WEEKLY UPDATE: The Week Ahead in Congress

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POPVOX Weekly Update_The Week Ahead in Congress_May_16_20_2016

The House will vote on the Defense Authorization bill (NDAA), Zika funding, and Military Construction-VA Appropriations. The Senate continues work on Transportation/Housing Appropriations, with a Zika funding provision.


The Senate will consider the  “THUD” and “MilCon-VA” appropriations bills together, as a substitute amendment to H.R. 2577.

H.R. 2577:
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations
The Senate THUD bill provides $56.5 billion to fund the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies.

Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations
The Senate will also consider the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations bill in the same legislative package. The Senate MilCon-VA bill provides $83 billion to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, construction projects across all branches of the military, and related agencies.
Read more about the details of each spending bill.


NDAA, MilCon-VA Appropriations, and Zika Control

H.R. 4909:
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Sponsor: Rep. Mac Thornberry

This week the House will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which lays out the budget and expenditures for the Department of Defense. The bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60 YAY – 2 NAY.



H.R. 4974:
Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

Sponsor: Rep. Charlie Dent

According to the House Appropriations Committee, the funding bill:

Provides $81.6 billion in discretionary funding – $1.8 billion above the fiscal year 2016 level.

Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is increased by 3 percent over the fiscal year 2016 level – including additional funding to address management problems and health care shortages, and to increase the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of its services to veterans. 


Zika Response Appropriations Act (no bill number yet)
The bill is expected to tap unused Ebola accounts. (Source: Morning Consult)

H.R. 897:
Zika Vector Control Act

Sponsor: Rep. Bob Gibbs

Eliminates the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirement for the application of pesticides authorized under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

Security, Religious Freedom

H.R. 1150:
Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act
Sponsored: Rep. Lee Zeldin
H.R. 1150 would make several changes to the Office of International Religious Freedom and programs promoting international religious freedom within the Department of State.

H.R. 4743:
National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act
Sponsor: Rep. Joaquin Castro
H.R. 4743 would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work with a consortium, including the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC), to assist state and local governments to prepare for, and respond to, cybersecurity risks and incidents over the five-year period immediately following the bill’s enactment.

H.R. 4780:
Department of Homeland Security Strategy for International Programs Act
Sponsor: Rep. Bennie Thompson
H.R. 4780 would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), within 180 days of the bill’s enactment, to transmit to the Congress a comprehensive three-year strategy to enhance DHS programs that deploy personnel and resources abroad to screen persons seeking to enter the United States.

H.R. 4407:
Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act
Sponsor: Rep. John Katko
H.R. 4407 would establish a counterterrorism advisory board in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The board would consist of senior representatives of operational agencies within DHS (such as Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard) and offices in DHS headquarters, including the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The board would meet on a regular basis to coordinate departmental activities to combat terrorism.

Taiwan and the "Six Assurances"

H. Con. Res 88: 
Reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of United States–Taiwan relations
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Chabot [R, OH-1]

The Six Assurances are guidelines used in conducting relations between the United States of America and Taiwan. They were proposed by the Taiwanese government in 1982, as President Reagan was negotiating the “Third Shanghai Communiqué” between the U.S. and China.

The "Six Assurances” promised that the U.S. would:

  1. not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan;
  2. not alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act;
  3. not consult with China in advance before making decisions about United States arms sales to Taiwan;
  4. not mediate between Taiwan and China;
  5. not alter its position about the sovereignty of Taiwan which was, that the question was one to be decided peacefully by the Chinese themselves, and would not pressure Taiwan to enter into negotiations with China; and
  6. not formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.


H.R. 3832:
Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act

Sponsor: Rep. James Renacci [R, OH-16]

S. 1492:
To direct the Administrator of General Services, to convey certain Federal property located in the State of Alaska to the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska

Sponsor: Sen. Dan Sullivan [R, AK]

S. 2143:
To provide for the authority for the successors and assigns of the Starr-Camargo Bridge Company to maintain and operate a toll bridge across the Rio Grande near Rio Grande City, Texas

Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX]

H.R. 1887:
To amend certain appropriation Acts to repeal the requirement directing the Administrator of General Services to sell Federal property and assets that support the operations of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Plum Island, New York
Sponsor: Rep. Lee Zeldin [R, NY-1]