CD103 Cover

CD103: Crazy Busy June

More bills than anyone could possible read were passed by a branch of Congress in June, including the 994 page National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), four government funding bills, and thirty bills governing a wide range of topics, including Wall Street, MediCare, fishing, carbon dioxide emissions, stolen art, chemical storage, taxes, and more.


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New Congressman

Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi's 1st district was sworn into office

Emergency

The Obama Administration continued the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13405 on June 16, 2006 with respect to Belarus

  • Bulletin: Prospects for Belarus' Membership in the WTO by Anna Maria Dyner, The Polish Institute of International Affairs, July 31, 2013.

Laws

H.R. 2048: USA Freedom Act

Outlined and discussed in Congressional Dish Episode 98: The USA Freedom Act


H.R. 2620: United States Cotton Futures Act


H.R. 1626: DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act

  • Makes the DHS submit a report about the department's technology and gives them no additional money to complete it.
  • Passed the House of Representatives and the Senate by voice votes
  • Sponsored by Rep. Will Hurd of Texas's 23rd district
  • 2 pages

Bills


H.R. 1735: National Defense Authorization Act

  • Passed the House of Representatives 269-151
    • The version passed by the House of Representatives received a veto threat by President Obama
  • Passed the Senate with changes 71-25
  • Sponsored by Rep. Mac Thorneberry of Texas's 13th district
  • 994 pages
Weird advertisement for the NDAA


H.R. 2685: Department of Defense Appropriations Act

  • Passed the House of Representatives 278-149
  • Received a veto threat from President Obama
  • Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey's 11th district
  • 170 pages

H.R. 2596: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016

  • Passed the House of Representatives 247-178
  • Received a veto threat from President Obama
  • Sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes of California's 22nd district
  • 63 pages

H.R. 2578: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016

  • Passed the House of Representatives 242-183
  • Received a veto threat from President Obama
  • Sponsored by Rep. John Culberson of Texas's 7th district
  • 218 pages

H.R. 2577: Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

  • Passed the House of Representatives 216-210
  • Received a veto threat from President Obama
  • Sponsored by Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida's 25th district
  • 354 pages

H.R. 1335: Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act


H.R. 2042: Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015


H.R. 2289: Commodity End-User Relief Act

  • Hearing: House Rules Committee, June 2, 2015.
  • Extends operations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Limits the rules and regulations that can be enacted on futures commissions merchants
  • Adds seven more considerations (including alternatives to regulation) to the requirements of cost-benefit analysis of regulations.
  • Orders the CFTC cost benefit analysis to be reviewed by a judge.
  • Allows the traders to be regulated to challenge new CFTC rules directly to the US Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the country.
  • Limits the subpoena power of the CFTC
  • Removes the requirement that the CFTC be immune from lawsuits that arise from sharing data about swaps with domestic and foreign authorities and backdates this change to July 21, 2010, the effective date of Dodd Frank Financial Reform.
  • Adds "a utility operations-related swap" to the list of swaps that can be traded, which allows gambling on the future of natural gas or electric generation, purchases, sales, supplies or delivery.
  • Exempts traders from being classified and regulated as a "swaps dealer" if they trade less than $8 billion (current CFTC rule exemption limit is $3 billion).
  • Expands the number of financial models swaps dealers will be allowed to use to determine how much actual money they need to hold onto.

  • Passed the House of Representatives 246-171

  • Received a veto threat from President Obama

  • Sponsored by Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas's 11th district

  • 80 pages


H.R. 1190: Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015


H.R. 160: Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015


H.R. 2200: CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2015

  • Allows the Office of Intelligence an Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security to share information and work with the Intelligence community to analyze possible chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks.
  • Allows the Department of Homeland Security to share information related to terrorist attacks with the public.
  • Passed the House of Representatives 420-2
  • Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally of Arizona's 2nd district
  • 6 pages

H.R. 805: DOTCOM Act of 2015

Press Release: NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions, March 14, 2014.

  • Prohibits the transition of NTIA's functions in Internet domain name registry until 30 days after a report is submitted.
  • Passed the House of Representatives 378-25
  • Sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois's 15th district
  • 4 pages

H.R. 2576: TSCA Modernization Act

  • Eliminates a requirement that EPA use the "least burdensome requirements" when regulating toxic chemicals
  • Orders the EPA to do risk evaluations on chemicals used, stored, sold or disposed of by commercial companies.
    • The risk evaluations will not consider cost
    • If the risk evaluation is requested by a manufacturer, the manufacturer will pay for the risk assessment
    • The EPA will be required to do at least 10 risk assessments per year "subject to the availability of appropriations".
  • Adds an exemption for "replacement parts" from the EPA rules prohibiting chemicals unless the replacement parts "contribute significantly to the identified risk".
  • Adds the requirement that any rules created "shall provide for a reasonable transition period."
  • Eliminates the requirement for an informal hearing when making rules about toxic chemicals.
  • Creates a "critical use exemption" option for the EPA if the requirement is not "cost-effective", if it would "significantly disrupt the national economy, national security, or critical infrastructure"
  • Allows data to be shared with State, local, or tribal governments and with health care professionals to assist with diagnosis or treatment.
  • Forces companies that want to keep information confidential to explain their reasons and automatically releases the information to the public in 10 years, unless the company justifies the confidentiality again in writing.
  • Eliminates caps of fees that can be collected and creates a "TSCA Service Fee Fund" to collect, store, and disperse the funds to pay for the EPA's costs for regulating chemicals.
  • Passed the House of Representatives 398-1
  • Sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois's 15th district
  • 48 pages

H.R. 1615: DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015

  • Orders the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer of the Department of Homeland Security to update Freedom of Information Act regulations within 90 days of the bill's passage.
  • Orders the Chief FOIA Officer to identify the total annual cost of implementing the FOIA within 90 days.
  • Orders the Chief FOIA Officer to identify unnecessary actions taken in the course of processing requests and eliminate them within a year of identifying them.
  • Orders the Chief FOIA Officer to develop a plan to to process requests electronically.
  • Orders the Chief FOIA Officer to issue guidance to the necessary people to reach the goal of reducing the FOIA request backlog by 50 percent by 2018.
  • Passed the House of Representatives 423-0
  • Sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia's 1st district
  • 7 pages

S.611: Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act

  • Authorizes $15 million per year until 2020 to provide technical assistance to small public water systems.
  • Passed the Senate by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi
  • 5 pages

S. 653: Water Resources Research Amendments Act

  • Adds a requirement for additional research into new water treatments into the Water Resources Research Act
  • Requires an evaluation of water resource research projects every three years and withdraws funds from projects that do not qualify based on the evaluation.
  • Authorizes $13.5 million per year through 2020.
  • Passed the Senate by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland
  • 5 pages

H.R. 2088: United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015

  • Reauthorizes the Department of Agriculture's process for grain inspections until September 30, 2020.
  • Forces the Secretary of Agriculture to waive weighting and inspections of grain in an "emergency, a major disaster"; currently, the Secretary has the option to do so, but does not have to.
    • A "major disaster" is defined to specifically include "a sever weather incident causing a region-wide interruption of government services".
  • Changes the location of export inspections to specifically "export elevators" at export port locations.
  • Widens the criteria for who is qualified to perform official inspections by deleting a list of requirements.
  • Delegations of authority to conduct grain inspections to a State will expire every five years, and my be renewed.

    • Adds a public comment period before the Secretary can delegate inspection responsibility to a State and requires a notice in the Federal Register announcing if the State was approved and the rational for the decision.
    • The State would have to give at least 90 days notice advanced notice in writing to the Dept. of Agriculture if they want to stop performing grain inspections, unless there has been a major disaster.
    • The public must be given online a list of the States delegated to perform official inspections, which needs to be updated at least twice a year.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas's 11th district

  • 18 pages


H.R. 2051: Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2015

  • Extends mandatory price reporting requirements for livestock until September 30, 2020.
  • Clarifies that reports are expected on days the Dept. of Agriculture is open for business, including days when the government is "on shutdown or emergency furlough as a result of a lapse in appropriations".
  • Allows transactions between pork packers and producers to take place using a new pricing formula.
  • Changes the definition of an importer of lamb to include anyone who imports an average of 1,000 metric tons per year; currently importers have to comply with regulations if they import and average of 2,500 metric tons of lamb per year.
  • Changes the definition of a lamb packer to someone who owns 50% or more of a facility and slaughters an average of 35,000 heads of lambs per year; currently if they slaughter 75,000 lambs per year.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas's 11th district
  • 8 pages

H.R. 2394: National Forest Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2015

  • Reauthorizes and appropriates $3 million per year until 2018 for the National Forest Foundation Act, which established a partnership with a non-profit to study and restore national forests.
    • This is triple the previous funding.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania's 5th district
  • 3 pages

H.R. 235: Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act

Article: Internet tax moratorium extended again by Grant Gross, IDG News Service, December 15, 2014.

  • Makes the moratorium on Internet access taxes permanent.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia's 6th district
  • 2 pages

H.R. 889: Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act

  • Prohibits art imported into the United States to be temporarily displayed from being seized by the United States, even if that art is discovered to have been stolen.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio's 1st district

  • 5 pages


S. 184 and H.R. 1168: Native American Children’s Safety Act

  • Requires criminal background checks of any person who lives in a house applying to provide foster care to an Indian child and prohibits placement if anyone in the home is found to have committed certain crimes.

  • Both bills passed the Senate and the House of Representatives by voice votes

  • S. 184 was sponsored by Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota and H.R. 1168 was sponsored by Kevin Cramer of North Dakota

  • S. 184: 12 pages
    H.R. 1168: 10 pages


S. 246: Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act

  • Establishes the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children.
    • All 11 members will be appointed by the President and Congressional leaders and their appointments will be for the entire duration of the commission.
    • The Commission's job will be to complete a study on the effectiveness of programs aimed at the health and education of native children and to make recommendations for fixing the inadequacies.
    • The Commission will terminate 90 days after they submit their report.
  • Authorizes, but does not appropriate, $2 million.

  • Passed the Senate by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

  • 27 pages


H.R. 404: Authorizing early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska

  • Allows Nebraska landowners to repay construction debts at any time.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote
  • Sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska's 3rd district
  • 3 pages

H.R. 1493: Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act

  • Directs the State Department to designate an existing employee to coordinate efforts to protect art around the world from being stolen and/or destroyed.
  • Establishes a committee, which will meet once a year and be made up of representatives from various Federal agencies, who will "coordinate and inform Federal efforts to protect international cultural property".
  • Blocks importation of "archaeological or ethnological material of Syria" starting 120 days after the bills enactment.

    • The import restrictions will expire in five years, but can be extended.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Eliot Engel of New York's 16th district

  • 19 pages


S. 253: Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act

  • Orders a public report every two years on competition, availability of services, and regulatory barriers to entry into the communications services business.
  • Repeals an annual public report on privatization of the communications services industry, which includes public comments.
  • Repeals an annual report on foreign and domestic competition in the communications satellite market.
  • Eliminates an annual report on the "status of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming".
  • Eliminates the requirement that a report on cable industry price be completed annually.
  • Eliminates the requirement that a report on regulatory barriers be reviewed every three years.
  • Eliminates an FCC analysis "of whether any of such competitors have a dominant share of the market"

  • Passed the Senate by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada

  • 16 pages


S. 565: Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act

  • Encourages Federal agencies to use remanufactured vehicle parts to maintain Federal vehicles.

  • Passed the Senate by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan

  • 4 pages


H.R. 2570: VBID for Better Care Act

  • Establishes a three year demonstration project to test "value-based insurance" for Medicare patients at two Medicare Advantage sites.
    • Value based insurance allows insurance companies flexibility with co-payments, allowing them to lower co-payments for services deemed to be "high value" preventative services and increasing rates for services with uncertain value. It's designed to "create financial disincentives for poor health choices".
  • The demonstration projects would not allow increases in co-payments to discourage the use of services.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee's 6th district

  • 17 pages


H.R. 2507: Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act

  • Extends the amount of time between proposed Medicare rate changes are announced and when they can go into effect from 60 days to 90 days.
  • Requires more information about why the changes are being implemented.
  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote
  • Sponsored Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas's 8th district
  • 4 pages

H.R. 2505: Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act

  • Requires an annual report to Congress detailing the location and number of people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania's 3rd district

  • 4 pages


H.R. 2582: Securing Seniors' Health Care Act

  • Prohibits the government from terminating a contract for a Medicare Advantage organization because it fails to meet minimum quality standards until the end of 2018.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida's 16th district

  • 10 pages


H.R. 1633: DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015

Article: Administrative Leave Restrictions at DHS Backed, FedWeek, July 8, 2015.

  • Orders a report to be completed by the Department of Homeland Security four times per year on the number of people on paid administrative leave for more than six months and the cost associated.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia's 11th district

  • 7 pages


H.R. 1646: Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act

  • Orders a report on how commercially available small and medium sized drones could be used to commit terrorist attacks and what the Department of Homeland Security could do to stop this type of attack.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey's 12th district

  • 4 pages


H.R. 1637: Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015

  • Orders an annual report on the Federally funded research projects being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas's 4th district

  • 3 pages


H.R. 2390: Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act

  • Orders an annual report on the effectiveness of using universities to conduct Department of Homeland Security research.

  • Passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote

  • Sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi's 2nd district

  • 5 pages


June Hearings

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Security Assistance in Africa, June 4, 2015.

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Trade Promotion and Capacity Building in the Asia-Pacific Region, June 16, 2015.

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: Western Hemisphere Drug Interdiction Efforts, June 16, 2015.

House Committee on Financial Services: The Impact of the International Monetary Fund: Economic Stability or Moral Hazard?, June 17, 2015.

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: Drones: The Next Generation of Commerce?, June 17, 2015.

House Committee on Energy and Commerce: A National Framework for the Review and Labeling of Biotechnology in Food, June 18, 2015.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs: The Future of Property Rights in Cuba, June 18, 2015.

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: American Energy Exports, June 23, 2015.

Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control: Cannabidiol, June 24, 2015.

House Committee on Homeland Security: DHS' Efforts to Secure .Gov, June 24, 2015.

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: The State of Positive Train Control Implementation in the United States, June 24, 2015

House Committee on Ways and Means: Repatriation of Foreign Earnings as a Source of Funding for the Highway Trust Fund, June 24, 2015

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry: Country of Origin Labeling, June 25, 2015

Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Global Impact of a Greek Default, June 25, 2015.


Jen's Podcast Appearances

American Worker's Radio

September 9, 2015 episode of American Workers Radio


Music Presented in This Episode

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