House Watch – May 9, 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 for the first week in a three-week work period. The House will consider Republicans’ border security and immigration package, H.R. 2, along with bills dealing with the weather predictions, the oceans, and narcotics testing. 

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. 2: Secure the Border Act of 2023 (Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25)/ Committee on the Judiciary)

Background: As of February 2023, encounters at the southern border already surpassed one million for Fiscal Year 2023. Around 80 individuals on the terrorist watch list have been stopped attempting to cross into the United States between southwest ports of entry since October 2022.

This bill would restart border wall construction on the southern border, pour more resources into security at the southern border, add more border personnel, and ensure that border personnel will not be diverted to non-enforcement responsibilities. The bill provides funding to upgrade border technology at the southern and northern borders, The bill would give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) multiple options for how they handle illegal aliens apprehended at the border: (1) detain them while they are in expedited removal proceedings under Section 235 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); (2) reimplement “Remain in Mexico” while they await an immigration court date for removal proceedings under INA 240; or (3) immediately expel the alien. The bill also gives DHS authority to remove an asylum seeker to a safe third-party country that is not Mexico and would have access to a full and fair procedure for applying for asylum. The bill would also implement E-Verify which would allow employers to electronically verify a person’s immigration status. The bill codifies that families caught at the border cannot be separated.   

FW View: FreedomWorks supports this bill. 

H.R. 1163: Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act (Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO-08)/ Committee on Ways and Means)

Background: According to the Government Accountability Office, during the pandemic, total fraud in 4 unemployment insurance programs created as a result of COVID-19 was over $60 billion and perhaps much higher.

This bill would allow states to retain a portion of unemployment funds that were fraudulently paid out during the COVID-19 pandemic. States may use what they retain to modernize their unemployment system and update technology to identity verification and validation of applicants, reimburse administrative costs incurred by the state to identify and pursue recovery of fraudulent overpayments, hire fraud investigators, and other program integrity activities the state determines are necessary. 

Legislation That May Be Considered Under Suspension Of The Rules

H.R. 676: Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2023 (Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01)/ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology)

This bill would amend the Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2009 to require the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to collaborate with State and local governments and Indian Tribes on vulnerability assessments related to ocean acidification, research planning, and similar activities.

H.R. 1715: Advanced Weather Model Computing Development Act (Rep. Max Miller (R-OH-07)/ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology)

This bill would require the Energy Secretary and National National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator to carry out collaborative research and development activities in artificial intelligence and high-performance computing focused on the advancement of climate models and operational numerical weather prediction relevant to agency missions. 

H.R. 1734: Testing, Rapid Analysis, and Narcotic Quality Research Act, as amended (Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA-10)/ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology)

This bill would require the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to support and advance research methods to identify, understand, differentiate, and categorize illicit drugs containing xylazine, novel synthetic opioids, or other emerging substances of concern. The bill also requires the Director to work to develop measurement technologies that shorten analysis timelines and enhance narcotic and opioid detection and analysis capabilities in illicit drugs as well as support activities that expand the development of near-real-time spectrometry capabilities regarding xylazine, novel synthetic opioids, and other emerging compounds in illicit drugs. 

FreedomWorks reserves the right to score any bill, 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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