FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE SOURCES FOR WATCHING WHAT CONGRESS IS DOING, 'POPVOX'...WHERE YOU CAN GO AND ACTUALLY HAVE A VOICE, A SAY-SO IN WHAT THEY MAY DECIDE.
I KNOW, IT'S A LONGSHOT, BUT WE HAVE TO TRY... SO, FOLLOW THE LINKS, LET THE WHORES UP ON THE HILL KNOW YOU SEE THEM WITH THEIR UNDIES OFF!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK IN THE SCARLET HALLS OF OUR WASHINGTON BROTHEL...
Debating US Troop Withdrawal from Iraq and Syria—and an AUMF Vote
Withdrawing troops from Iraq and Syria (HConRes 55)
- Sponsor: Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) —Bipartisan— Under the provisions of the War Powers Resolution, “would force the House to debate on whether US troops should withdraw from Iraq and Syria,” according to the resolution sponsors. “Requires the President to withdraw US troops from Iraq and Syria within 30 days or no later than the end of this year, . If this House approves this resolution, Congress would still have 6 months in which to do the right thing and bring an AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) before the House and Senate for debate and action.” (Read resolution text)
In introducing the resolution, Congressman Jim McGovern explained:
“As all of my House colleagues know, last year, the President authorized airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on. For over 10 months, the United States has been engaged in hostilities in Iraq and Syria without debating an authorization for this war. On this year, nearly 4 months ago, the President sent to Congress the text for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force – or an AUMF – on combating the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, yet Congress has failed to act on that AUMF, or bring an alternative to the House floor, even though we continue to authorize and appropriate the money required for sustained military operations in those countries.”
American Prisoners in Iran
- Sponsor: Rep. Dan Kildee (R-MI) —Bipartisan— Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Iran should immediately release the three United States citizens that it holds, as well as provide all known information on any United States citizens that have disappeared within its borders. (Read resolution text)
The Congressional resolution reads, in part, “Iran should release all detained Americans immediately and provide any information it possesses regarding any Americans that have disappeared within its borders.” According to the resolution sponsor, Congressman Dan Kildee:
“Iran cannot be taken seriously as a member of the global community if they continue to hold innocent Americans like Amir Hekmati as political prisoners. Amir is an American citizen, born and raised in the US, who served his country honorably in the US Marines. He is innocent yet has been unjustly held as a political prisoner by Iran for 1,340 days. This congressional resolution allows Congress to speak with one voice and say that Iran must release the innocent Americans it holds.”
From our Hill Sources: TV personality and former Marine Montel Williams has been lobbying Congress to bring awareness to this issue. (See photo.)
Health Care Costs
This week, the House will consider Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” According to House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), “the House is acting this week to uphold our promise to defend America’s seniors with a combination of the following bills from the Ways and Means Committee that reduce the costs of Obamacare, stop Medicare rationing, and improve the Medicare Advantage (MA) program:”
- Sponsor: Rep. David Roe (R-TN) —Bipartisan— “Repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel of 15 unelected and unaccountable government bureaucrats tasked with reducing Medicare costs through arbitrary cuts to providers, limiting access to care for seniors,” according to the House Republican Majority Leader. (Read bill text)
- Sponsor: Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) —Bipartisan— “Requires greater transparency by requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to annually report on enrollment data in MA plans,” according to the House Republican Majority Leader. (Read bill text)
Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act (HR 2507)
- Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) —Bipartisan— “Expands an annual regulatory schedule for MA payment rates so that stakeholders have the necessary time to review and provide feedback to ensure seniors continue to have access to quality low-cost plans of their choosing,” according to the House Republican Majority Leader. (Read bill text)
Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act (HR 2582)
- Sponsor: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) —Bipartisan— To improve the risk adjustment under the Medicare Advantage program, to delay the authority to terminate Medicare Advantage contracts for MA plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings. (Read bill text)
- Sponsor: Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) —Bipartisan— “
Establishes a demonstration program that removes barriers and allows plans to innovate and incentivize high-value care that promotes better health outcomes through varying their plan benefits based on beneficiary population,” according to the House Republican Majority Leader. (Read bill text)
Protect Medical Innovation Act (HR 160)
- Sponsor: Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) —Bipartisan— “Repeals the 2.3% excise tax, included in the President’s health care law, that applies to the sale of medical device products,” according to the bill sponsor. (Read bill text)
Intelligence Funding Authorization
The House may also consider a bill to authorize funds for the federal intelligence program:
Intelligence Authorization Act, 2016 (HR 2596)
Sponsor: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) “This legislation provides the Intelligence Community authorization needed to protect and defend the United States. It supports critical national security programs such as those protecting Americans against terrorism and cyberattacks. The total funding authorized by the bill is consistent with the Budget Resolution and the Budget Control Act, balancing fiscal discipline and national security,”according to the House Intelligence Committee. The legislation:
- Sustains critical capabilities to fight terrorism and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Funds efforts to recover from unauthorized disclosures of intelligence capabilities.
- Sustains activities in Afghanistan and Iraq to continue the fight against ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.
- Invests in the resiliency of our national security space architecture.
- Provides policy direction on sensitive intelligence operations.
- Promotes intelligence integration and sharing through investment in Intelligence Community-wide information technology enterprises.
- Enhances investments in military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft.
- Funds initiatives to thwart cyberattacks and insider threats.
- Requires a report every 60 days on foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
(Read bill text)
According to the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), this bill “provides the intelligence community with the authorization it needs to protect and defend the United States. It supports critical national security programs, such as those protecting Americans against terrorism and cyber attacks. The total funding authorized by the bill is consistent with the Budget Resolution and the Budget Control Act, balancing fiscal discipline and national security.”
NDAA in the Senate
This week, the Senate plans to finish working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would require wrapping up the lengthy amendment process. The NDAA is an amendment magnet in the Senate because it is one of the few bills that makes it through the entire legislative process.
Defense Authorization (NDAA) (HR 1735)
- Sponsor: Rep. Don Young (R-AL) The comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy. The bill authorizes appropriations to DOD for: (1) Procurement, including aircraft, missiles, weapons and tracked combat vehicles, ammunition, shipbuilding and conversion, space procurement, and other procurement; (2) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation; (3) Operation and Maintenance; (4) Working Capital Funds; (5) the Joint Urgent Operational Needs Fund; (6) Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction; (7) Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities; (8) the Defense Inspector General; (9) the Defense Health Program; (10) the Armed Forces Retirement Home; (11) Overseas Contingency Operations and; (12) Military Construction.
The bill also authorizes the FY2016 personnel strength for active duty and reserve forces and sets forth policies regarding military personnel, compensation and other personnel benefits, acquisition policy and management, DOD organization and management, financial matters, naval vessels and shipyards, civilian personnel matters, and matters relating to foreign nations. (Read bill text)
In last week’s Weekly Update, we highlighted several proposed amendments to the NDAA. Here are a few more that may be considered this week:
- Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) Amendment #1687: to remove the endangered special status for Sage Grouse, Lesser Prairie-Chicken and American Burying Beetle.
- Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s Amendment #1889: bipartisan anti-torture amendment “that would strengthen the legal prohibition against torture and codify certain aspects of a 2009 executive order signed by President Obama, effectively barring all US government officials from using interrogation techniques that are not authorized by and listed in the US Army Field Manual,” according to sponsors. “The amendment would also require that the Army Field Manual be reviewed every three years, with possible relevant revisions by agencies such as the US Department of Defense, US Department of Justice, Director of National Intelligence, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and that it be used as the standard for all government interrogations.”
- Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) Amendment #1549: to provide for defense equipment, services and training to the Kurdistan Regional Government.