Weekly Update: The Week Ahead in Congress (Sep. 26-30, 2016)

4 min read

Funding Vote, Water Resources, and a possible Veto Override

With one week left in current funding authorization, Congress must pass a deal this week to avoid a government shutdown. The House will vote on a major water resources bill. And both chambers are expected to vote to override a presidential veto of a bill to let 9/11 families sue potential state sponsors of terror.

Funding Deal   |     Water Resources   |     Mental Health    |    Security    |     Veterans    |    More

In the Senate: Funding Deal & Possible Override of Presidential Veto of 9/11 Bill

Congress is still working towards a deal to fund the government through December 9. The Senate is still at odds on whether funding for Flint, Michigan will be included.

Whitney has all of the details and the procedure in last week's Gavel Down

H.R. 5325: Legislative Vehicle for Continuing Funding Resolution through December 9, 2016

The Senate may also vote to override President Obama's veto of a bill to allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for possible involvement in those attacks. (Read more on JASTA and the veto override procedure).

 S. 2040: Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA)
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn [R, TX]

In the House: WRDA, Cybersecurity, Veterans, and more

Another busy week in the House as they push to the finish line. With another long list of bills to consider, the House will prepare to vote on the funding deal that emerges from the Senate and also may consider a vote to override the President's veto of JASTA.

Water Resources and Conservation

Compromise on the Water Resources Development Act is coming down to the wire. The Senate passed its version on September 15 in a 95-3 vote and included money for aid to Flint, Michigan. The House version does not contain Flint funding, due to jurisdictional issues, but it could be included in a combined version of the Senate and House bills. 

A last minute point of contention has emerged with the removal of a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund provision.

H.R. 5303: Water Resources Development Act 
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Shuster [R, PA-9]

H.R. 5303 would authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct projects to mitigate storm and hurricane damage, to improve navigation and flood management, and to restore estuaries. (CBO).

Read more from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

H.R. 845: National Forest Trails Stewardship Act
Sponsor: Rep. Cynthia Lummis [R, WY-0]

Calling on the USDA to publish a national strategy to significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance. 

Mental Health and Controlled Substances

H.R. 1877: Mental Health First Aid Act of 2016, as amended
Sponsor: Rep. Lynn Jenkins [R, KS-2]
Creating grants for mental health first aid training programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

H.R. 3537: Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act
Sponsor: Rep. Charlie Dent

The Federal Analogue Act allows chemicals that are “substantially similar” to controlled substances to be treated as if they are in Schedule I of the CSA. H.R. 3537 adds additional known synthetic drugs to Schedule I of the CSA and lowers the standard for new synthetics to be controlled as analogues.


Homeland and Cybersecurity

H.R. 5943: Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act
Sponsor: Rep. David Young [R, IA-3]

Expands the scope of how TSGP funds can be used and extends the deadline for use from two to three years.

H.R. 5460: First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act
Sponsor: Rep. Donald Payne [D, NJ-10]
Requires Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop a process for reviewing requests by first responders to purchase new technology with grant funds.

H.R. 5459: Cyber Preparedness Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Dan Donovan [R, NY-11]

Adds cyberscurity risk information to the scope of Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) State, Local, and Regional Fusion Centers.


H.R. 5346: Securing our Agriculture and Food Act
Sponsor: Rep. David Young [R, IA-3]

Names the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs to coordinate DHS efforts related to defending the food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against terrorism and other high-consequence events.

H.R. 3779: To restrict the inclusion of social security account numbers on documents sent by mail by the Federal Government
Sponsor: Rep. David Valadao [R, CA-21]



H.R. 5162: Vet Connect Act of 2016
Sponsor: Beto O'Rourke [D, TX-16]

Allowing the VA to disclose certain medical information to non-VA entities that provide hospital care or medical treatment to veterans who are enrolled in VA’s healthcare system, for programs relating to drug abuse, alcoholism or alcohol abuse, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, or sickle cell anemia.

H.R. 5392: No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act
Sponsor: Rep. David Young [R, IA-3]
Requiring a backup plan for veterans' call centers to ensure that each communication received by the VCL is answered in a timely manner by a person, consistent with the guidance established by the American Association of Suicidology.

H.R. 3216: Veterans Emergency Treatment (VET) Act
Sponsor: Rep. Dan Newhouse [R, WA-4]

Would apply the statutory requirements of the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) to emergency care furnished by the VA to enrolled veterans who arrive at the emergency department of a VA medical facility.


H.R. 5978: Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Amendments Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Duncan Hunter [R, CA-50]

To clarify the functions of the Chief Acquisition Officer of the Coast Guard.

And More

H.R. 5065: Bottles and Breast­feed­ing Equipment Screening Act
Sponsor: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler [R, WA-3]

Directs DHS to notify air carriers and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening personnel of guidelines allowing baby formula, breast milk, and juice on airlines.

H.R. 5883: Clarification of Treatment of Electronic Sales of Livestock Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. David Rouzer [R, NC-7]

Allows electronic funds transfers for livestock sales.


H.R. 5391: Gains in Global Nuclear Detection Architecture Act
Sponsor: Rep. Cedric Richmond [D, LA-2]

Directing the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office to improve the documentation and evaluation of research and development projects.

S. 1698: Treatment of Certain Payments in Eugenics Compensation Act
Sponsor: Sen. Thom Tillis [R, NC]

Excluding payments made under a state eugenics compensation program from classification as income for purposes of determining the eligibility for any federal public benefit.


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.