Bill Resists UN Proposals for Internet Governance
The House agreed to HR 1580, a bill raising ‘the sense of Congress’ on preserving the Internet structure as it is and without government intervention to the level of US policy.
The legislation grew from an international meeting on the matter in Dubai, UAE in 2012 when the US sent a delegation armed with the ‘sense of Congress’ resolution only to find a majority of attending nations (90) showed interest in government involvement in the Internet against 55 who supported the US position. Thus the change from ‘sense’ to policy.
Of most concern is that the role of governing the Internet would be handled by the UN agency, the International Telecommunications Union. The bill questions past actions by the Union which were seen as complicated and benefiting countries rather than internet uses and adds that the Union, while dealing with Internet telephony has no experience dealing with data.
Legislative documents go to great lengths explaining the importance of the Internet, how it works as it does, and why government should leave things as they are.
SEC Rule-Making Defined
Under the bill the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), prior to implementing a rule on the financial sector, is required to identify the problem the rule would solve, how important the problem is, and identify alternatives to the rule.
A cost / benefit analysis is required to determine that the benefits of the rule justify its cost. When a rule has an impact around $100 million the SEC is required to report to Congress within two years on assessing the costs, benefits, and consequences of the rule using performance measures that were identified when the rule was adopted.
Bill Adds to List of Attempts to Repeal Obama Care
The House agreed on a near party-line vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCER) passed during the debates that modified the original bill. This bill, HR 45, was agreed to 229 to 195.
The bill is one of over fifty bills the House Majority put forth since 2010 of which some were direct attempts to repeal the law in its entirety and others contained provisions weakening the law in bills addressing other matters. All such bills were agreed to in the House but saw little or no action in the Senate.
The bill is specific that only elements related to healthcare would be repealed from the HCER. The HCER included provisions regarding Pell Grants and aimed to reform the student loan program although those provisions were removed from the bill on final passage.
CBO says past estimates of repeals calculated the cost as adding $109 billion to the deficit. Repeal of insurance provisions would save $1.2 trillion but repealing the rest of the law would cost $1.3 trillion, CBO said.
Marianas’ and Military Action in the Pacific Rim
By extending the Territory’s submerged rights, the bill sets the stage for military buildup.
Alert Proposed When Cops in Danger
The bill would authorize a national Blue Alert communications network to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.
Vet Housing Addressed
A position is created in HUD to aid homeless veterans gain a roof over their heads.
Senate Completes Water Resources Bill
Senators voted 83 to 14 to pass S 601, a bill that focuses on development of US water resources, dam and levee safety, harbor maintenance, weather events mitigation and preparation, and other related matters.
The heavily amended bill would spend $5.7 billion through 2018 and $6.5 billion through 2023
S. 601 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, CBO concluded. “Public and private entities would be required to comply with regulations to prevent the spread of invasive species” but CBO calculates the extent of the impact and the costs would be minimal. (The impact of bills is measured by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act which sets the bar at an impact of $75 million…rising to $150 million in 2013)
SEC Rule Supported
The finalizing of an SEC rule is supported by this bill that allows securities with a market valued under $50 million to be offered without registration.
BLM Offices Streamlined
A consolidation of offices overseeing pilot projects is proposed.
Utes, Utah, and US Swap land
Utah gets to pick subsurface mineral rights; the Utes get to keep mineral rights, and the US keeps its hand in the deal.
Senate Agrees to Medal for Slain Children
Senators gave unanimous consent agreement to HR 360, a bill commemorating the death of four children in a 1963 Birmingham church bombing.
For many members of Congress, the time for choosing is near – do what the party leadership demands, or do what the people have asked you to do. If my colleagues don’t mind some advice from a newcomer, I’d suggest going with the will of the people.
Rep. Scott Brown
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The House and Senate will continue work on Friday, May 17th and will then adjourn, returning to work on Monday, May 20th.