March 8, 2017 (San Diego) every session of Congress has bills introduced that at times go nowhere. In fact, there are far more of these than bill’s that actually become law.
Some are introduced every session, by the same member, with the same results. They go nowhere. An example of this is H.R 193. This is this year’s version of a bill introduced almost like clockwork by Representative Mike Rogers from Alabama. He is a Republican, but more like a member of the Libertarian wing. He has been trying to get the country out of the United Nations since he first came to the House. Every session he introduces the same bill. This bill tends to languish until it expires at the end, and after he is sworn in in the new session, rinse repeat.
Terminate the EPA
H.R 861 was introduced Jan 3, and seeks to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec 31, 2018. The sponsor is Representative Matt, Gaetz (R-Fl). It has been referred to the subcommittee on the environment. Unlike Rogers, Gaetz is a freshman and this is his first crack. While the Donald Trump administration is at war with the EPA and intends to gut their budget, it is not precisely going to eliminate the agency created during the Richard Nixon administration. This bill would, and it would create chaos.
However, Gaetz has only found three co-sponsors and all signed on the day the bill was introduced. These representatives Thomas Massie from Kentucky. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, and Georgian Barry Roudermick, who like Massie is also a freshman. So there is little danger of this making it to the floor. Mostly, the co-sponsors are backbenchers.
Choices in Education Act of 2017
The next bill in the list however, is not just introduced by an old hand at the House, but a leader in the House, That would be Congressman Steve King. This is H.R 610. The text of the bill, in the summary
Choices in Education Act of 2017
This bill repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.
The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.
To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements, and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home-school their child.
No Hungry Kids Act
The bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. (In general, the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements.)
This is always a good rule of thumb on whether a bill has potential. This bill will create the legal framework for Secretary Betsy DeVoss to work under. It is also a slap at the Keep Moving campaign from former first lady Michelle Obama.
It has a slightly more impressive list of cosponsors as well.
- Rep. Harris, Andy [R-MD-1]
- Rep. Franks, Trent [R-AZ-8]
- Rep. Olson, Pete [R-TX-22]
Repeal of the Department of Education
Representative Thomas Massie from Kentucky introduced the next bill in the list. He is still pretty much a back bencher, and there is no summary. This is HR 899, that would terminate the Department of Education.
t also has the same familiar list of backbenchers as co-sponsors.
- Rep. Massie, Thomas (R-KY)
- Rep. Palazzo, Steven (R-MS)
- Rep. Loudermilk, Barry (R-GA)
House Resolution 69
H.J.Res.69 – Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska”
The next in the list is a House Resolution. House Resolutions do not really have a force of law. However, this has passed the House and is on the way to the Senate. They are also waiting for a summary of the text. The list of cosponsors includes Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, who is a powerful member of the House.
Rep. Sessions, Pete [R-TX-32]
Rep. Mooney, Alexander X. [R-WV-2]
This is the text:
Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska”.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska” (81 Fed. Reg. 52247 (August 5, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.
Passed the House of Representatives February 16, 2017.
While this is now with the Senate, usually we see things like this put on the floor fairly fast. There are hearings for cabinet positions, so that is one possibility. The other is that the Senate is that leadership has decided to just sit on this, and let it die from age.
It also suggests that they are targeting the Wildlife refuge in Alaska, which would open the place for oil and gas exploration,
H.R 370, Repeals the Affordable Care Act in full
This one was introduced by Bill Flores of Texas. Interestingly enough there are no co-sponsors for this. Given that the Congress has revealed the American Health Care Act, this shows the power of leadership. They are simply able to keep people from joining in. Nor is there any scoring on this from anywhere. So we expect this one, regardless of how the AHCA goes, to die a quiet death, for the moment.
Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017
This was introduced by Congresswoman Diane Black of Tennessee. She is a slightly more powerful member of Congress, and has 136 cosponsors. No we are not listing them all, however all of them are Republicans. This is quite frankly over half of the Republican Caucus. It stands at 241.
Here is the summary:
Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017
This bill prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. This restriction does not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed.
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture must seek repayment of federal assistance received by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic, if it violates the terms of the certification required by this bill.
Additional funding for community health centers is provided for the one-year period described above.
Any eagle eyes reader will quickly notice this is only for one year. While it has not passed the House or the Senate, given how popular this is, it has a good chance. However, this is more theater than legislation. Defunding for one year is more red meat for the base, than actual permanent defunding.
H.R.785 – National Right-to-Work Act
This was introduced by Congressman King and will essentially mandate the end of closed shops for Unions. In other words, you do not need to be a union member to work at a site that is unionized.
The Wagner Act of 1937, part of the New Deal, formalized the right for workers to form Unions. Together with the National Labor Relations, it has been in the sighs of republicans. The Taft Hartley act of 1947 started to weaken labor standard, and this would complete the process.
This is the full bill
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 1, 2017
Mr. King of Iowa (for himself and Mr. Wilson of South Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce
To preserve and protect the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “National Right-to-Work Act”.
SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT.
(a) Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”) (29 U.S.C. 157) is amended by striking “except to” and all that follows through “authorized in section 8(a)(3)”.
(b) Section 8(a) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(a)) is amended by striking “: Provided, That” and all that follows through “retaining membership” in paragraph (3).
(c) Section 8(b) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(b)) is amended by striking “or to discriminate” and all that follows through “retaining membership” in paragraph (2) and by striking “covered by an agreement authorized under subsection (a)(3) of this section” in paragraph (5).
(d) Section 8(f) of the Act (29 U.S.C. 158(f)) is amended by striking clause (2) and by redesignating clauses (3) and (4) as (2) and (3), respectively.
SEC. 3. AMENDMENT TO THE RAILWAY LABOR ACT.
Section 2 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. 152) is amended by striking paragraph Eleventh.
The bill has 20 cosponsors, most from right to work states. Significantly one of them is Rep. Tom McClintock, [R-CA-4]
This bill will probably pass.
Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act
Then there is House Bill 83, which will prohibit Federal funds for one year for sanctuary cities or states. This formalizes into law the language from the Executive Order that President Trump signed. In that order, the President did penalize these sanctuary jurisdictions.
It was introduced by Representative Lou Barletta, and the summary reads as follows:
Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act
This bill prohibits a state or local government from receiving federal financial assistance for a minimum of one year if it restricts or prohibits a government entity or official from: (1) sending to or receiving from the responsible federal immigration agency information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or (2) maintaining or exchanging information about an individual’s status.
The bill restores assistance eligibility upon a Department of Justice (DOJ) determination that the jurisdiction no longer restricts or prohibits such actions.
DOJ shall report each year to Congress regarding state or local jurisdictions that restrict or prohibit such actions.
The Bill has 9 co-sponsored, but there are two powerful congressmen among them Representative King and Representative Mark Sanford.
Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2017
H.R.147 does not abolish abortion, however, this is referred as such in the social media post. This is what it does, it prevents the abortion of children based on gender, race of the child or parent. We are quoting the full summary.
Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2017
This bill imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent; (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.
Violations or attempted violations shall result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to five years.
The bill authorizes civil actions (for verifiable money damages for injuries and punitive damages) by: (1) fathers, or maternal grandparents if the mother is an unemancipated minor, of unborn children who are the subject of an abortion performed or attempted through any of the above violations; or (2) women upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted with a knowing or attempted use of force or threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion.
To prevent an abortion provider from performing or attempting further abortions in violation of this bill, the bill authorizes injunctive relief to be obtained by: (1) the women upon whom such an abortion is performed or attempted, (2) a maternal grandparent of the unborn child if the woman is an unemancipated minor, (3) the father of such an unborn child, or (4) the Department of Justice.
Violations of this bill are deemed to be prohibited discrimination under title VI (Federally Assisted Programs) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Violators of title VI lose federal funding.)
Medical or mental health professionals must report known or suspected violations to law enforcement authorities. Criminal penalties are established for a failure to so report.
A woman having such an abortion may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable.
Courts must make such orders as necessary to protect the anonymity of any woman upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted if she does not give her written consent to such disclosure. In the absence of such a woman’s written consent, any party, other than a public official, who brings an action must use a pseudonym.
For purposes of this bill, “abortion” is defined as the act of using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child, unless the act is intended to: (1) save the life or preserve the health of the unborn child, (2) remove a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion, or (3) remove an ectopic pregnancy.
Finally, H.R.808 – Iran Nonnuclear Sanctions Act of 2017
This was introduced by Representative Peter Roskam. It essentially seeks to reimpose many of the sanctions that were taken away after Iran and the US signed the treaty that takes away nuclear weapons from Iran for ten years. This is the relevant sections of the bill.
SEC. 102. IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE IRGC.
(a) In General.–Beginning on the date that is 90 days after the
date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall impose the
sanctions described in subsection (b) with respect to the IRGC and
foreign persons that are officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC.
(b) Sanctions Described.–The sanctions described in this
subsection are the following:
(1) Sanctions applicable with respect to a foreign person
pursuant to Executive Order 13224 (50 U.S.C. 1701 note;
relating to blocking property and prohibiting transactions with
persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism).
(2) Sanctions applicable with respect to an entity that is
designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section
219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).
It is important to note that it only has 4 cosponsors, but This has a companion in the Senate, S.227. This was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
It has two co-sponsors, These are Senator Todd Young of NC and Senato John Cornyn of Texas. The latter is not a backbencher either.
Since this is in intelligence and will be hashed out in intelligence committees, the number of cosponsors this early on is not that unusual.