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Summary for week ending February 10, 2017

Maneuverings This Week -

Senate Democrats held a relatively ineffective 24 hour ‘filibuster’ regarding the nomination of Elisabeth DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos did not impress Democrats with her knowledge of the public school system (apparently very little) and failed to sway Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) who joined Democrats in opposition. The standoff resulted in a 50 – 50 tie vote that was settled in favor of DeVos by a yea vote from Vice President Mike Pence, who is also the President of the Senate.

Things got sticky on the Senate floor when Senator Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter from Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Martin Luther King, in opposition to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as the US Attorney General. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked a Senate rule and Warren had to take her seat. The Sessions nomination is expected to clear the Senate this week.

The House, looking at a short week to end Wednesday, completed its work on Tuesday evening. This week House Leadership brought forth and passed on party lines three joint resolutions to roll back Obama Administration rules -

H.J.Res. 44 nullifies a rule that requires developing land use plans in coordination with state, local, tribal governments, and the public as it relates to multiple uses and using the best available scientific information and traditional ecological knowledge in land use decisions; 

H.J.Res. 58 nullifies the rule that defines the indicators of quality that a state must use to assess the performance of its teacher preparation programs, including more meaningful indicators of program inputs and program outcomes, such as the ability of the program's graduates to produce gains in student learning; 

and H.J.Res. 57 nullifies the rule that requires each state educational agency to have an accountability system that is state-determined and based on multiple indicators, including, but not limited to, at least one indicator of school quality or student success and, at a state’s discretion, an indicator of student growth.

Senate

Senators agreed unanimously to S 305, a bill encouraging the flying of the U.S. flag on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

House

The House agreed to S 387, a bill requiring warrants by law enforcement when seeking email information from individual’s accounts and notification to the account holder of the inquiry under most circumstances.

The House then agreed to five land use bills in Colorado; HR 618 facilitates a land exchange in El Paso and Teller Counties, Colorado; HR 698 transfers all right, title, and interest of the U.S. in and to a parcel of land consisting of approximately 148 acres to a private company; HR 688 adjust the boundary of the Arapaho National Forest in the State of Colorado by approximately 92.95 acres; HR 689 allows for the diversion of water and use, maintenance, and repair of a ditch headgate by the Town of Minturn, Colorado, a Colorado Home Rule Municipality; and HR 337 transfers administrative jurisdiction over certain Bureau of Land Management land from the Secretary of the Interior to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for inclusion in the Black Hills National Cemetery.

The Senate and House are adjourned and will return to work on Monday, February 13th. The next edition of TheWeekinCongress.com will be published on Thursday evening, February 16th.

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