Hydroelectric Dam

CD077: The May Bills

In this episode, we look at a bill that furthers the “new normal” in Africa, a bill that sanctions Venezuela, a banking bill, a charter school bill, some silly bills that won’t become law, and a few Presidential declarations.

Presidential Declarations

H. Doc. 113-107: Withdrew Russia as a beneficiary country under the Generalized System of Preferences program

Russia loses duty-free treatment.

On what?

  • State Dept website says: Products that are eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP include: most manufactured items; many types of chemicals, minerals and building stone; jewelry; many types of carpets; and certain agricultural and fishery products.
  • USTR numbers sheet: Top 6 Products: Car parts, metals, tires, oil, precious metal jewelry, corn

H. Doc. 113-108: Continued National Emergency in Syria

H. Doc 113-109: Proposed agreement for nuclear energy with Vietnam

Bills That Passed the House


HR 4386: State Supervision of Banks

Became Law on August 8th without any recorded votes.


H.R. 3080: Water Project Funding

This was the bill that privatized water projects that was the subject of episode CD050: Privatize Water Projects.

  • The version that became law didn't rush environmental reviews. There's no deemed approval of projects and lawsuits against a permit will be barred after 3 years, not five months.

  • The bill keeps the provision that allows natural gas companies and utilities to pay the Army to speed up their permitting process, but added that the authority will expire in seven years and the permits have to be available to the public on the Internet.

  • The House version would have allowed privatization of facility management and emergency water projects but the law allows privatization of the construction of publicly paid-for water projects in the United States.

  • The pilot program to privatize fifteen flood mitigation projects also survived.

Escape from privatized flood control projects in style!

Escape from privatized flood control projects in style!


HR 2548: Economic Hitmen to Africa Act of 2014

Passed 297-117 on May 8, 2014

Introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, who represents the hot and dusty parts of Orange County, California.

S. 2508, an almost identical bill, was introduced in the Senate in June by a Democrat. The White House has not issued a veto threat.


H.R. 4578: Sanction Venezuela Act

No Recorded Vote – Passed Unanimously

After the former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, died in 2013, his hand-picked Vice President, Nicholas Maduro, became President. President Maduro continued the policies of Hugo Chavez which are not liked by the multi-national corporations. For example, he recently cracked down on electronics and car dealers for price gauging, making good on an announcement from late last year during which he said he wants limits on business' profit margins. President Nicholas Maduro is not a free-market kind of leader.

Since February, there have been protests in the wealthier areas of Venezuela. This is where things get murky. The protests were started by students who were apparently protesting the high crime rate, inflation, and inability to get certain products. People against President Maduro quickly joined.

President Maduro has accused the United States of stirring up the protests to attempt what he called a "slow-motion" coup, like the recent successful coup in Ukraine. It's worth remembering that the U.S. was proven to have attempted a coup in Venezuela as recently as 2002.

Either way, President Maduro's government has responded with arrests of protestors and expelled three U.S. diplomats from Venezuela whom President Maduro said were responsible recruiting students to lead the protests.

H.R. 4578 says that in response to the government's response to the protests – including the intimidation of journalists by the government – the U.S. government will take the following actions:

  • Sanctions against current or former Venezuelan government officials, or anyone acting on behalf of the government, who ordered violence, the arrest of protestors, media censorship, or provided money or support to someone who did.
    • The sanctions include asset blocking of money or property if it comes into the possession of the United States or a United States "person" (corporation).
    • Exception: The importation of goods.
  • The same people eligible for sanctions will be ineligible for visas into the United States.
    • Exception: To let them in for a United Nations event.
  • Sanctions will be applied to people or companies who give Venezuela firearms, ammunition, technology, including telecommunications equipment.
  • The bill also orders a classified report from the Secretary of State on how to improve communications for activists in Venezuela, including activities to "train human rights, civil society, and democracy activists in Venezuela to operate effectively and securely."
  • Gives $5,000,000 to USAID to "provide assistance to civil society in Venezuela"

There is currently a hold on the Venezuelan sanctions in the Senate because Senator Mary Landrieu – who has taken at least $1.4 million from the oil & gas industry – put a hold on the bill after Citgo – the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company – raised concerns that the sanctions would make it harder for the company to import their Venezuelan oil.


H.R. 10: Another Charter School Bill

Charter School Defined

A public school that is exempt from State and local rules about the management of public schools. The schools can not be religious or charge tuition.

The vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans voted for it.

This bill was authored by Rep. John Kline of Minnesota. He's Chairman of the Education Committee and his #1 campaign contributor for this upcoming election is Apollo Education Group, a multi-billion dollar corporation that makes its money in for-profit education.


H.R. 3584: Privately Insured Credit Unions Can Become Members of Federal Home Loan Banks

Federal Home Loan Banks

  • Are privately owned cooperatives; they're owned by the member banks
  • They provide money to local banks
  • There are twelve of them around the country
  • Most locals banks are members of at least one Federal Home Loan Bank
  • They get their money from the global credit market.
What Would H.R. 3584 Do?
  • Allows privately insured credit unions to become members of Federal Home Loan Banks if they are FDIC eligible or are certified by the State.
  • If the State doesn't get to it in under 6 months, the application is deemed approved.

This bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio. His top two contributing industries are Insurance and Commercial Banks.


H.R. 4225: Jail for Advertisers Bill

Only nineteen representatives voted against this bill and it now moves into the Senate.

Authored by Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri.

Will I get ten years in prison for posting this image?


H.R. 2527: Therapy for Veteran Sexual Assaults

  • Allows veterans who were sexually assaulted during training to get therapy to deal with the assault included as part of their veterans' health benefit package.

Passed without a recorded vote.


H.R. 4438: Permanent Business Tax Credits

The bill was written by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.

The President said he would veto the bill because the tax credits are not paid for.


Music Presented in This Episode

Intro and Exit Music: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

Let Their Heads Roll by Jack Erdie (found on Music Alley by mevio)

How you can help the show...

Congressional Dish Voicemail Line: (339) 707-0307