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Capitol Hill Update, 16 March, 2015
House & Senate/Schedule: The House comes back this week from last week’s recess. Both chambers will recess starting March 27th, for a two week Spring Recess.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: The highlight this week will be the Congressional budget proposals, which both the House and Senate Budget Committees will be marking up this week, setting the stage for debate and votes on the budgets in both chambers next week. Though the full details of the budget have yet to be released, the House budget at least will likely conform closely to last year’s plan. Stay tuned for further details as the week goes on – FreedomWorks will release our annual Budget Report Card to grade how the various budget plans address our government’s fiscal woes.
House/Environment: This week, the House will also consider a bill by Rep. Lamar Smith, H.R. 1030 – the Secret Science Reform Act. This bill would prevent the EPA from taking any regulatory action until all of the scientific research used to support the action is produced publically. Currently the EPA is refusing to release much of the research that supposedly justifies their most economically disruptive regulations ever. A “just-trust-us” approach to justifying regulations cannot be tolerated when the rules in question have economic impacts in the billions of dollars per year.
House/Labor: In addition, the House will vote on a resolution that was passed by the Senate last week, S.J.Res. 8, which would disapprove of the "ambush election" regulation passed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last year. The NLRB rule in question would force non-unionized workforces to hold very rapid elections on whether to unionize, giving employees and employers who may disagree with the unions very little time to organize or respond. Although the resolution disapproving of this rule is likely to pass the House, it only gains force of law if either the president signs it or if Congress can override his veto, neither of which are likely.
Senate/Nominations: It is possible that this week or next the Senate may proceed to the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be U.S. Attorney General, replacing Eric Holder. There are a number of major concerns about Lynch's policy positions, including major questions about her use of civil asset forfeiture.
Senate/Justice Reform: Last week, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced their Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act, S. 675. This bill would allow non-violent youth offenders to petition to have their records sealed when they reach adulthood, giving them a better chance to find jobs and to have more productive lives and careers. You can read FreedomWorks' letter of support for the bill HERE.