This Week in Congress

Congress comes back from their Fourth of July “district work period” this week. The Senate will be considering nominations.

The major piece of legislation on the House’s agenda is H.R. 6237, which authorizes intelligence activities of the US Government — NSA, CIA, etc. The bill is short on details, and it does not even list the agencies’ budgets. Members of Congress can read a detailed description of the bill if they go to a special room in the Capitol. They are not allowed to discuss the details -- apparently the amount of your tax dollars the government spends spying on you is classified.

Another significant piece of legislation the House will consider is H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2017, which requires the Congressional Budget Office to assess the costs of unfunded federal mandates on private businesses, schools, and state, local, and tribal governments.

The House will also consider H.R. 200, which reauthorizes federal programs managing fisheries and makes changes to deal with over-fishing, changes in the ecosystem, and economics of communities where fishing is a major industry. It also extends the offshore jurisdiction of Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri for the recreational management of red snapper.

The House will also consider H.R. 3281, which authorizes the Interior Department to transfer public lands to private entities to manage, for the same purpose the government was using the land for.

The House will also consider several bills under suspension including:

  1. H.R. 5729—Restricts the use of biometric readers for biometric identification cards by the Coast Guard until a report on the effects of the biometric card program is submitted to Congress. These cards are for access to restricted areas in ports and docks.
  2. H.R. 4537—Prohibits the federal government from signing any international insurance agreement unless it is consistent with existing state and federal law.
  3. H.R. 5793—Creates a housing voucher mobility demonstration program to encourage low-income residents to move out of high-poverty areas.
  4. H.R. 5877—Allows venture exchanges to be registered on stock exchanges. Venture exchanges cater to new companies.
  5. H.R. 5953—Exempts charitable organizations that provide housing assistance from certain federal mortgage regulations.
  6. H.R. 2259—Increases pay for Peace Corps volunteers, gives the federal government jurisdiction over crimes committed against Peace Corps members, and makes other changes to the Peace Corps programs.
  7. HRes. 644- Calls on the UN and the U.S. State Department and Agency for International Development to investigate Libya to stop slave auctions and forced labor. Also, calls for the President to make sure these activities are “adequately funded.” (Does not mention that this is a problem created by President Obama’s reckless and unconstitutional intervention in Libya in 2011.)
  8. HRes. 983—Expresses the sense of Congress that the use of continuing resolutions to fund the Defense Department endangers national security “at a time when the nation faces more complex and grave threats than since the end of World War II.” (Really? Have they forgotten the Cuban Missile Crisis?. Also it is odd to pass a sense of Congress resolution expressing concerns over a problem -- failure to pass budget resolutions -- Congress created.)
  9. HRes. 984—Expresses the sense of Congress that the use of continuing resolutions erodes military readiness.



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