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Capitol Hill Update, 23 February, 2014
House & Senate/Schedule: Both chambers are back in town this week. The House will recess next during the week of March 9-12, while the Senate will remain in town until the two-week Spring Recess, beginning March 30.
Legislative Highlight: The big business in town this week all centers around funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is set to expire at the end of this week. The current bill, H.R. 240, is sitting in the Senate, where Senate Democrats have repeatedly block any attempt to even debate the bill because it strips funding for the implementation of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration. Perhaps more important than the content of the bill itself is its implications for any other legislative struggles this year. The Senate Democrats have become used to getting their way on absolutely everything since 2008, and expect that if they hold their ground (their 46 votes are enough to kill most bills in the Senate) the Republicans will cave to their every demand. If the GOP confirms these expectations, it bodes poorly for the rest of this Congress.
House/ Education: On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. Sponsored by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), this bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which has actually been lapsed for several years (but which Congress has continued funding anyway). Although the bill does contain some good reforms, in the end it still leaves in place a federal testing standards requirement under No Child Left Behind, keeping a prominent federal role in education.
Regulatory Deadline: On Friday the 27th, the FCC is expected to vote to implement a rule that would allow the internet to be regulated as a public utility. You can read a detailed analysis of how dangerous this regulation is to internet freedom HERE. Once passed, the only recourse is for Congress to pass a bill (which seems unlikely) or for a court case to find their actions unconstitutional (which has happened before).
Health Care Reform: FreedomWorks has just released our Ten Principles for Replacing ObamaCare, which is intended to be a set of guidelines for evaluating the various conservative plans for reforming health care. Take a look at the principles HERE!