Saturday, July 22, 2017

Senate Committee Schedule — Week of July 24, 2017

Tuesday, Jul. 25, 2017
Hearings to examine commodities, credit, and crop insurance, focusing on perspectives on risk management tools and trends for the 2018 Farm Bill.
Business meeting to consider the nominations of J. Paul Compton, Jr., of Alabama, to be General Counsel, and Anna Maria Farias, of Texas, and Neal J. Rackleff, of Texas, both to be an Assistant Secretary, all of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Richard Ashooh, of New Hampshire, to be an Assistant Secretary, and Elizabeth Erin Walsh, of the District of Columbia, to be Assistant Secretary and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, both of the Department of Commerce, and Christopher Campbell, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
Hearings to examine efforts on marine debris in the oceans and Great Lakes.
Hearings to examine developing and deploying advanced clean energy technologies.
Hearings to examine the nominations of Ralph R. Erickson, of North Dakota, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit, Dabney Langhorne Friedrich, of California, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, Stephen S. Schwartz, of Virginia, to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims, and Brian Allen Benczkowski, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice.
Business meeting to markup an original bill entitled, "Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018".
Business meeting to markup an original bill entitled, "Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018."
Hearings to receive testimony on options and considerations for achieving a 355-ship Navy from naval analysts.
Hearings to examine assessing the maximum pressure and engagement policy toward North Korea.
Closed business meeting to consider pending intelligence matters; to be immediately followed by a closed briefing on certain intelligence matters.
Wednesday, Jul. 26, 2017
Hearings to examine progress toward a cure for Type I Diabetes, focusing on research and the artificial pancreas.
Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2018 for the Department of the Treasury.
Hearings to examine the nominations of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, and Peter B. Davidson, of Virginia, to be General Counsel, both of the Department of Commerce, and Mark H. Buzby, of Virginia, to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration, and Ronald L. Batory, of New Jersey, to be Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, both of the Department of Transportation.
Hearings to examine
  • S. 32, to provide for conservation, enhanced recreation opportunities, and development of renewable energy in the California Desert Conservation Area,
  • S. 90, to survey the gradient boundary along the Red River in the States of Oklahoma and Texas,
  • S. 357, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain public lands in San Bernardino County, California, to the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, and to accept in return certain exchanged non-public lands,
  • S. 436, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to retire coal preference right lease applications for which the Secretary has made an affirmative commercial quantities determination, to substitute certain land selections of the Navajo Nation, to designate certain wilderness areas,
  • S. 467, to provide for the disposal of certain Bureau of Land Management land in Mohave County, Arizona,
  • S. 468, to establish a procedure for resolving claims to certain rights-of-way,
  • S. 614, to require the Secretary of the Interior to establish a pilot program for commercial recreation concessions on certain land managed by the Bureau of Land Management,
  • S. 785, to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide for equitable allotment of land to Alaska Native veterans,
  • S. 837, to provide for the conveyance of certain land to Washington County, Utah, to authorize the exchange of Federal land and non-Federal land in the State of Utah,
  • S. 884, to amend the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 to require the Bureau of Land Management to provide a claimant of a small miner waiver from claim maintenance fees with a period of 60 days after written receipt of 1 or more defects is provided to the claimant by registered mail to cure the 1 or more defects or pay the claim maintenance fee,
  • S. 941, to withdraw certain National Forest System land in the Emigrant Crevice area located in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Park County, Montana, from the mining and mineral leasing laws of the United States,
  • S. 1149, to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to repeal a provision limiting the export of timber harvested from land conveyed to the Kake Tribal Corporation under that Act,
  • S. 1230, to prohibit the conditioning of any permit, lease, or other use agreement on the transfer of any water right to the United States by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture,
  • S. 1271, to designate certain mountain peaks in the State of Colorado as "Fowler Peak" and "Boskoff Peak", and
  • S. 1548, to designate certain land administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service in the State of Oregon as wilderness and national recreation areas and to make additional wild and scenic river designations in the State of Oregon
Hearings to examine South Sudan's conflict and famine; to be immediately followed by a full committee hearing to examine the nominations of Michael Arthur Raynor, of Maryland, to be Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Maria E. Brewer, of Indiana, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone, both of the Department of State.
Business meeting to consider
  • S. 873, to amend section 8433 of title 5, United States Code, to provide for flexibility in making withdrawals from the Thrift Savings Fund,
  • S. 288, to require notice and comment for certain interpretative rules,
  • S. 886, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish an Acquisition Review Board in the Department of Homeland Security,
  • S. 906, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide for congressional notification regarding major acquisition program breaches,
  • S. 1199, to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to reauthorize the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program within the Department of Homeland Security,
  • S. 938, to require notice of cost-free Federal procurement technical assistance in connection with registration of small business concerns in procurement systems,
  • S. 1208, to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide for an option under the Secure Mail Initiative under which a person to whom a document is sent under that initiative may elect to have the United States Postal Service use the Hold for Pickup service or the Signature Confirmation service in delivering the document, S.Con.Res. 15, expressing support for the designation of October 28, 2017, as "Honoring the Nation's First Responders Day",
  • H.R. 1293, to amend title 5, United States Code, to require that the Office of Personnel Management submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of official time by Federal employees,
  • H.R. 1117, to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to submit a report regarding certain plans regarding assistance to applicants and grantees during the response to an emergency or disaster,
  • H.R. 1679, to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's current efforts to modernize its grant management system includes applicant accessibility and transparency,
  • H.R. 195, to amend title 44, United States Code, to restrict the distribution of free printed copies of the Federal Register to Members of Congress and other officers and employees of the United States,
  • H.R. 194, to ensure the effective processing of mail by Federal agencies, and an original bill to amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to reauthorize the Judicial Conference of the United States to redact sensitive information contained in financial disclosure reports of judicial officers and employees
An oversight hearing to examine the Foreign Agents Registration Act and attempts to influence United States elections, focusing on lessons learned from current and prior administrations.
An oversight hearing to examine the Government Accountability Office reports on human trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Natives in the United States.
An oversight hearing to examine Federal infrastructure permitting and the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.
Thursday, Jul. 27, 2017
Hearings to examine the nominations of Rostin Behnam, of New Jersey, Brian D. Quintenz, of Ohio, and Dawn DeBerry Stump, of Texas, each to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Hearings to examine the nominations of Joseph Otting, of Nevada, to be Comptroller of the Currency, Department of the Treasury, and Randal Quarles, of Colorado, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Reappointment), and to be Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Closed business meeting to markup pending intelligence matters.
Business meeting to markup
  • an original bill entitled, "Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018",
  • an original bill entitled, "Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018",
  • and an original bill entitled, "Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2018".

House Committee Schedule — Week of July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

H.J.Res. 111 — Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to Arbitration Agreements.; H.R. 3219 — Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018 [Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018] (Rules Committee Print 115-30, showing the text of H.R. 3219, H.R. 3162, H.R. 2998, and H.R. 3266 as reported by the Committee on Appropriations with modifications.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Examining Sue and Settle Agreements: Part II

Examining Advancements in Biofuels: Balancing Federal Research and Market Innovation

Deter, Detect and Interdict: Technologys Role in Securing the Border.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force and Current Terrorist Threats

Oversight and Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission

Hearing on the Internal Revenue Services Record Retention Policies

No Regulation Without Representation: H.R. 2887 and the Growing Problem of States Regulating Beyond Their Borders

Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Coast Guard Sea, Land, and Air Capabilities, Part II

PTSD Claims: Assessing Whether VBA is Effectively Serving Veterans

Securing Air Cargo: Industry Perspectives.

Evaluating DOD Equipment and Uniform Procurement in Iraq and Afghanistan

Examining the Presidents FY 2018 Budget Proposal for Europe and Eurasia

Held for Ransom: The Families of Irans Hostages Speak Out

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the Committee on Natural Resources will convene at 4:00p.m. for opening statements only, for a Full Committee markup in 1324 Longworth House Office Building. The Committee will reconvene the markup on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Office of National Drug Control Policy: Reauthorization in the 115th Congress"

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the Committee on Natural Resources will convene at 4:00p.m. for opening statements only, for a Full Committee markup in 1324 Longworth House Office Building. The Committee will reconvene the markup on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in 1324 Longworth House Office Building.

STEM and Computer Science Education: Preparing the 21st Century Workforce

U.S. Cyber Diplomacy

Powering America: A Review of the Operation and Effectiveness of the Nations Wholesale Electricity Markets

Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture

Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities

Examining the Extension of Special Needs Plans

Oversight of the Library of Congress' Strategic Plan

Protecting Small Businesses from Cyber Attacks: the Cybersecurity Insurance Option

Markup of:
  • H.R. 2626, (Mr. Hurd), the Strong Visa Integrity Secures America Act.
  • H.R. 2805, (Miss Rice of New York), To permanently authorize the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card Program.
  • H.R. 3202, (Ms. Jackson Lee), the Cyber Vulnerability Disclosure Reporting Act.
  • H.R. 3284, (Mr. Fitzpatrick), the Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series Act of 2017.
  • H.R. 3328, (Mr. Katko), the Cuban Airport Security Act of 2017.
  • H.R. ___, (Mr. McCaul), The "Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2017".
  • H.Res. 447, (Mrs. Watson Coleman), Directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to transmit certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to Department of Homeland Security policies and activities relating to businesses owned or controlled by President Donald J. Trump.
Assessing the U.S.-Qatar Relationship

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1778 (Rep. Liz Cheney), H.R. 3117 (Rep. Evan Jenkins), and the Discussion Draft of H.R. ____ (Rep. Tom Emmer)

Employee Misconduct: How Can FEMA Improve the Integrity of its Workforce.

The Need for the Balanced Budget Amendment

Antitrust Concerns and the FDA Approval Process

Combatting Homegrown Terrorism

Markup of
  • H.Res. 422, Urging adherence to the "one country, two systems" policy as prescribed in the Joint Declaration between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of the Hong Kong
  • H.Res. 445, Honoring the life and legacy of Liu Xiaobo for his steadfast commitment to the protection of human rights, political freedoms, free markets, democratic elections, government accountability, and peaceful change in the People's Republic of China
  • H.R. 2732, North Korea Travel Control Act
  • H.R. 3320, To direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization, and for other purposes
U.S. Interests in the Asia-Pacific: FY 2018 Budget Hearing

House Committee Meetings ScheduleWeek of July 23 - 29, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

House Floor Schedule — Week of July 24, 2017

On Monday, the House will meet at noon for morning hour and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business. The House will consider a number of suspensions next week, a complete list of which will be announced by close of business tomorrow.

Now, one suspension worth highlighting is H.R. 3218, the Forever GI Bill, sponsored by Representative Phil Roe. This bipartisan legislation will remove the 15-year cap for benefits that forces veterans to use it or lose it, while enabling vets to take advantage of innovative new models like nanodegrees and massive open online courses. Education in the 21st century is a process of lifelong learning, and I look forward to the House passing this important reform on behalf of the men and women who bravely serve our Nation.

In addition, the House will use the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the CFPB rule on arbitration agreements. This rule hurts consumers at the expense of class-action trial lawyers, and we will work with our colleagues in the Senate to overturn this misguided regulation.

The House will also consider H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, sponsored by Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen. This is vital that we demonstrate our commitment to America's servicemembers and uphold our constitutional duty to provide for the common defense.

This security package includes the committee's marked and reported bills for Defense, Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Among many positives, the bill
  • gives a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops,
  • increases funding for our Capitol Police,
  • ensures greater oversight and accountability at the VA, and
  • fully funds the President's request for a wall along our southern border.
As always, Members are advised that late-night votes are likely next week during the consideration of this appropriations package. Finally, additional legislative items are possible in the House, and I will be sure to notify Members of any additions to our schedule.

Full floor colloquy on next week's House schedule

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pro-Life Policy in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill

Tuesday the House Appropriations Committee approved the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

Rep. Robert Aderholt offered a pro-life amendment to prevent funding for elective abortion for detainees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to safeguard the conscience rights of any ICE employee who objects to facilitating an abortion. Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Carter (R-TX) rose in support of the Aderholt amendment. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) also spoke in support.

The Aderholt amendment was adopted by a vote of 29-21; 28 Republicans and 1 Democratic Member, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), voted to adopt the pro-life language. 21 Democratic Members voted in opposition to the amendment. 2 Republicans, Reps. Mark Amodei (R-NV) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), did not vote.

The Aderholt amendment mirrors the longstanding language applied to the Bureau of Prisons in the CJS bill and codifies the Administration’s current practice with regard to ICE. However, until this policy is supported in law, it could be changed at any time. The Aderholt Amendment has been included in the House Homeland Security bill from FY13-17 and was included in President Trump’s Budget Request for FY2018.

Also, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) offered an amendment to make Charlie Gard a lawful permanent resident of the US. The text of her amendment is similar to the private bills introduced by Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) (H.R. 3190 and H.R. 3188 respectively). The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

Pro-Life Policy in the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill

Last night the Appropriations Committee approved the State, Foreign Operations bill. In addition to maintaining longstanding riders such as the Helms amendment, Chairman Rogers’ bill includes the following policies that are consistent with the Trump Administration’s actions.

Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (formerly the Mexico City Policy) requires foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to agree, as a condition of their receipt of global health assistance grant money, not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning (Sec. 7056b). Reinstated and modernized by President Trump, the policy now applies to all global health programs. If NGOs choose to divest themselves from abortion, they can continue to be eligible for federal grant money. The choice is up to the NGO – either change business practices or forego federal funding. When the policy was in place under previous Republic administrations, the vast majority of foreign aid recipients chose to change their practices to comply with the policy. US foreign aid should not support the activities of organizations so ideologically wed to abortion that they refuse to comply.

Funding to UNFPA is prohibited because of its involvement in China’s birth limitation policy, which relies on forced and coerced abortion (Sec. 7056a). In April 2017, the Trump Administration announced its determination that UNFPA is ineligible to receive global health funds under the Kemp-Kasten Amendment. The State Department explained that “by implementing a portion of its family planning program in partnership with that government entity [China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC)], UNFPA provides support for NHFPC’s implementation of China’s family planning policies, which includes coercive elements.”

International family planning funding is capped at $461 million. The cap establishes the funding level as a specific amount instead of the Obama Administration’s approach, which set a minimum funding level, effectively allowing unlimited spending in this area. Even when Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance is in place, this funding stream can support domestically-based NGOs that support the global abortion industry.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Progress made for the cause of Life in the House's version of the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill

This evening the House Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services bill. In addition to continuing longstanding riders like the Hyde and Dickey-Wicker amendments, Chairman Cole’s bill includes several new pro-life policies not currently in effect, such as:

  • The Conscience Protection Act
  • Stopping funding for fetal tissue research from induced abortion
  • Prohibiting abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving any funding made available through the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill
  • Prohibiting funding for the Title X program

During the markup, multiple amendments were offered to strip these pro-life policies from the bill. In each instance, the hostile amendment was defeated and the pro-life language was retained.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Pray for Charlie Gard

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) have announced their plan to offer a private bill to make Charlie Gard a lawful permanent resident of the United States. It is intended to expedite Charlie's chance to receive treatment in the U.S.

11-month-old Charlie was born with a rare genetic disorder, infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. He has been in the London hospital (Great Ormond Street Hospital) since he was 2 months old. In March, the doctors at the hospital decided there was nothing more they could do for him, and they recommended that his parents withdraw his ventilator.

His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, refused. They raised over £1 million to bring Charlie to the United States for experimental treatment.

Earlier this year, however, the hospital went to the British courts to get the authority to stop further treatment. The British courts sided with the hospital. In late June, the European Court of Human Rights refused to hear the case, upholding previous court rulings that it was in Charlie's best interest to be ordered to die.

On July 5, the Vatican's children's hospital, Bambino Gesu, offered to accept Charlie and continue his life support and allow his parents to make decisions regarding his treatment. Great Ormond Street hospital declined the offer.

On July 6, a New York hospital offered to admit and evaluate Charlie to receive experimental treatment, “provided that arrangements are made to safely transfer him to our facility, legal hurdles are cleared, and we receive emergency approval from the FDA,” according to a statement made to The Washington Post.

On July 7, Great Ormond Street Hospital issued a statement that it has “applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition.”

The issue at stake is whether the government or a hospital has the right to overrule a patient (or their parent or guardian) in determining what is in that patient's best interest.

Additional Reading:

The Court-Ordered Killing of Charlie Gard

Whose baby is Charlie Gard, anyway?