Capital Hill Review

 114th Congress - 2st Session (2016) 

Senate

 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

 

A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (S.J. Res. 22)

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, the Senate rejected  a cloture motion to end debate on President Barack Obama's veto Senate Joint Resolution 22 (S.J. Res 22; Text of Legislation ; A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act )  on a 52 to 40 vote (To view how your senators voted visit: 5 ).  To end debate, a three-fifths majority is required.  The resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator of Iowa Joni Ernst (R) states  congressional disapproval of the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency rule defining “waters of the United States” and voiding the rule. 

Article:  The Roll Call

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

 

American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 (H.R.4038)

 

The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 (H.R.4038; Text of Legislation), a bill that would crack down on Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to the United States, was blocked by Democrats on a 55 to 43 vote (To view how your senators voted visit:  ).  A three-fifths votes was required to move ahead with the legislation.

Article: U.S. Senate Democrats block bill aimed at cracking down on Syrian, Iraqi refugees ;  Senate Democrats block bill to crack down on Syrian, Iraqi refugees

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

 

On the Nomination (Confirmation Wilhelmina Marie Wright, of Minnesota, to be U.S. District Judge)

 

The Senate on Tuesday, January 19, 2016,  confirmed Wilhelmina Marie Wright, of Minnesota, to be U.S. District Judge (PN367 ) on a 58 to 36 vote (To view how your senators voted visit:  )  .

 

Article:  Republican-Led Senate Confirms Obama Judge Who Once Attacked Property Rights and Reagan

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

 

Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 (S.2232)

 

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the Senate rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 (S.2232; Text of Legislation ) on a 53-44 vote (To view how your senators voted visit: 2 ).   The measure would require that a full audit of the Federal Reserve board of governors and its regional reserve banks would be carried out by the U.S. Comptroller General.  A three-fifths majority vote was required to end debate.

Article:  Georgia delegation congressional voting

Monday, January 11, 2016

 

On the Nomination (Confirmation Luis Felipe Restrepo, of Pennsylvania, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit )

 

On an 82 to 6 vote (To view how your senators voted visit:  ),  the Senate confirmed  Luis Felipe Restrepo, of Pennsylvania, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit (PN11 ) on Monday, January 11, 2016.

 

Article:  Senate confirms Restrepo to federal appeals court ; Georgia delegation congressional voting

 

House of Representatives

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

 

Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of waters of the United States under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act

 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, passed on a 253 to 166 vote (To view how your representative voted visit: 45 ) Senate Joint Resolution 22 (S.J. Res 22; Text of Legislation ; A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act ).  The resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator of Iowa Joni Ernst (R) states congressional disapproval of the Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency rule defining “waters of the United States” and voiding the rule.  The Government Accountability Office found that the EPA broke the law in using covert propaganda to build support for its rule said resolution supporter U.S. Representative of Ohio Bob Gibbs (R).  He added that would give the federal government “virtually limitless authority over land in this country that could contain water.”

 

Article:  Georgia delegation congressional voting

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

 

North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757)

 

On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, the House of Representatives passed on a 418 to 2 vote (To view how your representative voted visit: 43 ) the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757; Text of Legislation).  The measure would require the President to sanction those engaging in transactions with North Korea related to weapons of mass destruction, arms, luxury goods, money laundering, counterfeiting and human rights abuses.  Also, the bill gives the President the authority to sanction anyone engaging in financial transactions to support North Korea's banned activities and the nation's developing cyber threat industry.

 Article:  House passes harsher North Korean sanctions, inserting itself into debate

 

Supporting Transparent Regulatory and Environmental Actions in Mining (STREAM) Act

 

The Supporting Transparent Regulatory and Environmental Actions in Mining (STREAM) Act  (H.R. 1644; Text of Legislation ) was passed on a 235 to 188 vote (To view how your representative voted visit: 42 )  by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.  The bill which the White House has threatened to veto would delay an Office of Surface Mining (OSM) regulation until it goes through future rounds of scientific review and the Obama administration releases more information about how it was developed, effectively blocking the rule.  Regulations for buffer zones around streams where coal mining waste is prohibited were intensified by the OSM.  The coal industry would be hindered even further by Obama regulations that are already exacerbating and would lead to further job loss among miners.  President Obama's war on coal has devastated many coal mining states and these changes would result in the loss of up to 77,000 coal mining jobs nationwide that would include in the Appalachia region of up to 52,000 jobs.

 

Article:   House votes to delay coal mining rule

 

Monday, January 11, 2016

 

Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act (H.R. 598)

 

On Monday, January 11, 2016, the House of Representatives on a 413 to 0 vote (To view how your representative voted visit: 34 ) approved the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act (H.R. 598; Text of Legislation), a bill whose aim is to reduce federal government waste and would compel each federal agency to publish an annual report card for every program.  On the annual report from the Government Accountability Office on government duplication, waste and mismanagement, the measure is based.  The 2015 report found 66 actions across 24 areas where agencies may be able to achieve greater efficiency or effectiveness.  Identified would be each government program and reports would outline:

·         The program's total administrative costs;

·         Services total expenditures;

·         Program's total number of beneficiaries who receive assistance; and

·         An estimate of the program's number of staff that administer the program that include contractor staff. 

Also, included in each report would be:

·         Within the agency a listing of other programs with duplicative or overlapping missions and services;

·         For the program, the latest performance reviews that include the metrics used to review the program;

·         For the program, the latest improper payment rate that includes fraudulent payments; and

·         Held by the agency and grant recipients, the total amount of unspent and unobligated program funds.

Annually, this information would be updated and posted online.  Also, recommendations to consolidate duplicative and overlapping programs; to eliminate waste and inefficiency; and to terminate lower-priority, outdated and unnecessary programs would be posted. 

 

Article: House passes Cooper bill designed to cut waste

 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (H.R. 653)

 

The House of Representatives on Monday, January 11, 2016, approved the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; H.R. 653) by a voice vote, a bill that would create the most sweeping reforms to federal open records laws in nearly ten years.  It would limit exemptions under the FOIA that now allow federal agencies to hold back information.  Also, for people to make FOIA requests and require agencies to publicly post frequently requested records online, the measure would create a single online portal. Following persistent complaints about the FOIA process from journalists, the public and members of Congress, the legislation has been years in the making. 

The measure also, would reform how agencies can redact some information using Exemption 5, which is often derisively referred to as the “withhold because you can” statute.  It is supposed to apply to “interagency or intra-agency communication,” such as draft documents in practice.  However, agencies would be required to disclose any “records that embody the working law, effective policy, or the final decision of the agency,” by the legislation.  Also, the measure mirrors the Senate bill in requiring that Exemption 5 cannot be used on any information older than 25 years.  On how to fulfill document requests with a “presumption of openness,” the bill would codify nonbinding directions from the Obama administration and the Justice Department.  Additionally, the bill would improve public digital access to records released through FOIA and make more independent oversight of the process.

 

Articles:   House passes sweeping FOIA reform legislation ; House passes FOIA reform, again

 

What Can You Do?

 

If your representative has or has not reflected your views, let them know how you feel.

 

US House of Representatives:

 

Contact Information:

 

Capitol Hill Switchboard Numbers: 202-224-3121 (Those numbers will direct you to the Capitol Hill operator. Ask for your representative or senator's office.)

 

To find out who your representative is visit ... Find Your Representative

 

To electronically mail your U.S. House of Representative, go to Directory of Representatives  

 

Addressing Correspondence: 

 

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative (last name):  

 

US Senate:  

 

Contact Information:

To go to your senators' websites, find their E-mail or to find out who your senators are... http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm     

 

 Addressing Correspondence: 

 

The Honorable (full name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510   

Dear Senator (last name):