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Summary for week ending January 13, 2017

Maneuverings This Week -

The big ticket this week was passed in the Senate on party line voting. SCR 3, the reconciliation budget most noted for its provisions to repeal the Affordable Care Act, passed 51 to 49. The bill survived 29 amendments all of which failed based on a provision in law prohibiting amendments that would violate the budget act.  

The bill goes next to the House that is likely to take it up on Friday, January 13th but has some resistance to passage before a replacement healthcare plan is defined. We will update that situation on our front page on Friday.

In the House, Leadership again produced previously House-passed bills that never made it either to the Senate or the president’s desk. Those bills significantly ramp up the process in all government agencies to conclude the economic outcome of any rule proposed and present the conclusions to Congress for review and approval. Opponents claim that the bill would delay rulemaking which, considering the anti-rule position of congressional Republicans and the president-elect, is likely what its intent is. Various amendments were offered that would have prohibited the law from being applied to rules regarding pandemics, child health and safety, and circumstances where an environmental problem would negatively affect the public but all of those amendments failed on party line votes.

Government rulemaking was addressed in three other House bills; HR 5 expands the requirements for federal agency rule-making by requiring agencies to base all preliminary and final factual determinations on evidence and consider other impacts the regulations might have; HR 78  requires that before issuing a regulation under the securities laws the Commission (SEC) shall identify the problem, assess the cost and benefits as well as possible alternatives and would improve the results of regulatory requirements; and HR 238 would make changes in some of the agency’s operating procedures and relax requirements on certain participants in swap transactions.

Senate

With completion of the reconciliation budget and the Mattis waiver the Senate is adjourning to return on Tuesday January 17 to begin taking up recently passed House bills.

House

As stated, the House again passed bills not believed to see the light of day until Donald Trump was elected. In addition to the regulation bills mentioned above the House ranged from diabetes care and sports medicine to encouraging national security innovation, energy efficiency and preparing for energy jobs, and opportunities for women in space.

The Senate and House are adjourning. The schedule has both bodies adjourned during the inauguration week but some unfinished business may call Congress back for the first few days of next week.

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