National Security & Foreign Affairs
HR 3583 promises to ‘builds efficiencies and increases coordination for preparedness improvements, while providing greater accountability for taxpayers’ by reforming and improving the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Office of Emergency Communications, and the Office of Health Affairs of the Department of Homeland Security. Passed House.
No Fly for Terrorists
Under HR 4240 a study that exposed certain weaknesses in how the Federal Government nominated individuals to the terrorist watchlist and gaps in how agencies used the list to screen individuals has prompted an independent review of the operation and administration of the Terrorist Screening Database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and subsets of the TSDB.’ Passed House.
Secure Foreign Entry Points
HR 4698 responds to the persistent threats to international-inbound aviation from last point of departure airports with direct flights to the United States, this legislation provides critical impetus for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to comprehensively assess the risk foreign airports pose to U.S. citizens and passenger air carriers. Passed House.
Terrorists Countering Terrorists
HR 4820 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to use the testimonials of former or estranged violent extremists or their associates in order to counter terrorist recruitment and to coordinate the actions with the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies. Passed House.
Protecting Cultural Property
HR 1493 would protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters. The President should establish an interagency coordinating committee to coordinate the efforts of the executive branch to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk. Passed House.
HR 4923 would establish a new process under which the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) would determine which imported products on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule would become eligible to have tariffs suspended or reduced through a future act of the Congress. Passed House.
American Bison Makes the Cut
Energy and Water Falls to Politics
Email Privacy Protections
Who Pays for Oil Spill Cleanup?
The National Mammal -
HR 2908 would make the American Bison the National Mammal noting the near extinction of the beast due to over-harvesting in the 1800s and the effort to protect the species headed by Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s. Despite the national status the bill gives to the Bison the bill notes it has a primary value as food; ’110 head of bison were under the stewardship of private producers, creating jobs and providing a sustainable and healthy meat source contributing to the food security of the United States’. Passed House. Passed Senate.
Energy and Water Spending -
The long and tenuous journey of HR 2028, the bill making over $30 billion available for energy and water resources and program through dozens of House and Senate amendments, failed this week to find the necessary 60 votes to invoke cloture and continue consideration of the bill. The insufficient cloture vote came after an amendment offered by the Republican Senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton.
Under the Iran deal Iran must reduce its stock of heavy water that can be used to make nuclear weapons. The US intends to buy that water. The amendment prohibits the purchase.
Email privacy -
HR 699 would prohibit a provider of remote computing service or electronic communication service to the public from knowingly divulging to a governmental entity the contents of any communication that is in electronic storage or otherwise maintained by the provider. The bill requires a warrant to obtain the information. The provider may be asked by law enforcement not to disclose a subpoena if ‘disclosure would result in endangering the life or physical safety of an individual; flight from prosecution; destruction of or tampering with evidence; intimidation of potential witnesses; or otherwise seriously jeopardizing an investigation or unduly delaying a trial.’ Passed House.
Oil Spills -
Under HR 1684 if there is a discharge, or substantial threat of discharge, of oil from a foreign offshore unit that reaches or threatens to reach the navigable waters or adjoining shorelines or the exclusive economic zone, the owner or operator of the facility will be held liable for the removal and costs and will treated as a responsible party. Passed House.
Banking & Finance-related
Proposed Rule Opposed
The final rule proposed by the SEC and opposed by HJR 88 will replace current regulations with a definition of fiduciary investment advice that better protects plans, participants, beneficiaries, and IRA owners from conflicts of interest, imprudence, and disloyalty. Passed House.
HR 4498 defines an `angel investor group’ as any group that: is composed of accredited investors; holds regular meetings and has specific procedures for making investment decisions; and is not affiliated with brokers, dealers, or investment advisors. The bill also limits the SEC’s actions to amend the requirements with respect to presentations and communications, and not with respect to purchases or sales. Passed House.
Under HR 2901 no Federal officer or agency shall approve any financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes for use in any area that has been identified as an area having special flood hazards and in which the sale of flood insurance has been made available unless the building or mobile home and any personal property to which such financial assistance relates is covered by flood insurance. Passed House /
Publication Safe Harbor
HR 5019 directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to revise a specified regulation to create a safe harbor for certain publications or distributions of research reports by brokers or dealers distributing securities. Passed House.
Trade Secret Protection
S 1890 amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to provide a Federal civil remedy for the misappropriation of trade secrets. A Federal cause of action will allow trade secret owners to protect their innovations by seeking redress in Federal court, bringing their rights into alignment with those long enjoyed by owners of other forms of intellectual property. Passed Senate and House.
HR 4096 amends the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 to permit a hedge fund or private equity fund to share the same name, or a variation of the same name, as a banking entity that is an investment advisor to the hedge fund or private equity fund, if the investment advisor is not an insured depository institution, a company that controls an insured depository institution, or a company treated as a bank holding company for purposes of the International Banking Act of 1978 relating to non-banking activities of foreign banks. Passed House.
HR 3030 directs the Coast Guard to convey specified federal land (including buildings, structures, utilities, and miscellaneous facilities) in Baudette, Minnesota, to the city of Baudette, upon payment to the United States of the property’s fair market value. Scheduled but not voted.
HR 223 Authorizes the appropriation of $1.5 billion through 2021 to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program that funds projects targeting invasive aquatic species and non-point source pollution. The program received an appropriation of $300 million for fiscal year 2016. . Passed House.
HR 2615 establishes the `Virgin Islands of the United States Centennial Commission to plan and implement activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Virgin Islands of the United States (USVI) becoming an unincorporated territory of the United States. Passed House.
Administrative Leave Rules
HR 4359 prohibits placing a federal employee on administrative leave, or any other paid non-duty status without charge to leave, for more than 14 total days for reasons relating to misconduct or performance. Passed House.
HR 4360 requires federal agencies to make a notation in a separated employee’s official personnel file if that employee resigns in the midst of an investigation that ultimately makes an adverse finding against that employee. Passed House.
DC School Opportunities
HR 4901 bill repeals the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program School Certification Requirements Act to limit its focus to students in the lowest-performing DC elementary and secondary schools. Passed House.
S 1523 revises the National Estuary Program requiring the EPA to make competitive awards to address urgent and challenging issues that threaten the economic and ecological well-being of coastal areas. Passed Senate. Passed House.