U.S. House of Representatives: July 27-31

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The U.S. House of Representatives came back in session Monday for its final week before a month-long August recess.

On Monday, the House is in session and will consider a whopping 17 bills under suspension of the rules. Over half of these bills come from the Homeland Security Committee. A full list of bills can be found here.

While not a part of the official House schedule this week, looming in the legislative shadows of Capitol Hill is the pending expiration of federal highway programs and funding. Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed an extension bill to provide highway funding through Dec. 18 in order to provide more time for the two chambers to come to an agreement on a full highway bill. However, last week and over the weekend, the Senate took under consideration a multiyear highway bill, putting the upper chamber at odds with the lower chamber as the debate over how to extend funding for the program, and for how long persists. The current authorization expires on Friday.

Other legislation on the floor for a vote this week includes:

H.R. 427: the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This bill aims to increase transparency in the federal regulatory process. The bill would modify the federal rule-making process by preventing “major rules” — those generally having an annual economic impact greater than $100 million — from being implemented unless Congress enacts legislation approving them. This legislation passed the House previously both in 2011 and 2013, but has no chance to pass the Senate and is strongly opposed by President Obama.

  • Alabama co-sponsors: Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-1), Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2),  Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03) Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-5)

H.R. 1994: the VA Accountability Act. The bill expands the ability of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department to fire or demote VA employees based on performance or misconduct. It also includes provisions to protect VA whistleblowers against retaliation by supervisors

  • Alabama co-sponsors: Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02)

H.R. __: VA Budget and Choice Improvement Act. This legislation has yet to be assigned a bill number, but is written to address a $2.5 billion gap in the VA budget. The shortfall is the result of higher-than-anticipated demand for veterans health services and a lack of flexibility to shift money within the overall VA budget, according to the VA. To cover the gap, the VA has asked Congress to allow the VA to divert $3 billion from the “Choice Program,” an emergency fund set up in the wake of last year’s wait-times scandal to subsidize non-VA care for veterans and help reduce the time it takes to get medical appointments.

FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While not officially on the schedule, there has been time set aside to consider a potential conference report that House and Senate conferees are currently working on as differences in the two chambers respective NDAAs remain unresolved.

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