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  • House and Senate Cloakroom: February 6 – February 10, 2012

    House Cloakroom: February 6 – February 10

    Analysis:  This week the House the will consider legislation to sell off civilian property it owns, institute a line-item veto and ban congressional insider trading.  The week will begin with the Civilian Property Realignment Act, which would create a BRAC-like process to determine the usefulness of government owned property and which of those properties can be sold off.  The Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Recessions Act would allow the President to propose specific recessions and have those voted on by Congress in an expedited process.  Finally, the House will consider the STOCK Act that was sent over by the Senate.  The bill would ban trading securities and commodities based on non-public information available to Members of Congress and their staff.  There will likely be an effort in the House to expand this legislation to cover the executive branch as well.

     Major Floor Action:

    • HR 1734 – Civilian Property Realignment Act
    • HR 3521 – Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act
    • HR 3581 – Budget and Accounting Transparency Act
    • S 2038 – STOCK Act

    Major Committee Action: 

    • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a markup of a bill to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. (HR 3548)
    • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch will hold a hearing on “Fiscal 2013 Appropriations: Legislative Branch.”
    • The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on the “NLRB Recess Appointments.”
    • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “Cybersecurity and Private Sector Response.”
    • The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing on “CFPB Transparency Legislation.”

    Senate Cloakroom: February 6 – February 10

    Analysis: The Senate will take up two transportation authorization measures this week.  The first will be an FAA authorization that passed in the House last week.  This is expected to easily move through the Senate.  The second will be a more controversial highway authorization bill.  The Senate bill proposes a two year extension of the current authorization, which expires at the end of March, at a higher funding level than the expected revenues from the federal gas tax.  The federal gas tax was intended to be, more or less, a user fee for the highways that would pay for maintenance.  Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Finance Committee, has proposed additional tax increases to cover the difference, but his proposals still fall short of the $13 billion gap in funding levels.  This bill is also much different than the version expected in the House, which also has higher spending levels, but attempts to use energy revenues to pay for the gap and includes additional changes to the highway program and the way the funding is allocated.

    Major Floor Action: 

    • HR 658 – FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act
    • S 1813 – MAP-21 (Highway Authorization Bill)

    Major Committee Action:

    • The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the “Monetary and Fiscal Policy Outlook.”
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a markup of a bill allowing Supreme Court proceedings to be televised. (S 1945)
    • The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the “State of the Housing Market.”
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to House and Senate Cloakroom: February 6 – February 10, 2012

    1. Indy says:

      Does anyone else have a concern with Congress allowing the use of drones in US air space?

      "In the recently enacted FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (section 1097), Congress mandated that “the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish a program to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system at six test ranges.” This new test range program is supposed to be established within 180 days.

      As of 2010, hundreds of FAA authorizations had already been granted for use of unmanned aerial systems within U.S. airspace."
      http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2012/02/faa_drone

    2. Sumflow says:

      The Insider bill already covers the executive branch!

      Under this new bill insider~trading bill S.2038, Congress gets some information and they go out and make the trade. Then they go looking for reasons why they might have made the trade before they learned what they just herd. They have a month, then they can delay that will late filing. Congress has another 30 days to put it on the web site. That is a long time before the SEC or anyone else, is aware of the trade. Staff can be promoted, fired or sent away during this cover-up time making it impossible to make a case against Congress.

      A more effective mechanism would require pre-approval or pre-clearance of each trade like the SEC requires for every SEC staff member who buys or sells a security. Disclosing a month after they make the trade gives congress time and an opportunity to build a record around it, to cover up why they made the trade. There will be no proof the trade was not based on insider knowledge.

    3. Sumflow says:

      The Insider bill already covers the executive branch!

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