all new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters until the secretary of the Interior completes a thorough review of federal oil and gas.
The executive order drew criticism from Boebert.
“People are losing everything they have and the only thing this president cares about is appeasing extremist environmentalists,” Boebert said in a statement. “While the Biden administration pretends big oil is its target, the reality is it’s the folks in small rural communities that will be hit hardest by…