October 19, 2017 – Senate Amends House Budget Resolution. Amendments and Votes here.
Senate and House Agree on Disaster Aid
Senate Amendment Passes House. Senate to concur next week.
Rewards for Cost Cutters
Congress agreed to use HR 2266 as a vehicle to increase disaster aid. The bill unamended aimed to increase and organize bankruptcy judge-ships in several states. The amendment was written by Senator Chuck Grassley. (R-IA). The Senate will concur next week.
The amended bill would provide $36 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie and for he ongoing firefighting in California but also attends to the National Flood Insurance Program. (NFIP)
The bill earmarks $18.7 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund. From that fund Puerto Rico would receive $4.9 billion in low-interest loans to keep it in cash during the recovery and an additional $1.27 billion for food stamps in Puerto Rico.
California fires would receive $576.6 million.
$16 billion would offset a portion of NFIP’s debt, The program, due to making good on flood damages from the hurricanes, is running out of money. Senate Amended bill Passed House. .
HR 378 would amend title 5, United States Code, to enhance the authority under which Federal agencies may pay cash awards to employees for making cost saving disclosures. The head of an agency may pay a cash award to any employee of such agency whose identification of unnecessary expenses to the Chief Financial Officer of the agency has resulted in cost savings for the agency.
Not all employees could earn a reward; employees not qualified to be rewarded include an officer serving in a position at level I of the Executive Schedule; is the head of an agency; is an officer or employee of the Office of the Inspector General of an agency; or is a commissioner, board member, or other voting member of an independent establishment. Passed House.
The House is adjourning until Monday, October 23rd. The Senate returns to work on Monday, October 16th.
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HR 2196 increases who can be the recipient of whistleblower information to include the Inspector General of an agency, a supervisor in the employee’s direct chain of command up to and including the head of the employing agency, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Passed House.
S. 585, the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, provides additional protections to Federal employees who are retaliated against for disclosing waste, fraud, or abuse in the Federal Government. Additionally, the bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to address agency-specific gaps in its protection of VA employees. Passed Senate. Passed House.
No Load Batteries
The purpose of S. 190 is to provide for consideration of the extension under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of non-application of No-Load Mode energy efficiency standards to certain security or life safety alarms or surveillance systems.’ Passed Senate and House.
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial
HR 2989 establishes a commission to plan, develop, and carry out, and to recommend to Congress, programs and activities that are fitting and proper to celebrate that anniversary in a manner that appropriately honors Frederick Douglass. Passed House.
NIST and Cyber-fighting
Under HR 2105 the National Institute of Standards Director, in consultation with the heads of other appropriate Federal agencies, shall disseminate clear and concise resources to help small business concerns identify, assess, manage, and reduce their cybersecurity risks. Passed House.
Small Business R&D
H.R. 2763 would extend the pilot program through fiscal year 2022, Require agencies in the STTR program to create a new program to provide grants to federal laboratories and research institutions that support the commercialization of federally funded research and technologies. Passed House.
Clinical Care Expansion
S. 920 would establish a National Clinical Care Commission within the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate federal programs related to clinical care for individuals with a complex metabolic or autoimmune disease such as diabetes. Passed Senate and House.
HR 2229 would permanently extend the authority for federal employees to appeal a Merit Systems Protection Board decision regarding whistleblower cases at any federal court, instead of only at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. Passed House.
HR 3031 would amend title 5, United States Code, to provide for flexibility in making withdrawals from a Thrift Savings Plan account. Passed House.
Deficit up $82 Billion or Maybe $121 Billion: CBO
The federal government ran a budget deficit of $668 billion in fiscal year 2017, CBO estimates—$82 billion greater than the shortfall recorded in fiscal year 2016. If not for the shift of certain payments from October to September in both 2016 and 2017 (because the first day of the month fell on a weekend), the deficit would have increased by $121 billion in 2017 (mostly because 2016 outlays would have been smaller).
Total Receipts: Up by 1 Percent in Fiscal Year 2017.
Individual income and payroll (social insurance) taxes together rose by $87 billion (or 3 percent).
Corporate income tax payments declined by $3 billion (or 1 percent)