House Sit-in Calls for Vote on Gun Control as Senate Rejects Another Amendment.

Bill to Cut the ‘Lifeline’ Fails in the House Along With ‘Fiduciary’ Veto Override

Early Members of House Democrat Sit-in that spanned 23 hours aiming to gain a vote on gun control measures. Photo courtesy Rep. John Yarmouth.

Early Members of House Democrat Sit-in that spanned 23 hours aiming to gain a vote on gun control measures. Photo courtesy Rep. John Yarmouth.

Democrat Members of the House staged a sit-in to demand a vote on gun control bills that Leadership refused to bring to the floor. The sit-in lasted 25 hours with no apparent response from House Leadership who adjourned the House around 3:45 in the morning. The mantra of ‘No fly, no buy’ referred to legislation that would prohibit gun sales to anyone on the no-fly list. The argument against the legislation was that some who are erroneously on that list would be denied their first amendment rights to bear arms.

Rep. John Culbertson (R-TX-7) -

Rep. John Culbertson (R-TX-7) -

The Senate filibuster last week by several Democrat Senators lasted 15 hours and did result in votes on four amendments related to gun control but all failed to gain necessary support for inclusion to HR 2578, the bill making appropriations for Commerce, Justice and Science.. This week, however, Senators voted to not table an amendment offered by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) that would allow the Attorney General to deny sales or transfer of firearms and explosives Federal firearms and explosives licenses and permits to known or suspected terrorists. The amendment would also give Justice 14 days to get a court decision pn the matter and would be charged with proving in court that the person should not have a gun.The motion to table Collins failed 46-52 and was followed by an amendment to Collins that would allow for delay, not just denial. That amendment was tabled 67 to 31. To become law the Collins amendment would need 60 votes and having only received 46 it is not likely to be revisited.

Lifeline Cut.

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8th)

Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-8th)

HR 5525 aimed to end the Lifeline program that provides low or no cost phones to under-served rural areas and the poor. The bill added to the deficit due to lost revenue and came forth at a time when the FCC is considering expanding the program to include low or no cost broadband to the same recipients. The bill failed.

Veto Override.

Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN-1)

Rep. David P. Roe (R-TN-1)

In the midst of the beginning of the House Democrat sit-in Members defeated the effort to override the President’s veto of H.J. Res. 88 a bill passed in the House and Senate to disapprove of an expansion of the definition of ‘fiduciary’. The new, proposed rule that H.J.Res. 88 disapproved of would expand the definition of fiduciary to include investment advisors who, without that designation, are not required by law and with little consequences to act in the best interest of their investing clients. The failure to override the veto allows the regulation to be finalized. Failed in House.


Leadership Response to the sit-in

‘The Chair appreciates that Members will differ on matters of policy and will seek to express those differences. But the Chair would hope that the business of the House could be conducted in a fashion that reflects positively on the dignity and decorum of this institution to which we all belong and serve.’

On the use of personal cameras during the sit-in.

‘Because outside “coverage” of the chamber is limited to floor proceedings and is allowed only by accredited journalists, when the chamber is on static display no audio and video recording or transmitting devices are allowed. The long custom of disallowing even still photography in the chamber is based at least in part on the notion that an image having this setting as its backdrop might be taken to carry the imprimatur of the House.’

National Security & Government Matters

Technology

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

Under HR 5389 The Secretary of Homeland Security shall engage with innovative and emerging technology developers and firms, including technology-based small businesses and startup ventures, to address homeland security needs. Passed House.

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Cyber Protection

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

Rep John Ratcliff (R-TX-4)

HR 5388 supports the research, development, testing, evaluation, and transition of cybersecurity technologies, including fundamental research to improve the sharing of information, analytics, and methodologies related to cybersecurity risks and incidents. Passed House.

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Inspector General

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3)

HR 2395 establishes as an independent entity within the executive branch the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The Council shall continually identify, review, and discuss areas of weakness and vulnerability in Federal programs and operations with respect to fraud, waste, and abuse. Passed House.

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Whistle Blowers

Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA-1)

Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA-1)

HR 4639  reauthorizes the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and make changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of OSC operations. Passed House.

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Social Impact Pilot Program

Rep Todd Young (R-IN-9)

Rep Todd Young (R-IN-9)

HR 5170 would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to enter into agreements with state or local governments to conduct projects where the federal government would make a payment to the state or local government if the project met the requirements of the agreement and achieved one or more of the outcomes specified in the contract.  Passed House.

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Other Action

Foster Care Improvement

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16)

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16)

HR 5456 invests in funding prevention and family services to help keep children safe and supported at home and to ensure that children in foster care are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like, and appropriate settings. Passed House.

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Native American Health

Rep John Moolenar (R-MI-4)

Rep John Moolenar (R-MI-4)

HR 5452 amends the Internal Revenue Code to specify that receiving hospital care or medical services under a medical care program of the Indian Health Service or a tribal organization does not disqualify an individual from being eligible for a health savings account. Passed House.

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Airport Improvement Funding

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42)

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42)

Under HR 4369 DoT is authorized to use a passenger facility charge to finance an airport-related project. The amendment made by subsection (b) applies exclusively to Ontario International Airport, Passed House.

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Fraud Prevention

Seantor Tom Carper (D-DE)S. 2133, would strengthen Federal anti-fraud controls by implementing agency guidelines set by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget with input from the GAO on risk-based fraud prevention techniques, Passed Senate and House.

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Earthquake Prevention

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL-1)

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL-1)

HR 4590 would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out fiscal year 2016 major medical facility projects and would also authorize VA to carry out major medical facility leases. Passed House.

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Veteran Claims Assistance

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA-6)

Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA-6)

HR 3936 establishes a  Veteran Engagement Team to assist in completing VA disability and pension claims. Passed House.

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Border OT Pay

Rep William Hurd (R-TX-23)

Rep William Hurd (R-TX-23)

HR 4902 standardizes premium pay and expands LEAP applicability so that it covers all AMO law enforcement officers. To ensure pay is standardized swiftly, the legislation would require that the change come into force on the first day of the pay period that begins at least 14 days after the date of enactment. Passed House.

Counter Terrorism

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

HR 3114 requires a plan to combat international travel by terrorists and foreign fighters, accelerate the transfer of certain border security systems to foreign partner governments, and suspend foreign assistance to countries not making significant efforts to comply with minimum standards. Passed House and Senate.

Rapid DNA

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

S 2348 requires the use of ‘laboratories that have been accredited by a nonprofit professional association of persons actively involved in forensic science that is nationally recognized within the forensic science community; and undergo external audits, not less than once every 2 years. Passed Senate.

Vet Suicide

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)Under S 2487 the Department of Veterans Affairs is directed to identify: VA mental health care and suicide prevention programs that are most effective for women veterans, and such programs with the highest satisfaction rates among women veterans. Passed Senate.

Justice for All

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

S 2577 would authorize the appropriation of about $121 million annually over the 2017-2021 period, mostly for grant programs administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to assist victims of crime and to enhance the analysis of DNA samples relating to criminal investigations. Passed Senate.