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    Capitol Hill Update, 18 November, 2013

    11/18/2013

    Capitol Hill Update, 18 November, 2013

    House & Senate/Schedule: The House and Senate are both in session the week, and both will recess next week for Thanksgiving. 

    Legislative Highlight of the Week: The Senate will spend much of this week considering S. 1197, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This is the bill that sets the amount of money that Congress is allowed to spend in FY 2014.  There are numerous concerns with this bill, starting with its spending numbers, which completely disregard the scheduled sequester cuts set to take place next year. Also, because this is considered a “must-pass” bill, Senate Democrats may consider attaching a number of their policy priorities to this bill as amendments, including possibly an internet sales tax and an increase in the minimum wage.  You can find more details on NDAA HERE.

    House/Energy: On Tuesday, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), this bill contains a number of excellent provisions to allow for more energy development on federal lands.  Currently, the permitting process for oil and gas development on federal lands takes remarkably longer than for most state and private land.  There are a few downsides to this bill, including a new fee for each drilling application, and some protectionist requirements.

    House/Energy: On Wednesday, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), this bill would allow state regulatory agencies to override the EPA with regard to hydraulic fracturing (popularly known as “fracking”).  

    House/Energy: On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act.  Sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), this simple, common-sense bill would simply force federal regulatory agencies to make an up-or down decision on whether to allow pipeline construction by a year after the application is received.  If no word is given, the application would be considered approved.  Currently the EPA and other agencies have been stopping new pipeline development for years at a time, as in the case of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

    House/ObamaCare: On Tuesday, 19 November, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, will hold a hearing on the security of HealthCare.gov.  There have been frequent worries raised about the security of the exchange website, with some experts noting that they could be a one-stop shop for identity thieves.

    House/Taxation: Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would repeal the 16th Amendment – the income tax. The amendment’s bill number is H.J.Res. 104.

    House/Labor: Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) has introduced a new bill, H.R. 3485, the Employee Rights Act. This bill combines a number of the best union reform proposals into one, such as:

    • Guaranteeing the right to secret ballots,
    • Requiring a majority of all employees in a workforce to approve unionization,
    • Allowing union members to opt out of giving dues to union political activities,
    • Protection union members from coercion by their union bosses.