Monday, November 13, 2017

Pro-Life Policy in the Tax Reform Legislation

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to formulate a rule for consideration of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and floor consideration is anticipated later in the week.

Two items of interest with respect to pro-life policy are worth noting.

Recognition of the Unborn Child

Currently Section 529 of the IRS code allows individuals to make tax-advantaged contributions to an account intended to save for a child’s future education expenses. H.R. 1 makes modifications to this program, such as including elementary and high school expenses as qualified expenses. The bill recognizes unborn children as eligible designated beneficiaries for 529 accounts. The bill’s definition of an unborn child is as follows:

(B) UNBORN CHILD.—For purposes of this paragraph—

(i) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘unborn child’ means a child in utero.

(ii) CHILD IN UTERO.—The term ‘child in utero’ means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.

This definition is identical to the language in the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (18 USC 1841), which was enacted in 2004 and recognizes that when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman and kills or injures her unborn child there are two victims of that crime.

Restoration of the Adoption Tax Credit

An earlier version of H.R. 1 repealed the adoption tax credit and the tax exclusion for adoption assistance programs. According to Congressional Research Service, 73,951 taxpayers claimed this credit in the last reported year (2014) and the average credit was $4,802 (2013). Data on the use of the tax exclusion for employer adoption assistance programs is not available.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

3 Points about Down Syndrome

Frank Stephens recently testified at a hearing before Congress:
I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence, but to those who question the value of people with Down syndrome I would make three points.

First, we are a medical gift to society. As you have heard, our extra chromosome makes us a blueprint for medical research that could reveal answers to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Immune System disorders. If not for us, then for you and the one’s you love, fund this research.

Second, we are an unusually powerful source of happiness. A Harvard-based study has discovered that people with Down syndrome, as well as their parents and siblings are happier than society at large. I know happiness is not something you can assign dollars to, but surely it must be worth something.

Finally, we are the canary in the eugenics coal mine. Genomic research isn’t going to stop at screening for Down syndrome. It won’t be long before we can identify all manner of potentially expensive medical or personality “deviations” in the womb. As a society, we have an opportunity to slow down and think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Federal Pro-Life Funding Policies, Fiscal Year 2018

This week the House approved H.R. 3354, Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018. The consolidated appropriations bill includes all 12 appropriations bills.

H.R. 3354 contained several new pro-life policies and funding level changes. Most of these provisions were included in the chairmen’s base bills or added during committee consideration. The Palmer Amendment (Division D) was added during floor consideration.

Division D (Financial Services)
  • Harris Multi-State Plan Abortion Funding Ban — This provision would eliminate elective abortion coverage from the Multi-State Plan Program, created by Obamacare.
  • Harris Amendment to Repeal DC Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide — This provision nullifies the 2016 DC law that authorizes a DC adult resident who has been diagnosed as terminally ill to request and receive a prescription for lethal medication.
  • Palmer Amendment to prevent implementation of the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) — RHNDA is a 2014 DC law that prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on “reproductive health decisions,” including the decision to have an abortion. RHNDA could be used to force religious or pro-life advocacy groups to make personnel decisions that are inconsistent with their sincerely held beliefs about the sanctity of human life. The Palmer Amendment was adopted on the House floor today by a vote of 214-194. 212 Republicans and 2 Democrats (Lipinski, Peterson) voted for the Palmer amendment, 183 Democrats and 11 Republicans (Coffman, Costello, Curbelo, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Katko, McSally, Meehan, Poliquin, Reed, Stefanik) voted against, and 25 Members did not vote.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Senate Committee Schedule — Week of July 31, 2017

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
An oversight hearing to examine the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program.
Hearings to examine America's affordable housing crisis, focusing on challenges and solutions.
Hearings to examine the nominations of Lance Allen Robertson, of Oklahoma, to be Assistant Secretary for Aging, Brett Giroir, of Texas, and Robert P. Kadlec, of New York, both to be a Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, and to be Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and Elinore F. McCance-Katz, of Rhode Island, to be Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, all of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Jerome M. Adams, of Indiana, to be Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service, and to be Surgeon General of the Public Health Service.
Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017
Business meeting to consider
  • S. 154, to amend the Small Business Act to ensure small businesses affected by the onset of transmissible diseases are eligible for disaster relief,
  • S. 650, to amend the Small Business Act to expand tax credit education and training for small businesses that engage in research and development,
  • S. 690, to extend the eligibility of redesignated areas as HUBZones from 3 years to 7 years,
  • S. 929, to improve the HUBZone program,
  • S. 1038, to require the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to submit to Congress a report on the utilization of small businesses with respect to certain Federal contracts, and
  • S. 1428, to amend section 21 of the Small Business Act to require cyber certification for small business development center counselors.
Business meeting to consider
  • S. 374, to enable concrete masonry products manufacturers to establish, finance, and carry out a coordinated program of research, education, and promotion to improve, maintain, and develop markets for concrete masonry products,
  • S. 754, to support meeting our Nation's growing cybersecurity workforce needs by expanding the cybersecurity education pipeline,
  • S. 1322, to establish the American Fisheries Advisory Committee to assist in the awarding of fisheries research and development grants,
  • S. 1425, to reauthorize the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009,
  • S. 1532, to disqualify from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life an individual who uses a commercial motor vehicle in committing a felony involving human trafficking,
  • S. 1536, to designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator and to expand the scope of activities authorized under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's outreach and education program to include human trafficking prevention activities,
  • S. 1586, to require the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere to update periodically the environmental sensitivity index products of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for each coastal area of the Great Lakes,
  • S. 1621, to require the Federal Communications Commission to establish a methodology for the collection by the Commission of information about commercial mobile service and commercial mobile data service, and the nominations of Ajit Varadaraj Pai, of Kansas, Jessica Rosenworcel, of Connecticut, and Brendan Carr, of Virginia, each to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission, David J. Redl, of New York, to be Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, Peter B. Davidson, of Virginia, to be General Counsel, Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, and Elizabeth Erin Walsh, of the District of Columbia, to be Assistant Secretary and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, all of the Department of Commerce, Steven Gill Bradbury, of Virginia, to be General Counsel, 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, all of the Department of Transportation, and Robert L. Sumwalt III, of South Carolina, to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Hearings to examine increasing water security and drought preparedness through infrastructure, management, and innovation.
Hearings to examine the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters consolidation project.
Hearings to examine assessing the Colombia peace process, focusing on the way forward in United States-Colombia relations.
To receive a closed briefing on the Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, focusing on Administration perspectives.
Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017
Hearings to examine insurance fraud in America, focusing on current issues facing industry and consumers.
Hearings to examine Federal and nonfederal collaboration, including through the use of technology, to reduce wildland fire risk to communities and enhance firefighting safety and effectiveness.
Hearings to examine the nominations of Gilbert B. Kaplan, of the District of Columbia, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Matthew Bassett, of Tennessee, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Senate votes on ACA repeal; House passes national security legislation

ACA Repeal Attempts

Senate Rejects First ACA Repeal Proposal

Senate blocks proposal to repeal and replace ACA

Senate Republicans turned down their first option to replace ACA

Tom Price: Senate searching for 'lowest common denominator' on ACA repeal

Senate votes down 'clean repeal' of ACA

Single-payer amendment fails 0-57 in Senate

ACA Penalties Repeal Attempt

GOP leader: Senate could pass scaled-down ACA repeal

“Skinny” ACA Repeal Bill Takes Shape

Paul Ryan: We can conference with Senate 'skinny' ACA repeal

Mitch McConnell urges support for skinny repeal

McCain sinks GOP's “skinny repeal” of ACASen. McCain Statement

Conservatives hold out hope on ACA repeal as GOP leaders move to tax reform

Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will support parts of Senate Republicans' failed healthcare plan

House Votes

A modest step forward on cyber policy with DHS bill passage in the House

House votes to assist Capitol Police officers injured in baseball shooting

House passes bill to expand veterans' GI benefits

House votes overwhelmingly to approve new Russia sanctions

House votes to repeal consumer arbitration rule

House votes to kill consumer lawsuit rule

House calls for release of political prisoners in Iran

House avoids floor fight over transgender people in military

GOP fails to pass budget rider to slash energy funding by 10 percent

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff

House passes $790 billion national security bill, including $1.6 billion for border wall

House votes to authorize intelligence agencies


Russia sanctions bill heads to Trump after Senate approval

Members of Congress

Steve Scalise calls into House whip meeting for first time since shooting

Tennessee House member reveals he has cancer

Scalise released from Washington hospital

House votes to let lawmakers use taxpayer funds for home security

Commitee News

5 takeaways from Jared Kushner's statement for the Senate Intelligence Committee

House panel wants CEOs of Google, Facebook, AT&T to testify on internet rules

House panel approves legislation to speed deployment of self-driving cars

Schedule Outlook

Analysis: Senators Writing Placeholder Defense Money Bill

Trump appeals court nominee wins bipartisan praise

RSC: Budget resolution coming in early September

Rand Paul Wants AUMF Debate With Defense Authorization

Ryan signals readiness to move to tax reform

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?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Congress Headlines: February 13-17, 2017


U.S. House tax committee will not seek Trump tax returns

U.S. Representatives vote against D.C. assisted suicide law

House Freedom Caucus wants swift Obamacare repeal

Israeli PM Netanyahu Becomes D.C. Darling as Dems Clamor for Meetings

Netanyahu, Ryan determined to 'hold Iran accountable for its actions'

House to unveil Obamacare bill after next week

U.S. Republicans set timeframe for introducing Obamacare replacement


Senate confirms Mnuchin as Treasury secretary

David Shulkin confirmed as Veterans Affairs secretary

Senate approves McMahon to lead Small Business Administration

Key U.S. Senate committee chairman wants briefing on Flynn

Trump Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearing to start March 20

Senate confirms Mulvaney as Trump's budget director

Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel: Ending terror a condition of peace

Ashton Kutcher Testifies before Congress about Horrors of Sex-Trafficking

Senate confirms Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA

Dismantling Obama Regulations Will Require Resolve in the Senate

Senators Silent After Meeting With FBI Director Comey

Top Senate Republican: Will move on healthcare when support coalesces

Senate leader McConnell sees hope for infrastructure bill

Also see this week's Weekly Digest of the Congressional Record.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Outlook

Ryan maps out GOP timeline for ObamaCare, tax reform
PHILADELPHIA — Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday mapped out the GOP’s 200-day legislative strategy, saying Republicans will repeal and replace portions of ObamaCare by spring and tackle tax reform before the August recess.

Ryan: GOP will replace Obamacare, cut taxes and fund wall by August
PHILADELPHIA — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday outlined a packed legislative agenda for this year in which Republicans would repeal and replace Obamacare by April, fund Donald Trump’s border wall shortly after that and approve a sweeping tax reform package by August.

Republicans set aggressive agenda on health care, regulations and tax reform
PHILADELPHIA — Republican leaders laid out an aggressive legislative agenda Wednesday that would have Congress repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, pass replacement measures and embark on a major tax code overhaul, all within the first 200 days of blanket GOP control in Washington.

Trump takes control of GOP agenda
President Donald Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan he "liked" the Republicans' 200 day agenda that includes repealing and replacing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code. But he told Ryan something was missing. Trump asked lawmakers to include the massive infrastructure spending project that he promised voters during the campaign. Now it's been added to the GOP's already packed to-do list, outlined at the Republican retreat at a hotel in downtown Philadelphia. It's not clear whether it will match Trump's $1 trillion proposal for repairing the nation's crumbling roads and bridges, but infrastructure is now "front and center," according to those who heard details of the GOP plan.

Congress Next Week

Senate Chamber

Floor Schedule

Program for Monday: After the transaction of any morning business (not to extend beyond 5 p.m.), Senate will resume consideration of the nomination of Rex W. Tillerson, of Texas, to be Secretary of State, with a vote on the motion to invoke cloture thereon at 5:30 p.m.

McConnell to force vote on Trump's State Department pick
"I'll be filing cloture on Secretary of State nominee [Rex] Tillerson, which will ripen next week," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. The move would set up a procedural vote early next week and get Tillerson through the Senate by the end of the week.

House Chamber

Weekly Schedule

Monday & Tuesday: Suspension Votes

Wednesday - Friday: Activity Under the Congressional Review Act

Text of Bills for the Week of Jan. 30, 2017

House to launch attack on Obama energy regs next week
The House will launch an attack Monday on former President Barack Obama's midnight regulations targeting the coal and natural gas industries, using powers extended to it under former President Bill Clinton for Congress to unravel specious federal rules.

Republicans to kill U.S. rules on corruption, environment, labor and guns next week
Congressional Republicans are set to overturn a slew of Obama-era regulations next week, including a controversial anti-bribery rule aimed at U.S. resource companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N), according to a top lawmaker. Other rules eyed for quick overturning by Congress include newly minted environmental, gun control and labor relations measures, sources said. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can use simple majority votes to stop recent regulations in their tracks. The timing in the law means that any rules that became final after May 31 could go on the chopping block.

Congress Last Week

Chamber Activity

Congressional Record — January 23-27, 2017

House voted 238-183 to pass H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion & Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017.

House votes to cut abortion funding permanently
The law would codify the Hyde Amendment and close loopholes in Obamacare

House passes major abortion bill | Washington Examiner
The legislation, which passed 238-183, would make the Hyde amendment permanent. The amendment, which has been added to spending bills for decades, bans any federal funding from being used to provide abortions. In addition, it would target Obamacare plans that cover elective abortions. It would not provide Obamacare customers with subsidies used to pay down the cost of insurance if the insurance plan covers abortions.

House votes to permanently ban taxpayer funds for abortion
“That’s what we should be all about. Life affirming and the saving of human life,” said Smith. It does allow exceptions for cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life in danger. The three Democrats who voted for the legislation were Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.) and Collin Peterson (Minn.).

The bill would also permanently prohibit the District of Columbia from using its local funds approved by Congress for abortion services.

Senate confirmed the nomination of Mike Pompeo, of Kansas, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

U.S. Senate confirms Pompeo to be Trump's CIA director
Sixty-six senators backed Pompeo and 32 voted against. All the opposition was from Democrats, except for Senator Rand Paul, a leading Republican advocate for strict control of surveillance. Shortly afterward, Pompeo was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence.

Senate confirmed the nomination of Nikki R. Haley, of South Carolina, to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations.

U.S. Senate confirms Haley as Trump's U.N. ambassador
The U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously on Tuesday to confirm South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations, sending a rising Republican star to represent President Donald Trump at an institution he has criticized. Haley was backed by 96 senators, with only four opposed.

Senate confirms Trump's UN ambassador
Haley appeared to share her commander in chief's skepticism about America's heavy burden of United Nations dues, using the committee hearing to question if American values are reflected by a group that recently voted to condemn Israel for building of settlements in the West Bank. The Israel vote has drawn backlash from lawmakers in both parties.

Legislation Introduced

States Could Keep Obamacare Under Cassidy-Collins Replacement
State legislatures would be able to choose, in 2018, whether to continue to support the insurance market and institutions put in place by former President Barack Obama’s law, or to opt into a new system with many of the same consumer protections but fewer regulations. Under the new system, insurance coverage would be much less comprehensive but likely would be cheaper.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Congress Next Week

House Committees

Week of January 22 - 28, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rules: Meeting: H.R. 7—No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017

Pro-lifers to strengthen Hyde Amendment provisions under Donald Trump
A congressional committee is taking up on its first full day in session under the Trump administration a stricter version of the Hyde Amendment that would be written into law instead of being attached to appropriations bills.  The Hyde Amendment bars federal funds from being used to pay for abortions and has been approved as a rider in every Congress since 1976. Codifying the measure is a top priority for the pro-life movement because the Democratic Party last year officially voiced support for using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.  The House Rules Committee will discuss HR7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, on Monday. It is identical to legislation introduced by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, that passed the House in 2015.  “There’s a growing recognition that abortion is violent,” Mr. Smith told The Washington Times. “Whether it’s by poison pill or dismemberment and other chemicals, the fact is there’s a trend, virtually every poll you look at, that says people don’t want public funding for abortion.”

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7) introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), seeks to do three things. The bill: (1) Makes the Hyde Amendment and other current abortion funding prohibitions  permanent and government-wide; (2) Ensures that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) faithfully conforms to the Hyde Amendment while Congress works to repeal and replace the ACA; (3) Until a new plan year begins, the bill ensures full disclosure, transparency and the prominent display of the extent to which any health insurance plan on the exchange funds abortion.

Affordable Care Act-related:

House Chamber

Weekly Schedule

Monday, January 23, 2017 — 11 bills under suspension of the rules

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

H.R. 7 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017
(Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith / Energy and Commerce Committee)

3 bills under suspension of the rules

Text of Bills for the Week of Jan. 23, 2017

Senate Committees

Committee Meetings Schedule

Monday, January 23, 2017

Foreign Relations — Business meeting to consider the nomination of Rex W. Tillerson, of Texas, to be Secretary of State.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Armed Services — Hearings to examine the defense budget for fiscal year 2018 and onwards.

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs — Organizational business meeting to consider committee rules, subcommittee assignments, an original resolution authorizing expenditures by the committee during the 115th Congress, and the nomination of Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., of Florida, to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Finance — Hearings to examine the nomination of Thomas Price, of Georgia, to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Judiciary — Organizational business meeting to consider committee rules, subcommittee assignments, an original resolution authorizing expenditures by the committee during the 115th Congress, and the nomination of Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, to be Attorney General, Department of Justice. A vote on the Sessions nomination is expected.

Budget — Hearings to examine the nomination of Mick Mulvaney, of South Carolina, to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

GOP senator: Trump budget chief could face confirmation 'problems'
Mulvaney, Trump's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, acknowledged in a committee questionnaire that he initially failed to pay roughly $15,000 in taxes on the employee. He said he has since paid the taxes, as well as related penalties.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship — Hearings to examine the nomination of Linda E. McMahon, of Connecticut, to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs — Hearings to examine the nomination of Mick Mulvaney, of South Carolina, to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Senate Chamber

Floor Schedule

Monday, January 23, 2017

3:00 p.m.: Proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Affordable Care Act-related:

GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Bill Cassidy (La.) are planning to offer an ObamaCare replacement proposal next week as lawmakers gear up to repeal the law. Collins said they will introduce their legislation on Monday, noting it would be based on a 2015 proposal and give states more flexibility.

GOP waiting to hear from Trump on ObamaCare
Don’t expect President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to roll out their ObamaCare replacement plan next week at their joint House and Senate GOP retreat in Philadelphia. Healthcare is expected to dominate the three-day gathering that kicks off Wednesday. But GOP lawmakers attending Trump’s presidential inauguration Friday said they likely won’t settle on a complete replacement strategy by the time the retreat wraps up. 

Congress Last Week

Chamber Activity

The House was not in session this week.

The Senate on Tuesday passed H.R. 72, the GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017, 99-0.

Senate passes Sasse bill to open school lunch, food stamp records
“The bill would ensure the Government Accountability Office can access the National Directory of New Hires database, equipping GAO to audit unemployment insurance claims, quarterly wage data, and information on new hires, Sen. Ben Sasse said.  The GAO is a watchdog organization within the government that often reports to Congress, providing needed facts for legislative decisions.  Last March, the GAO was unable to comply with Sasse’s request to audit school lunch programs to ensure that assistance was targeted to kids who needed it most.”

Members of both chambers met on the west front of the Capitol for the Inauguration of President Donald Trump. Immediately following, the Senate confirmed the first two of the new President's nominees.

Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era
“In a 98-1 vote, the Senate confirmed retired Gen. James Mattis to be Defense secretary. Immediately after that vote, the Senate confirmed retired Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security by a vote of 88-11.”

Senate confirms Kelly as Trump's Homeland Security secretary

Mattis, Kelly confirmed to Cabinet positions

Also making headlines in the Senate this week were a pair of bills related to miners' health care. Considering this is related to health care and federal spending, its worth noting.

Senators introduce dueling miners bills
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Tuesday that he is filing legislation that would include a "permanent extension" for retired coal miners and their dependents. … The benefits are currently scheduled to expire at the end of April after senators included a four-month extension in last year's funding bill. … But a separate bill, backed by a bipartisan group of senators, would address both healthcare for miners and their families as well as a separate pension fund that is heading toward insolvency.”

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