The House will take up the Senate-passed FOIA reform and attempt to pass the Defense Appropriations bill without getting sidetracked by controversial amendments. It will also condemn human organ trafficking. The Senate will continue with the National Defense Authorization bill (NDAA) and move onto Commerce, Science, and Justice Appropriations.


In the House

S. 337: FOIA Improvement Act of 2016
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX]

The bill, which passed the Senate in March, requires the government to adopt a “presumption of openness” when processing requests for government records via the Freedom of Information Act.

According to co-sponsor, Charles Grassley:

The FOIA Improvement Act clarifies that the government’s default response to FOIA requests should be to provide rather than withhold government information.  It places a 25-year sunset on the government’s ability to withhold certain documents that demonstrate how the government reaches decisions, which now can be withheld indefinitely from the public.  The bill requires agencies to make publicly available documents that have been requested and released three or more times under FOIA, and empowers the office of Government Information Services to better address FOIA issues through additional independence.  The bill also improves technology to improve the information requesting process. 

The House will attempt to pass a Defense Appropriations bill, possibly under a "structured rule" to prevent the kinds of controversial amendments that doomed an earlier attempt to pass the Energy and Water Appropriations bill in the House.

The House Rules Committee is expected to adopt a “structured rule” for filing amendments to the bill, allowing GOP leaders to control which amendments are given floor time. The rule will shield vulnerable Republicans from being forced by Democrats to take votes on sensitive issues. The change has broad support among Republicans, but it could face backlash from some hard-line conservatives if votes are not allowed on amendments dealing with conservative issues. Democrats are already crying foul. — Source: Morning Consult

H.R. 5293: Department of Defense Appropriations Act
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R, NJ-11]

The Committee recommendation for the fiscal year 2017 Department of Defense base budget is $517,130,000,000… a decrease of $586,831,000 below the budget request, and $58,626,000,000 for overseas contingency operations/global war on terrorism, an increase of $449,000 above the budget request.  Committee Report

 

H.R. 5053: Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act
Sponsor: Rep. Peter Roskam [R, IL-6]
Prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from requiring a tax-exempt organization to include in annual returns the name, address, or other identifying information of any contributor. 

 

H.R. 5312: Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Modernization Act
Sponsor: Rep. Darin LaHood [R, IL-18]
The bill updates the 1991 Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program —a multi-agency effort to coordinate federal research and development for revolutionary breakthroughs in advanced information technologies such as computing, networking, software, and cybersecurity (Read more about NITRD from CRS).

 

H.R. 3636: O-VISA (Oversee Visa Integrity with Stakeholder Advisories) Act
Sponsor: Rep. Mimi Walters [R, CA-45]
The bill concerns O-1 visas, for "Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement," and would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide stakeholders consulted in an O-1 determination process to receive a copy of any decision regarding the nonimmigrant O-1 visa admission of an alien seeking to work in a motion picture or television production (or an accompanying O-2 visa alien involved in such production).

 

H.R. 4939: United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act
Sponsor: Rep. Eliot Engel [D, NY-16]
The bill calls for a State Department strategy for U.S. engagement with the Caribbean region, including efforts to promote their involvement in Caribbean economic development and citizen security; outlines an approach to partner with Caribbean governments to improve citizen security, reduce illicit drug trafficking, strengthen the rule of law, and improve the effectiveness of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). The bill also calls for GAO reports on (1) the CBSI; and (2) diplomatic outreach from the U.S. embassy in Barbados to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines.

   

H.R. 5049: NSF Major Research Facility Reform Act
Sponsor: 
Rep. Barry Loudermilk [R, GA-11]
This bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to maintain a Large Facilities Office to support its research directorates in the development, implementation, and assessment of major multi-user research facilities.

Preventing Illegal Organ Trafficking

H.R. 3694: STOP Organ Trafficking Act
Sponsor: Rep. Dave Trott [R, MI-11]

The bill defines "Trafficking in human organs" as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of a person, either living or dead, for the purpose of removing one or more of the person's organs by coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power, or transfer of payments or benefits; or the illicit transportation and transplantation of those organs in one or more other persons for profit or any other purpose. "Organ" is defined as the human (including fetal) kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, bone marrow, cornea, eye, bone, and skin or any subpart thereof, and any other human organ or subpart (including that derived from a fetus) specified by the President.


This bill expresses the sense of Congress that:

  • kidnapping or coercion of individuals to extract their organs for profit contradicts the standards for ethical behavior upon which the United States has based its laws;
  • harvesting of organs from living children, regardless of the level of brain activity, is a violation of the human rights of the child and is a breach of internationally accepted medical ethical standards;
  • illegal harvesting and trafficking of human organs violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • and efficient national organ donation systems with effective enforcement mechanisms that ensure voluntary organ donations are the most effective way to combat trafficking in human organs.

The bill would prohibit the issuance of a passport to, and revoke a previously issued passport from, a person convicted of trafficking in human organs who used a passport or otherwise crossed an international border to commit such offense.
 

H.Res. 343: Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups
Sponsor: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-27]

The bill:

  • Calls on China and the Communist Party of China to end the practice of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.
  • Encourages the U.S. medical community to help raise awareness of unethical organ transplant practices in China.
  • Demands an end to the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice and the release of all Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience.

In the Senate:


The Senate will resume consideration of S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act . It will then begin consideration of H.R.2578, Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations. 


S. 2943: the National Defense Authorization Act
 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

 

H.R. 2578: Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations

The Senate is using a previously passed House bill from 2015 as the vehicle for its 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. It will replace that language with its own version.
CJS Summary  |  Text  |  Report


The Capitol flag flew at half-staff on June 12, 2016, to honor the victims of the tragic shooting in Orlando.


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.