In this bonus episode, a quick overview of Congressional basics. We also examine the priorities of the 114th Congress by reviewing the bills that were passed during its first week.
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114th Rules of the House
The 114th Congress passed the new rules, which amended the rules passed by the 113th Congress.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will have to estimate the budgetary effects of major bills on businesses by requiring estimates of “economic output, employment, and capital stock” that would result if the bill became law.
- Allows the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to continue the lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder and the investigations into the “Fast and Furious””scandal”.
- Continues a lawsuit that aims to stop the Obama Administration from paying for subsidies to health insurance companies to offset the cost of low-income health insurance plans.
- Prohibits a bill that would shift funds out of the Social Security trust fund.
- Continues the Benghazi investigation.
Bills Passed in the First Week
House of Representatives
HR 26: Terrorism Risk Insurance Program ReAuthorization Act of 2015
- The bill reauthorizes and changes the terms of the program that provides Federal insurance to businesses damaged in a terrorist attack.
- A rollback of the Dodd Frank financial reform bill was attached.
- The bill passed both chambers of Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.
HR 22: The Hire More Heroes Act of 2015
- The Affordable Care Act requires employees with over 50 workers to provide their workers with health insurance benefits. If this bill becomes laws, workers who are military veterans will not count towards the 50 employee threshold.
- The bill passed the House unanimously.
HR 30: Save American Workers Act of 2015
- The Affordable Care Act requires that an employee that works over 30 hours per week is considered full time and, if the employer is required to provide health insurance to full time staff, is eligible for employer-paid health insurance benefits. This bill would change the threshold for health insurance eligibility to 40 hours per week.
HR 3: Keystone XL Pipeline Act
- Allows TransCanada to “construct, connect, operate, and maintain” the Keystone XL pipeline.
- Only the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for Washington DC can hear civil cases against the pipeline.
- The bill passed with the entire Republican Party and 28 Democrats voting Yes.
- Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota’s only Representative. His top contributing industry is Oil & Gas; he’s taken over $400,000.
Defeated… For Now
HR 37: Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act
- A package of 11 bills from the 113th Congress that would have rolled back Dodd Frank financial reform even further.
- Was defeated as an uncontroversial suspension bill, which required 2/3 of the House for passage.
- Expect to see this bill come up for a vote under regular order in the near future.
- The bill was sponsored by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this term. His #1 contributing industry is leadership PACs but his #4 is the finance industry. He’s taken almost half a million dollars.
Music Presented in This Episode
- Intro & Exit: Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on Music Alley by mevio)
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