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WashingtonWatch.com Digest – July 18, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of July 18, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Recess

Congress is off for the summer. But at least the Senate has published its schedule for the day it returns in September.

Read about it in a post entitled: “Congress Breaks for the Summer.”

Featured Items

Congress is on its summer recess.

When it returns, the Senate will debate H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016, which is a legislative vehicle for three other bills: H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016, and H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which was formerly a regulatory reform bill.

The cost of H.R. 4974 is about $1,660 per U.S. family.

The Senate will also debate H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill spends money on the Departments of the Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), and Air Force, the Office of Secretary of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Passage of H.R. 5293 would cost a little over $5,000 per U.S. family.

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $8.86 per family

H.R. 5293
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $5,091.79 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
29% For, 71% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017
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

S. 2136
The Improving Small Business Innovative Research and Technologies Act of 2015
Costs $0.21 per family

H.R. 24
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015
Costs $0.04 per family

S. 2971
The National Urban Search and Rescue Response System Act of 2016
Costs $0.95 per family

S. 2997
A bill to direct the Federal Communications Commission to commence proceedings related to the resiliency of critical telecommunications networks during times of emergency, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2644
The FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016
Costs $12.77 per family

H.R. 5063
The Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5523
The Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act
Saves $0.00 per family

S. 2937
The Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2017
Costs $19.82 per family

S. 1622
The FDA Device Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.05 per family

H.R. 5424
The Investment Advisers Modernization Act of 2016
Costs $0.02 per family

S. 2829
The Maritime Administration Authorization and Enhancement Act for Fiscal Year 2017
Costs $8.17 per family

S. 461
The Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5322
The U.S. Territories Investor Protection Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2509
The Federal Property Management Reform Act of 2016
Costs $0.14 per family

S. 1101
The Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumers’ Health Act
Costs $0.50 per family

H.R. 4510
The Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2967
The National Biodefense Strategy Act of 2016
Costs $0.12 per family

S. 2838
The Small Business Transforming America’s Regions Act of 2016
Costs $0.06 per family

S. 2944
The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

none

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Congress Breaks for the Summer

schools outCongress hasn’t set the spending plan for fiscal 2017 yet, but it has adjourned for its summer break.

The House and Senate won’t meet again until September 6th. When it returns, just four weeks before the beginning of the new fiscal year, it might—might—set spending levels for the year. Failure to establish spending numbers plenty of time before the beginning of the fiscal year prevents agencies from planning and undercuts their efficiency—or, if you like, undercuts their efficiency even more.

The Republicans and Democrats are having their conventions this coming week and next, of course. It’s a symbol, in a way, that getting elected is much more important to them than doing the work they’re elected to do. (You could lay this charge chiefly with Republicans this time, because they currently control the House and Senate.)

At least the Senate has been good enough to publish its plans for its first week back: Work starts again at 3:00pm on Tuesday, September 6.

Shortly after that time, the Senate will resume consideration of the conference report for H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016. As we noted in a recent WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter, that bill actually is the legislative vehicle for a couple of other bills, H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017; H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016; and H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which was formerly a regulatory reform bill.

The Senate may vote as earlier as late that day to cut off debate on that bill, and one other, H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017. The second largest of this year’s annual spending bills, DoD approps spends over $5,000 per U.S. family. Cutting off debate, or “cloture,” means that a bill will soon move to a decision on final passage.

So there’s some real action coming up in the Senate. …It’s just seven weeks away.

Enjoy your summer break, Congress!

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – July 11, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of July 11, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: A Big Week

The House of Representatives is planning to debate a LOT of bills this week.

Take a look in the blog post entitled: “The House’s Huge Agenda.”

Featured Item

This week, the House will debate H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill spends money on the operations of the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and a variety of other agencies.

The committee report for H.R. 5538 does not reveal the outlays that would occur under the bill, but the Senate version would spend about $300 per U.S. family, and the two bills are usually very similar.

H.R. 5538
The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
25% For, 75% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

H.R. 5421
The National Securities Exchange Regulatory Parity Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2831
A bill to amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to provide priority for applicants for a license to operate as a small business investment company that are located in a disaster area
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 3024
The Small Business Cyber Security Improvements Act of 2016
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 1878
The Advancing Hope Act of 2015
Costs $0.11 per family

H.R. 5064
The Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 2896
The TAILOR Act of 2015
Saves $0.16 per family

H.R. 4487
The Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016
Costs $0.25 per family

S. 2319
A bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2607
The Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 2917
The Commodity End-User Relief Act
Costs $6.83 per family

H.R. 5461
The Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 1983
The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians Water Rights Settlement Act
Costs $0.30 per family

S. 1490
The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2015
Costs $0.06 per family

H.R. 3178
The Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 3179
The Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 2646
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 5528
The Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 5529
The Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5530
The HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4538
The Senior$afe Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4854
The Supporting America’s Innovators Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4855
The Fix Crowdfunding Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4789
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish a structure for visitor services on the Arlington Ridge tract, in the area of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, and for other purposes
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 5388
The Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

S. 524
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015
Saves $0.49 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-184
The Recovering Missing Children Act
Costs $0.06 per family

P.L. 114-185
The FOIA Improvement Act of 2015
Costs $0.18 per family

P.L. 114-186
The Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015
Costs $0.04 per family

P.L. 114-187
The PROMESA

P.L. 114-188
The Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act

P.L. 114-189
To provide funds to the Army Corps of Engineers to hire veterans and members of the Armed Forces to assist the Corps with curation and historic preservation activities, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

The House’s Huge Agenda

billsThere’s a big week planned in the House this week. Let’s take a look at the bills that are going to see debate. There are a lot of them. You can register your opinion by voting and commenting on the bills—and by calling your representatives.

H.R. 5322 – U.S. Territories Investor Protection Act of 2016

H.R. 5421 – National Securities Exchange Regulatory Parity Act of 2016 – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 5469 – To require the Secretary of the Treasury to direct the United States Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund to support the capacity of the International Monetary Fund to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism

H.R. 5594 – National Strategy for Combating Terrorist, Underground, and Other Illicit Financing Act

H.R. 5606 – Anti-terrorism Information Sharing Is Strength Act

H.R. 5607 – Enhancing Treasury’s Anti-Terror Tools Act

H.R. 5602 – To amend title 31, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to include all funds when issuing certain geographic targeting orders, and for other purposes

H.R. 4785 – DHS SAVE Act – costs $0.28 per U.S. family

H.R. 5385 – Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Correction Act of 2016 – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 5056 – Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act of 2016 – costs $0.03 per U.S. family

H.R. 4404 – Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2016 – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 5252 – To designate the United States Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry located at 1400 Lower Island Road in Tornillo, Texas, as the “Marcelino Serna Port of Entry”

H.R. 5588 – Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016

H. Con. Res. 138 – Designating the George C. Marshall Museum and George C. Marshall Research Library in Lexington, Virginia, as the National George C. Marshall Museum and Library

H.R. 5530 – HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 3178 – Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act – costs $0.01 per U.S. family

H.R. 3179 – Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act – costs $0.02 per U.S. family

H.R. 5528 – Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act – costs $0.03 per U.S. family

H.R. 5529 – Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 636 – America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015 – saves $658.45 per U.S. family

H.R. 5639 – National Institute of Standards and Technology Improvement Act of 2016

H.R. 5636 – National Institute of Standards and Technology Campus Security Act

H.R. 5640 – Electricity Storage Innovation Act

H.R. 5638 – Solar Fuels Innovation Act

H.R. 4768 – Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016 – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 5658 – TALENT Act of 2016

S. 304 – Conscience Protection Act of 2016 – costs $0.03 per U.S. family

H.R. 5119 – No 2 H2O from Iran Act

H.R. 5538 – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

H.R. 4992 – United States Financial System Protection Act of 2016

H.R. 5631 – To hold Iran accountable for its state sponsorship of terrorism and other threatening activities and for its human rights abuses, and for other purposes

S. 764 – National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2015 – costs $3.44 per U.S. family

(1 comment | Categories: Miscellaneous » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – July 5, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of July 4, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Bill Numbers

Members of Congress and their staffs regularly fail to share some essential information when they communicate about their work.

That’s why this week’s post is entitled: “Tweet the Bill Number!

Featured Item

This week, the House will debate H.R. 5485, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill spends money on the operations of the Department of the Treasury, the District of Columbia, the Judiciary, and the Executive Office of the President, as well as several independent agencies.

Passage of H.R. 5485 would cost about $400 per U.S. family.

H.R. 5485
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $404.93 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
23% For, 77% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

H.R. 4202
The Fort Ontario Study Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5003
The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016
Costs $259.59 per family

S. 2846
The Small Business Innovation Protection Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3590
The Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act
Saves $246.72 per family

H.R. 3080
The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act
Costs $0.74 per family

H.R. 210
The Student Worker Exemption Act of 2015
Saves $0.02 per family

H.R. 5332
The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2016
Costs $0.13 per family

S. 2206
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Act
Costs $6.15 per family

H.R. 5208
The North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3734
The Mining Schools Enhancement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5385
The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Correction Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5390
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3798
The Due Process Restoration Act of 2015
Saves $4.79 per family

S. 2975
The Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3974
The Grow Our Own Directive: Physician Assistant Employment and Education Act of 2015
Costs $0.30 per family

S. 2850
The Microloan Program Modernization Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5484
The State Sponsors of Terrorism Review Enhancement Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 3844
The Energy and Minerals Reclamation Foundation Establishment Act of 2015
Costs $0.06 per family

S. 2421
A bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, and to the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation located in Dillingham, Alaska, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5244
The Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3250
The DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2015
Costs $1.90 per family

S. 2976
The DHS Accountability Act of 2016
Costs $0.29 per family

S. 2325
The Digital Coast Act of 2015
Costs $0.13 per family

S. 2849
The GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4582
The Save Our Salmon Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5389
The Leveraging Emerging Technologies Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1077
The Advancing Breakthrough Devices for Patients Act of 2015
Costs $1.43 per family

S. 2964
The GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2016
Costs $0.01 per family

H.R. 4002
The Criminal Code Improvement Act of 2015
Costs $0.06 per family

S. 421
The Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015
Costs $0.08 per family

H.R. 5391
The Gains in Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Act
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

S. 2848
The Water Resources Development Act of 2016
Costs $80.47 per family

S. 1635
The Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016
Costs $0.31 per family

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $8.78 per family


Passed Items

none

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Tweet the Bill Number!

twitterIt’s seems small, but it’s one of many practices on which Congress is backwards: the failure to share bill numbers.

Our inspiration for this post is a simple Tweet with an important message: “@washingtonwatch Thank you for including bill #; it’s so much easier to track. THANK YOU!”

We’re happy to do that service.

Believe it or not, it’s out of the ordinary for members of Congress and senators to include bill numbers when they talk about their work. Oh, they tout what they’re doing, but they don’t give ordinary Americans that chance to following along by reading the bills themselves.

So it’s time for us to require our representatives to share this piece of information. Getting the bill number is the key to reading the bills, telling friends and colleagues about them, and seeing whether and how proposals make their way through the legislative process.

A few times, we’ve come across Tweets from U.S. representatives and allied organizations about legislative priorities, and we’ve asked what the bill number is. We’ve gotten no answer. The offenders are the following Twitter accounts: @nydiavelazquez, @senatordurbin, @repmikepompeo, @repteddeutch, @repperlmutter, @HouseGOP, and @repgusbilirakis.

There are many others who fail to share this essential information. And it may include your member of Congress and senators.

So, take a look at their Twitter feeds, or their press releases. Do they talk about their legislative work, bills introduced, and how they’re serving their constituencies without sharing the bill number? They should!

Let ’em hear it from you!

They should Tweet the bill number!

(1 comment | Categories: Miscellaneous » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 27, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 27, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Spending Talk

Your congressional representatives are home this week anticipating the July 4th holiday. You could talk with them about motherhood and apple pie, or you could talk with them about something else.

Read about it in a post entitled: “The July 4th Holiday: A Time to Talk about Fiscal Year 2017 Spending.”

Featured Item

Last week, the House passed the conference report on H.R. 2577, The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016.

The version passed, proposed by a House-Senate conference committee, contains the text of three other bills: H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016, and H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act, which was formerly a regulatory reform bill.

The cost of H.R. 4974 is about $1,660 per U.S. family.

H.R. 2577
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
Costs $1,109.95 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
26% For, 74% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

S. 2795
The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act
Costs $0.39 per family

H.R. 5447
The Small Business Health Care Relief Act
Costs $4.59 per family

H.R. 5456
The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016
Costs $22.49 per family

H.R. 5525
The End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act of 2016
Saves $169.14 per family

H.R. 5445
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the rules with respect to health savings accounts
Saves $155.28 per family

H.R. 5452
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit individuals eligible for Indian Health Service assistance to qualify for health savings accounts
Saves $1.30 per family

S. 2848
The Water Resources Development Act of 2016
Costs $81.05 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 1270
The Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2015
Saves $299.04 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-178
The Indian Trust Asset Reform Act
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-179
To name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in The Dalles, Oregon, as the “Loren R. Kaufman Memorial Veterans’ Clinic”

P.L. 114-180
The Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-181
To take certain Federal lands located in Lassen County, California, into trust for the benefit of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-182
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
Costs $1.18 per family

P.L. 114-183
The PIPES Act
Costs $8.45 per family

(1 comment | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

The July 4th Holiday: A Time to Talk about Fiscal Year 2017 Spending

Fourth of July paradeYou wouldn’t think it, but July 4th is exactly the right time to talk about fiscal year 2017 spending. That’s because your federal representatives are home kissing babies and riding in Fourth of July parades. (Pictured at right, a non-federal representative parading past a federal building.)

The deadline for Congress to finish passing spending bills for the coming fiscal year is next week. Having the spending process done in the summer allows federal agencies plan for the coming fiscal year, which begins in the fall.

So you might contact your representative in his or her district office this coming week. You can talk about lots of things. You can talk about the failure of Congress to follow the schedule, or you can talk about a specific opinion you have about the spending plans that are out there being hatched.

You can see what the currently pending appropriations bills are in the table below. The House and Senate bills in each spending category are listed, along with the amount the spend per average U.S. family.

No bill has passed yet, and in some cases, a bill hasn’t even been introduced. If a bill isn’t introduced, you can’t assess how much it spends and you can’t comment on that. So maybe you should talk about Congress’s failure to run the appropriations trains on time. Doing so would be a first step toward putting yourself back in the driver’s seat.

Below is the current state of play with spending bills for fiscal year 2017, which begins October 1st. Happy week ahead of July Fourth from your friends at WashingtonWatch.com!

Bill House Senate
Budget Resolution* H. Con. Res. 125 ($27,748) none
Agriculture H.R. 5054 ($1,141) S. 2956 ($1,146)
Commerce/Justice/Science H.R. 5393 ($586) S. 2837 ($585)
Defense H.R. 5293 ($5,071) S. 3000 ($5,060)
Energy and Water H.R. 5055 ($340) S. 2804 ($339)
Financial Services H.R. 5485 ($406) S. 3067 ($410)
Homeland Security not yet introduced S. 3001 ($438)
Interior and Environment H.R. 5538 (n/a) S. 3068 ($303)
Labor/HHS/Education not yet introduced S. 3040 ($8,542)
Legislative Branch H.R. 5325 ($34) S. 2955 ($30)
Military/Veterans H.R. 4974 ($1,662) S. 2806 ($1,667)
State/Foreign Operations not yet introduced not yet introduced
Transportation/HUD H.R. 5394 ($1,084) S. 2844 ($1,088)

*Budget resolutions set overall spending amounts but do not spend money.

(1 comment | Categories: Appropriations/Budget » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – June 20, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of June 20, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: A Lot of Yes to Transparency

We like a newly introduced bill in Congress so much that we wrote a blog post about it entitled: “YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.”

Featured Item

This week, the House will debate H.R. 5485, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill spends money on Department of the Treasury, the District of Columbia, the Judiciary, the Executive Office of the President, and various independent agencies.

Passage of H.R. 5485 would cost a little over $400 per U.S. family.

H.R. 5485
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $404.36 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
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. 5445
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the rules with respect to health savings accounts
Saves $153.19 per family

S. 3067
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $408.26 per family

S. 3068
The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $301.45 per family

H.R. 5485
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $404.36 per family

H.R. 4511
The Gold Star Families Voices Act
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 2970
A bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to expand law enforcement availability pay to employees of the Air and Marine Operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Saves $0.08 per family

H.R. 4768
The Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2348
The Rapid DNA Act of 2015
Costs $0.07 per family

S. 2816
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2016
Costs $4.01 per family

H.R. 4733
To permit the United States Capitol Police to accept certain property from other Federal agencies and to dispose of certain property in its possession
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1817
The Smarter Regs Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1479
The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development Act of 2015
Costs $4.24 per family

H.R. 5199
The Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act of 2016
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 5312
The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 921
The Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2015
Costs $0.20 per family

H.R. 4979
The Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016
Costs $0.01 per family

S. 3040
The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $8,509.94 per family

H.R. 5393
The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $584.20 per family

H.R. 5394
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $1,079.60 per family

S. 3000
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $5,041.20 per family

S. 3001
The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $436.74 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-166
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1103 USPS Building 1103 in Camp Pendleton, California, as the “Camp Pendleton Medal of Honor Post Office”

P.L. 114-167
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 523 East Railroad Street in Knox, Pennsylvania, as the “Specialist Ross A. McGinnis Memorial Post Office”

P.L. 114-168
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1048 West Robinhood Drive in Stockton, California, as the “W. Ronald Coale Memorial Post Office Building”

P.L. 114-169
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 5351 Lapalco Boulevard in Marrero, Louisiana, as the “Lionel R. Collins, Sr. Post Office Building”

P.L. 114-170
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 201 B Street in Perryville, Arkansas, as the “Harold George Bennett Post Office”

P.L. 114-171
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 5919 Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans, Louisiana, as the “Daryle Holloway Post Office Building”

P.L. 114-172
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 4567 Rockbridge Road in Pine Lake, Georgia, as the “Francis Manuel Ortega Post Office”

P.L. 114-173
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 7715 Post Road, North Kingstown, Rhode Island, as the “Melvoid J. Benson Post Office Building”

P.L. 114-174
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 200 Town Run Lane in Winston Salem, North Carolina, as the “Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office”

P.L. 114-175
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1265 Hurffville Road in Deptford Township, New Jersey, as the “First Lieutenant Salvatore S. Corma II Post Office Building”

P.L. 114-176
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 220 East Oak Street, Glenwood City, Wisconsin, as the Second Lt. Ellen Ainsworth Memorial Post Office

P.L. 114-177
To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 615 6th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as the “Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker Post Office Building”

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

Elise StefanikIt was an impetuous response, but not wrong. That’s what we Tweeted upon seeing a new bill introduced by Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY): “YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

The bill is H.R. 5493, the EDIT Act. It would direct the Librarian of Congress to ensure that each version of a bill on Congress.gov allows for tracking of changes from previous versions. What a neat idea! Allowing the public to follow along with changes Congress makes to proposed new laws!

When we see legislation like this, we step out of our standard role of strict neutrality and get a little favorable. We like bills that will make the government more transparent. This is one, and you should support it. You should ask your representative to support it.

Now there are details to hash out. It may be that the better institution for making changes to bills available is the Congress itself. Bills should be produced in formats that allows computers to reveal automatically how they would affect existing law (among other things). The format for publishing bills should support automated proposal of amendments in a digital format, which would allow for displaying amendments, whether declined of adopted, over the Internet.

Just as important, the House and Senate should adopt a uniform digital standard for committees to use in publishing amendments—and votes. It’s not just the Library of Congress in charge of making Congress transparent. The LoC is a downstream consumer of data that originates with Congress. So Congress should really lead the way.

But it’s great to see a member of Congress joining the effort to improve congressional transparency. The proposal arrives just in time for the House Administration Committee’s annual Legislative Data Transparency Conference. (Word is it will be streamed, so you can learn whether Congress will soon make the amendments it adopts to bills will be revealed in an easy-to-access format.

Here’s the current WashingtonWatch.com vote on H.R. 5493. Click to vote, comment, learn more, and edit the wiki article on the bill.

(1 comment | Categories: Miscellaneous » )