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WashingtonWatch.com Digest – May 31, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of May 30, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: The Venezuelans

Venezuela is a country in crisis. And a bipartisan bill in Congress proposes to help the Venezuelans living in the United States.

Read about it in a post entitled: “Help the Venezuelans.”

Featured Item

The House and Senate do not meet this week.

Last week, the House passed H.R. 2577, which was originally a fiscal 2016 spending bill. The latest version contains the text of 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, which was the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015; but is now the Zika Vector Control Act.

There is no cost estimate for this version of H.R. 2577 (cost info on its page refers to an earlier version). H.R. 4974 costs about $1,650 per U.S. family.

H.R. 4974
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $1,656.81 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
42% For, 58% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

S. 795
A bill to enhance whistleblower protection for contractor and grantee employees
Costs $0.04 per family

S. 1635
The Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016
Costs $0.39 per family

H.R. 2592
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require the Federal Communications Commission to publish on the website of the Commission documents to be voted on by the Commission
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2593
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require identification and description on the website of the Federal Communications Commission of items to be decided on authority delegated by the Commission
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4937
The PIPES Act of 2016
Costs $8.05 per family

H.R. 4599
The Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016
Saves $0.91 per family

H.R. 4620
The Preserving Access to CRE Capital Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2460
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the provision of adult day health care services for veterans

H.R. 3956
The VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 800
The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act
Costs $2.61 per family

H.R. 3715
The Final Farewell Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 5229
The Improving Transition Programs for All Veterans Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5233
The Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for DC Home Rule Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3394
The CAPTIVE Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4166
The Expanding Proven Financing for American Employers Act
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-157
To amend the Department of Energy Organization Act and the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act of 1976 to modernize terms relating to minorities
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-158
The Women Airforce Service Pilot Arlington Inurnment Restoration Act
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-159
The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016
Costs $0.40 per family

P.L. 114-160
To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building”
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-161
A bill to direct the Administrator of General Services, on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, to convey certain Federal property located in the State of Alaska to the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-162
A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the National Estuary Program, and for other purposes
Costs $0.96 per family

P.L. 114-163
A bill to provide for the authority for the successors and assigns of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company to maintain and operate a toll bridge across the Rio Grande near Rio Grande City, Texas, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Help the Venezuelans

VenezuelaWith the situation in Venezuela continuing to decline, legislation introduced by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) is starting to look prescient.

H.R. 3744 is the Venezuelan Refugee Assistance Act. Introduced last October, the bill would provide immigration relief to Venezuelans who have been living in the United States and who do not want to return to their homeland and the perilous conditions there.

Those conditions, according to the New York Times, include hunger, blackouts, and government shutdown.

The bill would adjust the immigration status of Venezuelans that arrived in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2013, as long as they do not have a criminal record and were never involved in the persecution of others. Venezuelans seeking this benefit have until January 1, 2019, to register for adjustment.

It’s an easy way into the United States for a few people from one specific country that is suffering under one of the world’s worst governments. But what of people from other countries in Latin America whose home countries are only very poorly managed?

Of course, for some, the United States already has too many people. They might not see a special break allowing Venezuelan immigrants to stay as an especially good U.S. public policy.

But what matters is your view. Should we or should we not help the Venezuelans?

Below is the current WashingtonWatch.com vote on H.R. 3744. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

(0 comments | Categories: Immigration » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – May 23, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of May 23, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Spending and Revenue Together

It’s the heart of the legislative year. The serious business of Congress happens now. (The unserious business will happen later.)

We dive into a couple current bills with interesting budget consequences in a post entitled: “Tracking Spending (and Revenue!) in the Heart of the Legislative Year.”

Featured Items

This week, the Senate will debate S. 2613, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016.

The bill would authorize spending on activities related to the registration of sex offenders, and it would establish new spending programs to assist the survivors of sexual assault.

Passage of S. 2613 would cost about $1.40 per U.S. family.

The House will debate H.R. 5055, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill would spend money on fiscal year 2017 operations of the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior, among others.

Passage of H.R. 5055 would cost about $340 per U.S. family.

S. 2613
The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016
Costs $1.40 per family

H.R. 5055
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $338.87 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016. Click here to vote on The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016.

The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016
33% For, 67% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies 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. 4889
The Kelsey Smith Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5286
To make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes
Saves $5.76 per family

H.R. 2494
The Global Anti-Poaching Act
Costs $0.05 per family

H.R. 1838
The Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act
Costs $0.04 per family

S. 2955
The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $29.93 per family

S. 2956
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $1,143.16 per family

H.R. 5293
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $5,057.09 per family

S. 2613
The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016
Costs $1.40 per family

H.R. 4465
The Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act of 2016
Costs $0.30 per family

H.R. 496
The Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 2840
The POLICE Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 556
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015
Costs $10.06 per family

H.R. 3713
The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015
Saves $3.93 per family

H.R. 207
The Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act of 2015
Costs $0.91 per family

H.R. 1769
The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015
Costs $0.60 per family

H.R. 4111
The Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015
Costs $2.98 per family

H.R. 2589
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require the Federal Communications Commission to publish on its Internet website changes to the rules of the Commission not later than 24 hours after adoption
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2127
The Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2015
Costs $0.03 per family

S. 2522
A bill to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to build partnerships to prevent violence by extremists
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1724
The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015
Costs $1.63 per family

H.R. 4921
The Ditto Act of 2016
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 5056
The Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Act of 2016
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 4680
The National Park Service Centennial Act
Costs $3.26 per family

H.R. 3484
The Los Angeles Homeless Veterans Leasing Act of 2015
Costs $5.84 per family

H.R. 4190
The Spectrum Challenge Prize Act of 2015
Costs $0.05 per family

S. 2375
The Federal Asset Sale and Transfer Act of 2015
Costs $0.30 per family

H.R. 2959
The TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5170
The Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act
Saves $0.25 per family

H.R. 2990
The Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2123
The CORRECTIONS Act
Saves $5.27 per family

H.R. 4902
To amend title 5, United States Code, to expand law enforcement availability pay to employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations
Saves $0.53 per family

H.R. 3694
The STOP Organ Trafficking Act
Costs $0.07 per family

H.R. 4579
The Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5054
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $1,137.95 per family

H.R. 5055
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $338.87 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 2494
The Global Anti-Poaching Act
Costs $0.05 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-154
The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-155
The Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015
Costs $0.85 per family

P.L. 114-156
The Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Tracking Spending (and Revenue!) in the Heart of the Legislative Year

nurse phoneIt’s already the heart of the legislative year in Congress. In about a month-and-a-half, Congress will take its summer break, and after that there’ll be nothing but politicking for November’s election. Any serious legislating is happening now. (There will still be legislating later, but it won’t be serious…)

Nearly thirty bills got a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office last week, which is a signal that they might be on the move. A number of them include both spending and revenue.

That complicates our reporting on the costs of the bills, and it complicates the decision you might make about them. So let’s dig in and unpack a couple!

H.R. 4111 is the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015. The bill would allow skilled nursing facilities to get subsidized telecommunications.

Its cost of just under $3.00 per U.S. family is the result of roughly equal revenues and spending. The government would pull in about $212 million over ten years and lay out about $193 million.

That would push down the national debt by about $0.15 per family. The government would be larger by one small subsidy program, and just a teeny bit less in debt.

Here’s the current vote on H.R. 4111. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

3604291357_08b9f88843_mS. 2123, the CORRECTIONS Act, would reform sentencing laws and correctional institutions. It’s not like many other bills in Congress because it doesn’t spend more and collect more. It has both spending and revenue reductions.

The bill would reduce sentences for certain crimes, meaning that some offenders would be released earlier than they would under current law. The result is savings on the cost of incarcerating people, but an increase in use of benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare; Social Security; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

An overall drop in outlays of about $500 million joins would join a tiny, $8 million drop in revenues. The result? Savings of about $5.27 per U.S. family, and a drop in the national debt of slightly less: about $5.15 per family.

Is it a good deal? Is it the right approach by you?

Here is the current vote on S. 2123. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

(1 comment | Categories: Crime, Telecommunications » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – May 16, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of May 16, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Just the Facts

This week, we’re getting straight to the point.

Review the bills under consideration in the House this coming week in the post entitled: “The Schedule and Nothing But.”

Featured Items

Among the larget bill the House will debate this week is H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

The bill would authorize spending in fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017) for military activities of the Department of Defense and military construction. It would also prescribe military personnel strengths for the year.

Passage of H.R. 4909 would cost about $5,170 per U.S. family.

The House will also debate H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The bill would make appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017.

Passage of H.R. 4974 would cost about $1,650 per U.S. family.

H.R. 4909
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
Costs $5,172.47 per family

H.R. 4974
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
Costs $1,657.03 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Click here to vote on The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
60% For, 40% Against

Vote on this Bill

Click here to vote on The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. Click here to vote on The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017.

The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017
38% For, 62% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

H.R. 2966
The Reducing Poverty through Employment Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4743
The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2016
Costs $0.13 per family

H.R. 4780
The Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1887
To amend certain appropriation Acts to repeal the requirement directing the Administrator of General Services to sell Federal property and assets that support the operations of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, New York, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 1150
The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 2015
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 5077
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
Costs $4.62 per family

S. 2808
The John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2016
Costs $1.23 per family

H.R. 3680
The Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2015
Saves $0.01 per family

H.R. 3691
The Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2015
Costs $0.54 per family

S. 2845
The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Extension Act of 2016
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 3832
The Stolen Identify Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2015
Costs $0.53 per family

H.R. 4586
Lali’s Law
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4969
The John Thomas Decker Act of 2016
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 4978
The NAS Healthy Babies Act
Saves $0.03 per family

H.R. 2009
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe Land Conveyance Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4982
The Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4894
To repeal title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Saves $189.47 per family

H.R. 5053
The Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act
Saves $0.14 per family

H.R. 1818
The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2015
Costs $0.24 per family

H.R. 3380
The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 3209
The Recovering Missing Children Act
Costs $0.05 per family

H.R. 4976
The Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4843
The Improving Safe Care for the Prevention of Infant Abuse and Neglect Act
Costs $0.05 per family

H.R. 4985
The Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 2137
The Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 5048
The Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

H.R. 4909
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
Costs $5,172.47 per family


Passed Items

P.L. 114-151
The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-152
The National Bison Legacy Act
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-153
The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

The Schedule and Nothing But

Here are the bills the House will consider this coming week:

S. 1492 – To direct the Administrator of General Services, on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, to convey certain Federal property located in the State of Alaska to the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 3832 – Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2016 – costs $0.53 per U.S. family

S. 2143 – To provide for the authority for the successors and assigns of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company to maintain and operate a toll bridge across the Rio Grande near Rio Grande City, Texas – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H. Con. Res 88 – Reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of United States–Taiwan relations – no cost estimate

H.R. 1150 – Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act – costs $0.02 per U.S. family

H.R. 1887 – To amend certain appropriation Acts to repeal the requirement directing the Administrator of General Services to sell Federal property and assets that support the operations of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, New York, and for other purposes – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 4743 – National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2016 – costs $0.13 per U.S. family

H.R. 4780 – Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 4407 – Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act of 2016 – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 897 – Zika Vector Control Act – costs $0.00 per U.S. family

H.R. 4909 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 – costs $5,172.47 per U.S. family

H.R. 4974 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017 – costs $1,657.03 per U.S. family

H.R. ____ – Zika Response Appropriations Act, 2016 – no cost estimate

(1 comment | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – May 9, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of May 9, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Opioid Abuse

Congress has seen a lot of bills about opioids being introduced lately. Overdose deaths are on the rise.

But is this an example of the federal government trying to take over Americans’ health decisions? Read about it in a post entitled: “Congress’s Drug Problem.”

Featured Item

This week the House will debate H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016.

The bill would authorize grants to assist state and local governments “in addressing the national epidemic of opioid abuse.”

Passage of H.R. 5046 would cost about $2.00 per U.S. family.

H.R. 5046
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016
Costs $2.03 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016. Click here to vote on The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016.

The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 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. 4638
The Main Street Growth Act
Costs $0.53 per family

H.R. 5052
The OPEN Act
Costs $0.03 per family

H.R. 4909
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
Saves $1.49 per family

H.R. 5046
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016
Costs $2.03 per family

H.R. 4063
The Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act
Costs $1.14 per family

H.R. 4231
To direct the Librarian of Congress to obtain a stained glass panel depicting the seal of the District of Columbia and install the panel among the stained glass panels depicting the seals of States which overlook the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4641
To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes
Costs $0.02 per family

H.R. 4906
To amend title 5, United States Code, to clarify the eligibility of employees of a land management agency in a time-limited appointment to compete for a permanent appointment at any Federal agency, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 2614
The Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016
Costs $0.06 per family

H.R. 3738
The Office of Financial Research Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.48 per family


Updated Items

none


Passed Items

P.L. 114-147
The National POW/MIA Remembrance Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

P.L. 114-148
The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act

P.L. 114-149
A bill to rename the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Great Falls, Montana, the Captain John E. Moran and Captain William Wylie Galt Armed Forces Reserve Center

P.L. 114-150
The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

Congress’s Drug Problem

opioidsCongress is on drugs. Which is to say, Congress has been focusing on drug abuse lately. Opioids specifically.

These are just some of the recently introduced bills in Congress dealing with opioids:

  • H.R. 5127, which would extend the exclusivity period for certain drug products designed to reduce drug abuse;
  • H.R. 5095, which would award grants to states for training and education relating to patient pain, substance misuse, and substance abuse disorders;
  • S. 2866, or “Jessie’s Law,” which would provide for the sharing of health information about people’s substance abuse treatment;
  • H.R. 5052, which would to evaluate the effectiveness of grant programs for providing assistance in addressing problems pertaining to opioid abuse;
  • and the list goes on.

One bill that caught our eye is H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act. The bill costs about $1.14 per U.S. family, and among other things it would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to update safety measures for opioid therapy.

Jason Simcakoski is a former Marine who died at the Tomah, Wisconsin, VA Medical Center in 2014 from “mixed drug toxicity.” He had taken thirteen prescribed medications, including several that cause respiratory depression, in a 24-hour period. According to an investigation, VA staff blundered the medical response when the veteran was found unresponsive in his bed.

But a comment on H.R. 4063 suggests caution. “This bill is another attempt at government takeover of basic American daily decision making over their own healthcare,” wrote “Sean F” about a month after the bill’s introduction late last year. “[I]f you have a chronic pain condition that is NOT curable other than cancer, and requires the use of opioid-based medication, they intend to eliminate access to these medications without any substitute.”

The right answer on this bill is hard to know. But Congress is on this drug problem. Working to tackle the opioid problem, that is.

Here’s the current vote on H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article on the bill.

(2 comments | Categories: Health Care, Veterans » )

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – May 2, 2016

This is the WashingtonWatch.com email newsletter for the week of May 2, 2016. Subscribe (free!) here.

On the Blog: Pass These Bills

Long-time readers of the WashingtonWatch.com blog might already know why we occasionally step away from our usual neutrality and endorse legislation. We’re doing so this week.

If you don’t know why we do this, click through and read the blog post entitled: “THESE BILLS MUST PASS.”

Featured Item

The House and Senate do not meet this week.

Last week, the House passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act. The bill would update the privacy protections for electronic communications stored by third-party service providers in order to protect consumer privacy interests while meeting law enforcement needs.

Passage of H.R. 699 would have minimal costs.

H.R. 699
The Email Privacy Act
Costs $0.00 per family

What People Think

Click here to vote on The Email Privacy Act. Click here to vote on The Email Privacy Act.

The Email Privacy Act
83% For, 17% Against

Vote on this Bill


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

New Items

S. 2555
The Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act
Costs $1.97 per family

H.R. 4904
The Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act of 2016
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4957
To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building”
Costs $0.00 per family

H.R. 4923
The American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016
Costs $0.40 per family

H.R. 1621
To modify the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for other purposes
Costs $0.19 per family

H.R. 699
The Email Privacy Act
Costs $0.00 per family

H. J. Res. 88
Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to the definition of the term “Fiduciary”
Costs $0.00 per family


Updated Items

S. 2143
A bill to provide for the authority for the successors and assigns of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company to maintain and operate a toll bridge across the Rio Grande near Rio Grande City, Texas, and for other purposes
Costs $0.00 per family

S. 1890
The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015
Costs $0.00 per family


Passed Items

none

(0 comments | Categories: The Week Ahead » )

THESE BILLS MUST PASS

endorseIt’s a convention around here—practiced with tongue firmly in cheek—to adamantly support any bill whose title is a clever enough acronym. And we’ve got some good ones this week!

They both were recently scored by the Congressional Budget Office, so they are bills that Congress is serious about considering and potentially passing. We think they must pass, because their titles are so clever.

First up, H.R. 4904, the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act of 2016. You’ve probably noticed its best feature already: the acronym for the bill is “MEGABYTE.”

Some congressional staffers spent some serious time on that one. How many brainstorming sessions do you suppose it took?

H.R. 4904 would amend federal laws related to management of the federal government’s licenses for information technology software. The fedgov spent about $9 billion on software licenses in 2015, so it’s no small matter. As the bill would mostly codify current practice, it’s effect on federal spending is effectively nil.

It’s got a great name. Pass it!

Next, S. 2555, the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act. That’s right, the MOBILE NOW Act.

Pass it, Congress! Pass it! What are you waiting for?!

The bill would authorize various programs and measures related to management of the electromagnetic spectrum. Agencies would prepare reports, develop information for telecom firms, award prizes for advanced technologies, and ensure that certain radio frequencies are made available for commercial uses—all these efforts aimed at delivering better wireless services: MOBILE SOON.

Spending of about $135 million in S. 2555 is equivalent to just under $2 per U.S. family.

This is really Congress at its best—coming up with the cleverest bill names. We wholeheartedly endorse these bills!

Here are the current votes on H.R. 4904, the Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act of 2016 and S. 2555, the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki articles on the bills.