This week in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate: May 23 – 27, 2016

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United States Capitol_ U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate

Both chambers are in session this week.

U.S. House of Representatives

On Monday, the House is in session and will consider several bills under Suspension of the Rules. A full list of bills can be found here.

Among these bills is: H.R. 4889: the Kelsey Smith Act. This bill requires mobile phone service providers to provide call location information to law enforcement when the device has been used to call “911” for emergency assistance

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.
  • Background: named after Kelsey Smith, who in 2007 was abducted from a parking lot in Kansas. While a search for her began immediately, law enforcement encountered difficulty in obtaining location information from her cell phone provider. After four days of searching, police located her body within 45 minutes of finally receiving the data. Kelsey had been murdered the night she was abducted.

H.R. 4167: the Kari’s Law Act. This bill requires all multiline telephone systems to be able to dial “911” without the need to dial an additional number.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01); Mo Brooks (AL-05)
  • Background: named after Kari Rene Hunt, who in 2013 was murdered by her estranged husband. She agreed to meet her husband at a local motel to leave their children with him for a short visit. At the meeting, her husband attacked her. Kari’s daughter, then 9 years old, attempted to dial 911 from the room phone. However, the phones required the user to dial “9” before dialing “911” and she was unable to reach a 911 dispatcher.

The House will also consider several suspension bills focused on veterans, including H.R. 5286: the VA Construction & Lease Authorization, Health & Benefits Enhancement Act, which enhances various veterans benefits and authorizes the construction of a number of VA facilities; H.R. 3956: the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act; H.R. 2460: a bill to improve the provision of adult day health care services for veterans; and H.R. 3989: the Support Our Military Caregivers Act. The House will also consider H.R. 5077: the Intelligence Authorization for FY 2017 under suspension.

For the remainder of the week, the House is expected to consider the following:

H.R. 897: the Zika Vector Control Act. This bill prohibits EPA or a state government from requiring a permit for the use of registered pesticides near navigable waters.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 2576: the TSCA Modernization Act. The House will consider legislation that updates the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and is intended to better enable EPA to regulate existing and new chemical substances. The measure requires EPA to make determinations regarding the safety of chemicals without regard to cost or non-risk factors, and it establishes key points in the evaluation and regulatory process where EPA may order testing. It also expands EPA’s ability to collect and use fees, and it protects state laws from federal pre-emption under certain circumstances.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

H.R. 5233: the Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for D.C. Home Rule Act. The bill repeals a District of Columbia law that had modified D.C.’s home rule charter to allow for locally generated funds to be spent without congressional approval, and it modifies the 1973 D.C. Home Rule Act to further specify that all city funding is subject to Congress’ annual appropriations process.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

H.R. 5055: the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 2017. The bill provides a total of $37.4 billion in funding subject for FY 2017 for the Energy Department and federal water projects, $259 million more than comparable FY 2016 funding and $168 million more than requested. Compared with current funding, it increases funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, nuclear weapons activities and fossil fuels energy but cuts funding for nuclear nonproliferation programs, the Bureau of Reclamation and renewable-energy programs.  Numerous amendments are expected during consideration of the bill on the House floor.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

House amendment to S. 2012: the Energy Policy Modernization Act. The House is expected to consider an alternative to the Senate energy bill, which passed the Senate on April 20 by an 85-12 vote. Among other things, the Senate-passed bill would expedite the federal approval process for liquefied natural gas exports, streamline the approval process for electric transmission lines, increase cybersecurity protections for the electricity grid, and expedite the licensing process for hydropower projects. It would also authorize funds for increasing energy conservation in federal data centers, establish voluntary national building codes and improve energy efficiency in both the manufacturing and commercial sectors.

Motion to go to conference on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act.  After the House adopts its modifications to the Senate-passed energy bill, the House is expected to vote on a motion to go to conference with the Senate.

On Friday, the House is not in session.

Highlights of what is happening in House Committees this week:

  • Budget Season: The House Appropriations committee continues its FY17 hearing and markup slate, a full schedule can be found here.
  • IRS Commissioner Misconduct: On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Allegations of Misconduct Against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Part 1.” More information here.
  • Puerto Rico: On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup of H.R.5278, the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.” More information here.
  • Welfare Reform: On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity.” More information here.
  • Science Markup:  On Tuesday, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a markup of the “Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act of 2016.”  More information here.
  • Veterans: On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to establish a permanent Veterans Choice Program; and H.R.5083, the “VA Appeals Modernization Act of 2016.” More information here.
  • Small Business: On Tuesday and Thursday, the House Small Business Committee will hold two part hearing titled “The Sharing Economy: A Taxing Experience for New Entrepreneurs.” More information here.
  • Zika: On Wednesday, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled “Science of Zika: The DNA of an Epidemic.” More information here.
  • Iran Nuclear Deal: On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Iran Nuclear Deal Oversight: Implementation and its Consequences (Part II).” More information here.
  • TSA Screening: On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Long Lines, Short Patience: The TSA Airport Screening Experience.” More information here.
  • Food Waste: On Wednesday, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing titled “Food Waste from Field to Table.” More information here.
  • Social Security: On Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled “Social Security Administration: Information Systems Review.” More information here.

U.S. Senate

The Senate is in session and expected to begin consideration of S. 2613: the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act. This bill would authorize roughly $81 million for Justice Department activities related to the registration of sex offenders.

  • Alabama co-sponsor(s): None.

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