Trans-Pacific Partnership is on the move…
President Obama submitted notice to Congress, kicking off series of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House. Historic flooding in Louisiana caused multibillion-dollar disaster, spurring federal response. House Ways and Means set to mark up bill providing Olympic tax exemption. Members of Congress continued work back home — hosting job fairs, touring dairy farms, and writing op eds.
President Obama submitted notice to Congress,
Now's the time to weigh in on TPP
Last Friday, the Obama administration issued formal notice to Congress of intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), by submitting a draft statement of administrative action [SAA]. The SAA lays out how the President would implement the TPP if Congress approves the 12-nation trade agreement. This notice kicks off a process of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House.
After 30 days has passed, the White House can submit a final SAA along with a bill to approve the agreement, which Congress will give expedited consideration and an up or down vote.
Tell your Members of Congress what you think about TPP!
House Ways and Means set to mark up Olympic tax exemption bill
The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a bill in September to provide tax exemption for Olympic athletes returning home with medals and prizes. Under current law, Olympic prizes are subject to taxes.
Tax Exemptions for American Medalists (TEAM) Act of 2015 (H.R. 2628)
Sponsor: Rep. Blake Farenthold [R, TX-27]
Historic flooding caused multibillion-dollar disaster in southern Louisiana
Louisiana experienced historic flooding, with some areas receiving three times as much rain as Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of people needed to be rescued and cost estimates put damages at $30M, making this the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy.
President Obama approved disaster declarations for Louisiana, providing federal assistance for areas damaged by the floods. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson travelled to the area to review the federal response. Aides say DHS may ask Congress to approve additional disaster funds.
Reps. David Jolly [R, FL-13] and Kathy Castor [D, FL-14] observed Zika research.
Sen. Cory Booker [D, NJ] wrapped up #JerseyRoadTrip, visiting 21 counties in 7 days.
Delaware's Congressional Delegation hosted job fair for veterans.
Rep. Elise Stefanik [R, NY-21] toured dairy farms, learning about new technology.
Sen. Joe Donnelly [D, IN] delivered packages alongside UPS driver.
Sens. Steve Daines [R, MT] and Jon Tester [D, MT] exchanged very Montana gifts.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [D, ND] penned an op ed on opioid abuse.
Legislative Lowdown: States Edition
- Federal state of emergency in Flint expired. The federal government has been picking up 75% of the bill for bottled water, filters, and cartridges. Now the state must foot the entire bill, estimated at $3.5M per month.
- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon [D] is meeting with state lawmakers and county sheriffs, trying to keep the Legislature from overriding his veto of gun bill. Bill would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
- California vaccination school entrance requirements are now in effect, as mandated by last year's mandatory vaccination bill. California joins Mississippi and West Virginia in adopting stringent vaccination school entrance requirements.
- Sunlight Foundation examined state legislation related to police body cameras.
- Alabama Senate lottery bill failed to pass procedural hurdle. Bill was main focus of a special session called by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley [R]. Proposed lottery would fund state's Medicaid program.
- U.S. transferred 15 Guantánamo detainees in largest single release under Obama administration. There are now 61 detainees at the U.S. facility.
- Obama administration announced new directive mandating transgender people may use the bathroom of their choice in federally operated facilities.
- House Ethics announced it is extending probe of Rep. Mark Meadows [R, NC-11] who allegedly continued to pay severance payments to former Chief of Staff.
- Drug companies and insurers continue to spar over prescription drug prices. Biggest prescription insurers in the country booted higher-cost drugs in favor of copycat versions.
- Louisiana's coastline is receding, putting $100B of energy infrastructure at risk.
- House Republicans are seeking $18B in additional defense funding.
- FBI submitted Clinton email investigation notes to House Oversight and Government Reform, as House OGR Chairman Jason Chaffetz and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte outlined perjury case.
- National Park Service is gearing up for its 100th Anniversary. Check out America's national parks and realize just how much you don't know.
- Rwanda's banning cars from its capital for one day a month, joining list of cities implementing car bans.
- Terrorism fatalities are increasing in the West, decreasing throughout the world.
- Justice Department announced it will reduce use of private prisons after concluding that privately run facilities are not as safe or secure as government run facilities.
- Aetna exited 11 of 15 states where it currently offers Obamacare plans, citing heavy losses. The nation's third largest health insurance company previously threatened to withdraw from exchanges if DOJ blocked Humana merger.
- Assistant professor posited that the more money a member of Congress receives from donors outside the district, the less that member represents his or her constituents' preferences.
- Twitter shut down an additional 235,000 terrorist accounts.
Congress is back home working, and we're sending a summer version of Gavel Down — full of how current events relate to Congressional happenings, as well as updates on major legislation. Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.