Thursday, January 26, 2017

So Far ...

It has now been six days since the inauguration. Six days, and the media has been in a fact-checking frenzy, calling the trump administration out on its blatant lies. From the size of the crowd on Inauguration Day, to Mexico paying for the border wall (later), to “alternative facts,” the media and the blogosphere have been blowing up with people screaming “BULLSHIT!”

It's all a distraction. The whole purpose of trump, his raison d'etre, is to be as flamboyantly, outrageously ludicrous as possible so that he sucks all the oxygen from the room and diverts attention away from what's REALLY happening.


Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House of Representatives have taken the following actions. Feel free to pick one or more of them and take some action on them. Call representatives. Send them nasty emails. Hell, show up at their offices with burning bags of dog poop.

H.R.7 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017; Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ-4): “To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.” From the bill text: “§ 302: None of the funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by Federal law, shall be expended for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion; § 303: No health care service furnished (1) by or in a health care facility owned or operated by the Federal Government; or (2) by any physician or other individual employed by the Federal Government to provide health care services within the scope of the physician’s or individual’s employment, may include abortion.”
This is yet another attempt to criminalize abortion services, as well as an attack on the Affordable Care Act. Never mind that there is already a prohibition against Federal dollars being used for abortions; now there's a bill that says that any insurance plan that covers abortions is also exempt from receiving Federal money. Which means that the subsidies used to pay for insurance through the exchanges are going to dry up, making insurance unaffordable for many people ... and the GOP will then come charging in, screeching "See? I TOLDJA Obamacare wasn't going to work!"

H.R.25 - FairTax Act of 2017; Rob Woodall (R-GA-7): “To promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States.” Introduced 1/3/2017; referred to Ways and Means 1/3/2017.
There have been roughly a bajillion studies that have proven that this "fair tax" crap is a load of hooey. First, sales taxes are regressive, in that they hit the poor hardest. Second, in order to make something like this revenue-neutral, the sales tax rate would have to be somewhere around 30%. Finally, Rob Woodall is a fucking moron.

H.R.29 - Tax Code Termination Act; Bob Goodlate, (R-VA-6): “To terminate the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017.
This has been a favorite of conservatives since sometime in the 80s, when Reagan gave them permission to be overt dickbags instead of covert ones. Something like this is introduced every year, usually by a Representative who has to burnish his or her conservative reputation, and it usually goes nowhere.

However, with us living in Trumpistan now, there's no telling what will happen. We could end up with thousands of ex-IRS employees – who are uniquely qualified to make your life miserable, and who are extra grumpy because the no longer have a job – wandering around, auditing people at random. It could get ugly.

H.R.30 - Farmers Against Crippling Taxes Act; Richard Hudson (R-NC-8): “To repeal the Federal estate and gift taxes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017.
First off, the estate tax doesn't apply to most farmers. Second, since much of their worth is tied up in the land and equipment they use to make a living, those things are exempt from estate calculations. Finally, Richard Hudson is as much of a loser as Rob Woodall.

H.R.34 - Safe Students Act; Thomas Massie (R-KY-4): “To repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and amendments to that Act.” This bill amends the federal criminal code to repeal provisions that prohibit the possession or discharge of a firearm in a school zone. Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/12/2017.
Okay, so here is where they are being blatantly disingenuous. I mean, how can they call legislation that allows more guns on school property the "Safe Students Act?" Do they even understand the meaning of the word "safe?"
My guess is they don't.

H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; Trent Franks (R-AZ-8): “To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes.” This is another abortion-targeted bill (duh!), but it does have provisions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother ... however, there are caveats. For example, “the life and health of the mother” does not include psychological or emotional conditions. Also, if a woman is raped, the exceptions are only allowed if “... at least 48 hours prior to the abortion she has obtained counseling for the rape; or she has obtained medical treatment for the rape or an injury related to the rape.”
Another anti-choice bill. I know this comes as a shock, but – are you ready? – Republicans are against choice.
Feel free to clutch your pearls.

H.R.38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017; Richard Hudson (R-NC-8): “To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a means by which nonresidents of a State whose residents may carry concealed firearms may also do so in the State.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/12/2017.
Basically this means that, if you live in a state like Texas where carrying a firearm is pretty much mandated by law, and if you don't some guy with an enormous hat, a ridiculous belt buckle, and a comical accent is gonna mosey on up to ya and say that you make him madder 'n' a rattlesnake in a cement mixer, or something, then you can also bring your AK-47 to every other state and use it to commit pretty much any sort of mayhem you wish. Oh, and Toby Keith will be yowling in the background with some hypermasculine lyrics that actually have very little to do with reality, then Ted Nugent will blame Obama for something.

H.R.49 - American Energy Independence and Job Creation Act; Don Youn (R-AK-At-Large): “To direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish and implement a competitive oil and gas leasing program that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain of Alaska, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017.
Oh, good. Drilling in the Arctic. Just what we need. Because, apparently, the Exxon Valdez wasn't enough.

H.R.81 - Resettlement Accountability National Security Prioritization Act of 2017; Brian Babin (R-TX-36): “This bill prohibits the admission of covered aliens into the United States for four years unless Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security authority to admit them. No covered alien may be admitted into the United States after such four-year period. ‘Covered alien’ means an alien applying for refugee admission to the United States who: (1) is a national of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen; or (2) has no nationality and whose last habitual residence was in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen.”; Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, 1/12/2017.
That's right. If you live in a country where ISIS is blowing up your family, then this bill prevents you from coming here where you are a lot less likely to get blown up. You know, because everyone who lives in these countries is a terrorist. No, really. I hear people talking.

H.R.117 - Energy Efficiency Free Market Act of 2017; Michael Burgess (R-TX-26): “To repeal Federal energy conservation standards, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/3/2017.
Again, the name is misleading. How is repealing energy standards going to increase energy efficien – oh, I get it. I doesn't. What it does do is give a big bonuses to fossil fuel producers, automakers, and anyone else involved in manufacturing a product that uses energy (which, at last count, was – oh, just about everybody), at the expense of the environment.

H.R.119 - LEVEL (Leave Ethanol Volumes at Existing Levels) Act; Michael Burgess (R-TX-26): “To repeal certain amendments to the Clean Air Act relating to the expansion of the renewable fuel program, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/3/2017.
Another boondoggle giveaway for fossil fuel producers. Who needs to breathe, anyway?

H.R.133 - To reduce Federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of Presidential election campaigns; Tom Cole (R-OK-4): “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to terminate: (1) the taxpayer election to designate $3 of income tax liability for financing of presidential election campaigns, (2) the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, and (3) the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account. The Department of the Treasury must transfer: (1) specified funds remaining in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund, and (2) the remainder of the funds to the general fund of the Treasury for deficit reduction.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017.
This is actually a pretty crafty move on their part. By doing this, they make it much harder to overturn Citizens United, thus guaranteeing that the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson are going to be the ones setting policy for the foreseeable future.

H.R.140 - Birthright Citizenship Act of 2017; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To amend section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.” This proposed amendment includes language that further restrict birthright citizenship by limiting it to people whose parents are “(1) a citizen or national of the United States; “(2) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States whose residence is in the United States; or (3) an alien performing active service in the armed forces (as defined in section 101 of title 10, United States Code).” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, 1/23/2017.
Let's see. The Constitution states that anyone born in the United States is a citizen. This bill looks to circumvent that by claiming that anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen only if at least one parent is also a citizen. Isn't that terrific?

H.R.172; Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC-3): “To restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.” From the summary of the bill: “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the prohibition against churches and other tax-exempt organizations participating in political campaigns or supporting or opposing candidates for public office.” Introduced 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/3/2017.
There's a very good reason the 1954 Johnson Amendment was implemented in the first place. Churches and religious institutions exert enormous influence over their adherents, and to allow them to openly support a candidate a) gives an unfair advantage to that candidate, and b) leads us one step closer to theocracy.

H.R.173 - Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2017; Mike Kelly (R-PA-3): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage.” From the summary for the bill: “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal, beginning with taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, the excise tax on employer-sponsored health care coverage for which there is an excess benefit (high-cost plans).” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/3/2017.
Another attempt to chip away at the ACA, and they try to cover it up by calling it the "Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act," even though it doesn't benefit the middle class.

H.R.175 - ObamaCare Repeal Act; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to House Committee on Appropriations (among other committees) 1/3/2017.
Like we didn't see this one coming. Steve King is a douche (see some of the other legislation with his name on it).

H.R.177 - To bar Supreme Court decisions in certain Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases from citation; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To bar Supreme Court decisions in certain Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases from citation.” From the text of the bill: “Under Article 3, Section 2, which allows Congress to provide exceptions and regulations for Supreme Court consideration of cases and controversies, the following cases are barred from citation for the purpose of precedence in all future cases after enactment: Nat'l Fed'n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566, 2573, 183 L. Ed. 2d 450 (2012) and King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480, 2485, 192 L. Ed. 2d 483 (2015) and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2782, 189 L. Ed. 2d 675 (2014).” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, 1/13/2017.
Another example of Steve King's douchebaggery. By eliminating the possibility that these cases can be cited by the Supreme Court, it would deal a serious blow to any court challenge of repeal of the ACA.
I'm sure that the fact that these cases were all decided in favor of the ACA was just a coincidence …

H.R.182 - Stop Obamacare Spam Act of 2017; Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2): “To prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from using any type of fee collected to advertise or market Exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Introduced in House, 1/3/20147; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/3/2017.
Another ACA chipaway. This one is fairly benign in that it simply says that Health and Human Services cannot use the money they collect from advertising the ACA … again, virtually no chance of it passing under normal circumstances. These aren't normal circumstances, however.

H.R.193 - American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017; Mike Rogers (R-AL-3): “To end membership of the United States in the United Nations.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/3/2017.
Here is a naked appeal to trump's isolationist stance. Let's pull out of every international agreement and tell the rest of the world to go fuck itself! Won't that be fun, kids?

H.R.198 - Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017; Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13): “To repeal the Federal estate and gift taxes.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/3/2017.
Another estate tax repeal attempt. Seriously, I wish these guys would get a grip on themselves.

H.R.217 - Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act; Diane Black (R-TN-6): “To amend title X of the Public Health Service Act to prohibit family planning grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/3/2017.
So this would never stand up in court. What Rep. Black is proposing here is limiting speech based on an organization performing procedures that are currently legal. If the court had the sense of a bucket of gravel, they would not only dismiss this one outright but they would mock Rep. Black from the bench. Mercilessly.

H.R.246; Kristi Noem (R-SD-At-Large): “To repeal the annual fee on health insurance providers enacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/4/2017.
Another attempt to chip away at the ACA.

H.R.248 - No Fly for Terrorists Act; Justin Amash (R-MI-3): “To limit the authority of personnel of the Department of Homeland Security to prohibit a citizen or permanent resident of the United States from boarding as a passenger on an aircraft or cruise ship based on inclusion of the individual in a watchlist, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security, 1/4/2017.
So let me get this straight. Let's say a guy – let's call him Joe the Terrorist – is on the no-fly list. This is a list of people that Homeland Security thinks are likely to do things like blow up planes with suicide vests and such. So it makes perfect goddam sense to let this guy on a plane, right? Right?

H.R.249 - Defunding United Nations Act of 2017; Brian Babin (R-TX-36): “To prohibit United States voluntary contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations or any United Nations agency, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/4/2017.
Another isolationist bill. You'd think they'd take the friggin' hint, already.

H.R.264 - United Nations Review and Accounting Act; Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5): “To prohibit the use of funds for assessed or voluntary contributions to the United Nations until the submission of certain reports on such funding, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/4/2017.
Yet another attempt to pull the United States out of the United Nations. Sheesh.

H.R.277 - American Health Care Reform Act of 2017; David P. Roe (R-TN-1): “To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related reconciliation provisions, to promote patient-centered health care, to provide for the creation of a safe harbor for defendants in medical malpractice actions who demonstrate adherence to clinical practice guidelines, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to the House Subcommittee on Health, 1/19/2017.
This is getting redundant.

H.R.278 - Finish the Fence Act of 2017; Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15): “To amend the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to complete the required 700-mile southwest border fencing by December 31, 2016, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security, 1/4/2017.
Oh, good! Something that doesn't have anything to do with the ACA! Of course, it's a sop to trump's "I'm gonna build a wall" stupidity, but at least we're not dealing with ACA bills any more. Whew!

H.R.285 - Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act; Michael R. Turner (R-OH-10): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/4/2017.
Ah, dammit. I spoke too soon.

H.R.311 - Refusing to Assist Paying for United Nations Actions Against Israel Act; Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1): “To withhold United States assessed and voluntary contributions to the United Nations, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/5/2017.
I seem to be picking up on a theme, here.
Oh, and Louie Gohmert is a complete and total turd, by the way. Just sayin'.

H.R.314 - Health Care Choice Act of 2017; Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7): “To repeal title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for cooperative governing of individual health insurance coverage offered in interstate commerce.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1/5/2017.
So they're going at it from the insurance side, here. Not that it makes a difference …

H.R.352 - State Health Flexibility Act of 2017; Todd Rokita (R-IN-4): “To amend the Social Security Act to replace the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance program with a block grant to the States, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/6/2017; referred to the House Committee on Appropriations, 1/6/2017.
Block grants? Really? Because every health care analyst in the world who isn't being paid by Reince Priebus says this would be a horrible way to pay for health care.

H.R.354 - Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017; Diane Black (R-TN-6): “To provide for a moratorium on Federal funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.” Introduced in House, 1/6/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/6/2017.
Okay, I don't get what their beef is what Planned Parenthood. After all, no federal funds are used for abortions already, and PP also performs many valuable services: cancer screenings for breast and cervical, gynecological exams, birth control – ah, I get it now. It's because conservatives are really squeamish about sex, and vaginas, and other lady bits.
I suggest everybody show up at Diane Black's office and start performing sex acts right there in her waiting room. Hell, invite her to join in if you like. I wouldn't, but you can …

H.R.370; Bill Flores (R-TX-17): “To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/9/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Budget, 1/9/2017.
Really, again?

H.R.373 - Refusing to Assist Paying for United Nations Actions Against Israel Act; Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1): “To withhold United States assessed and voluntary contributions to the United Nations, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/9/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/9/2017.
And another bill to pull out of the UN because nobody wants to play with Israel, or something.

H.R.410 - Protecting Life Until Natural Death Act; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to exclude coverage of advance care planning services under the Medicare program.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/10/2017.
So. Not satisfied with sticking their uptight honkers into what happens before you are born, now they want to meddle in what happens when you die. Look, if I have stage IV pancreatic cancer, and my doctor tells me it's only going to get worse, and there's no hope for me, then why in blue blazes can't I just off myself before it gets too painful? What business is it of Congress, anyway?

H.R.421 - Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act; Mia Love (R-UT-4): “To allow women greater access to safe and effective contraception.” From the bill test: “SEC. 3. EMPOWERING WOMEN TO MAKE THEIR OWN HEALTH DECISIONS. (a) No Limitations Based On Whether A Drug Is Prescribed.—Section 9003 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148), and the amendments made by such section, are repealed, and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall be applied as if such section, and amendments, had never been enacted. (b) No Limitations On Health FSAs.—Sections 9005 and 10902 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111–148) and section 1403 of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–152), and the amendments made by such sections, are repealed, and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 shall be applied as if such sections, and amendments, had never been enacted.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/10/2017.
Interesting. An anti-choice bill that purports to increase women's healthcare choices and attempts to do away with provisions of the ACA. Very clever.

H.R.426 - Protecting Lives Using Surplus Equipment Act of 2017; John Ratcliffe (R-TX-4): “To prohibit any regulation, rule, guidance, recommendation, or policy issued after May 15, 2015, that limits the sale or donation of excess property of the Federal Government to State and local agencies for law enforcement activities, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Armed Services, 1/10/2017.
This basically allows the Federal government to act as a supplier for the increased militarization of local police forces. Which, as we all know, has worked so freakin' well in the past.

H.R.490; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable.” From the bill text: “As of 01/26/2017 text has not been received for H.R.490 - To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable. \n\n Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from GPO, the Government Publishing Office, a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.” Introduced in House, 1/12/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1/12/2017.
So this would make abortions even harder to get. Fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as three or four weeks into the pregnancy. Under this bill, this would mean that the period during which a woman would be able to obtain an abortion would likely expire before she even knew she was pregnant. Again, Steve King is a real douche.

H.R.586 - Sanctity of Human Life Act; Jody B. Hice (R-GA-10): “To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” From the bill summary: “This bill declares that: (1) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is a person's most fundamental right; (2) each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its equivalent, at which time every human has all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and (3) Congress, each state, the District of Columbia, and each U.S. territory have the authority to protect all human lives.” Introduced to House 1/17/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary 1/17/2017.
Jody B. Hice is even more of a douche that Steve King, if such a thing is possible. This bill would make abortions impossible to get; the only way to do it would be prior to fertilization … otherwise known as menstruation.

Of course, not everything they have done has been bad for the average American. There has been some positive legislation brought to the floor, some of it from Republicans (and I'm not including things like renaming post offices, or naming mountains, and stuff like that):

  • H.R.47 - Kalief's Law; Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18): “To amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide for the humane treatment of youths who are in police custody, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/12/2017.
  • H.R.109 - Mortgage Insurance Tax Deduction Act of 2017; Julia Brownley (D-CA-26): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.” This would override trump’s Executive Order. Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.110 - Mortgage Debt Tax Forgiveness Act of 2017; Julia Brownley (D-CA-26): “This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent the exclusion from gross income of income attributable to the discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.122 - Original Living Wage Act of 2017; Al Green (D-TX-9): “To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide for the calculation of the minimum wage based on the Federal poverty threshold for a family of 4, as determined by the Bureau of the Census.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.124 - CAM TIP Act of 2017; Al Green (D-TX-9): “To establish a grant program providing for the acquisition, operation, and maintenance of body-worn cameras for law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.126 - Students Voicing Opinions in Today's Elections (VOTE) Act; Al Green (D-TX-9): “To direct the Election Assistance Commission to carry out a pilot program under which the Commission shall provide funds to local educational agencies for initiatives to provide voter registration information to secondary school students in the 12th grade.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on House Administration, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.134 - Home Foreclosure Reduction Act of 2017; John Conyers (D-MI-13): “To amend title 11 of the United States Code with respect to modification of certain mortgages on principal residences, and for other purposes.” This essentially makes it illegal for banks to do what they did to me when I got a modification: they stacked up fees, capitalized interest, and so on that my mortgage payment actually went UP by nearly $700 a month. Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, 1/12/2017.
  • H.R.142 - Dangerous Products Warning Act; John Conyers (D-MI-13): “To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for the protection of the general public, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/23/2017.
  • H.R.144 - Corporate Crime Database Act; John Conyers (D-MI-13): “To establish a corporate crime database, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, 1/23/2017.
  • H.R.151 - Redistricting and Voter Protection Act of 2017; Al Green (D-TX-9); “This bill requires a state that enacts a congressional redistricting plan prior to the next decennial census and apportionment of Representatives to obtain a declaratory judgment or preclearance from the Attorney General that such plan does not have the purpose or effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color or in contravention of the guarantees of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, 1/23/2017.
  • H.R.160 - Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act of 2017; Alcee Hastings, D-FL-20): “To end the use of corporal punishment in schools, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.163 - Gun Manufacturers Accountability Act; Alcee Hastings, D-FL-20): “To repeal the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prohibiting the bringing of qualified civil liability actions in Federal or State court.: Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, 1/13/2017.
  • H.R.203 - Summer Meals Act of 2017; Don Young (R-AK-At-Large): “To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the efficiency of summer meals.” from the summary for the bill: “This bill amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to redefine "areas in which poor economic conditions exist," where the summer food service program for children may operate, as areas in which at least 40% (currently, 50%) of the children have been determined to be eligible for free or reduced price school meals under the school lunch and breakfast programs.” Introduced in House, 1/3/2017; referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1/3/2017.
  • H.R.239 - Support for Rapid Innovation Act of 2017; John Ratcliffe (R-TX-4): “To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to provide for innovative research and development, and for other purposes.” From the bill summary: “This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Under Secretary for Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support the research, development, testing, evaluation, and transition of cybersecurity technologies.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; passed House on voice vote, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.240 - Leveraging Emerging Technologies Act of 2017; John Ratcliffe (R-TX-4): “To encourage engagement between the Department of Homeland Security and technology innovators, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; passed House on voice vote, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.242 - Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017; Peter Welch (D-VT-At-Large): “To amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.”  Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to House Ways and Means, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.247 - Health Savings Account Expansion Act of 2017; Dave Brat (R-VA-7): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the permissible use of health savings accounts to include health insurance payments and to increase the dollar limitation for contributions to health savings accounts, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to House Ways and Means, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.254 - REAL Act of 2017; Danny K. Davis (D-IL-7): “To reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.255 - Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act; Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT-5): “To authorize the National Science Foundation to support entrepreneurial programs for women.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; passed House on voice vote, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.258 - To prohibit the use of United States Government funds to provide assistance to Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and to countries supporting those organizations, and for other purposes; Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2): Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; Sponsor introductory remarks on measure, 1/13/2017.
  • H.R.259 - To prevent the territories of the United States from losing current Medicaid funding; Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-At-Large):
  • H.R.259 - To prevent the territories of the United States from losing current Medicaid funding. \n\n Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from GPO, the Government Publishing Office, a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.> Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.260 - Puerto Rico Admission Act; Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-At-Large): “To enable the admission of the territory of Puerto Rico into the Union as a State, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.261 - Puerto Rico Medicare Part B Equality Act; Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-At-Large): “To amend part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to apply deemed enrollment to residents of Puerto Rico.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.268 - Neighborhood Noise Barriers Act of 2017; John Lewis (D-GA-5): “To amend the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 to permit the construction of certain noise barriers with funds from the Highway Trust Fund, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.269 - Look-back Elimination Act of 2017; John Lewis (D-GA-5): “To eliminate the requirement that, to be eligible for foster care maintenance payments, a child would have been eligible for aid under the former program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children at the time of removal from the home.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.275 - Fairness for Crime Victims Act of 2017; Scott Perry (R-PA-4): “To prevent diversion of funds from the Crime Victims Fund.” Introduced in House 1/4/2017; referred to the House Budget Committee, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.283 - Student Debt Repayment Fairness Act; Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow without penalty any 529 plan distributions used for student loan payments.” Introduced in House, 1/4/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/4/2017.
  • H.R.296 - PRO Sports Act; Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude major professional sports leagues from qualifying as tax-exempt organizations.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/5/2017.
  • H.R.305 - Presidential Tax Transparency Act; Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-18): “To amend the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to require the disclosure of certain tax returns by Presidents and certain candidates for the office of the President, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 1/5/2017.
  • H.R.331 - States' Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act; Barbara Lee (D-CA-13): “To amend the Controlled Substances Act so as to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by State law.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1/5/2017.
  • H.R.342 - No Raise for Congress Act; Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ-9): “To repeal the provision of law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 1/5/2017.
  • H.R.346 - Congressional Integrity Act; David A. Trott (R-MI-11): “To amend title 18, United States Code, to establish a uniform 5-year post-employment ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/5/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1/5/2017.
  • H.R.351 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017; Mark Sanford (R-SC-1): “To allow travel between the United States and Cuba.” Introduced in House, 1/6/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/6/2017.
  • H.R.356 - Protecting Our Democracy Act; Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15): “To establish the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election.” Introduced in House, 1/6/2017; referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1/6/2017.
  • H.R.371 - Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017; Katherine M. Clark (D-MA-5): “To address financial conflicts of interest of the President and Vice President.” Introduced in House, 1/9/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1/9/2017.
  • H.R.386 - Working Parents Tax Relief Act; James Sensenbrenner (R-WI-5): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the amount excludable from gross income for dependent care assistance and dependent care flexible spending arrangements and to provide for a carryover of unused dependent care benefits in dependent care flexible spending arrangements.” Introduced in House, 1/9/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/9/2017.
  • H.R.394 - Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2017; Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the amendments made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which disqualify expenses for over-the-counter drugs under health savings accounts and health flexible spending arrangements.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.395 - One Subject at a Time Act; Mia Love (R-UT-4): “To end the practice of including more than one subject in a single bill by requiring that each bill enacted by Congress be limited to only one subject, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.397 - Members of Congress Tax Accountability Act of 2017; Jason Chaffetz (R-uT-3): “To require Members of Congress to disclose delinquent tax liability and to require an ethics inquiry into, and the garnishment of the wages of, a Member with Federal tax liability.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Rules, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.402 - Fair Access to Credit Scores Act of 2017; Steve Cohen (D-TN-9): “To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require the inclusion of credit scores with free annual credit reports provided to consumers, and for other purposes.”  Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Financial Services, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.407 - Tax Free Health Insurance Act of 2017; Steve King (R-IA-4): “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction for premiums for insurance which constitutes medical care.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.423 - Anti-Spoofing Act of 2017; Grace Meng (D-NY-6): “To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to expand and clarify the prohibition on provision of misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; passed by roll call vote, 1/23/2017.
  • H.R.429 - No Budget, No Pay Act; Robert J. Wittman (R-VA-1): “To provide that the salaries of Members of a House of Congress will be held in escrow if that House has not agreed to a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018 by April 15, 2017.” Introduced in House, 1/10/2017; referred to the House Committee on House Administration, 1/10/2017.
  • H.R.435 - The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2017; Keith Ellison (D-MN-5): “To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to clarify Federal law with respect to reporting certain positive consumer credit information to consumer reporting agencies, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/11/2017; referred to the House Committee on Financial Services, 1/11/2017.
  • H.R.487; Michael C. Burgess (R-TX-26): “To prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using an unmanned aerial vehicle to carry out a weapons strike or other deliberately lethal action and to transfer the authority to conduct such strikes or lethal action to the Department of Defense.” From the bill text: “As of 01/26/2017 text has not been received for
  • H.R.487 - To prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using an unmanned aerial vehicle to carry out a weapons strike or other deliberately lethal action and to transfer the authority to conduct such strikes or lethal action to the Department of Defense. \n\n Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from GPO, the Government Publishing Office, a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.” Introduced in House, 1/12/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Armed Services, 1/12/2017.
  • H.R.489; Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA-1): “To prohibit the collection of information and the establishment or utilization of a registry for the purposes of classifying or surveilling certain United States persons and other individuals on the basis of religious affiliation, and for other purposes.” From the bill text: “As of 01/26/2017 text has not been received for
  • H.R.489 - To prohibit the collection of information and the establishment or utilization of a registry for the purposes of classifying or surveilling certain United States persons and other individuals on the basis of religious affiliation, and for other purposes. \n\n Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from GPO, the Government Publishing Office, a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.” Introduced in House, 1/12/2017; referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, 1/12/2017.
  • H.R.582 - Kari's Law Act of 2017; Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1): “To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require multi-line telephone systems to have a configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, and for other purposes.” Introduced in House, 1/17/2017; passed unanimously on roll call vote, 1/23/20174.

And The Oscar Goes To ...

Yeah, yesterday's column? Um ... no. Yesterday I posted that I had undergone a change of heart, a radical shift in my political lean...