Gavel Down: Closing Out the Week in Congress — 10.30.15

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This Week on POPVOX

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Most Active Bill on POPVOX:

  Hearing Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 3799)

To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.



New Speaker On The Block

This week in Congress was one for the history books. John Boehner led the House in passing a bipartisan budget deal, aka the “Boehner Budget,” before making his retirement official. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin took the oath of office as the youngest Speaker of the House since 1869. As several noted, his remarks were hopeful, aspirational, and struck a bipartisan tone, borrowing from Harry Truman:

“… if you ever pray, pray for each other — Republicans for Democrats, Democrats for Republicans. And I don’t mean pray for a conversion. Pray for a deeper understanding, because — when you’re up here, you see it so clearly — wherever you come from, whatever you believe, we are all in the same boat.”
Read full remarks.


John Boehner told the House goodbye, “with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job.”
In shepherding the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act, which some are calling the “Boehner Budget,” Boehner made good on his pledge to “clean the barn” before leaving. The deal funds the government and eliminates the debt ceiling for two years, staves off an increase in Medicare premiums — it even renames a Capitol corridor the “Freedom Foyer.”
The Senate passed the budget deal at 3 AM on Friday morning, delayed by objections from Presidential candidates Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R, TX) (procedural rules did not allow for a filibuster, but the two Senators took available opportunities to speak against the deal). As did Sen. Pat Toomey (R, PA) who said the bill fails to address our overspending problem.” In the end, the Senate passed the deal 64-35, and it is expected to soon be signed by the President.
While the appropriations process awaits, the budget deal means that government shutdown and debt ceiling brinksmanship will not be a factor until after the 2016 election. One House staffer told us it felt like the “fever broke” on the gridlock and acrimony of recent years.



#ViewFromTheHill – October 29, 2015

Anti-trade House Democrats employed 2-year-old bloodhound Roxy to call attention to the elusive text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Roxy was charged with a big duty: #SniffOutTPP. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D, MI) said “The public deserves to see the text.”

Check out our POPVOX View From the Hill on Tumblr



Top 5 Quotes from Speaker Transition Ceremony

  1. “We have protected this institution and made it more open to the people … So believe in the long, slow struggle. Believe in this country’s ability to meet her challenges, and lead the world.” –Rep. John Boehner (R, OH)
  2. “This is the beauty of America – that for all our honest differences, perspectives and priorities, aired and argued so passionately on this Floor, we are committed to being one nation. –Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA)
  3. “As much as I enjoyed working with all of you, some of you could still learn to dress better. You know who you are.” –Rep. John Boehner (R, OH)
  4. “This is the People’s House. This is the People’s gavel. In the people’s name, it is my privilege to hand this gavel to the Speaker of the House, the Honorable Paul Ryan.” –Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA)
  5. “We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated If you have ideas, let’s hear them. I believe a greater clarity between us can lead to a greater charity among us.” –House Speaker Paul D. Ryan




  • Congress passed a three-week transportation extension, to allow time for a long-term highway bill to be considered.
  • The controversial cybersecurity bill, CISA, passed the Senate and now goes to conference with the House. The Administration is pushing Congress to act.
  • Congress launched challenges to the President’s climate regulations under the rarely-used Congressional Review Act.
    • Four resolutions were filed to challenge the EPA’s Climate Plan
    • Next Tuesday the Senate will vote on a resolution to disapprove the contentious Waters of the United States rule, which re-defines which “waterways” fall under regulation by the Clean Water Act.
  • A mental health reform bill gets a tweak just in time for a markup in the House Energy and Commerce committee on Tuesday.
  • The Budget Reconciliation bill (repealing parts of Obamacare and de-funding Planned Parenthood) is likely to get a vote in the Senate in November.
  • Republicans completed their third presidential candidates debate. We recapped 5 bills to know coming out of the debate.



How did your Senator vote on the Bipartisan Budget Act?

Source: Twitter

Policy Change: U.S. Troops Deployed to Syria

Today, the Obama Administration authorized “several dozen” U.S. Special Forces to enter Syria and combat the Islamic State. Members of Congress immediately weighed in on the decision. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, SC) said this new decision looks like weakness to the enemy, and called the current strategy “half-assed at best” earlier in the week. Sen. Tim Kaine (D, VA) said, “It’s time for Congress to debate and declare war” and called for a comprehensive conflict strategy. How does this new “boots on the ground” decision affect Syria peace talks in Vienna?


On the heels of Abby Wambach’s retirement announcementSen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a non-binding resolution stating that gender pay equity should be a priority in professional soccer. He referenced the disparity between prize winnings ($2 million for female World Cup winners and $35 million for male World Cup winners). Leahy asked for unanimous consent to pass his resolution, but Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) barred the request, citing a Senate schedule packed with more pressing concerns.

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