Goobergunch Political Report

1 June 2011

Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, FY2012 (Titles II-VII)

The House is considering H.R. 2017, the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. This is the first general appropriations bill to be considered in the House for fiscal year 2012. The bill was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee on 24 May, by a 27-20 party-line vote.

Any amendment is in order so long as it complies with House rules. All points of order against the bill itself have been waived except for one against Section 536, which extends the chemical security program expiration date by one year.

  • No further votes are expected today. All votes postponed tonight will be taken tomorrow afternoon.

At this time, the bill has been read through the end of title VII. The following amendments to Titles II (Security, Enforcement, and Investigations), III (Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery), IV (Research and Development, Training, and Services), V (General Provisions), VI (Emergency Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief), and VII (Spending Reduction Account) were considered on 1 June:

Sponsor Summary Disposition
King (IA) To increase by transfer for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by $1 million. Adopted
King (IA) To increase by transfer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by $1 million. Adopted
Barrow To increase by transfer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Adopted
Richardson To place instructions in the bill on the appropriation of certain funds. Point of Order Sustained
Richardson To appropriate $50,000,000 for the purposes of Interoperable Emergency Operations Grants. Point of Order Sustained
Clarke (MI) To appropriate by transfer, $2,000,000,000 to programs in the heading State and Local Programs. Withdrawn
Clarke (MI) To strike language relating to the top 10 highest risk urban areas. Adopted (273-150)
Heck To [change] language relating to the top 10 highest risk urban areas to 25. Rejected
Lowey To provide for designated emergency funds for the State and Local Programs and for the Firefighter Assistance Grants. Point of Order Sustained
Richardson To redirect a $100,000,000 with respect to the Disaster Relief fund. Adopted
Honda To prohibit the use of funds for immigrant integration grants. Adopted
Sessions To strike section 514 [USCIS workforce]. Adopted (218-204)
Lummis To strike section 547 [environmental mitigation]. Adopted (238-177)
Richmond To require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to waive debts owed to the United States relating to covered assistance provided to an individual if the assistance was distributed based on an error by FEMA or the collection of the debt will create a financial burden on the debtor. Point of Order Sustained
Carter #1 To prohibit the use of funds made available by this Act to be used for the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force of the Department of Homeland Security. Adopted (242-180)
Poe (TX) #9 To prohibit the use of funds to provide to a State or local government entity or official that is in violation of section 642(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Point of Order Sustained
Poe (TX) #10 To prohibit the use of funds to be used in contravention of section 642(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Adopted
Richmond To include funds for disaster assistance that includes an emergency designation pursuant to section 3(c)(1) of H.Res. 5 (112th Congress) shall be required by any rule of policy to be accompanied by a budgetary offset. Point of Order Sustained
Poe (TX) To prohibit the use of funds be used to parole an alien into the United States, or grant deferred action of a final order of removal, for any reason other than on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Adopted
Price (NC) To prohibit the use of funds to enforce the requirements in section 34(a)(1)(A) of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974. Adopted (264-157)
Scalise To prohibit the use of funds to require an approved Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) applicant to personally appear at a designated enrollment center for the purpose of TWIC. Adopted
Sherman To prohibit the use of funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Resolution. Rejected (208-213)
Gosar To prohibit the use of funds to be used to comply with subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code, popularly known as the Davis-Bacon Act. Rejected (183-234)
Altmire To add a new section at the end of the bill pertaining to the use of American iron, steel, and manufactured goods. Point of Order Sustained
Scalise To prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce Executive Order 13502 [encouraging project labor agreements], the FAR Council supporting regulations FAR Rule 2009-005, or any agency memorandum, bulletin, or contracting policy that derives its authority for Executive Order 13502 or FAR Rule 2009-005. Rejected (207-213)
Engel To prohibit the use of funds to be used by the Department of Homeland Security to lease or purchase new light duty vehicles, for any excutive fleet, or for an agency’s fleet inventory, except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum—Federal Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011. Adopted
King (IA) To use the funds made available by this Act under the heading “Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology”, $50,000,000 shall be for carrying out section 102 of the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. Point of Order Sustained
King (IA) To prohibit the use of funds to carry out the provisions of Public Law 111-148 [PPACA], Public Law 111-152, or any amendment made by either of such laws. Point of Order Sustained
King (IA) To prohibit the use of funds to be used for various ACORN and Community Organizations. Adopted (251-168-1)
Cravaack To prohibit the use of funds used in contravention of section 236(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Adopted (288-131)
Amash #1 To prohibit the use of funds to purchase new advanced imaging technology machines. Rejected (127-295)
Amash #2 To prohibit the use of funds to operate or maintain existing advanced imaging technology machines as mandatory or primary screening devices. Rejected (123-300)
Amash #3 To prohibit the use of funds for any action by a political appointee to delay, vacate, or reverse any decision by an employee in the Privacy Office of the Department of Homeland Security to make records available pursuant to section 552 of title 5, United States Code, popularly known as the Freedom of Information Act. Adopted (257-164)
Rokita #1 To hereby reduce funds made available by this Act (other than an amount required to be made available by a provision of law, amounts made available for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and amounts made available for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by 10 percent. Rejected (110-312)
Rokita #2 To prohibit the use of funds to implement the determination of the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration regarding transporation security officers and collective bargaining as described in the decision memorandum dated February 4, 2011. Adopted (218-205)

[22:54 CDT]: I have to say, the best part of the debate so far involved Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) comparing Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to Joe McCarthy during debate on the list of over three hundred organizations that King wanted to prohibit funds from going towards.

[23:28 CDT]: And finally, the Committee of the Whole rises. The House reconves at noon EDT tomorrow and will vote on all 15 amendments on which a vote was postponed today before proceeding to any further amendments and final passage.

1 May 2011

First Week in May

Here are the bills scheduled for House consideration this week. All bill and committee report links are PDF files because Thomas is down for hardware maintenance over the weekend. That’s also why this listing is terser than normal.

  • H.R. 1213 (report), which would repeal PPACA Sec. 1311(a) (American Health Benefit Exchange funds). [Tuesday]
  • H.R. 1214 (report), which would repeal PPACA Sec. 4104(a) (school-based health center construction funds). [Tuesday]
  • H.R. 3 (report), the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”. This is the big item for this week, and would basically make it substantially more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion. If I have time, I’ll try to get more on this later. [Wednesday]
  • H.R. 1230, which would require several Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales to occur. [Thursday]

H.R. 1229, the “Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act”, may also come up on Thursday if time permits. It’s another bill about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Over in the Senate, another two district judge nominations are up on Monday. We’ll see what the rest of the week holds soon enough, but notably, Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) will be taking over disgraced Sen. John Ensign’s seat on Tuesday. The special election for Heller’s House seat will be held on 13 September.

10 April 2011

Happy House Budget Week

Goobergunch @ 14:00 PT
Posted in: Appropriations, Providing for the General Welfare, Ways and Means
Tags:

It’s going to be a busy week in the House. On deck for Wednesday:

  • H.R. 1217, which would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by Section 4002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (The committee report is due late Monday night.) Such fund “provide[s] for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs”. $750 million is authorized for this fund in FY 2011, and that number increases to $1 billion in FY 2012.
  • The big consolidated appropriations bill that implements the Friday night deal. Full details on that when it gets unveiled.

Thursday and Friday have been set aside for the Budget Resolution. Much of the current text involves Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) making up numbers that will never actually happen (if he thinks that his plan to abolish Medicare will actually reduce the long-term debt, I have a couple bridges in San Francisco to sell him), but since the FY 2012 numbers will be binding on Congress once both houses agree on something, those are worth looking at in detail.

Over in the Senate, there are a couple judicial nominations set for Tuesday. Forecasting the Senate much in advance is a fool’s game, but if the aforementioned big consolidated appropriations bill doesn’t appear this week, I’ll be very surprised. And so will lots of federal workers who would be suddenly furloughed.

5 April 2011

Enrolled Bill

Goobergunch @ 17:00 PT
Posted in: Ways and Means
Tags:

As I mentioned a month ago, the House passed a bill, 314-112, to repeal “1099 reporting requirements”. A majority of House Democrats had objected to the bill paying for this repeal by increasing certain tax repayments, so I expected that pay-for to be modified before passing the Senate.

It seems I overestimated the Senate Democrats’ ability to stand up for policy alternatives. The bill passed the Senate today, 87-12. It now goes to President Obama for his signature. Even if he vetoes it, the margins in both Houses are enough to override.

2 March 2011

H.R. 4, the 1099 Report (Repeal) Bill

Goobergunch @ 07:00 PT
Posted in: Ways and Means
Tags:

Besides the continuing resolution (which passed the House yesterday 335-91; the Senate will vote on it at 11 AM EST today), the big item in the House this week is H.R. 4. This bill repeals the infamous “1099 reporting requirements” that small businesses have been objecting to as overly burdensome. As this costs about $19 billion, the repeal is paid for by increasing tax repayments for health exchange subsidy overpayments. (An amendment to strike that tax change was defeated in the Ways and Means committee by a party-line vote.)

Tomorrow, the House will be considering H.R. 4 under a closed rule (which will be voted on today). Two and a half hours of debate and no amendments (except for the usual motion to recommit) are in order.

7 February 2011

The House of No

Dave Weigel has a good piece up at Slate about how the Republicans are governing by basically sitting around and not doing anything:

The answer: They are taking an approach to legislating completely antithetical to what President Obama proposed in his State of the Union speech. They don’t want Congress to “do big things.” Government, in general, should not do big things.

This week’s House schedule provides an excellent example of this do-nothing approach. There are four non-controversial bills up on Tuesday and Wednesday: another USA PATRIOT Act extension (through 8 December), a trade extension bill, a bill to return money overpaid to the UN, and finally, a bill to name an under-construction Arizona courthouse after John Roll, the judge murdered in last month’s Tucson shootings. (I will note that only the first and last of these bills are actually available to the public.) Then all of Thursday and Friday are set aside for consideration of the incredibly exciting H. Res. __, “a resolution directing certain standing committees to inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed regulations and orders from agencies of the Federal Government, particularly with respect to their effect on jobs and economic growth.” Substantively, this is an utter waste of time. I really don’t think the chairmen of various House committees need to be formally instructed to hold oversight hearings. They’re going to do that on their own.

So on the floor of the House this week, I expect two days full of Republicans complaining about how Big Government is the Great Evil. I don’t know what Democrats are going to be saying. It’s hard to really come up with a good opposition line to something this vapid. It’ll probably be far more interesting to watch the House Judiciary Committee markup of H.R. 5, the Medical Liability bill, scheduled for 10 AM EST Wednesday. Or Tuesday afternoon’s Constitution Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act”, if you really feel like throwing up.

6 February 2011

S. 223, the FAA Reauthorization Bill

Goobergunch @ 17:00 PT
Posted in: Providing for the General Welfare, Transportation
Tags:

Last Tuesday, I wrote:

[Y]ou can read the official summary of last year’s FAA reauthorization bill (which may have some changes from the current bill) here.

As it turns out, S. 223, as introduced, is exactly the same as last year’s FAA reauthorization bill. (Hopefully without the bit where it gets used as a vehicle for something else.) For FAA operations, it authorizes $9.336 billion in FY 2010 and $9.620 billion in FY 2011; it also authorizes some other funds in other aviation-related accounts.

There are a number of other provisions, of course. If you’re really interested, I encourage you to read the summary.

There have been a number of amendments offered on the Senate floor, of course. I’m maintaining a constantly-updated list of pending amendments, and so far two amendments have actually passed. One of them makes it illegal to knowingly point a laser pointer at an aircraft, as blinding pilots is generally considered bad. (The only Senator to vote against this was Rand Paul. I know this is shocking news.) The other one is unrelated to aviation but repeals a reporting requirement imposed on small businesses by last year’s health insurance reform law. There have of course also been a number of amendments that have been rejected, including one to repeal said health insurance reform law. In a more ideal world, the 47-51 vote would be the last word on this “repeal” notion and we wouldn’t have to hear about it again. However, I look forward to hearing the same arguments repeated ad nauseum until PPACA gets repealed just to make people stop talking about it already.

With consideration of the bill resuming at 3:00 Eastern Time on Monday, look for Senate action to wrap up on this bill hopefully later this week or next. Last year’s version passed 93-0. It’ll be interesting to see if S. 223 can do as well on the final roll call.

6 January 2011

At Bat: The Middle Schoolers

Goobergunch @ 21:25 PT
Posted in: Providing for the General Welfare
Tags: ,

The first bill up for consideration in the 112th House of Representatives is… the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act“. From this I draw the conclusion that the House is being run by people with the emotional maturity of middle schoolers, as the gratuitous refusal to use the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s actual short title just provides more evidence that the Congressional Republican Party is not interested in sincere policymaking but just wants to increase members’ jollies.

The bill itself provides a simple repeal of PPACA and the health-care provisions of the subsequent Reconciliation Act. It’s really not worth further analysis because it will go absolutely nowhere in the Senate, and even if it did President Obama would veto. But since House Republicans seem determined to waste time instead of proposing serious legislation, the bill is scheduled for a good 7 hours of debate next Wednesday, broken down as follows:

  • 30 minutes managed by party leadership
  • 90 minutes managed by the Committee on Education and the Workforce
  • 90 minutes managed by the Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • 90 minutes managed by the Committee on Ways and Means
  • 40 minutes managed by the Committee on the Budget
  • 40 minutes managed by the Committee on the Judiciary
  • 40 minutes managed by the Committee on Small Business

No amendments (except for the obligatory motion to recommit) are in order.

To fulfil the second part of their “repeal and replace” promise, the House Republicans will also bring a resolution to instruct various committees to report a replacement health care bill. It’s vague enough to also not really be worth discussing. This one gets an hour of debate and one amendment (adding an instruction regarding the “doc fix”). I will be interested to see the health care bill that comes out of the committees, as this might have substantive policy worth actually discussing. But until that happens, it’s really not worth discussing Republican views on health care—because there really aren’t any.

UPDATE [00:15 CST by Goobergunch]: I intended to quickly update the text of the bill to the version that will be debated on the House floor next week (there needed to be a minor tweak for statutory PAYGO compliance), but apparently the House Rules Committee has failed at actually posting the committee report that contains the applicable amendment. I guess the new era of transparency in the House isn’t starting out so well….

UPDATE [13:21 CST by Goobergunch]: Bill text is updated.

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