This week the House will vote on Puerto Rico assistance, pipeline safety measures, delaying air quality standards, & statements opposing carbon taxes. The Senate will continue work on the Defense bill. Congress will also hear remarks from Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, in a joint session.


Delaying Implementation of Air Quality Standards Changes
The Clean Air Act established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), to set limits on the amount of certain pollutants in the air. The NAAQS have been revised several times, including in 1979, 1997, and 2008. Regulations to implement the 2008 standards were released in March 2015, and revised again in October 2015.

H.R. 4775: Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Pete Olson [R, TX-22]
The bill delays requirements for states to implement the 2015 standards. See: House Energy and Commerce Committee fact sheet.

Reauthorizing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

S. 2276: Securing America's Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act or the SAFE PIPES Act
Sponsor: Sen. Deb Fischer [R, NE]

The bill would reauthorize PHMSA through FY 2019. According to the sponsor, the bill would: require the agency to address outstanding mandates and rulemakings before moving to new ones. Requestion an assessment of the inspections process for natural gas and liquid pipelines, encourage advanced mapping technologies for pipeline networks, and provide direct hire authority to the agency.

"Sense of Congress": Opposition to Carbon Taxes
Congress uses "Sense of" resolutions to go on the record or send a message to the public or the President on the views of a majority of members. Concurrent resolutions express the sense of Congress as a whole (rather than just the House or Senate) and must pass both chambers. They are not binding, however, and do not require the President's signature. You can recognize a concurrent resolution by a bill number containing"Con.Res." before the number.

H.Con.Res. 89: Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.  
Sponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise [R, LA-1]

The Congressional Budget Ofice examined possible outcomes of a carbon tax in 2013: Effects of a Carbon Tax on the Economy and the Environment.

H.Con.Res. 112: Expressing the sense of Congress opposing the President’s proposed $10 tax on every barrel of oil.
Sponsor: Rep. Charles Boustany [R, LA-3]

President Obama's 2017 Budget proposal contained a request for a $10 per barrel tax to fund transportation projects. (See: Obama $10-Per-Barrel Oil Tax Lands With Thud in Congress, Bloomberg).

Puerto Rico Debt Relief

H.R. 5278: PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act)
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Duffy [R, WI-7]

"H.R. 5278 would create a legal framework for the federal government to oversee the fiscal and budgetary affairs of certain U.S. territories. In particular, the bill would outline procedures under which the governments of such territories and their instrumentalities could establish an oversight board and thus restructure their public debt. The bill would immediately establish such a board for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." Source: Congressional Budget Office. According to CBO, the bill would "have no significant net effect on the federal deficit."


Also in the House:

H.R. 5338: Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. John Katko [R, NY-24]

The bill requires the TSA to report on its staffing allocation plans and calls for several reports on wait times and security at airports.

H.R. 5273: Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Patrick Tiberi [R, OH-12]
H.R. 5273 would modify Medicare payment rules for certain hospital outpatient departments and some hospital inpatient services, increase the number of beds for long-term care hospitals (LTCHs), extend a demonstration involving rural community hospitals, modify meaningful use standards for some physicians practicing in ambulatory surgical centers, and delay the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) authority to terminate certain Medicare Advantage (MA) contracts.
Source: CBO. See: Section-by-section summary


H.Con.Res. 129: Expressing support for the goal of ensuring that all Holocaust victims live with dignity, comfort, and security in their remaining years, and urging the Federal Republic of Germany to reaffirm its commitment to this goal through a financial commitment to comprehensively address the unique health and welfare needs of vulnerable Holocaust victims, including home care and other medically prescribed needs
Sponsor: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-27]

H.R. 4906: To amend title 5, United States Code, to clarify the eligibility of employees of a land management agency in a time-limited appointment to compete for a permanent appointment at any Federal agency
Sponsor: Rep. Gerald Connolly [D, VA-11]

H.R. 4904: Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGBYTE) Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Matthew Cartwright [D, PA-17]

Requiring agency CIOs to develop a comprehensive software licensing policy, including: maintaining a comprehensive inventory of software licenses; analyzing software usage to make cost-effective decisions; and considering the software license management life cycle phases to implement effective decision making and incorporate existing standards, processes, and metrics.

H.R. 5325: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act
Sponsor: Rep. Tom Graves [R, GA-14]

The bill includes $3.48 billion for House and joint operations of Congress. The legislation also extends a freeze on the pay of Members of Congress, which has been in place since 2010.
See: Summary


2017 Defense Authorization

S. 2943 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2017
Sponsor: Sen. John McCain [R, AZ]

The Senate’s 2017 NDAA authorizes $602 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. 

See: Full Summary from the Senate Armed Services Committee

Public Lands Bills in the House

H.R. 1815: Eastern Nevada Land Implementation Improvement Act
Sponsor: Rep. Cresent Hardy [R, NV-4]

H.R. 87: Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act
Sponsor: Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R, TN-7]

H.R. 2733: Nevada Native Nations Land Act
Sponsor: Rep. Mark Amodei [R, NV-2]

H.R. 3070: EEZ Transit Zone Clarification and Access Act
Sponsor: Rep. Lee Zeldin [R, NY-1]

H.R. 3826: Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act
Sponsor: Rep. Greg Walden [R, OR-2]

H.R. 2009: Pascua Yaqui Tribe Land Conveyance Act
Sponsor: Rep. Raúl Grijalva [D, AZ-3]

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.