Good news can be found in this episode! In July, eight bills were signed into law and none of them will make you want to flee the country. Topics covered include veterans and their health care, product warranties, transportation funding, and more. At the end of the episode, Jen shares some happy news.
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H.R. 91: Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015
US Department of Veterans’ Affairs Info Sheet: What is a Veteran Identification Card (VIC) and how do I get one?
- Discussed in CD101: Trade Away May
- Allows veterans who have honorably completed their service but who didn’t “retire” or receive a medically-related discharge to request and pay for an ID card proving their veteran status.
- The fee for the card will be reassessed every five years.
- The cards would be available 60 days after the bill would be signed into law.
- Passed the House of Representatives 411-0. Passed the Senate with changes by Unanimous Consent
- Sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida
- 3 Pages
H.R. 615: Department of Homeland Security Interoperable Communications
- Discussed in episode CD094: A Damage-Free February
- Gives the Under Secretary of Management of the Department of Homeland Security the job of making sure that DHS departments can communicate with each other in emergencies.
- Passed the House of Representatives 379-0. Passed the Senate with changes by Unanimous Consent. Passed the House of representatives with Senate changes by Voice Vote.
- Sponsored by Rep. Donald Payne Jr. of New Jersey
- 3 Pages
S. 971: Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act of 2015
- Discussed in episode CD099: April Takes a Turn
- Increases the length of Medicare contracts for at-home care from 3 years to 5 years
- Passed the Senate and House of Representatives by Voice Votes.
- Sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon
- 1 Page
H.R. 1531: Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act
- Passed the House of Representatives by Voice Vote. Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent
- Creates a process for temporary employees at Federal land management agencies to become permanent employees
- Waives age requirements for eligibility for temporary employees seeking to become permanent employees.
- Sponsored by Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia
- 3 Pages
S. 1359: E-Warranty Act of 2015
- Allows manufacturers to provide warranty information online, as long as the warranty information is available at the location of the sale so people can see it before they buy.
- Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent. Passed the House of Representatives 388-2
- The two no votes were Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan’s 1st district and Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina’s 3rd district.
- Sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer
- 2 Pages
H.R. 2499: Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015
- Passed the House of Representatives 410-1. Passed the Senate with changes by Unanimous Consent. Passed the House of Representatives with Senate changes by Voice Vote.
- Prohibits the Small Business Administration from charging a guarantee fee on loans made to veterans or their spouses.
- Exception: When the program doesn’t pay for itself in the President’s budget proposal, the fee can be charged to veteran’s and their spouses the next year.
- Increases the amount of money than can be spent on business loans by $4.75 billion.
- Prohibits loan guarantees from being used by banks to get around their legal lending limits.
- Sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio
- 3 Pages
H.R. 1138: Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act
- Protects land in Idaho as wilderness areas.
- Allows grazing that was already taking place to continue.
- Passed the House of Representatives by Voice Vote. Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent.
- Sponsored by Rep Mike Simpson of Idaho
- 9 Pages
H.R. 3236: Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015
- Extends Federal highway funding until October 29, 2015.
- Reduces the tax rate for liquified petroleum gas starting in 2016.
- Requires the banks to report more information about the status of mortgages starting in 2017.
- Ties the value of a deceased person’s estate to the estimate on the deceased person’s most recent tax return.
- Adjusts the tax return due date for partnerships and S corporations
- Orders the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to develop a plan to consolidate all non-Department of Veteran’s Affairs provider programs into one program called the “Veteran’s Choice Program”.
- Adds money to the fund for private health care for veterans, including $500 million for hepatitis C drugs
- Includes the text of the original Hire More Heroes Act of 2015, which said that veterans with government health care will not count towards the 50 employee Affordable Care Act threshold, which triggers a company’s obligation to give employees health insurance.
- Passed the House of Representatives 385-34. Passed the Senate 91-4.
- Sponsored by Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania
- 25 Pages
Sound Clip Sources
- Hearing: Veterans Affairs Health Care and Budget, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, July 22, 2015.
- Letter from Senators Ron Wyden and Charles Grassley to the Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences for justification of high Sovaldi price.
- Article: Obama Signs Alternative Fuel Tax Fix into Law by Joseph Bebon, Next-Gen Transportation News, July 31, 2015.
- Article: The VA’s Hepatitis C Problem by Gerard Flynn, Newsweek, May 9, 2015.
- Article: VA to Outsource Care for 180,000 Vets With Hepatitis C by Dennis Wagner of the Arizona Republic (re-posted on USA Today), June 21, 2015.
- Article: Maker of Costly Hepatitis C Drug Sovaldi Strikes Deal on Generics for Poor Countries by Gardiner Harris, New York Times, September 15, 2014.
- Article: $1,000 Hepatitis Pill Shows Why Fixing Health Costs Is So Hard by Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times, August 2, 2104.
- Article: Gilead’s 2014 profit margin nears 50%, fueled by hep C drugs by Jaimy Lee, Modern Healthcare, February 3, 2015.
- Article: Gilead Profit Tops Estimates as Hepatitis C Drug Sales Surge by Caroline Chen, Bloomberg Business, July 28, 2015.
- Article: Gilead Sciences: A Profile in Congressionally Guaranteed Profiteering by David Belk, Huffington Post, February 9, 2015.
Music Presented in This Episode
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