WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress

5 min read

The House will work on a series of bills to combat opioid  abuse and several bills impacting law enforcement, while the Senate will continue work on its Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which has hit a snag. A bill is expected Wednesday to address the Puerto Rican debt crisis.


Bills to Combat Opioid Abuse

In what has been called "Opioid Week," the House will vote on a host of bills to combat the Opioid Epidemic, including an amendment to the Senate-passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The House will then vote to go to conference with the Senate to work out differences and come up with one bill that can pass both chambers. House Democrats will push for a vote on $600 million in funds to address the crisis.


H.R. 5046 Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. F. Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]

Authorizes $103 million annually over 2017-2021 for Department of Justice (DOJ) grants to state, local, and tribal governments for programs to combat opioid abuse.

S. 32: Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D, CA]
Would broaden the coverage of current laws relating to the illegal importation of controlled substances. 

H.R. 5052: OPEN Act
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin McCarthy [R, CA-23]
To direct DOJ and HHS to evaluate the effectiveness of grant programs to address problems pertaining to opioid abuse

H.R. 5048: Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Guinta [R, NH-1]
To require a GAO study on Good Samaritan laws that pertain to treatment of opioid overdoses


H.R. 4982: Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Foster [D, IL-11]
Requiring a GAO report on in-patient and outpatient treatment capacity, availability, and needs of the United States


H.R. 4981: Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act
Sponsor: Rep. Larry Bucshon [R, IN-8]
To improve access to opioid use disorder treatment.


H.R. 4976: Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney


H.R. 4641: To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Brooks [R, IN-5]


H.R. 3680: Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended
Sponsor: Rep. John Sarbanes [D, MD-3]
To create a grant program for co-prescribing opioid overdose reversal drugs.


H.R. 4978: NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended
Sponsor: Rep. Evan Jenkins [R, WV-3]
Calling for a GAO report on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in the United States and its treatment under Medicaid.


H.R. 4969: John Thomas Decker Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Pat Meehan [R, PA-7]
To provide for informational materials to educate and prevent addiction in teenagers and adolescents who are injured playing youth sports and subsequently prescribed an opioid.


H.R. 4599: Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Katherine Clark [D, MA-5]
To permit certain partial fillings of prescriptions.


H.R. 4586: Lali’s Law
Sponsor: Rep. Bob Dold [R, IL-10]
To authorize grants to States for developing standing orders and educating health care professionals regarding the dispensing of opioid overdose reversal medication without person-specific prescriptions. The bill is named in memory of Alex Laliberte, a Buffalo Grove, Ill. resident who passed away seven years ago from a drug overdose. Source.

H.R. 4063: Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act
Sponsor: Rep. Gus Bilirakis [R, FL-12]
This legislation would require the VA and DOD to update their Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain, VA opioid prescribers to have enhanced pain management and safe opioid prescribing education and training, and the VA to increase information sharing with state licensing boards.

H.R. 3691 Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act
Sponsor: Rep. Ben Luján [D, NM-3]
To reauthorize the residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women and to establish a pilot program to provide grants to State substance abuse agencies to promote innovative service delivery models for such women

Law Enforcement Bills in the House

H.R. 4985: Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. John Katko [R, NY-24]
To protect classified information in Federal court challenges.

H.R. 2317: Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep. Doug Collins [R, GA-9]
Grants covered federal law enforcement officers the same rights to carry a government-issued firearm during a covered furlough as they had before such furlough was in effect.


S. 125: Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program Reauthorization Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT]
Extend through FY2020 the authorization of appropriations for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. 

H.R. 3209: Recovering Missing Children Act
Sponsor: Rep. Erik Paulsen [R, MN-3]
To allow the disclosure of tax returns and return information to officers and employees of state or local law enforcement agencies who are partnering with a federal agency in investigations of missing or exploited child cases.

S. 2755: Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2016, as amended
Sponsor: Sen. Roy Blunt [R, MO]
This bill allows the Representative or Senator of an immediate family member of a deceased firefighter, law enforcement officer, member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew, or public safety officer who died in the line of duty to give the family, on request, a Capitol-flown flag, together with a certificate, signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Representative, or the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Senator, providing the flag, which contains an expression of sympathy for the family.

Also in the House:

H.R. 1818: Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R, IL-16]
For states with a shortage of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to streamline state requirements and procedures to assist veterans who completed military EMT training to meet state EMT certification, licensure, and other requirements.


H.R. 4957: To designate the Federal building located at 99 New York Avenue, N.E., in the District of Columbia as the “Ariel Rios Federal Building”
Sponsor: Rep. Andre Carson [D, IN-7]


Energy and Water Appropriations

The Senate will continue work on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which is reportedly stalled because of an amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton [R, AR] to prohibit the U.S. from using federal funds to buy Iran's heavy water, which can be used in nuclear reactors. Senate Democrats oppose the amendment.

H.R. 2028: Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act
Sponsor: Rep. Michael Simpson [R, ID-2]

The Energy and Water spending bill includes total spending of $37.5 billion:

  • Department of Energy – $30.7 billion
  • Nuclear Security – $12.9 billion for DOE nuclear security programs, including Weapons Activities, Naval Reactors, and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. 
  • Science Research – $5.4 billion for science research to support basic energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources.
  • Environmental Cleanup – $6.4 billion for DOE environmental management activities
  • Solving the Nuclear Waste Stalemate – Pilot program for consolidated nuclear waste storage
  • Energy Programs – $11.2 billion; the bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance “all-of-the-above” solution to U.S. energy independence.
  • Fossil Energy Research and Development – $632 million for technologies to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy resources. 
  • International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) – The bill eliminates funding for ITER, which is under construction in France, saving $125 million. 
  • Army Corps of Engineers – $6 billion






    • Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for the Corps of Engineers. 
    • Revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to advance American competitiveness and export capabilities
    • Funds for construction of river and harbor, flood storm damage reduction, shore protection, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and related projects authorized by law.
  • Bureau of Reclamation – $1.14 billion to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of Western states.
  • Other policy items: The bill prohibits changes to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act.

Source: Senate Committee on Appropriations


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.