PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

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  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

    Read...

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  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

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The House will consider eleven bills under suspension of the rules.

House

 

Friday

  • Summary of Legislative Business
    • The House passed H.R. 1367, to improve the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, by a yea-and-nay vote of 412 yeas with none voting ``nay'', Roll No. 171.
    • Agreed to:
      • Wenstrup amendment (No. 1 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that extends the timeline to implement the fellowship program from 90 days to one year and extends the GAO reporting deadline from one to two years; additionally, it removes the requirement to track a number of hiring effectiveness metrics, changes the establishment of a recruiting database from a ``shall'' to ``may'' authority, and stipulates that HR training be accomplished virtually;
      • Meng amendment (No. 2 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that makes clear that the Inspector General of the VA must report, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 7412, on at minimum five clinical and five nonclinical VA occupations that have the largest staffing shortages, which then triggers special hiring authorities for the Secretary to address such shortages;
      • Sewell (AL) amendment (No. 3 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that allows the Secretary to select eligible employees for the Executive Management Fellowship Program who represent or service rural areas, to whatever extent practicable;
      • Buck amendment (No. 5 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that prevents former political appointees at the VA from receiving non-political, competitively selected positions at the VA without having to go through the proper selection process;
      • Shea-Porter amendment (No. 6 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that requires the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to list open mental health positions in the database established under the bill;
      • Brownley (CA) amendment (No. 7 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that clarifies that ``medical facility'' referenced in Sec. 10 includes each medical center, domiciliary facility, outpatient clinic, community-based outpatient clinic, and vet center;
      • Welch amendment (No. 8 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that adds an analysis of succession planning and hiring in rural areas, and requires a study on the ability to hire and recruit veterans in rural areas;
      • Gottheimer amendment (No. 9 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that adds veterans who are recent graduates and/or recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill Educational Assistance as a distinct category of individuals who are allowed for excepted service appointments;
      • Herrera Beutler amendment (No. 10 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that strengthens anonymity protections for employees filling out exit surveys, and requires exit survey data to be compiled at the VISN level to identify and acknowledge regional differences;
      • Meng amendment (No. 12 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that encourages the transition of military medical professionals into employment with the Veterans Health Administration upon discharge or separation from the Armed Forces;
      • Bost amendment (No. 13 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a plan to hire a director for each VA medical center without a permanent director;
      • O'Rourke amendment (No. 14 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that allows the VA to offer physicians conditional job offers two years prior to the completion of their residency program; requires VA recruiters or similar official to visit each teaching institution with a residency program at least once annually; and
      • Hanabusa amendment (No. 11 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that requires the total number of employees that voluntarily separated and the percentage of those employees that took the voluntary exit survey (by a recorded vote of 400 ayes to 8 noes, Roll No. 170).
    • Rejected:
      • Hanabusa amendment (No. 4 printed in part B of H. Rept. 115–39) that sought to strike section 6, ``Reemployment of Former Employees,'' which would allow for the Secretary to appoint former employees at one grade higher than when they last separated, without having to go through the usual competitive application process.

 

Today

  • The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for morning hour and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m.
  • Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
    • H.R. 1029 – Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis / Agriculture Committee)
    • H.R. 382 – 100 Years of Women in Congress Act (Sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng / Agriculture Committee)
    • H.R. 1309 – TSA Administrator Modernization Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1353 – Transparency in Technological Acquisitions Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1294 – Reducing DHS Acquisition Cost Growth Act (Sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1297 – Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1249 – DHS Multiyear Acquisition Strategy Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1252 – DHS Acquisition Authorities Act of 2017, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Clay Higgins / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1365 – Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Innovation Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. J. Luis Correa / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1238 – Securing our Agriculture and Food Act (Sponsored by Rep. David Young / Homeland Security Committee)
    • H.R. 1302 – Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel Exercise Act of 2017 (Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally / Homeland Security Committee)

Senate

 

Friday

  • The Senate was in pro forma session.

 

Today

  • The Senate is in pro forma session.
  • When the Senate adjourns on Monday, March 20, it will next convene at 10:30am on Tuesday, March 21.

 

Hearings Covered by W&J Today

 

No hearings scheduled

 

Notable Legislation Introduced

 

Energy

H.R.1593 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To repeal the corporate average fuel economy standards.
Sponsor: Rep. Williams, Roger [R-TX-25] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 

Financial Services

H.R.1611 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To require the Securities and Exchange Commission to establish a Gender Diversity Advisory Group to study and make recommendations on strategies to increase gender diversity among the members of the board of directors of issuers, to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require issuers to make disclosures to shareholders with respect to gender diversity, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (3)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

H.R.1595 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to allow mutual capital certificates to satisfy capital requirements for mutual depositories.
Sponsor: Rep. Rothfus, Keith J. [R-PA-12] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House - Financial Services
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

 

Health Care

H.R.1621 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to distribute additional information to Medicare beneficiaries to prevent health care fraud, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to House Ways and Means.

H.R.1617 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to permit nurse practitioners and physician assistants to satisfy the documentation requirement under the Medicare program for coverage of certain shoes for individuals with diabetes.
Sponsor: Rep. Reed, Tom [R-NY-23] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to House Ways and Means.

H.R.1610 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act, and title XVIII of the Social Security Act, to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct audits of medical loss ratio reports submitted by health insurance issuers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM-1] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (1)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to House Ways and Means.

H.R.1606 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to improve health care coverage under vision and dental plans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Carter, Earl L. "Buddy" [R-GA-1] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (5)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R.1605 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide loan repayment incentives for physician assistants, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to House Ways and Means.

H.R.1604 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to extend to physician assistants eligibility for Medicaid incentive payments for the adoption and use of certified electronic health records, whether or not such physician assistants practice at a rural health center or Federally qualified health center.
Sponsor: Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 

Tax

H.R.1600 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the work opportunity tax credit for veterans and to allow an exemption from an employer's employment taxes in an amount equivalent to the value of such credit in the case of veterans.
Sponsor: Rep. Poe, Ted [R-TX-2] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

H.R.1599 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To prohibit the provision of performance awards to employees of the Internal Revenue Service who owe back taxes.
Sponsor: Rep. Johnson, Sam [R-TX-3] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Transportation

H.R.1623 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)
To repeal the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program.
Sponsor: Rep. Russell, Steve [R-OK-5] (Introduced 03/17/2017) Cosponsors: (0)
Committees: House - Energy and Commerce
Latest Action: 03/17/2017 Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

    Read...

    Read More

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