CD075: The April Bills

CD075: The April Bills

Jul 22, 2014

This episode highlights the bills that passed the House of Representatives in April including a bill that makes it tougher for wage slaves to get health insurance, a bill that gives away weapons to other countries, a bill written for the banks that lets them gamble with risky financial products, and more.

Bills Highlighted in This Episode

Passed on April 8, 2014 by 230-185

  • Changes the way the budget baseline is calculated by not factoring inflation.
  • Congressional committees will be able to do the report on how much new programs will cost.

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed on April 7, 2014 by 230-165.

  • Starting in 2017, the President’s budget must include the costs of direct loan and loan guarantee programs.
  • Starting in 2017, no new loans may be issued or existing loans increased unless the money is provided in advance by a Congressional appropriations Act. Exemptions include entitlement loans such as student loan programs and veteran’s home loan guaranty programs, loans for farmers giving by the Commodity Credit Corporation, or loans provided by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • All loans, including those made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will count against the budget.

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed on April 4 by 224-182.

  • Requires the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the economic impact of each bill or resolution for forty years on the gross domestic product, businesses, stocks, employment, interest rates, and labor supply using “a variety of economic models.”
  • The Congressional Budget Office will have to do a follow up report for every new law on the accuracy of their original economic impact analysis.
  • Any estimations of changes in tax revenue will be done by the Joint Committee on Taxation, a group made up of ten members of Congress.
Current Joint Committee on Taxation Members

Current Joint Committee on Taxation Members

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed on April 1, 2014 without a recorded vote.

The Doppler radar debris ball from the tornado that ripped apart Vilonia, AR on April 27, 2014.

  • Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would be authorized to receive $83 million in 2014 and $100 million per year in 2015 -2017 to create a program to research weather, research public response to weather warnings and forecasts, and transfer information and technologies between government and the private sector.
  • Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would give money to the private sector, universities, and nongovernmental organizations. 30% of the research money authorized has to be given to these non-governmental  groups.
  • Directs the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research to make plans for improving hurricane warnings, data collection, and tornadoes. Gives a specific goal of increasing tornado warning times to one hour.
  • Requires experiments to be done with new private sector produced technologies and data before the government buys it, if it costs more than $500,000,000.

Current law: “Neither the President nor any other official of the Government shall make any effort to lease, sell, or transfer to the private sector, or commercialize, any portion of the weather satellite systems operated by the Department of Commerce or any successor agency.”

  • Changes the current law above to allow the government to buy weather data from private researchers and to pay to put satellites on private land.
  • Tells the Dept. of Commerce to create a strategy for buying weather data from the private sector. The strategy needs to evaluate financial benefits and risks with buying private weather data, figure out what to do about private cancellation fees, determine how to set standards, and guarantee public access to weather information.
  • Allows the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the National Weather Service to swap up to ten staff members for a year.

Passed on April 3, 2014 by 248-179.

  • Requires an employee to work 40 hours per week, instead of 30 hours per week, in order to be considered “full-time” and get employer-provided health insurance.

Rep. Todd Young has collected over $5 million in the last five years from all kinds of industries. “Labor” isn’t on the list.

Additional Information

CBO analysis of the budgetary effects of HR 2575

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan just beat cancer.

The House of Representatives didn’t work much in 2013.

The House of Representatives isn’t working much in 2014 either.

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed on April 7, 2014 without a recorded vote.

Authorizes the President to transfer US warships to other countries over the course of three years. The other countries will pay the transfer costs – but the ships will not be paid for as they will be counted as “excess defense articles” – and any repairs needed before the transfer must be done in the United States.

U.S.S. Gary: One of the warships we’d be giving away.

  • Authorizes the President to give Taiwan four warships.
  • Authorizes the President to give Mexico two warships for offshore surveillance and “oil platform security”.
  • Authorizes the President to give Thailand two warships.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the warships would be sold for about $10 million each.

  • The value of the warships given away by this bill will not be counted towards the total of “excess defense articles”.
  • Increases the amount of military equipment and services the President is allowed to sell to other countries without notifying Congress.
  • Makes it easier for the Department of State to authorize weapons exports.

Passed on April 29, 2014 without a recorded vote.

Current law limits the types of investments that banks can make in order to protect the money that customers deposit.

This bill allows banks to keep risky investments called collateralized loan obligations if they had them before January 31, 2014.

Collateralized loan obligations are from middle-sized and large business loans that are bunched together and then gambled with. Because they are structured so similarly to the mortgage backed securities that destroyed our economy, almost no one was gambling with collateralized loan obligations in 2008 and 2009. In the last few years, however, the practice has made a big comeback. In April, the month this bill passed the House, $11.8 billion of these high risk gambling bundles were created. It was the highest amount since the financial meltdown.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.16.58 AM

This is a bill to help the biggest of the big banks. Almost 75% of all bank-owned collateralized loan obligation are owned by just three banks: Citigroup, WellsFargo, and JP Morgan.

This is not the only bill that Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky has written for the big banks. As the New York Times reported in August 2013, he introduced a bill to eliminate a new federal rule intended to prevent banks from issuing mortgages to customers who could not afford to repay the debt — a measure pushed by bank lobbyists who had visited his office.

Rep. Andy Barr has taken over $230,000 from the financial services and investment industry.

Additional Information

House Financial Services Committee hearing about HR 4167.

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed April 29, 2014 by 268-150.

Exempts expatriate health plans from the Affordable Care Act.

This is Representative John Carney’s second Congress and his third most generous contributing industry is the insurance industry; they have given him almost $270,000.

Representatives Quoted in This Segment

Passed on April 10, 2014 by 219-205. This is the Ryan Budget. Same ideas, different year.

  • The numbers assume the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Transforms Medicare into a privatized system with vouchers for poor seniors
  • Reduces government employees’ retirement benefits
  • Puts limits on the amount that can be spent on veterans’ health care
  • Changes the way housing loan guarantees are counted so the deficit appears higher
  • Keeps War on Terror funding off the official books.

For a detailed account of the 2013 Ryan Budget, listen to CD018: The Ryan Budget

Music in This Episode

Intro and Exit Music: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)

Work Today
by Tim Young (found on Music Alley by mevio)

All Hail to the Market by Alun Perry (found on Music Alley by mevio)

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