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WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 29, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 29, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: D.C.’s Big Week

A lot happened in Washington, D.C. last week, things affecting race relations, Obamacare, and gay rights.

Our blog post calls it: “A Big Week! … for Spending.”

Featured Item

Last week, the largest annual spending bill was introduced in the Senate. S. 1695 would make appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the 2016 fiscal year.

Passage of S. 1695 would spend about $8,350 per U.S. family. A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the House.

S. 1695
An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes
Costs $8,354.95 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on S. 1695. Click here to vote on S. 1695.

S. 1695
50% For, 50% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

S. 248
The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2499
The Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2647
The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015
Costs $0.09 per family

S. 1695
An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes
Costs $8,354.95 per family

H.R. 1023
The Small Business Investment Company Capital Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2295
The National Energy Security Corridors Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1326
The Maritime Administration Enhancement Act of 2015
Costs $6.92 per family

H.R. 1300
The First Responder Anthrax Preparedness Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 6
The 21st Century Cures Act
Costs $1,463.86 per family

H.R. 2576
The TSCA Modernization Act of 2015
Costs $1.14 per family

S. 1645
The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $127.82 per family

H.R. 1723
The Small Company Simple Registration Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 2256
The Veterans Information Modernization Act
Costs $0.05 per family

H.R. 1777
The Presidential Allowance Modernization Act
Saves $0.09 per family

H.R. 2620
To amend the United States Cotton Futures Act to exclude certain cotton futures contracts from coverage under such Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1289
The John Muir National Historic Site Expansion Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 984
The Steve Gleason Act of 2015
Costs $0.22 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 1295
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015
Saves $75.11 per family


Passed Items

none

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(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

A Big Week! … for Spending

money-fallingPresident Obama eulogized the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine people shot and killed by a racist terrorist during Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. The Supreme Court saved Obamacare from a legal challenge that would have undercut the tax and subsidy scheme that are a linchpin of the law. And the Court recognized a right of gay people to marry. It was a big week! … for spending.

That’s because one of the biggest spending bills of the year was introduced. That’s the Labor/HHS spending bill, S. 1695, in the Senate. There isn’t a House bill yet.

The Senate bill proposes spending of about $8,300 per family. That’s about $890 billion, if you like big numbers.

It’s not just the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services funded by the bill. Take a look at all the government offices:

  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health and Human Services (Except Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; Food and Drug Administration; Indian Health Services and Facilities; and National Institute of Environmental Sciences (formerly EPA/Superfund))
  • Department of Labor
  • Related Agencies:
    – Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled
    – Corporation for National and Community Service
    – Corporation for Public Broadcasting
    – Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
    – Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
    – Institute of Museum and Library Services
    – Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission
    – Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
    – National Council on Disability
    – National Labor Relations Board
    – National Mediation Board
    – Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
    – Railroad Retirement Board
    – Social Security Administration

The big cost items, of course, are Medicare and Social Security. They make Labor/HHS much bigger than the next largest annual spending bill, the Department of Defense appropriations bill. The Senate version is S. 1558, and it spends a little over $5,000 per family. The House bill, H.R. 2685, spends about the same amount.

It was a big week for spending! Everything about the Labor/HHS bill is big.

Here’s the current vote on the Labor/HHS spending bill. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article about the bill.

(0 comments | Categories: Appropriations/Budget » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 22, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 22, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Other-Than-Annual Spending

There are two kinds of spending bills: authorizations of appropriations and appropriations. Here in the middle of the budgeting and spending (appropriations) season, it’s important not to lose of track of authorizations.

Read about a couple of authorization bills, and what they spend, in a post entitled: “The Spending, It’s Never-Ending.”

Featured Item

This week, the House will debate H.R. 2822, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The bill would spend money on the operations of the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, and other similar agencies.

Passage of H.R. 2822 would cost about $300 per U.S. family.

H.R. 2822
The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $298.89 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. Click here to vote on The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
50% For, 50% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 1646
The Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 1675
The Encouraging Employee Ownership Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 805
The Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 806
The Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 1495
The Fairness for Crime Victims Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 756
The Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1619
The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $436.89 per family

S. 614
The Federal Improper Payments Coordination Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 387
The Economic Development Through Tribal Land Exchange Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1525
The Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2357
The Accelerating Access to Capital Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2822
The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $298.89 per family

S. 1297
The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act
Costs $101.15 per family

H.R. 2064
The Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 1965
The Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 686
The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1847
The Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 432
The SBIC Advisers Relief Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1334
The Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1315
The Knife Owners’ Protection Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1331
The Seasonal Forecasting Improvement Act
Costs $4.18 per family

H.R. 2323
The United States International Communications Reform Act of 2015
Costs $31.95 per family

S. 1172
The Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1633
The DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2580
The LTCH Technical Correction Act of 2015
Costs $0.06 per family

H.R. 2581
The Preservation of Access for Seniors in Medicare Advantage Act of 2015
Saves $1.85 per family

H.R. 2772
The Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $454.96 per family

S. 750
The Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act
Costs $0.01 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-24
The Girls Count Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

P.L. 114-25
A bill to extend the authorization to carry out the replacement of the existing medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado, to authorize transfers of amounts to carry out the replacement of such medical center, and for other purposes

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

The Spending, It’s Never-Ending

International Space StationIt’s the middle of appropriations season, the time of year when Congress spends money on the operations of the federal government for the coming 2016 fiscal year. But those aren’t the only kind of spending bills. Along with appropriations bills, you’ve got authorization bills, the ones that authorize the spending that Congress does when it appropriates.

The House is going to debate H.R. 2822, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016, this week, one of the annual appropriations bills, but let’s take a look at some different bills.

S. 1297 is the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. Passage of the bills would authorize NASA to continue to maintain and operate the International Space Station through 2024. The current authorization goes through 2020.

The bill would also require the Department of Transportation and NASA to submit various reports to the Congress regarding commercial space operations and services, industry practices, and an assessment of potential liabilities associated with commercial space launches.

Finally, the bill would allow greater flexibility to private firms seeking launch licenses from DOT, and it would encourage advances in launch safety regulations.

A little over fourteen billion dollars in spending authorized by the bill spreads from 2021 to 2025. The money each U.S. family would have to put in the bank now to fund that spending in the future is just over $100. So the question is joined: Would you pay $100 for four years operation of the International Space Station?

H.R. 2323 is the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2015. The bill would make several changes to U.S. international broadcasting and would permanently authorize spending for the purpose.

The bill would consolidate the Voice of America into the United States International Communications Agency, it would amend the principles and mission underlying international broadcasting, and it would limit the hiring of personnel at the newly consolidated USICA.

Spending in the bill amounts to about $3.7 billion over the next five years. That adds up to about $30 per U.S. family. The question: Would you pay $30 to continue international broadcasting by the U.S. government?

Here are the current votes on S. 1297, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act and H.R. 2323, the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2015. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki articles on the bills.

(1 comment | Categories: Commerce » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 15, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 15, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Death Panels Save Money

It’s difficult making the trade-offs that our elected representatives are called on to make. If you were making the decision by yourself, would you pay $50 to get rid of “death panels”?

Read about the difficult decision before Congress this week in a post entitled: “Spending to Get Rid of ‘Death Panels’.”

Featured Item

This week, the House will debate H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015.

The bill would repeal the part of Obamacare (formally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

By limiting future cost reductions, passage of H.R. 1190 would cost a little under $50 per U.S. family.

H.R. 1190
The Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015
Costs $48.02 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015. Click here to vote on The Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2015.

The Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015
33% For, 67% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 2579
The Securing Care for Seniors Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 774
The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 2505
The Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2506
The Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act of 2015
Saves $0.26 per family

H.R. 2507
The Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2395
The Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 1190
The Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015
Costs $48.02 per family

S. 1558
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $5,232.19 per family

S. 1359
The E-Warranty Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1991
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act Extension Act of 2015
Costs $5.03 per family

H.R. 710
The Essential Transportation Worker Identification Credential Assessment Act
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 1001
The Small Business Lending Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1607
The Ruth Moore Act of 2015
Saves $0.04 per family

S. 958
The Small Business Fairness Act
Costs $0.22 per family

H.R. 1853
To direct the President to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan at the International Criminal Police Organization, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1575
To amend title 38, United States Code, to make permanent the pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans newly separated from service in the Armed Forces
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 1000
The SCORE for Small Business Act of 2015
Costs $0.28 per family

H.R. 2596
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016
Costs $5.99 per family

S. 697
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
Costs $1.29 per family

S. 544
The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015
Costs $9.60 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 644
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015
Costs $0.25 per family

H.R. 1295
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015
Saves $83.15 per family

H.R. 1314
The Trade Act of 2015
Costs $2.94 per family


Passed Items

none

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Spending to Get Rid of “Death Panels”

death-panelIt’s not as easy as it seems to be a politician. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions. Sometimes you have to make difficult trade-offs. So let’s turn the tables and put the trade-offs on you. This time, you decide.

The bill is H.R. 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015. The bill would repeal the part of Obamacare (formally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board is the organization that under certain circumstances would modify the Medicare program to save money. That is, it would decide that some treatments aren’t going to be available to some people.

Death panels.

That’s what Sarah Palin called this kind of organization. It would be there to “ration” health care, making decisions that could ultimately be the life or death of some Americans.

Maybe you want to get rid of the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

How much would you pay for it to be gone?

The Congressional Budget Office estimate for H.R. 1190 says that it is probably going to reduce spending by $7.1 billion in fiscal 2022, 2023, and 2024. The savings that won’t happen if the bill passes amounts to just under $50 per U.S. family. That’s the amount you’d have to put in a bank this year to pay your (average family) share of that spending when it comes around.

SO, is that an expense you’d like to undertake to get rid of death panels?

Rationing of health care dollars is a funny thing because somebody has to do it. It’s an unfortunate part of living that we don’t spend everything we might be able to scrape together to keep from dying. Everyone would love to spend as much as they can, and it’s easy when it’s a government program (free money!) to spend more. But when it comes to real decisions, somebody’s got to do some rationing.

It could be that you think health care costs would be controlled another way if the Independent Payment Advisory Board goes away. That could be. And it may be a reason not to worry about the $50 expense coming your way if the bill passes.

There are a lot of dimensions to the issues that politicians face. This is one of them. The decision you’re faced with on H.R. 1190 is getting rid of “death panels” and increasing spending at the same time. How would you vote?

Your fellow visitors to WashingtonWatch.com are voting as you see below. Click to vote yourself, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

(3 comments | Categories: Entitlements, Health Care » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 8, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 8, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Spending Season

It’s an annual ritual. Congress looks like it’s going to pass all the spending bills on time, and…

Learn about the current status of the spending process in the post entitled: “Spending Season Gets Into Swing.”

Featured Items

This week, the House will debate more annual spending bills.

The House will complete debate on H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The bill funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the 2016 fiscal year.

Passage of H.R. 2577 would cost a little over $1,100 per U.S. family.

The House will also debate H.R. 2685, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016.

The DoD spending bill funds the Army, the Navy (including the Marine Corps), the Air Force, the Office of Secretary of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as other agencies and functions.

Passage of H.R. 2685 would cost about $5,200 per U.S. family.

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $1,114.32 per family

H.R. 2685
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $5,265.19 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. Click here to vote on The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
25% For, 75% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016. Click here to vote on The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016
50% For, 50% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 2685
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $5,265.19 per family

H.R. 1020
The STEM Education Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1637
The Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 160
The Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015
Saves $189.67 per family

S. 1417
The United States Grain Standards Act Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $0.92 per family

H.R. 23
The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015
Costs $0.38 per family

H.R. 1626
The DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1640
The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1376
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016
Costs $5,381.05 per family

S. 966
The Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1615
The DHS FOIA Efficiency Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1335
The North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 1336
The South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 1251
The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Amendments Act
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 1738
The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015
Costs $0.31 per family

H.R. 2250
The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $34.23 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-20
To designate the United States courthouse located at 700 Grant Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the “Joseph F. Weis Jr. United States Courthouse”
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-21
The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-22
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

P.L. 114-23
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015
Costs $0.13 per family

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Spending Season Gets Into Swing

budget_processLucy, get your football. It’s time for the annual tradition in which Congress looks like it’s going to do its budgeting on time, and then…

At this point, the House has been moving spending bills on a schedule that could allow for the congressional budget process to be completed on time.

The federal government operates on an October-through-September fiscal year. The 2016 fiscal year begins October 1st, which means Congress should finish its spending bills during the summer—or at least by mid-September.

The earlier the better, because having their bills passed allows federal agencies to plan for the coming year. The official schedule calls for the House to finish its work on spending bills by the end of June.

So let’s take a look at what the House has done so far. It’s doing … alright. Maybe this year—maybe, just maybe—Congress will pass the bills on time, and there won’t be any need for “continuing resolutions” or “omnibus” spending bills.

Without further ado, each of the annual spending bills and their current status:

Agriculture – no bill yet

Commerce/Justice/ScienceH.R. 2578 spends about $585 per U.S. family.

DefenseH.R. 2685 spends about $5,260 per U.S. family.

Energy and WaterH.R. 2028 spends about $340 per U.S. family.

Financial Services – no bill yet

Homeland Security – no bill yet

Interior and Environment – no bill yet

Labor/HHS/Education – no bill yet

Legislative BranchH.R. 2250 spends about $34 per U.S. family.

Military/VeteransH.R. 2029 spends $1,600 per U.S. family.

State/Foreign Operations – no bill yet

Transportation/HUDH.R. 2577 spends $1,100 per U.S. family.

Spending season is getting into swing! We’ll keep you posted as things continue to develop.

(1 comment | Categories: Appropriations/Budget » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 1, 2015

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 1, 2015. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: NSA Spying Ends

Nothing is ever simple, but for a few days at least, the National Security Agency’s program to collect data about Americans’ phone calling will cease.

Read about it in a post entitled: “NSA Spying Ends.”

Featured Items

This week, the House and Senate return from Memorial Day recess.

The House will debate H.R. 2578, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, and agencies dealing with science and similar matters.

Passage of H.R. 2578 would cost a little under $600 per U.S. family.

The House may also debate H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

As the name suggests, the bill funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the 2016 fiscal year.

Passage of H.R. 2577 would cost a little over $1,100 per U.S. family.

H.R. 2578
The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $585.25 per family

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $1,113.16 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. Click here to vote on The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
50% For, 50% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. Click here to vote on The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
50% For, 50% Against

Vote on this Bill


Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

New Items

H.R. 2200
The CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1214
The National Forest Small Tracts Act Amendments Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 451
The Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 999
The Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2045
The Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2289
The Commodity End-User Relief Act
Costs $9.63 per family

H.R. 2206
The State Wide Interoperable Communications Enhancement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 552
The Small Business Investment Capital Company Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 802
The Girls Count Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2100
The Girls Count Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 957
The Veterans Entrepreneurship Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1831
The Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2015
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 2390
The Homeland Security University-based Centers Review Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2393
The Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2394
The National Forest Foundation Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $0.08 per family

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $1,113.16 per family

H.R. 2578
The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $585.25 per family

H.R. 526
The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 986
The Albuquerque Indian School Land Transfer Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2131
To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 83 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, as the “J. Waties Waring Judicial Center”
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 1759
The ALERT Act of 2015
Costs $0.03 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-19
The Construction Authorization and Choice Improvement Act

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

NSA Spying Ends

National Security Agency - NSAWe reported last week on that fight among Republicans about NSA spying and the USA FREEDOM Act. Now it’s nearly certain that the bill to revamp how the government accesses information about Americans’ telephone calls will pass.

The week before last, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) refused efforts by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to extend the government’s domestic spying powers under section 215 of the USA-PATRIOT Act. After a Memorial Day recess, the Senate returned to Washington, D.C., late Sunday for a special session, hours before the midnight expiration of the government’s authorities.

Not much had changed during the week, so in a notable reversal Senator McConnell agreed to move forward with USA FREEDOM. The Senate voted in the early evening on Sunday to limit debate on the bill. That successful cloture vote in the Senate paved the way for final passage.

But Senator Paul was not ready to let USA FREEDOM pass right away. Using Senate rules to delay a final vote, he caused NSA spying to cease at midnight Sunday night. Assuming USA FREEDOM passes as planned, probably around Tuesday, government authorities to access information will resume soon in a curtailed form.

The passage of USA FREEDOM is a sea-change in the national security debate. Prior to now, Congress has always expanded government counter-terrorism authorities. The information revealed by Edward Snowden showed the price paid in privacy by law-abiding Americans, and the balance in the political debate about privacy and security has shifted.

Whether that’s a permanent dynamic in American politics is up to you. Your communications with Congress, what you say to friends, and what you write in letters to the editor of your local newspaper make the difference. Oh—and also your comments and votes on WashingtonWatch.com. The way to diminish your influence over events is by remaining inactive and silent.

Here’s the current vote on the USA FREEDOM Act. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

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