House Begins Interior Spending

Senate Finishes Trade Bills / Continues with DoD Appropriations

Wood Stork

When wood storks were listed as endangered in 1984, their population was dropping a precipitous 5 percent a year. Since then, the U.S. breeding population has shown substantial improvement in the numbers of nesting pairs as a whole and an expansion of its breeding range. Photo: DOI

The House began consideration of HR 2822 and will complete debates during the first week in July. H.R. 2822 provides approximately $30.17 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Interior for FY 2016, which is $246 million below FY 2015 levels and $2.038 billion below the President’s request. The bill provides $7.4 billion in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a cut of $750 million below the FY 2015 enacted level and $1.2 billion below the President’s request. Under consideration.

HR 2822 bill report

By a vote of 60 to 35 Senators agreed to concur  in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2146, the bill providing trade authority for the President and by voice vote concurred  in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 1295, the bill establishing trade promotion practices.

The votes came after three weeks of procedural and other votes through which the Senate granted both authority and promotion provisions but the house stalled on the promotion provisions. Ultimately both bodies agreed to both bills sending them to the President for his signature.

The House did not agree with Senate amendments to HR 1735 that disagreed with House amendments to the bill providing appropriations for the Department of Defense for FY 2016. The House appointed conferees and will go to conference to iron out differences.

HR 2146 bill report    /   HR 1295 bill report.  / HR 1735 bill report

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8 Bills Address Homeland Security Issues

DHS is  facing the largest backlog of unprocessed FOIA requests of any federal agency–roughly half of the total number for all federal agencies. This legislation requires a more streamlined approach to the processing of FOIA requests, which should aid in backlog reduction. Passed House.

HR 1615 bill report

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The purpose of H.R. 1640 is to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a report on the Department of Homeland Security headquarters consolidation project in the National Capital Region. Passed House.

HR 1640 bill report

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H.R. 1626 requires the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Homeland Security  to identify duplicative or fragmented information technology systems within the Department and develop a strategy to reduce such duplication or fragmentation. Passed House.

HR 1626 bill report

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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS-2)

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS-2)

The GAO is required to initiate a study to assess the university-based centers for homeland security program and provide recommendations to Congress for appropriate improvements. Passed House.

HR 2390 bill report

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The purpose of H.R. 1637 is to require annual reports on the activities and accomplishments of federally funded research and development centers within the Department of Homeland Security. Passed House.

HR 1637 bill report

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This legislation requires that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis enhance intelligence analysis and information sharing on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

HR 2200 bill report

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The Secretary of Homeland Security is directed to research how commercially available small and medium sized unmanned aircraft, excluding aircraft over 1,300 pounds could be used to perpetuate an attack. Passed House.

HR 1646 bill report

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The purpose of H.R. 1633 is to provide for certain improvements relating to the tracking and reporting of employees of the Department of Homeland Security placed on administrative leave. Passed House.

HR 1633 bill report

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Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ-10) Sponsor

Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ-10) Sponsor

HR 615, amended by the Senate, passed the House requires the Department of Homeland Security to achieve and maintain interoperable communications capabilities among the components of  DHS. Senate concurred.

HR 615 bill report

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Impact of Toxic Substances to be Studied

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-5)

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-5)

The EPA Administrator shall conduct risk evaluations to determine whether or not a chemical substance presents or will present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Passed House.

HR 2576 bill report

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Foreign Cotton vs Domestic

Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13th)

Rep. David Scott (D-GA-13th)

The bill would amend the United States Cotton Futures Act to exclude certain cotton futures (Foreign) contracts from coverage under the Commodity Exchange Act. Passed House.

HR 2620 bill report

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US Internet Domain Oversight Change Prohibited

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-5)

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL-5)

National Telecommunications and Information Administration is prohibited from relinquishing responsibility over the Internet domain name system until the Comptroller General of the United States submits to Congress a report on the role of the NTIA with respect to such system.” Passed House.

HR 805 bill report

Deadline for CO2 Emission Compliance Extended

Rep Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1st)

Rep Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1st)

The bill would allow “for judicial review of any final rule addressing carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units before requiring compliance with such rule, and to allow States to protect households and businesses from significant adverse effects on electricity ratepayers or reliability.”

HR 2042 bill report

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Obamacare Advisory Board Repeal

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

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

The Independent Payment Advisory Board would be repealed under the bill that sees the Board as likely to cut Medicare benefits. The Board, created by the ACA, is responsible for cost savings and maintaining or increasing benefits. Passed House.

HR 1190 bill report

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Transportation Board would be Made Independent

Senator John Thune (R-SD) sponsor

Senator John Thune (R-SD) sponsor

S. 808 would establish the Surface Transportation Board (STB) as an independent agency outside of the Department of Transportation (DOT). It would authorize the DOT Office of Inspector General to review financial management, property management, and business operations of the STB. It also would authorize the STB for fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2020. Passed Senate.

S 808 bill report

CBO Weighs in on Obamacare Repeal

Repealing the Affordable Care Act is something of a mantra for most Republicans who, since the law was signed in 2010, have passed around 60 bills that would dismantle sections of the law or outright repeal it.

Over that time the cost of repealing the law became an issue. CBO’s regular calculations have placed the cost of repeal at around $350 billion over ten years. That is because repealing the law also repeals its revenue sources and, returning to the time before the ACA would raise the cost of medical treatments and insurance rates.

Courtesy CBO

Courtesy CBO

This year the CBO calculated the repeal using dynamic scoring where the CBO is charged with looking at the macro-economic effects (tax increase or decreases, job creations and loss, economic stimulation) and came up with a $137 billion increase in the deficit over ten years. The report holds, “Repeal of the ACA would raise economic output, mainly by boosting the supply of labor; the resulting increase in GDP is projected to average about 0.7 percent over the 2021–2025 period. Alone, those effects would reduce federal deficits by $216 billion over the 2016–2025 period, CBO and JCT estimate, mostly because of increased federal revenues.”

But the numbers are not necessarily certain; “The uncertainty is sufficiently great that repealing the ACA could reduce deficits over the 2016–2025 period—or could increase deficits by a substantially larger margin than the agencies have estimated. Said CBO but noted “…the$137 billion loss is its ‘best estimate’.

CBO added that “Repealing the ACA would cause federal budget deficits to increase by growing amounts after 2025, whether or not the budgetary effects of macroeconomic feedback are included. That would occur because the net savings attributable to a repeal of the law’s insurance coverage provisions would grow more slowly than would the estimated costs of repealing the ACA’s other provisions—in particular, those provisions that reduce updates to Medicare’s payments. The estimated effects on deficits of repealing the ACA are so large in the decade after 2025 as to make it unlikely that a repeal would reduce deficits during that period, even after considering the great uncertainties involved.”

“The ACA made many changes to the Internal Revenue Code that were not directly related to the law’s insurance coverage provisions. JCT estimates that repeal of those non-coverage revenue provisions would reduce revenues by a total of $631 billion over the 2016–2025 period. The largest components of those revenue effects include … The ACA increased the Hospital Insurance payroll tax for certain high-income taxpayers and applied a surtax to their net investment income. Repeal of those provisions is projected to reduce revenues by $346 billion; Repeal of an annual fee on health insurance providers is estimated to reduce revenues, on net, by $142 billion (reflecting both the loss of fee collections and the indirect effects of those fees on health insurance premiums that are either tax-preferred or subsidized); The repeal of an annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs is projected to reduce revenues by $30 billion, and the repeal of an excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices is projected to reduce revenues by $24 billion.

Beyond the financials the outcome of repeal is not positive, “Repealing the ACA also would affect the number of people with health insurance and their sources of coverage. CBO and JCT estimate that the number of non-elderly people who are uninsured would increase by about 19 million in 2016; by 22 million or 23 million in 2017, 2018, and 2019; and by about 24 million in all subsequent years through 2025, compared with the number who are projected to be uninsured under the ACA. In most of those years, the number of people with employment-based coverage would increase by about 8 million, and the number with coverage purchased individually or obtained through Medicaid would decrease by between 30 million and 32 million.”

Read the full report here…