National Security and Foreign Affairs

New Policy on South China Sea

As a result of several Asian countries claiming jurisdiction of some strategic islands in the South China Sea the bill condemns coercive actions or the use of force to impede freedom of operations in international airspace to alter the status quo or to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region; urges China to refrain from implementing the declared East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region; and commends Japan and the Republic of Korea for their restraint. China is called to withdraw its HD-981 drilling rig and associated maritime forces from their current positions.

S.RES. 412 Bill Report and Vote

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The Strange Trip of Corina Turcinovic

After years in the US caring for her quadriplegic husband under a special visa, a medical malpractice suit, and a government fingerprinting error, Turcinovic faces deportation.

HR 306 Bill Report and Vote

Intnl Science and Tech Policy

The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall establish a body under the National Science and Technology Council with the responsibility to identify and coordinate international science and technology cooperation that can strengthen the United States science and technology enterprise, improve economic and national security, and support United States foreign policy goals.

HR 5029 Bill Report and Vote

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Terror Risk Insurance

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act provides financial assistance to commercial property and casualty insurers for losses above certain thresholds…caused by terrorist attacks by individuals acting on behalf of foreign or domestic interests. For such assistance to be provided, the Secretary of the Treasury must certify that a terrorist attack has occurred in the United States or other specified locations. TRIA is set to expire on December 31, 2014.

S 2244 Bill Report and Vote


Taxes

No Tax on Internet Access Made Permanent

The bill would amend the Internet Tax Freedom Act making permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

HR 3086 Bill Report and Vote

Deduction Increased, Made Permanent for Food Contributions

A tax deduction for donations of food to charitable organizations adds options for individual donators to corporate donation deductions.

HR 4719 Bill Report and Vote


Courts

DC Courts Can Collect Employee Debts

The bill allows the District of Columbia to collect outstanding employee debts or overpayments by offsetting pay and sets the timing for collections in monthly installments or at officially established regular pay periods. The bill ensures reasonable deductions (not to exceed 20% of take home pay), and allows the recovery to come from salary, wages, compensation. Individuals are to be properly notified at least 30 days out and are allowed to see records relating to this debt and an opportunity to enter into a written agreement with the Court for a pay schedule.

HR 4185 Bill Report and Vote

Law Suit Would Challenges President’s Authority

The resolution establishes the Speaker’s authority to file suit on half of the US House. The suit claims the President exceeded his authority and violated the Constitution through decisions regarding the Affordable Care Act, specifically when he waived the employer mandate to provide insurance for employees for one year.

The Resolution is not the law suit itself but rather the authorization of the Speaker’s authority to bring the suit.

We write about this bill here…

HRES XXXX Bill Report and Vote

Whistleblower Reviews at MSPB Extended

Under the bill the ‘certain authority with respect to judicial review of Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) decisions relating to whistle blowers’ is extended from two to five years.

HR 4197 Bill Report and Vote

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Unlocking Cell Phones

The bill would return the matter of cell phone users accessing another network to a 2010 Librarian of Congress decision.

S 517 Bill Report and Vote


Authorizations & Appropriations

Federal Register ‘Out-of-Print’

Removes the requirement to print the Federal Register; and the requirement for agencies to submit multiple copies of documents to be published in the Federal Register. The bill replaces the requirement to print with the requirement to publish–which includes a requirement to circulate or distribute.

HR 4195 Bill Report and Vote

STEM Grants Funded

The Director of the National Science Foundation shall continue to award competitive, merit-reviewed grants to support research and development of innovative out-of-school STEM learning and emerging STEM learning environments in order to improve STEM learning outcomes and  research that advances  STEM education.

HR 5031 Bill Report and Vote

Mercury Monitoring

The bill directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national mercury monitoring program that monitors long-term changes in mercury levels in the air; and long-term changes in mercury and methyl mercury levels  in water and soil and in aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

S1528 Bill Report and Vote

National Institute of Standards

$670,500,000 shall be for scientific and technical research and services laboratory activities; (B) $55,300,000 shall be for the construction and maintenance of facilities; and (C) $130,000,000 shall be for industrial technology services activities ti include the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

HR 5035 Bill Report and Vote

Highway Trust Fund Extension

The bill provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes. The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is funded from a federal fuel tax of 18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel, and other excise taxes.

HR 5021 Bill Report and Vote


 Banking & Finance

Financial Services Appropriation

The bill funds a group of agencies responsible for regulating the financial and telecommunications industries; collecting taxes and providing taxpayer assistance; supporting the operations of the White House, the Federal Judiciary, and the District of Columbia; managing Federal buildings; the Small Business Administration, and overseeing the Federal workforce.

HR 5016 Bill Report, Amendments and Votes – HR 5016 Amendments

Annuity Option for Govt Employees

The bill explains that it “Changes the default investment fund for civilian Thrift Savings Plan participants from the G fund to an age-appropriate asset allocation fund. The G fund invests exclusively in a nonmarketable short-term U.S. Treasury securities issued to the Thrift Savings Plan. The earnings come from interest income on the security.

HR 4193 Bill Report and Vote


Other Action

New Group for Windstorm Impact Planning

The bill amends the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004 by revising the provisions governing the NWIRA programs. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is designated to have the primary responsibility for the Program planning and coordination.

Under the bill the Interagency Working Group is replaced with the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Windstorm Impact Reduction and requires a Strategic Plan for the program

HR 1786 Bill Report and Vote

University Research ‘Harmonized’

The bill directs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology policy to establish a working group to include the Office of Management and Budget. The Group will be responsible for reviewing Federal regulations affecting research and research universities and making recommendations on how to harmonize, streamline, and eliminate duplicative Federal regulations and reporting requirements and minimize the regulatory burden on US institutions of higher education performing federally funded research while maintaining accountability for Federal tax dollars.

HR 5056 Bill Report and Vote