Dept. of Energy
HR 4376 directs the Secretary of Energy to upgrade and construction of research equipment and facilities administered by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science. Passed House.
HR 4378 directs the Secretary of Energy to carry out the construction of a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source. Passed House.
Low Dose Radiation
HR 4675 amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide for a low-dose radiation basic research program. Passed House.
H.R. 4377 would authorize the appropriation of funds to support construction of and upgrades to research equipment and facilities administered by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
STEM Education for Kids
HR 3397 bill instructs the National Science Foundation, when awarding grants to consider age distribution in order to more equitably allocate funding for research studies with a focus on early childhood. Passed House.
Dueling Immigration Bills
Trump’s Enormous Budget
The bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6) falls in line with Trump’s wishes or negotiating stance to get his things done in exchange for provisions regarding DACA, an Obama program that defers exportation for illegal immigrants who were brought here as children and are now employed, in the military or in school.
The bill addresses ‘chain migration’ by narrowing family members who can be later brought in by a naturalized citizens to ‘children and spouse of a citizen of the United States’.
The bill would eliminate the diversity lobby provisions that attempts to diversify immigrants from countries not actively aiming at immigration by allowing the to apply for a lottery. The immigrant population for skilled workers is raised from 140,000 to 195,000.
The bill would also create an agriculture worker pool and a pilot program for immigrant investors.
Trump wants a bill that provides protections for DACA recipients and other so-called Dreamers, Border secuirty is considered this way, “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall take such actions as may be necessary (including the removal of obstacles to detection of illegal entrants) to design, test, construct, install, deploy, and operate physical barriers, tactical infrastructure, and technology in the vicinity of the United States border to achieve situational awareness and operational control of the border and deter, impede, and detect illegal activity in high traffic areas.”
Senate Bill –
Senators agreed to move forward on an immigration bill said to be bi-partisan. Currently the bill is being amended but would approve a 12-year path to citizenship for DACA individuals expected to reach 1.8 million. The bill also would rovide $25 billion over ten years to build the southern border wall.
The House and Senate are adjourning until Monday, February 26 leaving them a long week to do something about DACA before the March 5th deadline to end the program.
The Senate may have the cotes to pass its bill but the fate of the House bill is uncertain. Should both pas we will be heading for a Senate / House conference to iron out details.
More on these bills in Maneuverings.
Dead on arrival.
Trump’s Office of Management and Budget FY 2019 budget would spend $4.4 trillion mostly on military. About everything else suffers cuts. The thinking is that this is another step (over the ledge, perhaps) to making American great again. Trump believes that his programs and policies will simply turn on the faucet to government revenues. It is the same thinking that promises the recent tax cuts will stimulate the economy and pay for itself. Estimates are that his budget will bring the deficit to $7 trillion but supporters (there are few).
There is some irony in this misguided budget; in the wake of the 17 killed and 14 wounded high school students in Parkland Florida this week many will notice that his budget cuts funds for background checks on those buying guns and cuts school security sepnding as well.
HR 3978 amends current law to require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to allow for the calculation of the discounted rate title insurance companies may provide to consumers when they purchase a lenders and owners title insurance policy simultaneously. Passed House.
Consumers and Credit
H.R. 3299 would overturn a appeals court decision and permit non bank financial institutions to charge interest rates that exceed certain state caps if a bank makes a valid loan and then sells or transfers the loan to a non bank. Passed House
Under HR 4979 the US Trade Representative shall submit to the Congress a report on efforts to ensure that countries designated as beneficiary developing countries under title V of the Trade Act of 1974 are meeting the eligibility criteria. Passed House.
Missing in Action
HRS 129 seeks intensification of efforts to investigate, recover, identify, and account for all missing US personnel worldwide. Scheduled not voted.
Prohibiting Human Shields
HR 3542 would make it US policy to condemn the use of humans as shields in carrying out and act of terror. Such behavior is considered a violation of human rights. Passed House.
Changes to Filing Disability
H.R. 620 ‘requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability. The program may include training for professionals to provide a guidance of remediation for potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).’
HR 620 prohibits civil actions based on the failure to remove an architectural barrier to access into an existing public accommodation unless: (1) the aggrieved person has provided to the owners or operators a written notice specific enough to identify the barrier, and (2) the owners or operators fail to provide the person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to improve the barrier or they fail to remove the barrier or make substantial progress after providing such a description. Passed House.
Deficit Up $174 billion Since November 2017; CBO
The Congressional Budget OFfice reports that the first FY quarter deficit of $174 billion is $16 billion more than at the same time last year.
Receipts totaled $1,131 billion during the first four months of fiscal year 2018, CBO estimates—$46 billion more than during the same period last year.
Outlays for the first four months of fiscal year 2018 were $1,306 billion, $62 billion higher than they were during the same period last year, CBO estimates. If not for the shift of certain payments from October to September (which also occurred last year) because the first of the month fell on a weekend, outlays so far this year would have been $65 billion (or 5 percent) larger. The discussion below reflects adjustments to account for those timing shifts.