NSA and Pipeline Bills Fail in the Senate

Two bill aiming to do something about contentious issues failed to garner enough support from Senators this week.

S 2685, a bill to reform National Security Agency (NSA) telecom surveillance under the Patriot Act centered on ending NSA bulk data collection but fell short of the 60 vote requirement for passage by 2 votes.

Equally a squeaker was the vote on S 2280, a bill authorizing construction and maintenance of the proposed XL pipeline from Canada to the Kansas border that lost by one vote even with 13 Democrats supporting passage.

The bulk data collection provisions in The Patriot Act do not expire until June 1, 2015 raising the possibility that the bill will return to the Senate in some form but the future of XL pipeline now remains a question; the rule governing debate of S 2280 required that the bill needs 60 votes to pass and if it passed the Senate would strike the content of S 2280 and replace it with the House-passed HR 5682; an identical bill. HR 5682 could face the same fate in the Senate as S 2280.

The Senate was successful in agreeing to House amendments to the Senate bill S 1086 reauthorizing a child care program and requiring that states receiving funds must carry out specified activities affecting the quality of child care and must carry out criminal background checks for child care staff members of child care providing agencies.

S 2685 bill report and vote    S 2280 bill report and vote

HR 5682 bill report and vote   S 1086 bill report and vote

Two bills Would Revise EPA Processes

The House agreed on party-line votes to two bills affecting EPA decision-making; HR 4012 prohibits the EPA from creating a rule regarding a risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, and other criteria unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the action is specifically identified and publicly available.

Another bill, HR 1422, would make changes to how the EPA Science Advisory Board does business including requiring that state and local governments be represented on the SAB and that the public can recommend new members. The SAB is made up of appointed scientists appointed and reviews the scientific data that is part of a proposed EPA action such as approving a permit.

HR 4012 bill report and vote  HR 1422 bill report and vote

Low-Dose Radiation Effects Studied

To enhance the scientific understanding of and reduce uncertainties associated with the effects of exposure to low dose radiation the bill requires the Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science to carry out a long-term, prioritized research program on the matter involving national laboratories and universities.

The bill prohibits biomedical research as a component of the basic research and provides no additional funds to carry out the research.

HR 5544 bill report and vote

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Duck Stamps

The price is raised by $10 to fund migratory bird habitats related to bird hunting.

HR 5069 bill report and vote.


                                                               Three Land Bills

Wisconsin

The boundary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is adjusted to include the Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light Addition at the end of the Breakwater in Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin.

HR 4049 bill report

Virginia

 Previous law is amended to allow a previously conveyed 3.3 acre parcel of US land in Rockingham County Virginia to be used for a child care center. The bill also removes a previous restriction on that use.

HR 5162 bill report and vote

Idaho

 Under the bill 31 acres of US land in Idaho County, Idaho would be conveyed to the County to be used as a shooting range. The County must pay any  administrative and other costs associated with the conveyance.

HR 5040 bill report and vote

VFW Re-Chartered

This bill amends the charter and description to replace the word ‘men’ with soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who served in wars, campaigns, and expeditions on foreign soil or hostile waters.’

HR 5441 bill report and vote


The US & The World

Girls Count

The bill states its purpose “To authorize the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries.

HR 3398 bill report and vote

Iran Condemned

The bill condemns alleged violations of human rights and religious freedoms by Iran and calls for various US actions and urges the President to increase the utilization of all available authorities to impose sanctions on Iranian officials and others.

HRes 754 resolution

 

UK / US Nuke Agreement

In order for a country to enter into such an agreement with the United States, that country must commit to a set of nine nonproliferation criteria. The United States has entered into nuclear cooperation agreements with 23 countries.

HR 5681 bill report and vote


Tax Break for Michigan Tribe

Under some circumstances funds paid to the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians are excluded from federal or state income taxes and  from being included to deny or reduce a Band member’s SS benefits.

HR 3608 bill report and vote

Clean Air Act Provisions Modified

The bill state’s it purpose as “to promote new manufacturing in the United States by providing for greater transparency and timeliness in obtaining necessary permits, and for other purposes”.  Specifically, “The bill addresses preconstruction permits required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) for major stationary sources and requires reporting on permits in the hopper and timelines to issuance.

New regulations must also include guidance on implementing them and yearly reports on actions being undertaken by the agency to expedite the processing of permit applications.

HR 4795 bill report and vote

Changes to TV Transmission

The bill states its purpose is to amend the Communications Act of 1934 and title 17 of the US Code to extend provisions relating to the transmission of signals of television broadcast stations, about to expire, and for other purposes.

HR 5728 bill report and vote