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Senate/Schedule: The Senate is in session all this week. Their target year-end adjournment date has not yet been announced.
House/Schedule: The House is back in session until the end-of-year adjournment. While the target adjournment for the year is Thursday, 8 December, in all likelihood the House will remain in session at least into the following week (12-16 Dec.).
House/Agenda: The House is going to vote on quite a few bills this week regarding regulatory reform, including stopping unions from conducting “ambush elections”, forcing stricter evaluations of the economic impacts of regulations, and reducing the paperwork burdens on small businesses created by Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002. More details below.
Next week, the House will likely hear several more regulatory reform bills, including the crucial REINS Act, which requires Congress to vote to approve any regulations deemed to have a major economic impact (defined as $100 million or more in costs per year).
House/Budget: The Continuing Resolution (C.R.) to fund the federal government which was passed before Thanksgiving runs out on 16 December, and will have to be extended before Congress goes out of session for the year. While leadership has not announced its plans with regard to appropriations, it is likely that another large “minibus” spending bill will be considered along with the C.R., similar to the package passed before Thanksgiving.
House/Regulation: On Wednesday, the House will debate and vote on H.R. 3094, the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act. Introduced by Rep. John Kline (MN-2), this bill would counteract a forthcoming regulation from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to allow a company’s employees to hold elections on whether to unionize with only a few weeks’ notice, giving companies little or no time to make their case to the NLRB. Unions have been seeking the ability to hold these “ambush elections” for years, and would be a major blow to employers’ rights to respond to collective bargaining.
On Thursday, the House will consider two regulatory bills sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21). The first, H.R. 527, requires regulatory agencies to take into account an expanded range of economic consequences of regulations in order to provide a more accurate estimate of their impact. The second bill, H.R. 3010, requires that agencies provide firm justification of proposed regulations, along with more thorough cost/benefit analyses and explanations of the necessity of such rules.
House/Spending: Also on Thursday, the House will consider a bill, H.R. 3463, which cuts federal funding for presidential elections campaigns and eliminates the obsolete Election Assistance Commission. The savings from these cuts are intended to offset any expenditures created by the regulatory reform measures mentioned above.
House/Energy: On Wednesday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will vote on two important regulatory reform bills.
House/Financial Services: On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will markup H.R. 3213, a bill which would lift much of the paperwork burden for small businesses to comply with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This bill should help to create jobs, as the costs of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations have discouraged small businesses from expanding.
House/Member Initiative: Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3) is calling for consideration of a resolution he sponsored earlier this year (H.Res.82), which would reestablish the Committee on the Elimination of Nonessential Programs. The committee, which previously existed between 1941 and 1974, would exist for the sole purpose of identifying and eliminating wasteful, corrupt, or obsolete federal programs. With the failure of the so-called Super Committee to eliminate any spending, this real (and constitutional) committee could be the perfect way to make some real cuts in spending and the size of government. FreedomWorks issued a statement of support for this resolution earlier this year.