Separation of Powers Bill Passes House

Senate Finds Votes On Agreeing to Conference Reports

House Bills Increase Iran Sanctions, Block Access to US Financial System, and Block US-Iran Purchases.

IRAN

House Members continue their assault on the P5+1 Joint Agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. More about this country here…

Separation of Powers -

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

HR 4768 passed the House and would require de novo judicial review of government regulations to determine their legality and constitutionality. While the bill seems to want to address concerns about government regulations cramping businesses style and costing time and money, it appears to opponents to be further delaying regulations with the required judicial review. All amendments offered to exempt certain agencies failed. The bill, then, would apply to all government agencies. Passed House.

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Senate / House Measures -

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

The Senate again wrangled with H.R. 5293 the Defense Appropriations bill that continues to allude cloture mostly due to a disagreement between the House and Senate on funding to fight the Zika virus; $1.1 billion in the Senate and around $650 million in the House. S 764, the bill used to carry text to defund Planned Parenthood, was amended by the House and Senate. The Senate amendment creating a voluntary program for food producers to label their products regarding any Genetically Modified content. The Senate found the votes to agree to the House amendments and under a rule, the House then agreed to the Senate amendment to the House amendment, (GMO), sending the bill to the President.

Senators agreed to cloture on Senate / House conference reports for S 524 (addiction prevention and treatment) and  HR 636 that carries authorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration. Cloture was also agreed to for S 2012 (Energy Policy Modernization) on the motion to disagree to the House amendment to the Senate bill, agree to request for conference.

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Iran -

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23rd)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23rd)

House Members continued their effort to impose more sanctions on individuals involved in acts of terror or with entities involved in acts of terror in HR 5631 denying Iran access to funds denominated in United States dollars, including through any offshore United States dollar clearing system for transactions involving the Government of Iran or an Iranian person. Passed House.

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Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4)

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4)

HR 5119 prohibits the US from meeting its agreement to purchase or issue a license for the purchase of heavy water from Iran. (a product of nuclear refinement that can be used for weapons purposes). Passed House.

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Rep Ed Royce (R-CA-39)

Rep Ed Royce (R-CA-39)

HR 4992  codifies restrictions on US bank involvement with Iran or an Iranian until the President certifies that the government of Iran is no longer engaged in support of terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and any illicit and deceptive financial practices. Passed House.


Where We have Been, Where We are Headed

The good news is that Congress is working with the second year of a two-year budget but the resistant Freedom Caucus and other ideological House Members has stalled completion of the 12 spending bills and their authorizations.

The shortfall in passing appropriation bills, despite promises to the contrary by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), is only the most obvious problem; political messaging bills that clearly have no chance of the President’s signature were obvious regarding issues such as Iran, cutting regulations, particularly with the IRS and EPA, vague bills targeting specific elements of the Affordable Care Act, and the list goes on of time and money being spent on legislation with some political value but no future as laws.

What has been avoided thus far is a shutdown of the Federal government but the prospect looms since the accumulation of unpassed appropriation bills will lead to a continuing resolution to keep the government going into FY 2017 largely because it is element of one bill or another on which enough Members have dug in on resisting. We’ll see if Ryan is skilled enough to keep the doors open despite serious practical and ideological issues within his Party.

The future isn’t exactly bright; out of the 24 remaining weeks in this session Congress is scheduled to do business for 9 of them.

We can expect a continuing resolution that will come with a struggle but little, if any, effort to pass gun control legislation and despite an effort that would go light on spending for transportation infrastructure little legislation is likely to address our aging infrastructure and a confusing education policy.

It’s not always like this but election year politics prevail.

Education

College Data

Rep Virginia Foxx (R-NC) HR 50 Sponsor

Rep Virginia Foxx (R-NC) HR 50 Sponsor

Hr 3178 establishes that the Secretary of Education “…shall develop and make publicly available a website to be known as the ‘College Dashboard website’ in accordance with this section and prominently display on such website, in simple, understandable, and unbiased terms for the most recent academic year. Passed House.

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Education Financing

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2nd)

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2nd)

HR 3179 requires that “Each eligible institution shall ensure that each individual who receives a Federal Pell Grant or a loan receives comprehensive information on the terms and conditions of the Grant or loan and the responsibilities the individual has with respect to the grant or loan. Passed House.

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Student Aid Application

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3)

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3)

HR 5528 simplifies the application for a student loan process the bill allows for the use of data from a preceding year and would calculate the annual adjustment percentage for Federal Pell grants. Passed House

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Grants for Certain Universities

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3)

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV-3)

HR 5529 amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorize additional grant activities for Hispanic-serving institutions.’ Passed House.


Banking & Finance

College Grants

Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12)

Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12)

HR 5530 amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to modify certain provisions relating to the capital financing of historically Black colleges and universities. Passed House.

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SEC

Rep Ed Royce (R-CA-39)

Rep Ed Royce (R-CA-39)

HR 5421 applies the exemption from State regulation of securities offerings to securities listed on a national security exchange that has listing standards. Passed House.

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Territorial Investments

Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY-7)

Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY-7)

HR 5322 amend the Investment Company Act of 1940 by terminating an exemption for companies in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and any other US possession. Passed House.


Veteran’s COLA

Rep. Ralph C. Abraham (R-LA-5)Under HR 5588 compensation rates for veterans and service with service-connected disabilities would be increased as would the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of disabled veterans. Passed House.

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“…all members of Congress should be required wear NASCAR uniforms. You know, the kind with the patches? That way we’d know who is sponsoring each of them.” Brad Thor

Other Action

Energy

Solar Research

Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA-25)

Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA-25)

HR 5638 expands theoretical and fundamental knowledge of photochemistry, electrochemistry, biochemistry, and materials science useful for the practical development of experimental systems to convert solar energy to chemical energy. Passed House.

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Batteries

Rep Lamar Smith (R-TX-21)

Rep Lamar Smith (R-TX-21)

HR 5640 authorizes a research initiative, to be known as the Electricity Storage Basic Research Initiative, to expand theoretical and fundamental knowledge to control, store, and convert electrical energy to chemical energy and the inverse. Passed House.

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Government

DHS Vehicles

Rep Scott Perry (R-PA-4th)

Rep Scott Perry (R-PA-4th)

HR 4785 contains four specific elements that address significant challenges the Department faces with managing the second largest civilian vehicle fleet in the Federal government. Specifically, authority at the headquarters level,  components must more rigorously evaluate their fleets,  penalties if components do not adhere to the requirements of the bill; and  a requirement to identify alternative methods for managing component fleets. Passed House.

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DHS Review

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12)

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12)

HR 5385 requires the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review to outline the strategic framework to guide the activities of participants in homeland security toward a common end. Passed House.

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NIST Security

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11)

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11)

HR 5636 directs the Department of Commerce Office of Security to manage the law enforcement and security programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology through an assigned Director of Security for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Passed House.

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NIST Promotion

Rep John Moolenar (R-MI-4)

Rep John Moolenar (R-MI-4)

HR 5639 authorizes the Director to support, promote, and coordinate activities and efforts to enhance public awareness and understanding of measurement sciences, standards, and technology by the general public, industry, government, and academia in support of the Institute’s mission through research fellowships. Passed House.

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Attracting Talent

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23rd)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23rd)

HR 5658 establishes a program to encourage successful entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators to join the Government and work in close cooperation with Government leaders, to create meaningful solutions that can help save lives and taxpayer money, fuel job creation, and significantly improve how the Government serves the American people. Passed House.


National Security

IMF v. Money Laundering

Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM-2nd) Bill Sponsor

Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-NM-2nd) Bill Sponsor

HR 5469  directs the US Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund to support the IMF capacity to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Passed House.

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National Strategy

Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8)

Rep Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8)

HR 5594 requires a national strategy for combating the financing of terrorism and related forms of illicit finance.’ Passed House.

Treasury Tools

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) HR 1195 SponsorHR 5602 imposes reporting and record-keeping requirements on  domestic financial institutions  or businesses in a geographic area to carry out the purposes of and prevent evasions of the Bank Secrecy Act.” Passed House.

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Treasury Tools II

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) HR 1195 SponsorHR 5607 studies the advisability of transforming the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence into a standalone bureau of the Department of the Treasury. Passed House.

Foreign Fighter Games

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ-2)

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ-2)

HR 4404 requires an exercise to determine how partners at federal, state, local, and tribal government levels  and abroad are currently responding to foreign fighter travel. Passed House.

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Airport Security

Rep. William Keating (D-MA-9)

Rep. William Keating (D-MA-9)

HR 5056 modernizes and enhances airport perimeter and access control security by requiring updated risk assessments and the development of security strategies. Passed House.