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This Week in Congress: Will we REIN in the goverment?

The 115th Congress is sworn in today. Following the swearing in, Congress will immediately begin legislative business.

The Senate will began working on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution. This resolution is largely meaningless in terms of spending, since spending levels were already set in the Omnibus bill that passed in December. However, the resolution will allow Congress to repeal Obamacare by "reconciliation" which requires only 60 votes.

The House will consider a rules package.

The House will also consider the REINS Act this week (vote likely on Friday). Campaign for Liberty has long supported this legislation. REINS requires Congressional approval of any "major rule," defined as imposing costs of more than $100 million on the economy, before the regulation can be enacted into law. Incoming President Donald Trump is likely to sign the legislation if it can overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Campaign for Liberty members should call their Representatives and urge them to support the REINS Act.

(Don't worry if your Representative has changed. You can reach your new representative at your old representative's phone number).

The House will also consider the "Midnight Rules Relief Act."  This legislation allows Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn "midnight regulations" in a group instead of one at a time. This would put a check on attempts by the Obama administration to ram through a bunch of new regulations before they leave office.

Congress may also consider a "Sense of Congress" regarding the Obama's Administration's refusal to veto a UN Resolution condemning Israel's settlement policy.

The House will also consider the following bills under suspension of the Rules:

1. Ensuring VA Accountability Act--  Requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to retain a copy of any reprimand or admonishment received by a VA employee in their permanent record. Seems like a good idea but why isn't this already law for every federal agency?

2. Taxpayer Right to Know Act-- Requires Office of Management and Budget to conduct an inventory of every federal program costing more than $1 million dollars and put information about those programs on a publicly available website.

3. GAO Oversight and Access Act--  This bill gives the agency the power to "...obtain federal agency records required to discharge the GAO's duties (including audit, evaluation, and investigative duties), including through bringing civil actions to require an agency to produce a record."

This seems like a useful power for the GAO to have.

4. The House will also consider legislation renewing and strengthening the federal office in charge of protecting whistle-blowers.

You may notice I am not identifying the bills by their HR numbers. That is because, even though this legislation is on the Congressional schedule, the legislation has not yet been introduced and cannot be introduced until the House convenes on Tuesday. However, the text of each bill is available online.

 


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