Capitol Hill Update: 15 September, 2014
House & Senate/Schedule: Both chambers are in session all of this week. The House intends to adjourn at the end of this week, and will likely remain out of session until December unless the Senate makes changes to the government funding bill.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: Both the House and Senate will spend a large part of this week dealing with the Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government, H.J. Res. 124. It is not yet clear what the final text will look like – whether it will contain funding for military operations in Syria, or whether it will include a 9-month or longer extension of the Export-Import Bank.
While extending the Ex-Im Bank at all would be a disappointment, the House’s plan from last week would at least only extend Ex-Im into next June, which allows Congress to deal with it separately from the government funding bill, and away from the political pressure of avoiding a government shutdown.
The CR itself, in any case, will likely only extend government funding through December 11th, thus requiring Congress to come back to town for a “lame duck” session.
House/Monetary Policy: On Tuesday, the House will finally hold a vote on H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun, this bill is identical to Ron Paul’s earlier bills to require a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve. This same bill passed by an overwhelming bi-partisan majority in 2012, and seems likely to do so again this year, though it once again faces an uncertain future in the Senate. FreedomWorks has issued a Key Vote: YES in support of this bill.
House/Energy: On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on the American Energy Solutions for Lower Costs and More American Jobs Act. Sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), this bill combines a number of bills which have been previously passed by the House, all of which address energy and natural resources regulations. The provisions in this bill include authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, expediting natural gas drilling permits and exports, and delaying or stopping a number of key EPA regulations which would dramatically harm coal and natural gas production.
House/Regulations: On Friday, the House is scheduled to vote on another package bill (no number yet) that would combine a number of regulatory reforms, including several which modify ObamaCare. There would include changing the definition of “full-time” under ObamaCare to 40 hours per week, repealing the medical device tax, permanently extending a number of expiring business tax breaks, and permanently banning taxes on internet access.