March 6, 2007
Last Week in Congress
By James Wilson
SENATE: The Senate spent last week debating S. 4, the 258-page companion legislation to H.R. 1 that would implement many recommendations of the 9-11 Commission. Fortunately, they were still debating amendments - 24 are still pending - and haven’t passed it yet. At least they are actually spending time on this bill, whereas the House rushed their version through to satisfy their 100 Hour Legislative Orgy publicity stunt. The Senate also unanimously passed S. 743 - to modify the individuals eligible for associate membership in the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the United States of America, Incorporated - 1 page. The most interesting event occurred on Monday the 26th: Washington's Farewell Address: Senator Corker performed the traditional reading of Washington's Farewell Address. Let’s hope the Senators takes George Washington’s wisdom to heart. HOUSE: The House passed a number of bills, some worse than others. H.R. 494 - To provide for the conditional conveyance of any interest retained by the United States in St. Joseph Memorial Hall in St. Joseph, Michigan. - 3 pages H.R. 1129 - To provide for the construction, operation, and maintenance of an arterial road in St. Louis County, Missouri - 4 pages This has to do with 500 feet of a FEMA route that had been on “deed-restricted property.” H.R. 990 - Pell Grant Equity Act - 3 pages This is minor tinkering with the federal student aid program. H.R. 884 - Promoting Anti-terrorism Cooperation through Technology and Science (PACTS) Act - 10 pages Intended to foster international cooperation in developing “anti-terrorism” technology. Whether this means the establishment of a plan to implant RFID chips in everyone on the planet, I don’t know. H.R. 644 - Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act - 9 pages Throws money at local governments for environmental clean-up and economic development of contaminated and “mine-scarred” lands. H.R. 1066 - To increase community development investments by depository institutions - 6 pages “Amends the Home Owners' Loan Act to authorize a federal savings association to make investments, directly or indirectly, each of which is designed primarily to promote the public welfare, including the welfare of low- and moderate-income communities or families through the provision of housing, services, and jobs (community development investments).” H.R. 755 - Promoting Transparency in Financial Reporting Act - 3 pages This will require the heads of certain regulatory agencies to testify before Congress on ways that firms that are required to report financial information to investors and the public can do so in ways that are simple and comprehensible. Too many of these reports are long and complicated, so this is welcome. H.R. 800 - Employee Free Choice Act - 10 Pages According to the Heritage Foundation, this bill would actually “strip workers of their right to vote in private on joining a union.” Worse, it would require binding arbitration if the first contract negotiations between a company and a union take “too long,” essentially empower government arbitrators to determine company policies and wages. H.R. 556 - National Security Foreign Investment Reform and Strengthened Transparency Act - 38 pages, This will require Presidential review of any merger or takeover of an American company by foreigners, and particularly foreign governments - to determine its impact on national security. According to the Republican Study Committee, the House’s 86 pages of passed bills will cost $307 million over five years and raise $1.5 million, meaning the House contributed $305.5 million to the national debt this week. Details can be found here: publishes this feature on weeks when Congress is in session. To see how your represenatives voted on particular bills, or to read the bills themselves, go here for the House and here for the Senate. You may also keep abreast of day-to-day activities in Congress by going to the Congressional Record Main Page and click for recent issues of the Daily Digest.
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