Congress returns from winter recess with bills on revoking citizenship, refugee screening, the Iran deal, and much more
When Congress went on winter recess GovTrack Insider went into hibernation. But we're back. We've also had a small staff change (we've now got Ben, Jesse, Donny, and Scott all writing --- I'm just editing). We're now supercharged and diving deep into the legislation Congress is considering.
Here are some of the bills we reported on in the last few weeks since Congress came back . . .
In foreign policy:
Ted Cruz, the presidential candidate and senator, introduced a bill to tighten our border by revoking citizenship from Americans that join ISIS. It has some interesting Constitutional questions, and it is expected to be considered by committee this week. READ MORE >
In December the House passed the American SAFE Act, a bill to increase the screening on Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Last week the Senate took up the bill, but Democrats blocked it by attempting to force votes on a handful contentious amendments, including one denouncing Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. The bill failed cloture in the Senate. READ MORE >
The omnibus spending bill passed last year to keep the government open had provisions to restrict the Visa Waiver Program for visitors from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria. But the program is reciprocal, and now American citizens who are also nationals of those countries may face new travel restrictions. Congress is now working to fix that. READ MORE >
The House is scheduled to vote next week on a bill that could derail the Iranian nuclear deal . . . even though Iran has already held up its end of the deal and taken steps to dismantle its nuclear arms program. The bill would give Congress greater oversight of the Iranian nuclear deal agreed to last year. READ MORE >
And in domestic policy:
Congress sent the White House a bill to repeal key parts of Obamacare and pause federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The bill was passed through a special once-a-year budget process that is immune to a Senate filibuster.As expected, the President vetoed the bill. READ MORE >
On June 29, the EPA issued a rule extending the definition of “waters of the United States,” to broaden their authority to regulate. Courts suspended the rule and earlier this month Congress passed a bill to void the EPA rule. The President vetoed this bill too. READ MORE >
We covered a bill to create paid time off for parental and medial leave, paid out of a new 0.2% payroll tax. Rep. Paul Ryan, who became Speaker of the House last fall on the condition that he'll keep spending time with his family, has an alternative proposal for parental and medical leave. READ MORE >
The Senate voted down a bill to increase transparency of the Federal Reserve system. READ MORE >
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What lies ahead for us
Our fall work (September through November) took us through about one-third of the Kickstarter funding. We'll be more efficient for the remainder of the work now that we've gotten a system worked out, so I'm expecting the funds to last at least another four months. (And after that, well, right now we don't have any prospects for continued funding . . . More on that later.) Thanks again for being a part of GovTrack Insider.