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Blog Congress at Work

Overhauling the National Tax System, Eliminating Oil Sales to China, and Criminalizing Late Abortion Attempts

To rescind certain balances made available to the Internal Revenue Service (HR 23) – Introduced by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) on Jan. 9, this bill would rescind funds allocated to the Internal Revenue Service by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The bill is designed to “defund” specific enforcement activities, operational support, enhancement to the e-file tax return system, and allocations to the U.S. Tax Court and other Department of the Treasury tax agencies. The bill passed in the House on Jan. 9 and has moved to the Senate, 

Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act (HR 22) – This bill would prohibit the Department of Energy (DOE) from selling crude oil to any entity under the ownership, control, or influence of the Chinese Communist Party. The bill was introduced on Jan. 9 by Rep. Cathy Anne McMorris Rogers (R-WA). It passed in the House on Jan. 12 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (HR 26) – An example of one of many abortion-related bills introduced by the House in the new 118th Congressional Session, this Act would require healthcare practitioners to exercise the proper degree of care in cases where a fetus survives an attempted abortion – including ensuring the neonate is immediately admitted to a hospital. Failure to provide such care or failure of others to report the crime would be subject to a fine and/or up to five years in prison. Furthermore, anyone who intentionally kills the neonate would be subject to prosecution for murder. However, this bill would bar criminal prosecution of the birth mother in these circumstances and permit her to bring civil action for these violations if perpetrated by others. The bill was introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) on Jan. 9 and is under assignment in a House committee.

Fair Tax Act of 2023 (HR 25) – This legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on Jan. 9. It is currently assigned to committee for consideration.  The purpose of the bill is to replace the current income tax system (including payroll, estate, and gift taxes) with a national consumption sales tax on goods and services. Instead of paying the current 10 percent to 37 percent tax rates based on income bracket, as well as eliminating all deductions and credits, U.S. residents would pay a minimum 23 percent federal tax (in addition to state and local taxes) on all purchases, regardless of income bracket. Exemptions would include property or services purchased for business, export, investment, or state government functions. The flat rate would essentially tax a higher percentage of income from low earners while high-income earners would have more assets available for savings and investment that would not be taxable. Each state would bear the responsibility for collecting and remitting this federal sales tax to the Treasury.

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Expanding Options for Marriage, Defense, Medical Marijuana, Amateur Athletes and Rail Workers

Respect for Marriage Act (HR 8404) – Introduced by Sen. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on July 18, this Act replaces previous provisions that defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. It codifies marriage to state that a spouse may be a person of the opposite sex as long as the contract between the two individuals is valid under state law, and prohibits any state from denying out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin. The bill passed in the Senate on Nov. 29 and the final bill passed in the House on Dec. 8. President Biden signed the Act into law on Dec. 13.

James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (HR 7776) – This bill authorizes defense spending at $858 billion, an approximate 10 percent increase over last year and $37 billion more than President Biden requested in his budget. This bill is expected to increase pay for service members and civilians by 4.6 percent and include inflation bonuses for those earning less than $45,000 a year. The bill was initially introduced on May 16 and the final bill was agreed upon by a bipartisan committee comprised of Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Reps Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) The bill first passed in the House on July 14. It was signed into law by the President on Dec. 23.

Help Find the Missing Act (S 5230) – This Act is designed to facilitate data sharing between the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System and the National Crime Information Center database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in order to improve efforts in finding missing persons. The bill was introduced by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Dec. 8 and passed in the Senate on the same day. It passed in the House on Dec. 14 and is currently awaiting the President’s signature.

Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (HR 8454) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on July 21. The purpose of the bill is to increase the supply of marijuana that may be used in government studies. It expands the number of registered entities (e.g., academia, practitioners, manufacturers) that may manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess marijuana or cannabidiol (CBD) for the purposes of medical research. The bill also enables physicians to discuss with patients the potential harms and therapeutic potential of marijuana and its derivatives (such as CBD). Going forward, the Department of Health and Human Services will report on marijuana’s impact on various conditions, such as epilepsy; its impact on adolescent brains; and on the ability to operate a motor vehicle. The bill passed in the House on July 26 and in the Senate on Nov. 16. It was signed into law by the President on Dec. 2.

Equal Pay for Team USA Act of 2022 (S 2333) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) on July 13, 2021, and was passed in the Senate on Dec. 8. The legislation would require equal compensation and benefits for all athletes representing the United States in international amateur athletic competitions, regardless of gender. The bill would require each sport’s national governing body to submit annual compliance reports pertaining to this requirement. The bill’s fate currently lies in the House.

To provide for a resolution with respect to the unresolved disputes between certain railroads represented by the National Carriers’ Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference and certain of their employees (HJ Res 100) – Passage of this bill was successful in averting a nationwide strike of rail workers, but it did not satisfactorily address all of their demands. The Act provides improved healthcare benefits and a 24 percent pay raise, as well as the ability to take limited unpaid sick leave without being subject to penalties. However, the bill failed to provide the five days of paid medical leave sought. The bill was introduced by Rep. Donald Payne Jr (D-N.J.) on Nov. 29, passed in the House on Nov. 30 and the Senate on Dec. 1. It was signed into law on Dec. 2.

Safe Connections Act of 2022 (HR 7132) – Introduced on March 17 by Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), this bill instructs cell phone service providers to waive separation of contract service fees when requested by survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and related harms. The Act requires that the requestor present verifying documentation that a cosigner of thecontract committed or allegedly committed an act of domestic violence, trafficking or a related criminal act against the survivor. The requestor must assume financial responsibility for services after a line separation. The bill passed in the House on July 27, in the Senate on Nov. 17 and was signed into law on Dec. 7.

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Improving Federal Hiring Processes, Foreign Election Influence and Natural Disaster Protections

S 3510, S 4254, HR 6967, S 5002, HR 8987, S3232, HR 5441, S 4524Disaster Resiliency Planning Act (S 3510) – Introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on Jan. 13,this Act details guidelines for federal agencies to incorporate natural disaster resilience with regard to real property asset management and investment decisions. The bill passed in the Senate on June 22, in the House on Nov. 14 and is awaiting signature by President Biden.

Disclosing Foreign Influence in Lobbying Act (S 4254) – This Act is designed to combat attempts of foreign adversaries, such as Russia and China, from trying to influence U.S. political elections. Specifically, the bill closes a loophole used to conceal lobbying efforts frequently used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).The bill was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on May 18 and passed in the Senate on Sept. 29. It is currently under consideration in the House.

Chance to Compete Act of 2022 (HR 6967) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) on Jan. 25, 2021. The bipartisan bill attempts to improve the federal civil service hiring process by waiving education degree requirements. The focus would shift to an evaluation of skills, aptitude and experience. Furthermore, the bill would enable agencies to share applicant assessments and permit interviewing by subject matter experts. The bill passed in the House on Sept. 29 and is now being reviewed in the Senate.

A bill to allow for alternatives to animal testing for purposes of drug and biological product applications (S 5002) – This bipartisan bill was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sept. 29, 2021, and was passed in the Senate on the same day. The legislation requires that certain alternatives be utilized in animal testing in order to receive an exemption from an investigation of the safety and effectiveness of a drug. Alternatives may include cell-based assays and computer models. The Act also waives the requirement of using animal studies to get a license for a biological product that is interchangeable with another biological product. The bill’s fate currently lies in the House.

Fairness for 9/11 Families Act (HR 8987) – Introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on Sept. 26, this bipartisan bill authorizes funding for catch-up payments from the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. The Act passed in the House on Sept. 30 and is currently being considered in the Senate.

Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act (STURDY) Act (S3232) – This legislation directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to revise the safety standards for freestanding dressers, bureaus and chests of drawers. The new manufacturing standards would require testing related to tip-overs for all products sold in the U.S. market. The bill was introduced by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) on Nov.18, 2021. It was passed in the Senate on Sept. 29 and is presently under consideration in the House.

Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2021 (HR 5441) – Introduced on Sept. 30, 2021, by Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN), this bill addresses soring horses. Soring is the practice of making adjustments to horses’ limbs in order to produce a higher gait for showing at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions. These alterations can cause pain, distress, inflammation or lameness. Specifically, the bill seeks to expand soring regulation and enforcement by establishing a new system for soring inspections and increasing penalties for violations. The bill passed in the House on Nov. 14 and currently lies with the Senate.

Speak Out Act (S 4524) – Introduced on July 13 by Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), this Act would waive enforcement of nondisclosure agreements (NDS) involving sexual assault or harassment disputes. The legislation would allow any survivor to share his or her story regardless of a previously signed NDA. The bill passed in the Senate on Sept. 29 and is in the House for consideration.

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Saving Animals, Enhancing Government Efficiency, and Supporting Global Food Security

Saving Animals, Enhancing Government Efficiency, and Supporting Global Food SecurityPlanning for Animal Wellness Act /PAW Act (S 4205) – Introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on May 12, this act instructs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to compile best practices and federal guidance for handling household pets, service and assistance animals and captive animals during emergencies and disasters. Initiatives include preparedness (e.g., sheltering and evacuation planning), response and recovery.The bill passed in the Senate on Aug. 6, in the House on Sept. 14 and was signed into law on Oct. 17 by President Biden.

Bulb Replacement Improving Government with High-Efficiency Technology Act/BRIGHT Act (S 442) – Presently, public buildings managed by the General Services Administration (GSA) must be equipped with energy-efficient lightbulbs and fixtures. This new bill expands requirements to ensure buildings are equipped with the most cost-effective and energy-efficient lighting systems available. Procurement must take into consideration factors such as motion sensors, fixture distribution and other elements. The act was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on Feb. 25, 2021. It passed in the Senate on March 30, the House on Sept. 14 and was enacted into law on Sept. 17.

FTC Collaboration Act of 2021 (HR 1766) – Introduced by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) on March 10, 2021, this bill authorizes the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with state attorneys general to evaluate procedures, such as accountability mechanisms, to better facilitate efforts to prevent and detect fraud and scams. FTC proposals must provide the opportunity for public comment, then submit legislative recommendations based on the results of the study. This bill passed in the House on April 14, 2021, and in the Senate on Sept. 29, 2022. It was signed into law on Oct. 10.

Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act of 2021 (HR 468) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) on Jan. 25, 2021, to amend Title 49 of the United States Code. New provisions allow for incentive payments to expedite certain federally financed airport development projects, subject to an allowable project cost standard. The bill passed in the House on June 15, 2021, the Senate on Sept. 27, 2022, and was signed into law on Oct. 10.

Supporting Families of the Fallen Act (S2794) – This legislation impacts service members (or former members) covered by the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program and the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program. Specifically, it increases the maximum life insurance coverage amount from $400,000 to $500,000. The bill was introduced by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Sept. 22, 2021. It was passed in the Senate on March 23, 2022, and in the House on Sept. 29. It was signed into law by the president on Sept. 17.

Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act of 2021 (HR 4693) – Introduced on July 26, 2021, by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), this bipartisan bill directs the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop initiatives designed to prevent and treat malnutrition globally. The USAID is charged with choosing recipient countries based on specified malnutrition-related indicators. These initiatives andcountry selections must be made within five years, and the provisions are scheduled to terminate seven years after the bill’s enactment. The bill passed in the House with a 90 percent vote on April 27, 2022, in the Senate on Sept. 20, 2022, and was signed into law on Oct. 19.

Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022 (HR 8446) – This act reauthorizes funding to support the government Global Food Security Strategy and the Emergency Food Strategy programs through fiscal year 2028. The first program is designed to promote nutrition and food security, with a newly enhanced focus on improving efficiency and reliability in agriculture production. The latter program provides market-based assistance throughout the world. The bill was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) on July 20. With 78 percent of the vote, it was passed in the House on Sept. 29 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

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Shoring up Protections for Sexually Abused Children, the Mentally Ill in Crises, and a Benefit Increase for Disabled Veterans

Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 (S 3103) – Introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) on Oct. 28, 2021, this Act eliminates the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits by anyone who, as a minor, was a victim of human trafficking or a federal sex crime. The bill passed in the Senate on March 2, in the House on Sept. 13, and was signed into law on Sept. 16 by President Biden.

Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act of 2022 (S 4003) – This bill would authorize training for de-escalation and alternatives to the use of force when law enforcement officers are called to a scene involving mental and behavioral health and suicidal crises. The Act was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on April 5. It passed in the Senate on Aug. 1 and is currently under consideration in the House.

National Aviation Preparedness Plan Act of 2022 (HR 884) – This legislation directs the Department of Transportation (DOT), in consultation with the aviation industry and labor stakeholders such as air carriers, to develop a national aviation preparedness plan for future outbreaks of communicable diseases. The plan must include provisions for frontline, at-risk workers to be equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure and spread of the disease. The bill was introduced by Rep. Rick Larson (D-WA) on Feb. 5, 2021. It was passed in the House on Sept.14and has moved to the Senate.

Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022 (HR 7846) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) on May 19. It proposes a cost-of-living increase beginning Dec. 1 for the compensation of veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans. The bill passed in the House on Sept. 14 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2022 (HR 3962) – Introduced by Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) on June 17, 2021, this bill would permit notaries public to perform electronic notarizations and remote notarizations for matters pertaining to interstate commerce. The Act specifies that minimum standards be established, and that all Federal courts be required to recognize notarizations performed by a notarial officer of any state. This bipartisan bill passed in the House on July 27 and has a very high chance of passing in the Senate.

Jenna Quinn Law (S 734) – On March 11, 2021, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), re-introduced this bill from an earlier version he proposed in 2019. The legislation would amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to authorize grants for training and education to teachers (as well as other school personnel, students and the community)for sexual abuse awareness and prevention programs among primary and secondary school students. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on Aug. 3 and is awaiting further action by the House.

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Productive Month Passing Domestic Manufacturing and Prescription Drug Allowances, Climate and Gun Violence Mitigation, and Veteran Burn Pit Healthcare Legislation

Productive Month Passing Domestic Manufacturing and Prescription Drug Allowances, Climate and Gun Violence Mitigation, and Veteran Burn Pit Healthcare LegislationInflation Reduction Act of 2022 (HR 5376) – This legislation was originally introduced as the Build Back Better Act, President Biden’s signature bill of 2021. After suffering defeat in the Senate, the bill was later revised with fewer provisions to enhance its likelihood of passage, and renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill authorizes funding for investments in domestic energy production and manufacturing with the goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The bill provides tax credits for clean energy home enhancements and electric vehicle purchases, permits Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices,and extendslower healthcare premiums for insurance purchased via the Affordable Care Act program through 2025. Also billed as a deficit reduction tool, the legislation imposes a minimum 15 percent corporate tax rate on large businesses with more than $1 billion in reported income, and a 1 percent excise tax on corporate stock buybacks. Furthermore, the bill increases previously reduced funding for the IRS in order to help track down and recoup taxes unlawfully skirted by high income earners. Initially introduced on Sept. 27, 2021, the Act was passed by both the House and the Senate in August and signed into law on Aug. 16.

CHIPS and Science Act of 2022(HR 4346) – This legislation includes $280 billion in funding to build a domestic supply chain for semiconductor chips as well as scientific and technological research to help keep U.S. industries competitive. The bill authorizes new and expanded investments in STEM education for K-12 to community college, undergraduate and graduate education.The bill was enacted on Aug. 9.

Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S 2938) – Introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Oct. 5, 2021, this Act expands background checks for anyone under age 21 who seeks to purchase firearms, and offers incentives for states to pass red flag laws to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. The bill provides $11 billion in funding for mental health services in schools and local clinics, and to support mental health courts, drug courts, veterans’ courts and extreme risk protection orders. The final version of the bill passed in the Senate on June 23 and in the House on June 24. President Biden signed the bill into law on June 25.

Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 (S 3373) – This legislation, which expands healthcare benefits for veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances while on active duty, was introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) on Dec. 9, 2021. Amid much fanfare and controversy this summer, this bipartisan bill was finally passed in both the House (July) and the Senate (August, requiring a second vote) and was signed into law by President Biden on Aug. 10.

PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 (HR 7352) – Introduced by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) on March 31, this bill amends the Small Business Act to extend the statute of limitation to 10 years for criminal charges and civil enforcement against borrowers under the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed in the House on June 8 and in the Senate on June 28. It was enacted on Aug. 5.

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Strengthening the Supply Chain, the Professional Workforce, Cybersecurity and Coastal Ecosystems

Strengthening the Supply Chain, the Professional Workforce, Cybersecurity and Coastal EcosystemsSupply Chain Security Training Act of 2021 (S 2201) – This legislation is designed to identify supply chain risks and develop a government program to train federal officials with supply chain risk management responsibilities to prepare and mitigate those risks. The training program would cover the complete acquisition life cycle, including funding for data access and processing as well as appropriate technology and communication vehicles. The bill was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on June 23, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Jan. 11 and in the House on May 10. It was signed into law by the president on June 16.

Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (S 3157) – Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) on Nov. 3, 2021, this bill recently passed in the Senate on June 23 and is in the House for consideration. The bipartisan bill would authorize a study on employment opportunities for naturalized and lawfully present non-U.S. citizens who hold professional credentials from non-U.S. countries. For example, the opportunity to employ doctors with medical degrees to help meet U.S. demand in the growing shortage of physicians. The Department of Labor would identify and recommend how to address factors that affect their qualifications for U.S. jobs in various fields of expertise.

State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021(S 2520) – This legislation expands the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsibilities for mitigating cybersecurity threats, risks and vulnerabilities with more proactive and defensive measures.The Act was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on July 28, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Jan. 11 and in the House on May 17. It was signed into law on June 21.

South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2021 (S 66) – An algal bloom is a rapidly growing algae that can produce toxic conditions harmful to humans, animals, aquatic ecosystems and the economy. They are most prevalent in South Florida. The bill, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Jan. 27, 2021, directs the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to develop a plan to address how to reduce and control theeffects of the blooms throughout the South Florida ecosystem. This legislation passed in the Senate on March 8 and in the House on May 11. President Biden signed the bill into law on June 16.

Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022 (HR 6538) – Introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) on Feb. 1, this bill would direct the Department of Justice to set up a national alarm system specifically to warn citizens of an active shooter event. The DOJ also would work with state, tribal and local governments to coordinate networks and establish procedures for how to respond to active shooters. The bill passed in the House on July 13. It is presently under consideration in the Senate, where it faces opposition because many believe it duplicates the existing Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The premise is that a separate system for active shooter events would risk desensitizing citizens with false alarms.

Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act (S 516) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) on March 11, 2021. It passed in the Senate on March 23, 2022, and in the House on June 14, but the House made changes and returned it to the Senate. The purpose of this legislation is to establish an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) interagency task force to plan and coordinate efforts for urban-based cargo and passenger aircraft (e.g., drones, air taxis, air ambulances) in the United States. The program would address matters related to safety, infrastructure, physical security, cybersecurity and federal investment in order to integrate these new aircraft into existing airspace operations.

Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 (HR 8296) – Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) on July 7, this bill passed the House on July 15 and is currently with the Senate. The bill would prohibit state governments from restricting access to abortion services (via drug prescription, telemedicine or immediate action) in situations where the provider determines that birth would endanger the mother’s life.

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Protecting SCOTUS, Veterans in Special Circumstances, Disaster Victims, Potential Firearm Victims, and America’s Water Resources

America's Water ResourcesSupreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022 (S 4160) – In response to potential threats and protests outside the homes of Supreme Court judges following a leak of their preliminary judgement on a case related to Roe vs. Wade, this bill authorizes extra security for the justices and their families. Specifically, Supreme Court justices and their families would be provided with security detail similar to that of other top government officials and families in the executive branch (e.g., the president and vice president) and legislative branch (e.g., Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader). This type of detail generally cannot be declined. The bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on May 5. It passed in both the Senate and the House on June 14 and was signed into law by the president on June 16.

Honoring our PACT Act of 2021 (HR 3967) – Introduced by Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) on June 17, 2021, this bill recently passed in both the House and the Senate, but was returned with changes to the House on June 16. PACT is an acronym for Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act. The bipartisan legislation, with 100 sponsors, would permit veterans who were exposed to burn pit smoke and other environmental hazards that caused cancers and other illnesses during their service, to receive health coverage for those ailments.

Air America Act of 2022 (S 407) – Air America was a government-owned airline deployed between 1950 and 1976 for the purpose of conducting certain covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. This bill is designed to restore benefits to the employees who worked for Air America during that period. Benefit applications must be filed within two years of the bill’s enactment. This legislation was introduced on Feb. 24, 2021, by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). It passed in the Senate on June 14 and is currently in the House for consideration.

Post-Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act (HR 2020) – Introduced by Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico (R-PR) on March 18, 2021, this bill establishes a centralized website to publish information on disaster assistance. The Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies that provide disaster assistance must submit the following information for publication on a quarterly basis: 1) the total amount of assistance provided by the agency; 2) the amount provided that was disbursed or obligated; and 3) a detailed list of all projects and activities to which assistance was allocated. The bill passed in the House on May 13 and is under consideration in the Senate.

Protecting Our Kids Act (HR 7910) – The bill was introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) on May 31 and passed in the House on June 8. The purpose of this legislation is to ban the sale or transfer of certain semiautomatic firearms to anyone under age 21; establish new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking; regulate guns that do not have serial numbers (ghost guns); regulate the storage of firearms on residential premises at federal, state and tribal levels; regulate bump stocks under federal firearms laws; and generally prohibit the import, sale, manufacture, transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices. The bill is currently facing significant challenges in the Senate, where a bipartisan committee is working on an alternative.

Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (HR 1766) – This legislation authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to implement projects associated with water resources development, including water supply and wastewater infrastructure, flood control, navigation and ecosystem/ shoreline restoration. The Act was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on May 16. It passed in the House on June 8 and is currently under consideration in the Senate along with other similar bills.

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Rushing Baby Formula supplies, Helping Ukraine and Punishing Russia

To amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to establish waiver authority to address certain emergencies, disasters and supply chain disruptions, and for other purposes. (HR 7791) – In response to the recent nationwide shortage of infant formula, Congress passed a bill authorizing $28 million to fund emergency supplies and to address the potential for future shortages due to emergencies, disasters or supply chain disruptions. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) on May 17. It passed in the House on May 18 and unanimously in the Senate on May 19. It is currently awaiting signature by the president.

Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 (S 3522) – This legislation was introduced on Jan. 19, by Rep. John Cornyn (T-TX). It passed in the Senate on April 6, the House on April 28, and was signed into law by President Biden on May 9. The bill waives certain requirements that constrain the president’s authority to lend or lease defense articles intended for Ukraine’s government or other Eastern European countries affected by Russia’s war. For example, prohibiting a loan or lease period of more than five years. Furthermore, the president must establish procedures to ensure quick delivery of defense articles loaned or leased to Ukraine. The provisions of this bill are scheduled to terminate at the end of FY 2023.

Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (HR 7691) – Introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro on May 10, this bill authorizes $40.1 billion in emergency funding for U.S. agencies to aid Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion. The funding is available only through fiscal year 2022 (which ends Sept. 30). The appropriations are designed to provide defense equipment, migration and refugee assistance, support for nuclear power issues, emergency food assistance, economic assistance, and property seizures related to the invasion. U.S. agency recipients include the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture and the Treasury Department. The bill passed in the House and Senate on May 19 and awaits the president’s signature.

Ukraine Comprehensive Debt Payment Relief Act of 2022 (HR 7081) – This bill is designed to advocate debt assistance for Ukraine among domestic and international financial institutions. Specifically, the legislation calls for an immediate suspension of Ukraine’s debt service payments to respective institutions, offering concessional financial assistance to Ukraine, and providing economic support to both refugees from Ukraine and to the countries receiving them. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jesus Garcia (D-IL) on March 17. It passed in the House on May 11 and is under review in the Senate.

Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act of 2022 (HR 6899) – The purpose of this legislation is to prevent financial assistance to Russia or Belarus. Specifically, it prohibits the U.S. Treasury Department from making transactions that involve the exchange of Special Drawing Rights held by the Russian Federation or Belarus. Special Drawing Rights (SDR) are reserve assets contributed by member countries and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The act was introduced by Rep. French Hill (R-AK) on March 2. It passed in the House on May 11 and is in the Senate.

Isolate Russian Government Officials Act of 2022 (HR 6891) – Introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) on March 2, this bill is designed to exclude Russian government officials from certain international meetings, such as the Group of 20, the Basel Committee for Banking Standards, and the Bank for International Settlements. The bill’s mandate is scheduled to end either within five years, or 30 days after the president has reported (to Congress) the end of the Russian-Ukraine war. The act passed in the House on May 11; it currently resides in the Senate.

Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act (HR 6930) – This bill would authorize a task force to identify legal actions that can be used to confiscate the assets of foreign individuals affiliated with Russia’s political leadership. The work group also is directed to report (to Congress) its recommendations for more energy-related sanctions on Russia’s government, as well as any additional authority the president can use to seize assets. The act was introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) on March 3. It passed in the House on April 27 and is under consideration in the Senate.

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Restricting Trade Relations with Russia, Enhancing U.S. Export Pathways, and Bearing Down on Cybercrime and Human Trafficking

Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act (HR 7108) – This legislation suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus. The president may restore normal trade relations pending Congressional approval, and this authority is scheduled to end on the last day of 2023. The bill also permanently authorizes the president to impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions based on violations of human rights, as well as increase duty rates on products from these countries. These actions are designed to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by urging other World Trade Organization (WTO) members to suspend trade concessions to Russia and Belarus, and consider steps to suspend Russia’s participation in the WTO. The bill was introduced on March 17 by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA). It passed in the House on the same day, passed in the Senate on April 7, and was signed into law by President Biden on March 17.

Modernizing Access to Our Public Land Act (HR 3113) – This bill was introduced by Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) on May 11, 2021. It requires the Dept. of the Interior, the Forest Service, and the Corps of Engineers to digitize geographic information system mapping data relating to public access to Federal land and waters for outdoor recreation. This information, which must be made publicly available, will include status as to whether roads and trails are open or closed; the dates on which roads and trails are seasonally opened and closed; the types of vehicles allowed on each segment of roads and trails; the boundaries of areas where hunting or recreational shooting is regulated or closed; and the boundaries of any portion of a body of water that is closed to entry, watercraft or has horsepower limitations for watercraft. The bill passed in the House on March 15, the Senate on April 6, and is awaiting signature by the president.

Better Cybercrime Metrics Act (S 2629) – This bill authorizes various requirements to improve the collection of data related to cybercrime. For example, the Department of Justice must collect cybercrime reports from federal, state and local officials; include questions about cybercrime in the annual National Crime Victimization Survey; and evaluate current cybercrime data collection and reporting systems. The bill was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Aug. 5, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Dec. 7, 2021, the House on March 29, and is awaiting the president’s signature to become law.

Bankruptcy Threshold Adjustment and Technical Corrections Act (S 3823) – The primary purpose of this legislation is to modify the eligibility requirements for a debtor to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. Specifically, only an individual (or an individual’s spouse, except a stockbroker or a commodity broker) with regular income that owes aggregated debt of less than $2,750,000 may file as a debtor under Chapter 13. The bill was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on March 14 and passed in the Senate on April 7. It is currently under consideration in the House.

Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021 (S 2991) – This bill authorizes the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security Center for Countering Human Trafficking. The goal is to address human trafficking with a victim-centered approach to increase the focus on and effectiveness of investigating and prosecuting forced labor cases. Specifically, the legislation centers on eradicating forced labor from both corporate and government agency supply chain contracts and procurement. The act was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on Oct. 18, 2021. It passed in the Senate on April 16 and is under consideration in the House.

Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (S 3580) – This bipartisan act was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on Feb. 3. The bill increases the authority of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to investigate late fees charged by common ocean carriers and otherwise find ways to promote the growth of U.S. exports through a more effective and economical ocean transportation system. For example, the bill prohibits common ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, and ocean transportation intermediaries from unreasonably refusing cargo space when available. This legislation passed in the Senate on March 31 and is under consideration in the House.