Washington Weekly – July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

The House passed HR 1557, the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act; HR 2256, the Veterans Information Modernization Act; HR 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015; HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015; and HR 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act. The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed on consideration of a six-year highway reauthorization bill. They will resume consideration of this measure when they convene for a rare Sunday session. This is the second time this year the Senate has convened on a Sunday; the last time was in May when they met to consider passage of the USA Freedom Act before expiration of some controversial Patriot Act provisions. The Senate also passed HR 23, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015; HR 2499, the Veteran Entrepreneurship Act; S 1599, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2015; and HR 1626, the DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015.

Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations

House

While the House Appropriations Committee has completed action on all of its 12 FY2016 spending bills, action on the House floor has come to a complete stop. House Speaker John Boehner said this week that a continuing resolution will be necessary given the limited time lawmakers have to resolve their budget differences. The House is scheduled to be in session only 16 more days before the end of FY2015.

Meanwhile, House Appropriations Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) released a report this week charging Republicans with shortchanging several programs that would place “our national and economic security at risk.” The report gives an issue-by-issue breakdown of the funding cuts and policy riders. This report may give some indication of the negotiating position of House Democrats and what they will push for during any potential budget negotiations later this year.

House Appropriations Committee Minority Report:

http://democrats.appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/documents/FY16-report-July2015.pdf

Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee has now passed all 12 of its FY2016 spending bills as it marked up its Financial Services spending measure in subcommittee and full committee this week. This is the first time since 2009 that the committee has approved all 12 annual spending bills.

Financial Services

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and reported out its FY16 Financial Services Appropriations bill this week. The bill was considered in subcommittee on Tuesday and full committee on Thursday. The full committee passed the $20.6B measure by a vote of 16 to 14. The bill is $4B less than the President’s FY16 budget request and $1.3B below the FY15 enacted level, but it does provide about $400M more than the House version. The bill also includes the language of a Republican banking overhaul bill (S 1484).

In addition to a manager’s amendment, 5 amendments were adopted during committee consideration – Sen. Moran’s (R-KS) Cuba travel ban repeal amendment, Sen. Mikulski’s (D-MD) data breach amendment, Sen. Tester’s (D-MT) 180-day shipping prohibition repeal amendment, Sen. Boozman’s (R-AR) Cuba private credit for agriculture amendment, and Sen. Merkley’s (D-OR) marijuana banking amendment.

Bill Text:

http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/hearings/FSGGBillFinal.PDF

Report Language:

http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/hearings/FSGGReptFinal.PDF

Status of FY16 Appropriations Bills

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: 6/18/15

Full Committee: 7/8/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/14/15

Full Committee: 7/16/15

Floor:

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: 5/14/15

Full Committee: 5/20/15

Floor: 6/3/15

Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Defense Subcommittee: 5/20/15

Full Committee: 6/2/15

Floor: 6/11/15

Subcommittee: 6/9/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 5/1/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

Financial Services Subcommittee: 6/11/15

Full Committee: 6/17/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/21/15

Full Committee: 7/23/15

Floor:

Homeland Security Subcommittee: 7/9/15

Full Committee: 7/14/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Interior-Environment Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/16/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee: 6/17/15

Full Committee: 6/24/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: 4/23/15

Full Committee: 4/30/15

Floor: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Military Construction-VA Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 4/30/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 6/3/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/7/15

Full Committee: 7/9/15

Floor:

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee: 4/29/15

Full Committee: 5/13/15

Floor: 6/9/15

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

FY16 National Defense Authorization Act

House and Senate conferees on FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are not expected to complete their negotiations before the August recess due to a number of unresolved issues. The issues range from reforms to the military retirement system, the greater sage-grouse, and basic housing allowances. Other issues such as acquisition reform and the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba appear to have been resolved. The President has threatened to veto the measure if the final conference measures includes restrictions on closing Guantanamo as well as the additional funds authorized in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

FISMA Bill

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) led a bipartisan delegation of Senators to introduce legislation this week that would bolster the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to protect federal civilian networks. The other original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the mandate to protect the .gov domain, it only has limited authorities to do so. At present, DHS does not have the authority to monitor the networks of government agencies unless they have permission from that agency.  DHS also cannot regularly deploy countermeasures to block malware without permission from the agency. To fix this problem, Sen. Collins’ bill takes five steps to change the way DHS oversees the .gov domain:

  1. Allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to operate intrusion detection and prevention capabilities on all federal agencies on the .gov domain.
  2. Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct risk assessments of any network within the government domain.
  3. Allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to operate defensive countermeasures on these networks once a cyber threat has been detected.
  4. Strengthens and streamlines the authority Congress gave to DHS last year to issue binding operational directives to federal agencies, especially to respond to substantial cyber security threats in emergency circumstances.
  5. Requires the Office of Management and Budget to report to Congress annually on the extent to which OMB has exercised its existing authority to enforce government wide cyber security standards.

The Federal Information Security Management Reform Act of 2015:

http://www.collins.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/abced13c-de46-4bfc-a96f-aac0be8b29d5/ARM15K46.pdf

Political Updates

One more Republican candidate threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 Presidential race – Ohio Governor John Kasich. He joins the already crowded Republican field that includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former NY Governor George Pataki, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore is expected to announce his candidacy sometime in August. On the Democrat side, the field includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor and Senator (and former Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

The President nominated Victoria Wassmer to be Undersecretary of Energy for Management and Performance at the Department of Energy, Dr. Sandra Black to be a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Raymond Cook to be the Chief Information Officer of the Intelligence Community in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Ambassador Brooke Anderson and Robert Stein to be a members of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn took command of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in a ceremony on Thursday, succeeding retiring DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins. Lynn will also be commander of the Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Networks. Lynn previously led the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command at Fort Huachuca, AZ.

Navy Vice Adm. James Caldwell Jr. has been nominated to become an admiral and director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. He would replace Adm. John Richardson, who has been nominated to become the Chief of Naval Operations, the service’s top officer.

Stacia Hylton, Director of the U.S. Marshals Service, is leaving her position Saturday and will be temporarily replaced by the agency’s deputy director, David Harlow, who will serve as Acting Director starting Sunday. Hylton has served since January 2011 as Director of the agency.

Next Week

The House will consider HR 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015 and HR 1994, the VA Accountability Act of 2015. The Senate is scheduled to be in session next week beginning on Sunday when they resume consideration of the 6-year highway reauthorization bill. If and when the Senate completes action on the highway bill, they are then expected to take up S 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.

Washington Weekly – July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015

The House passed HR 2898, a bill that increases the availability of water for certain users in California’s drought-stricken Central Valley; HR 3038, a five-month highway funding reauthorization; HR 2499, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015; HR 2722, the Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act; HR 1723, the Small Company Simple Registration Act; HR 2997, the Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015; and HR 251, the Homes for Heroes Act of 2015. The Senate passed S 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act by a vote of 81 to 17. The bill is an overhaul of the long-expired No Child Left Behind education law, and it now heads to a conference with the House-passed version, HR 5, the Student Success Act. The Senate also passed S 1300, the Adoptive Family Relief Act; S 756, the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act; S 192, the Older Americans Reauthorization Act of 2015; and S 139, the Ensuring Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2015.

Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations

House

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) commended his committee members this week after the committee completed action on the last of its 12 annual spending bills. Rogers said, “You have restored the reputation of this committee.”

While the committee has completed its work, the House has passed only six of its 12 annual spending bills. With the House scheduled to be in session only 20 more days before the end of fiscal year 2015, it is now likely that Congress will have to rely on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running past Sept 30. Further complicating the House’s September schedule is the recent addition of the Iran Nuclear agreement, which Congress has 60 days to review setting up a potential vote in the House right around the end of the fiscal year. Some lawmakers are predicting the need for at least two CRs funding the government through late December when a final budget agreement could be worked out between Republicans and Democrats.

Homeland Security

The House Appropriations subcommittee met this week to mark up its $39.3B FY16 spending bill, which is $337M below the FY15 enacted level and $2.1B below the President’s FY16 budget request. Immigration policy dominated the debate during the full committee markup. However, the focus was now on sanctuary cities rather than on the President’s executive actions on immigration policy. The committee reported the bill out by a vote of 32 to 17 after adopting the following amendments:

  • Carter – The amendment made technical and other noncontroversial changes and additions to the report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Rooney – The amendment prohibits funding for TSA uniforms that include badges that resemble law-enforcement badges. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Culberson – The amendment requires ICE to detain Priority 1 and Priority 2 illegal aliens. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Yoder – The amendment prohibits certain state and local grants from going to “Sanctuary Cities.” The amendment was adopted on a vote of 28-21.
  • Aderholt– The amendment restates current law prohibiting federal funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide for abortions, except in certain life-threatening cases, rape, and incest. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 31-18.
  • Young – The amendment withholds $5 million in funding for ICE until ICE completes a congressional briefing on the status of local communities participating in the Priority Enforcement Program. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

OMB Director Shaun Donovan sent a letter to Chairman Rogers earlier in the week outlining the administration’s opposition to the FY16 Homeland Security spending bill. In addition to opposing sequestration funding levels, the administration also called out the committee’s failure to incorporate the administration’s proposed restructuring of FEMA grant programs, lack of investment in DHS headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeth’s, the reduction in funding for FEMA’s flood risk mapping efforts, and the inclusion of controversial riders including provisions related to the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the newly proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents policies, as well as a provision that prohibits funds to be used to allow property confiscated by the Cuban Government to enter the United States.

House FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-fc-ap-fy2016-ap00-hsecurity.pdf

House FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations Report Language:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-hsecurity.pdf

OMB Director Donovan Letter to Chairman Rogers:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/house-homeland-letter-rogers.pdf

Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed 11 of its 12 annual spending bills. Financial Services is the only FY16 bill that has not yet been considered by the subcommittee or full committee.

Agriculture

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and reported out its FY16 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill this week. The bill was considered in subcommittee on Tuesday and full committee on Thursday. The $143.8B ($20.5B discretionary and $123.3B mandatory) measure was passed by the full committee by a vote of 28 to 2. The bill is $24B ($1.1B discretionary) less than the President’s FY16 budget request and $3.7B ($65M discretionary) below the FY15 enacted level. In addition to a manager’s amendment, four amendments were adopted during committee consideration – Sen. Hoeven’s (R-ND) school meals amendment granting waivers to schools unable to meet the 100% whole-grain requirement, Sen. Feinstein’s (D-CA) captive marine mammals amendment, Sen. Murkowski’s (R-AK) genetically engineered salmon amendment, and a horse slaughter amendment offered by Sens. Udall (D-NM), Mikulski (D-MD), Kirk (R-IL), and Feinstein (D-CA).

Bill Text:

http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/hearings/FY2016%20Agriculture%20Approps%20Bill.pdf

Report Language:

http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/hearings/FY2016%20Agriculture%20Approps%20Report.pdf

Status of FY16 Appropriations Bills

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: 6/18/15

Full Committee: 7/8/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/14/15

Full Committee: 7/16/15

Floor:

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: 5/14/15

Full Committee: 5/20/15

Floor: 6/3/15

Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Defense Subcommittee: 5/20/15

Full Committee: 6/2/15

Floor: 6/11/15

Subcommittee: 6/9/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 5/1/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

Financial Services Subcommittee: 6/11/15

Full Committee: 6/17/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Homeland Security Subcommittee: 7/9/15

Full Committee: 7/14/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Interior-Environment Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/16/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee: 6/17/15

Full Committee: 6/24/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: 4/23/15

Full Committee: 4/30/15

Floor: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Military Construction-VA Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 4/30/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 6/3/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/7/15

Full Committee: 7/9/15

Floor:

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee: 4/29/15

Full Committee: 5/13/15

Floor: 6/9/15

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Defense Business Board

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced this week the appointment of eight new members to the Defense Business Board (DBB). The DBB was established in 2002 to provide the Secretary of Defense and other senior leaders of the Department of Defense with independent advice on best business practices for consideration and potential application to the Department.

The eight new members are:

  • Mahlon (Sandy) Apgar, IV, asset advisor and former assistant secretary for installations and environment, Department of the Army
  • Robert Holland, corporate director, managing partner, chief mentor and advisory board member of Essex Lake Group, LLC, and former CEO of Ben & Jerry’s
  • Jerry MacArthur Hultin, senior presidential fellow of NYU and president emeritus of Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  • William Swanson, chairman of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership and former CEO of the Raytheon Corporation
  • Lon Levin, president, SkySeven Ventures and cofounder of XM Satellite Radio
  • John O’Connor, Chairman of J.H. Whitney Investment Management, LLC
  • Gen. (ret.) Arnold Punaro, president, Punaro Group and former executive vice president of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
  • Atul Vashistha, founder & chairman, Neo Group

The current members of the DBB are:

  • Michael Bayer, DBB chair and president and CEO, Dumbarton Strategies
  • Nancy Killefer, DBB vice chair and former senior partner, McKinsey & Company Inc.
  • Cynthia Trudell, DBB vice chair and executive vice president of Human Resources and Chief HR Officer, PepsiCo
  • Denis Bovin, chairman and managing partner, Palimere Group, LLC
  • Howard Cox, Jr., advisory partner, Greylock Partners
  • Roxanne Decyk, former executive vice president, Royal Dutch Shell PLC
  • Taylor Glover, president and CEO, Turner Enterprises, Inc.
  • Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  • David Langstaff, former president and CEO, TASC, Inc.
  • Emil Michael, senior vice president of business, Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Philip Odeen, former chairman, AES Corporation
  • William Phillips, principal in charge, Federal Advisory Services, KPMG
  • Mark Ronald, former president and CEO, BAE Systems, Inc.
  • Kevin Walker, COO, Iberdrola USA
  • Daniel Werfel, director of public sector practice, The Boston Consulting Group
  • Joe Wright, executive director, Seamobile/MTN Satellite Communications
  • Dov Zakheim, senior fellow, CNA Corporation
  • Jack Zoeller, president and CEO, Cordia Bancorp

The DBB will convene its next meeting July 23.

Political Updates

One more Republican candidate threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 Presidential race – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He joins the already crowded Republican field that includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former NY Governor George Pataki, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore are expected to announce their candidacies soon (July 21 for Kasich and August for Gilmore). On the Democrat side, the field now includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor and Senator (and former Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) announced that he will run for the open Senate seat in Indiana in 2016. Young is the third Republican to enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN).

President Obama nominated Susan Coppedge to be Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking at the Department of State and Jessie Roberson to be a Commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter named Arsenio Gumahad II to be Deputy Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Dr. Wendin Smith to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction; Christopher Maier to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism; Andrew Exum to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy; Aaron Hughes to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy; Abraham Denmark to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, East Asia; and Maura Sullivan to be Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs in the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

Next Week

The House will consider HR 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act and HR 1599, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The Senate will take up a highway and transportation funding bill. The House may also consider the conference report for the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act conference. The Senate Finance Committee will mark up on Tuesday a $96B tax extenders package that will retroactively extend 52 expired provisions through the end of 2016.

Washington Weekly – July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015

The House passed HR5, the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act; HR2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act; and HR 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. The House began consideration of HR2822, the FY16 Interior Appropriations bill, but pulled the bill from the floor after a dispute over amendments. The Senate passed S286, the Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act of 2015; S143, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Improvements Act; S1180, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act; and S1359, the E-Warranty Act. The Senate began consideration of S1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. 

Fiscal Year 2016 Appropriations

The House has passed six of its 12 annual FY16 appropriations bills. But with the House scheduled to be in session for only 24 more days before the end of the fiscal year it is looking less and less likely that they will be able to complete all bills before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1. The Senate has a little more time as it is scheduled to be in session 35 more days before the end of the fiscal year. However, the Senate has not considered any of its bills on the Senate floor yet.

House

The House was expected to vote on final passage of its $30B FY16 Interior-EPA Appropriations bill on Thursday, but leadership pulled the bill after a Republican dispute over amendments that would have banned the sale of Confederate flags in national parks and their display in federal cemeteries. In committee this week, the House marked up the FY16 Agriculture spending bill in full committee and the FY16 Homeland Security spending bill in subcommittee.

The House Appropriations Committee also approved adjustments to its FY16 302(b) subcommittee allocations. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said that the adjustments were mostly technical in nature to account for updated Congressional Budget Office scoring and changes made to spending bills on the House floor. The adjustments added $1.48B to the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill and $13M to the Department of Homeland Security spending bill, and trimmed small amounts from the Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-HUD, and Defense spending bills. The changes also shifted $1.82B from the Defense-related Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to the State-Foreign Operations OCO account. All Democrats on the committee voted against the 302(b) allocation adjustments.

Agriculture

The House Appropriations Committee approved their $20.65B FY16 Agriculture spending bill in full committee this week. The bill is $175M lower than the FY15 level and $1.1 billion below the President’s FY16 budget request. Democrats on the committee opposed the inclusion of a provision that would make tobacco-related products (e.g. e-cigarettes and small cigars) exempt from rigorous pre-market review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While these products are currently unregulated, they would come under FDA oversight once the agency has completed a regulation giving itself broader authority over a range of tobacco-related products. The Administration also voiced its opposition to the provision, and the overall bill, in a letter from OMB Director Shaun Donovan to Chairman Rogers.

Three amendments were offered and approved during the full committee markup:

  • Aderholt – The amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • Harris –The amendment would add a provision to grant legal protections from frivolous lawsuits to the users of partially hydrogenated oils until the compliance date issued by FDA. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  • DeLauro – The amendment ensures U.S. food safety laws are protected in new trade agreements. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

House FY16 Agriculture Appropriations Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-fc-ap-fy2016-ap00-agriculture.pdf

House FY16 Agriculture Appropriations Report Language:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-agriculture.pdf

Letter from OMB Director Donovan to House Appropriations Chairman Rogers:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/House-Ag-Letter-7-7-15-Rogers.pdf

Homeland Security

The House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee met this week to mark up its $39.3B FY16 spending bill, which is $337M below the FY15 enacted level and $2.1B below the President’s FY16 budget request. The bill did not include funding to implement the President’s Executive Orders on immigration, and it specifically bars the use of funds for these activities for the duration of ongoing legal proceedings on the issue. It also retains a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The bill does provide $11.1B for Customs and Border Protection, $5.8B for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $4.65B for the Transportation Security Administration, $1.6B for Cybersecurity, Critical Infrastructure, and Communications, $8.5B for the Coast Guard, $1.9B for the Secret Service, $7.4B for FEMA disaster relief, $119.7M for Citizenship and Immigration Services, and $786.9M for Science and Technology. The bill is scheduled to be marked up in full committee on Tuesday, July 14.

Draft House FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-HSecurity-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

Senate

State Foreign Operations

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their $49.03B FY16 State Foreign Operations bill in subcommittee and full committee this week. Of this amount, $39.01B is for the base budget and $9.26B is for Overseas Contingency Operations. The bill is $2.8B below the FY15 enacted level and $4.9B below the President’s FY16 budget request. The bill contains $16.7B for the Department of State ($14B in base funding and $2.7B in OCO funding), $1.28B for USAID, $141.2M for programs to counter violent extremism, $8.47B for global health programs, $6B for global HIV/AIDS assistance, and $7.9B for international security assistance, $2.3B for democracy programs. The bill also prohibits the use of funds to support external email servers at the State Department and USAID. During consideration of the bill, the committee voted to repeal a policy that essentially blocks recipients of U.S. aid from promoting or providing abortions for family planning purposes. The amendment offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) originally failed on a voice vote, but passed after she requested a recorded vote.

Administration Letters to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Cochran

OMB Director Shaun Donovan sent three letters this week to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) stating the administration’s opposition to three of the committee’s FY16 spending bills – Department of Homeland Security, Interior, and Labor-HHS-Education.

DHS Letter from OMB Director Donovan to Senate Appropriations Chairman Cochran:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/senate-homeland-approps-letter-cochran.pdf

Interior Letter from OMB Director Donovan to Senate Appropriations Chairman Cochran:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/senate-interior-letter-cochran.pdf

Labor HHS Letter from OMB Director Donovan to Senate Appropriations Chairman Cochran:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/senate-labor-h-ed-letter-cochran.pdf

Status of FY16 Appropriations Bills

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: 6/18/15

Full Committee: 7/8/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: 5/14/15

Full Committee: 5/20/15

Floor: 6/3/15

Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Defense Subcommittee: 5/20/15

Full Committee: 6/2/15

Floor: 6/11/15

Subcommittee: 6/9/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 5/1/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

Financial Services Subcommittee: 6/11/15

Full Committee: 6/17/15

Floor: week of July 13?

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Homeland Security Subcommittee: 7/9/15

Full Committee: 7/14/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Interior-Environment Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/16/15

Floor: pulled from floor

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee: 6/17/15

Full Committee: 6/24/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: 4/23/15

Full Committee: 4/30/15

Floor: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Military Construction-VA Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 4/30/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 6/3/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 7/7/15

Full Committee: 7/9/15

Floor:

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee: 4/29/15

Full Committee: 5/13/15

Floor: 6/9/15

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

National Defense Authorization Act

The Senate approved a motion to go to conference on the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act this week. The cloture vote on the motion was agreed to by a vote of 81 to 15, and then the motion was agreed to by voice vote. The Senate then appointed the following members as conferees: McCain (R-AZ), Inhofe (R-OK), Sessions (R-AL), Wicker (R-MS), Ayotte (R-NH), Fischer (R-NE), Cotton (R-AR), Rounds (R-SD), Graham (R-SC), Reed (D-RI), Nelson (D-FL), Manchin (D-WV), Gillibrand (D-NY), Donnelly (D-IN), Hirono (D-HI), and Kaine (D-VA).

Budget Reconciliation

The July 24 deadline for reporting budget reconciliation instructions is fast approaching, and it isn’t clear how Republican leaders will use the process. Initially, they wanted to use it to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). However, after the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis last month in which they estimated that repealing the law would increase the federal deficit anywhere from $137 billion from FY16 to FY25 (dynamic scoring) up to $353 billion (traditional budget scoring) and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of federal health subsidies, they may be rethinking their strategy. The reconciliation process must reduce the deficit by at least $1 billion – either through cutting spending, raising revenue, or a combination of the two. Three House committees (Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and the Workforce) and two Senate Committees (Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) are involved in the process and are still considering their options on how to proceed. While the committees are required to present legislation to their respective Budget Committees by the July 24 deadline, it is considered a “soft” deadline and committees have regularly missed it in the past without jeopardizing the use of reconciliation procedures. Once they have presented their legislation, the Budget Committees then assemble the provisions into a reconciliation package and report the legislation to their full chambers.

Political Updates

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta submitted her resignation to President Obama this morning, which he accepted. Calls for her resignation started to include Democratic members of Congress (Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA and Rep. Jim Langevin, D-RI) after OPM announced yesterday that the breach of its background investigations had compromised sensitive information (including social security numbers) of more than 21.5 million individuals. Beth Cobert, the Deputy Director of Management at the Office of Management and Budget will step in temporarily to replace Archuleta while a permanent replacement is found.

One more Republican candidate threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 Presidential race – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He joins the already crowded Republican field that includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former NY Governor George Pataki, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). And Ohio Governor John Kasich, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore are expected to announce their candidacies soon. On the Democrat side, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb announced his candidacy this week. He joins the Democratic field that includes former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor and Senator (and former Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

State Senator Darin LaHood (R-IL) easily won the GOP primary in a special election to replace former Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock. Schock resigned earlier this year after investigations into his spending habits. The district is a safe Republican district. LaHood is the son of former Illinois Representative and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter appointed his Chief of Staff Eric Fanning to be Acting Undersecretary of the Army. Carter also promoted Eric Rosenbach to become his new Chief of Staff. Rosenbach is currently Deputy Chief of Staff. Fanning is a former acting Secretary of the Air Force, and has been discussed as a potential replacement for Army Secretary John McHugh, who is stepping down no later than November 1, 2015. Carter also made the following appointments in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics: James Galvin to be Deputy Director of Portfolio Management and Outreach, Clothilda Taylor to be Principal Deputy Director for Administration, and Richard Pino to be Principal Deputy Director of Command, Control, Communications, Cyber, and Business Systems and Deputy Director of Command and Control Programs. And Brad Carson, was nominated by the President to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defense. Carson has been in an acting capacity in the position since last year. Carson is a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma.

President Obama nominated Mary Wakefield to be Deputy Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, Anthony Coscia and Derek Kan to be Directors on the AMTRAK Board of Directors, Matthew Rhett Jeppson to be Director of the U.S. Mint, and Andy Slavitt to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Michael Brown will take over as Chief Information Officer at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 26. Brown replaces Kevin Kern who left nine months ago.

Next Week

The House will take up HR 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, and may take up the FY16 Financial Services Appropriations bill. The Senate is expected to complete consideration of S1177, the Every Child Achieves Act and then move on to a highway funding bill, whose current authorization expires at the end of July.

Washington Weekly – July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

The House and Senate were in recess this week.

FY16 Appropriations

Status of FY16 Appropriations Bills

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: 6/18/15

Full Committee: 7/8/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: 5/14/15

Full Committee: 5/20/15

Floor: 6/3/15

Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Defense Subcommittee: 5/20/15

Full Committee: 6/2/15

Floor: 6/11/15

Subcommittee: 6/9/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 5/1/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

Financial Services Subcommittee: 6/11/15

Full Committee: 6/17/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Homeland Security Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Interior-Environment Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/16/15

Floor: week of June 22

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee: 6/17/15

Full Committee: 6/24/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: 4/23/15

Full Committee: 4/30/15

Floor: 5/19/15

Subcommittee:

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Military Construction-VA Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 4/30/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 6/3/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee: 4/29/15

Full Committee: 5/13/15

Floor: 6/9/15

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Department of Labor Proposed Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor released a proposed rule this week that would update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA guarantees a minimum wage and overtime pay rate of not less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. While these protections extend to most workers, the FLSA does provide a number of exemptions. This rulemaking proposes updating and revising the regulations issued under the FLSA implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees. This exemption is referred to as the FLSA’s “EAP” or “white collar” exemption. To be considered exempt, employees must meet certain minimum tests related to their primary job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than a specified minimum amount. The standard salary level required for exemption is currently $455 a week ($23,660 for a full-year worker) and was last updated in 2004. The Department projects that the wage in the final rule would likely be $970, or $50,440 for a full-year worker. The Department also proposes automatically updating the salary and compensation thresholds on an annual basis using either a fixed percentile of wages or the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Comments on the proposed rule are due in 60 days.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015/OT-NPRM.pdf

Political Updates

The fourteenth Republican candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, threw his hat into the ring this week for the 2016 Presidential race. He joins the already crowded Republican field that includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former NY Governor George Pataki, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, businessman Donald Trump, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Ohio Governor John Kasich said that he would announce his candidacy on July 21, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to announce his candidacy soon. On the Democrat side, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor and Senator (and former Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have all announced their candidacies.

President Obama will nominate Marine Lt. Gen. Bob Neller to replace Gen. Joseph Dunford as the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Neller now serves as Commander of Marine Corps Forces Command in Norfolk, VA. He also commands Marine Corps Forces Europe.

Cathy Conrad, the Deputy Associate Administrator in the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is leaving government. Conrad plans to pursue new challenges and her last day will be July 24.

The Acting Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Richard Griffin, announced his plans to step down from the post after criticism from a group of whistleblowers that he’s done little to uncover fraud and abuse in the VA. Griffin was appointed Deputy Inspector General in 2008, and has served in the Acting IG position since Georg Opfer stepped down from the job 18 months ago. Linda Halliday will replace Griffin as Deputy Inspector General. Halliday is the current Assistant Inspector for Audits and Evaluations.

Next Week

The House and Senate return from recess next week. The House will resume consideration of the FY16 Interior Appropriations bill and the Senate will take up the No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill (S 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015).

Washington Weekly – June 26, 2015

June 26, 2015

Trade was the big winner in Congress this week as the Senate passed HR 2146, the Trade Promotion Authority Act. The bill passed the House last week and now heads to the President for his signature. The House and Senate also passed HR 1295, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. They have one remaining trade bill to finish – HR 644, a customs enforcement measure. Differing versions of the bill have passed each chamber and now needs to go to conference to produce a compromise. In addition to the trade measures, the House passed HR 1190, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act and HR 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015. The House began consideration of the FY16 Interior-Environment Appropriations Act. The Senate passed HR 91, the Veteran’s ID Card Act and confirmed Peter Neffenger to be Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration at the Department of Homeland Security, Daniel Elliott to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board, LaVerne Horton Council to be Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Anne Wall to be Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the Treasury Department, and David Shulkin to be Undersecretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

FY16 Appropriations

House

The House began consideration of the FY16 Interior spending bill on the floor this week. The House Appropriations Committee met to mark up its FY16 Labor HHS Education appropriations bill, but postponed a full committee markup of its FY16 Agriculture spending bill and revised FY16 subcommittee allocations.

Interior

On Thursday, the House began consideration on the floor of its $30.17B FY16 Interior spending bill. This is the first time in four years that the Interior bill has been considered on the House floor as this bill tends to be one of the more controversial of the 12 annual spending bills. Republicans amendments offered this week targeted funding for EPA programs and shifted the money to other agencies or to deficit reduction. Lawmakers will resume consideration of the bill after the July 4th recess when the House is expected to consider a number of amendments related to controversial policy riders included in the bill.

The White House issued a veto threat for the bill in a Statement of Administration Policy they released this week. The Administration cited funding issues and “numerous highly problematic ideological provisions” as reasons for their opposition to the measure.

White House Statement of Administration Policy on House FY16 Interior Bill:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/114/saphr2822r_20150623.pdf

Labor HHS Education

The House Appropriations Committee marked up its $153B FY16 Labor HHS Education spending bill this week and passed it out of committee by a vote of 30 to 21. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies. The bill is $3.7B below FY15 enacted levels and $14.6B below the President’s FY16 budget request.

The committee adopted the following amendments during full committee consideration:

  1. Cole – The amendment makes technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  2. Roybal-Allard– The amendment designates $750,000 in funding within the Children and Families Services Programs account to be used for a Child Poverty Study. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  3. Kilmer – The amendment adds report language urging the Department of Education to provide clear and timely guidance to local school districts on how to calculate tax rates for the purposes of receiving certain types of federal aid. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  4. Harris – The amendment prohibits funding to implement or enforce a National Labor Relations Board ruling that allows certain groups of employees within a larger company to form separate unions. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
  5. Kaptur – The amendment adds report language directing the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to provide a report on certain prescription drug costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA, as well as comparisons of these costs to other countries. In addition, it directs HHS to review and report on steps taken to competitively reduce prescription drug costs since 2001. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers this week stating the administration’s concerns with this spending bill stating that it would underfund programs important to the middle class.

OMB Director Donovan’s Letter to Chairman Rogers re: FY16 Labor HHS Bill:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/letters/labor-h-house-letter-rogers.pdf

House FY16 Labor HHS Education Appropriations Bill Text:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2016-laborhhs-subcommitteedraft.pdf

House FY16 Labor HHS Education Appropriations Report Language:

http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2016-laborhhsed.pdf

Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee continued its work marking up their FY16 Transportation HUD and Labor HHS Education spending bills in subcommittee and full committee this week.

Transportation HUD

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their $55.65B FY16 Transportation HUD spending bill in subcommittee and full committee this week. The bill is $7B less than the President’s FY16 budget request, but $1.88B more than FY15 enacted levels. The bill increases funding for rail and aviation programs, but makes deep cuts to certain housing and transit programs. The bill provides $17.78B for the Transportation Department and $37.56B for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to a manager’s amendment, the committee approved an amendment offered by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that would extend the allowable length of double trailers from 28 to 33 feet. The amendment was approved by a vote of 16 to 14. The committee also approved by voice vote an amendment offered by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) that would modify Kansas’ truck length law for hauling custom harvesting equipment. The bill was reported out of committee by a vote of 20 to 10.

Senate Transportation Appropriations Bill Text:

Part 1 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=451

Part 2 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=452

Part 3 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=453

Part 4 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=454

Part 5 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=455

Part 6 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=456

Senate Transportation Appropriations Report Language:

Part 1 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=457

Part 2 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=458

Part 3 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=459

Labor HHS Education

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their $153.2B FY16 Labor HHS Education spending bill in subcommittee and full committee this week. The bill is $14.5B less than the President’s FY16 budget request and $3.6B less than FY15 enacted levels. The bill provides $11.4B for the Department of Labor, $70.4B for the Department of Health and Human Services, $65.5B for the Department of Education, $247M for the National Labor Relations Board, $228M for the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences, and $445M for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. During full committee consideration, the committee adopted a manager’s amendment, an amendment offered by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) that would prohibit the use of funds to promulgate or implement regulations relating to occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica until additional studies and reports are completed, and an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) that would increase funding for the Preventive Medicine Residency Program. The bill was reported out of committee by a vote of 16 to 14.

Senate Labor HHS Education Appropriations Bill Text:

Part 1 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=460

Part 2 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=461

Senate Labor HHS Education Appropriations Report Language:

Part 1 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=462

Part 2 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=463

Part 3 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=464

Part 4 – http://www.vantagepointstrat.com/?p=465

Status of FY16 Appropriations Bills

Subcommittee House Action Senate Action
Agriculture Subcommittee: 6/18/15

Full Committee:

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee: 5/14/15

Full Committee: 5/20/15

Floor: 6/3/15

Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Defense Subcommittee: 5/20/15

Full Committee: 6/2/15

Floor: 6/11/15

Subcommittee: 6/9/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Energy & Water Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 5/1/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

Financial Services Subcommittee: 6/11/15

Full Committee: 6/17/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Homeland Security Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Interior-Environment Subcommittee: 6/10/15

Full Committee: 6/16/15

Floor: week of June 22

Subcommittee: 6/16/15

Full Committee: 6/18/15

Floor:

Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee: 6/17/15

Full Committee: 6/24/15

Floor:

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Legislative Branch Subcommittee: 4/23/15

Full Committee: 4/30/15

Floor: 5/19/15

Subcommittee:

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Military Construction-VA Subcommittee: 4/15/15

Full Committee: 4/22/15

Floor: 4/30/15

Subcommittee: 5/19/15

Full Committee: 5/21/15

Floor:

State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee: 6/3/15

Full Committee: 6/11/15

Floor:

Subcommittee:

Full Committee:

Floor:

Transportation-HUD Subcommittee: 4/29/15

Full Committee: 5/13/15

Floor: 6/9/15

Subcommittee: 6/23/15

Full Committee: 6/25/15

Floor:

Budget Reconciliation Primer

The Senate Budget Committee released a Budget Bulletin this week, which is a primer on the budget reconciliation process. As it has been five years since the Senate considered a reconciliation bill, the intent of the primer is to help familiarize readers with some of the unique aspects of a reconciliation bill, including its restricted contents and privileged consideration.

A copy of the Budget Bulletin can be found at:

http://www.budget.senate.gov/republican/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=f19cdb93-31eb-4867-8dfb-dc6ee1471339

FY16 National Defense Authorization Act

The FY 16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hit a procedural snag this week preventing it from going to conference. Under the Constitution, bills that raise revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. If the House determines that the Senate has violated this clause in the Constitution, it returns the bill to the Senate. The process is known as “blue-slipping” as the House places a blue slip on the offending legislation and immediately returns it to the Senate without taking further action. Section 636 of the Senate-passed NDAA changed the way the Defense Military Retirement Fund is treated under the tax code, prompting the House Ways and Means Committee to issue the blue slip. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) worked with Senate leaders on Thursday to strike the provision under a unanimous consent agreement. Once the blue-slip problem was resolved, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) named its conferees for the NDAA conference committee. And the HASC and SASC committee members gathered for a “passing of the gavel” from McCain to HASC Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) (the committee alternates who chairs the conference each year). The meeting also provided an opportunity for rank-and-file committee members to voice their priorities for the FY16 NDAA conference.

A list of the HASC FY16 NDAA conferees can be found at:

http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/press-releases?ContentRecord_id=9AF1CE27-61D1-49CB-AF6B-644738C43A18&ContentType_id=E0C7B822-826F-493D-8CEF-1E21AA53E12A&Group_id=12580721-af41-4987-849c-c25b730d096d

Congressional Budget Office Affordable Care Act Repeal Analysis

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last Friday on the “Budgetary and Economic Effects of Repealing the Affordable Care Act.” Using a dynamic scoring methodology, CBO estimates that repealing the health care law would increase the federal deficit by $137 billion from FY16 to FY25 compared to $353 billion for the same time period using traditional budget scoring practices. This analysis is the first time CBO has provided an estimate based on dynamic scoring. This may complicate Republicans efforts to repeal the law through the reconciliation process this year. Reconciliation would allow the repeal to pass the Senate with just a simple majority vote, but the Republican-written reconciliation instructions require any measure that is moved through the reconciliation procedure to reduce the deficit. Therefore, any repeal measure the Republicans intend to consider using the reconciliation process will have to be different than the repeal bill that was used by CBO for their analysis and would have to reduce the deficit between 2016 and 2025.

CBO 2015 Analysis of Repealing the Affordable Care Act:

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/50252

Political Updates

One more Republican candidate threw his hat into the ring this week for the 2016 Presidential race – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. He joins the already crowded Republican field that includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former NY Governor George Pataki, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). And Ohio Governor John Kasich, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are expected to announce their candidacies soon. On the Democrat side, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Governor and Senator (and former Republican) Lincoln Chaffee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have all announced their candidacies.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced this week that he was naming Maura Sullivan as the new Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Sullivan currently serves as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She will be taking over the position from Brent Colburn, who is stepping down in July.

President Obama nominated Ken Kopocis and Janet Garvin McCabe to be Assistant Administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Next Week

The House and Senate are in recess next week. When they return the week of July 6, the House will resume consideration of the FY16 Interior Appropriations bill and the Senate will take up the No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill (S 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015).