Hatch Amendment Prevails in Trade Negotiation Bill

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Amendment Sponsor.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Amendment Sponsor.

The substitute amendment to HR 1314 offered by Senator Orin Hath (R-UT) received sufficient votes to invoke cloture and move the bill towards further amendments and debates. Requiring a 60 vote threshold for agreement the amendment received 62 votes in its favor. Hatch was agreed to and the bill was passed Friday evening with a vote of

The Bill as amended by Hatch goes into great details to establish preferred procedures for international trade agreements with an emphasis on Trade Promotion Authority, covers trade negotiating objectives and authorities, congressional oversight, implementation of agreements and extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance up to $450 million through 2021. Passed Senate amended 62 to 37.

Hatch Amendment

HR 1314 under the Hatch Amendment

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House Approves Senate Trafficking Bill

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Bill sponsor

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) Bill sponsor

S. 178, aims to deter human trafficking, build on services to victims of child pornography, increase compensation and restitution for trafficking victims, streamline investigations, enhance reporting, and reduce demand for sex trafficking. Passed Senate and House.

S. 178 bill report.

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Space Bill Encourages Private Investment, Limits Liability.

Courtesy: NASA

Seen as important to US competitiveness and national security HR 2262 opens the door to encourage private-sector investors in the expansion of space exploration and travel. Photo courtesy: NASA

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

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

Under HR 2262, a bill intending to “facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment and creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions”,  congress primarily looks at liability protection. Liability being a significant insurance cost for investors, the bill would establish that ‘customers, the contractors and subcontractors of the customers, and any space flight participants, involved in launch services or reentry services or participating in a flight’ … “agree(s) to be responsible for property damage or loss it or they sustain, or for personal injury to, death of, or property damage or loss sustained by its own employees resulting from an activity carried out under the applicable license.” Passed House.

HR 2262 Bill report

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Weather Forecasting Improvement

Includes Hurricane and Tornado Warning Programs

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK-3rd) Bill Sponsor

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK-3rd) Bill Sponsor

The bill requires a program “to develop improved understanding of and forecast capabilities for atmospheric events and their impacts, placing priority on developing more accurate, timely, and effective warnings and fore-casts of high impact weather events that endanger life and property.” Competitive grants would be available to institutions of higher education, private entities and non-governmental organizations to collaborate with the federal government for weather research. Passed House.

HR 1561 bill report

 

 

 

Highway Trust Fund Gets Brief Extension

Rep. Bill Schuster (R-PA-9) , Bill Sponsor

Rep. Bill Schuster (R-PA-9) , Bill Sponsor

“H.R. 2353 would extend from May 31, 2015, when the Highway Trust Fund is due for reauthorization and funding,  until July 31, 2015, the authority to expend funds from the Highway Trust Fund, and extend the authorization to obligate funds for programs administered by the Federal-Aid Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The bill also would extend the authority to expend funds from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, and the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund until July 31, 2015.

The Highway Trust Fund is funded by appropriations and from taxes on gasoline and petroleum goods related to petroleum. The money is then disbursed to municipalities and government agencies overseeing highway travel.  Passed House. / Passed Senate /

HR 2353 bill report

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Regulation Reduction at DoE

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) Sponsor

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) Sponsor

Contractors of the Dept of Energy nonmilitary labs would receive increased authority to negotiate contract terms and signature authority with respect to specified agreements of less than $1 million.  Directors of national labs would be authorized to use funds to carry out early-stage and pre-commercial technology demonstration activities and remove technology barriers that limit private sector interest. Passed House.

HR 1158 bill report


Science & Technology

New ‘Body’ Would Assess US Position on Science and Technology

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3rd Sponsor

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3rd Sponsor

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is directed to establish a  ‘body’ responsible for identifying and coordinating international technology and cooperation with the aim of strengthening US science and technology enterprises, improve economic and national security and support US foreign policy goals. Passed House.

HR 1156 bill report.

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Working Group to Review How Regulations Affect Research

The Office of Science and Technology Policy is to create a group to harmonize, streamline, and eliminate duplicative federal regulations and reporting requirements and minimize regulatory impact onUS institutions of higher education performing federally-funded research. Passed house.

HR1119 bill report

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Science Prize Funding

Rep Donald Beyer (D-VA)  Sponsor

Rep Donald Beyer (D-VA) Sponsor

Under the bill financial support for the design and administration of a prize competition or funds for a cash prize purse, may consist of Federal appropriated funds and funds provided by private sector for-profit and nonprofit entities. Passed House. The head of an agency may not give any special consideration to any private sector for-profit or nonprofit entity in return for a donation.’ Passed House.

HR 1162 Bill report.

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Super Computer Improvement

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) Sponsor

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14) Sponsor

Department of Energy would coordinate the development of high-end computing systems, partner with universities, National Laboratories, and industry to ensure the broadest possible application of the technology developed in the program to other challenges in science, engineering, medicine, and industry; and include among the multiple architectures researched…any computer technologies that show promise of substantial reductions in power requirements and substantial gains in parallelism of multicore processors, concurrency, memory and storage, bandwidth, and reliability.” Passed House.

HR 874 bill report

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Research Tax Credit Revisions

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-8( Bill Sponsor)

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-8( Bill Sponsor)

In general the bill would revise the formula for calculating the amount of a research tax credit, makes that credit permanent and allow a portion of that credit as an offset against the alternative minimum tax of a business that is eligible. Passed House.

HR 880 bill report

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Veteran Affairs

Homeless Veterans

VA programs that provide job training, counseling, and placement services to homeless veterans to expedite their reintegration into the labor force are extended through FY 2020. Passed House.

HR 474 bill report

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ID for All Veterans

The veteran who wants the card must have been discharge under honorable conditions, must present a copy of the DD-214 form or other document from the official military file, and pay a fee. Passed House.

HR 91 bill report

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Vet Housing Qualifications

VA payments to the veteran for regular aid and expenses related to that aid would not be counted as part of family income when qualifying for HUD housing. Passed House.

HR 1816 bill report

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Vet Spouses Can Continue With Assistance

Small business contracting goals and preferences would be extended for ten years to the surviving spouse of a veteran who was either disabled or died from a service-connected disability, as if the spouse were the veteran. Passed House.

HR 1313 bill report

Record of Negative Employment Actions

Notice of reprimand or admonishment received by VA employees would be kept in their personnel file permanently. Passed House.

HR 1038 bill report

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Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Businesses seeking to sell goods and services to the US government would be given preference if they employ veterans, amount of preference based on the percentage veteran employed. Passed House.

HR 1382 bill report

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America Competes

The bill would ‘provide for technological innovation through the prioritization of Federal investment in basic research, fundamental scientific discovery, and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States…Passed House

HR 1806 bill report

House Budget Set

The House approved $3.4 billion to keep its doors open and does not include funds for the Senate  expected to be $1 billion. The bill reports that FY 2016 spending is the same as FY 2015 and is below the budget request by $172.3 million. Passed House.

HR 2250 bill report