House Watch – March 27, 2023

Good morning and welcome to the latest edition of House Watch, where FreedomWorks informs activists and partners on upcoming House votes.

The House is in session this week before leaving for two weeks. The House will consider H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. The House will also consider bills that hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable, and a resolution honoring police officers. 

For Senate watchers, FreedomWorks issued a key vote YES on the bill to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. We also scored YES on Senator Paul’s amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF and will score YES on Senator Hawley’s amendment to establish an Inspector General to oversee funding for Ukraine. For more information on the Hawley amendment click here. It’s imperative that Congress reclaim its Article 1 powers from the executive branch. 

Don’t forget to check out FreedomWorks’ tool that tracks how members of the House vote on every single bill this Congress. That tool can be found here.

Legislation That May Be Considered Pursuant To A Rule:

H.R. 1: Lower Energy Costs (Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-05)

Background: The Biden administration has proven antagonistic to American energy development with their actions like canceling offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico right after taking office and as recently as spring 2022. The cost of gas for the average American has also spiked under Biden causing immense pain on people as they try to get by. Democrats passed two major pieces of infrastructure legislation last Congress but did not reform the process for building infrastructure in America. The Senate voted down a permitting reform proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin in late 2022. 

This bill would fast-track the approval process for American energy production on federal lands and waters. It will also expedite hardrock mining, streamline manufacturing, and make it easier to transport and export cleaner American natural gas by repealing the natural gas “heat your home” tax and speeding permitting for these critical projects. H.R. 1 also reforms the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by providing a streamlined, simplified permitting process for all federally impacted projects, speeding construction for everything from pipelines to transmission to water infrastructure.

FW View: FreedomWorks supports this bill and will be key voting YES on H.R. 1. 

Legislation That May Be Considered Under Suspension Of The Rules:

H.R. 1107: PRC Is Not A Developing Country Act (Rep. Young Kim (R-CA-40)/ Committee on Foreign Affairs)

Background: China has claimed to be a developing nation in numerous international organizations and by claiming to be a developing nation they can get access to countless benefits that a nation like the U.S. does not get access to. China claims to be a developing nation despite being the world’s second largest economy, has the world’s second largest defense budget, and over half of China’s population is in the middle class. 

This bill would require the Department of State to influence international organizations to reclassify China as a high income, upper middle income, or developed country instead of as a developing country. It also would require the department to dissuade those organizations from granting China any preferential treatment as a developing country.

Learn more: FreedomWorks wrote a blog detailing more reasons why China claiming to be a developing country doesn’t make sense. 

H.R. 1154: Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023 (Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ-04)/ Committee on Foreign Affairs)

Background: According to reports, the Chinese government has overseen a forced organ harvest program involving political prisoners with more than 1.5 million detainees in China having been killed to support an organ transplant industry in China worth $1 billion.

This bill would state that it is the policy of the United States — to combat international trafficking in persons for purposes of the removal of organs; to promote the dignity and security of human life in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… and to hold accountable persons implicated, including members of the Chinese Communist Party, in forced organ harvesting and trafficking in persons for purposes of the removal of organs. It would also give the President the authority to sanction persons engaged in organ harvesting and requires the State Department to report fully on this in its annual human rights report.

H.R. 1189: Undersea Cable Control Act (Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL-21)/ Committee on Foreign Affairs)

Background: China has been expanding the amount of undersea cables it is building to support the military installations that are growing in the South and East China Seas. China has also been accused of severing the undersea internet cables that Taiwan uses. In 2020, the U.S. objected to an undersea internet cable that would have connected the U.S. and Hong Kong and the government argued that Beijing could physically access the cable for espionage—in this case by capturing internet traffic.

This bill would require the Department of State to report to Congress on its strategy to prevent foreign adversaries from acquiring the means to build and operate undersea cables. The bill also would direct the Department of Commerce to study whether to impose export controls on equipment used to construct, operate, or maintain undersea cables.

H. Con. Res. 15: Authorizing The Use Of The Capitol Grounds For The National Peace Officers Memorial Service And The National Honor Guard And Pipe Band Exhibition

This resolution would allow the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and its auxiliary to hold the 42nd Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Grounds on May 15, 2023. The resolution would also allow the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police to hold the National Honor Guard and Pipe Band Exhibition on Capitol Grounds on May 14, 2023. 

For each bill with a key vote, FreedomWorks reserves the right to score any amendments, motions, or other related votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.

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Related Legislators

US Representative FL-21

Brian Mast

US Representative NJ-4

Chris Smith

US Representative CA-40

Young Kim

US Representative LA-1

Steve Scalise

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