Gavel Down: Closing out the Week in Congress (Aug. 15-19, 2016)

4 min read

POPVOX Gavel Down_Closing Out the Week in Congress

Trans-Pacific Partnership is on the move…

President Obama submitted notice to Congress, kicking off series of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House. Historic flooding in Louisiana caused multibillion-dollar disaster, spurring federal response. House Ways and Means set to mark up bill providing Olympic tax exemption. Members of Congress continued work back home — hosting job fairs, touring dairy farms, and writing op eds.

President Obama submitted notice to Congress,
Now's the time to weigh in on TPP

Last Friday, the Obama administration issued formal notice to Congress of intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), by submitting a draft statement of administrative action [SAA]. The SAA lays out how the President would implement the TPP if Congress approves the 12-nation trade agreement. This notice kicks off a process of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House.

After 30 days has passed, the White House can submit a final SAA along with a bill to approve the agreement, which Congress will give expedited consideration and an up or down vote.

Here's a timeline to catch you up, as well as a brief overview. Learn more from the Congressional Research Service.

Tell your Members of Congress what you think about TPP!

House Ways and Means set to mark up Olympic tax exemption bill

The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a bill in September to provide tax exemption for Olympic athletes returning home with medals and prizes. Under current law, Olympic prizes are subject to taxes.

Tax Exemptions for American Medalists (TEAM) Act of 2015 (H.R. 2628

Sponsor: Rep. Blake Farenthold [R, TX-27]

Senate passed companion bill last month by unanimous consent. Previous Congresses have taken up similar measures.

Historic flooding caused multibillion-dollar disaster in southern Louisiana 

Louisiana experienced historic flooding, with some areas receiving three times as much rain as Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of people needed to be rescued and cost estimates put damages at $30M, making this the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy.

President Obama approved disaster declarations for Louisiana, providing federal assistance for areas damaged by the floods. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson travelled to the area to review the federal response. Aides say DHS may ask Congress to approve additional disaster funds.

What does Congress do on recess POPVOX








Rep. Charles Boustany [R, LA-3] sent a letter to President Obama calling for disaster declaration for additional south Louisiana parishes. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D, CT] urged the National Hockey League to fund research on concussions and brain trauma.

Reps. David Jolly [R, FL-13] and Kathy Castor [D, FL-14] observed Zika research.

Sen. Cory Booker [D, NJ] wrapped up #JerseyRoadTrip, visiting 21 counties in 7 days.

Sen. Tom Cotton [R, AR] penned an op-ed about the Iran payment.

Delaware's Congressional Delegation hosted job fair for veterans.

Rep. Elise Stefanik [R, NY-21] toured dairy farms, learning about new technology.

Sen. Joe Donnelly [D, IN] delivered packages alongside UPS driver.

Sens. Steve Daines [R, MT] and Jon Tester [D, MT] exchanged very Montana gifts.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [D, ND] penned an op ed on opioid abuse. 

Legislative Lowdown: States Edition


Congress is back home working, and we're sending a summer version of Gavel Down — full of how current events relate to Congressional happenings, as well as updates on major legislation. 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.‚Äč