The House and Senate are both in this week. The Senate will continue trying to make progress on the farm bill, while the House will pass bills dealing with federal land policy and energy.
IN THE SENATE
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act (S 3240)
(#1 on POPVOX last week.) The Senate has already spent a week trying to reach an agreement on which amendments to this bill will receive a vote. Supporters of this bill, which include some Republicans, say the bill would impose spending reforms by ending direct payments to farmers, and save $23 billion.
Several Republicans who oppose the bill, however, note that the bill spends nearly $1 trillion, $400 billion more than the last farm bill, and that “savings” in the bill are only compared to current levels, which includes billions of dollars in stimulus money. That GOP opposition is a likely signal that House Republicans will want to pursue a different farm bill altogether later in the year.
IN THE HOUSE
HRes 683: Expressing the regret of the House of Representatives for the passage of laws that adversely affected the Chinese in the United States, including the Chinese Exclusion Act. (#14 on POPVOX last week.)
The Conservation and Economic Growth Act (HR 2578)
combines several bills dealing with federal land use, and is expected to be approved by Tuesday. Among other things, the bill would encourage target ranges on federal land, and alter environmental rules that limited Customs and Border Patrol access to certain border lands.
The Strategic Energy Production Act (HR 4480)
combines various energy-related proposals, including language that would require the government to assess how energy policies affect gas prices and jobs, and provisions aimed at increasing domestic energy development.
Several other bills will be considered and voted on throughout the week after just limited debate:
HR 1272: The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Judgment Fund Distribution Act
HR 1556 to amend the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act to allow certain land to be used to generate income to provide funding for academic programs.
HR 2938: The Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act
HR 3668: The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act
HR 4027 to clarify authority granted under the Act entitled “An Act to define the exterior boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in the State of Utah.”
S 404 to modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of the Interior.
S 684 to provide for the conveyance of certain parcels of land to the town of Alta, Utah.
S 997: The East Bench Irrigation District Water Contract Extension Act
OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST
SCRes 44: A federal budget resolution for FY 2013 from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) would reduce federal spending, and reform and simply the tax code. The resolution (#2 on POPVOX) is not likely to be moved by the Democratic Senate.
HCRes 127: A resolution expressing the preference of Congress to keep the Internet free from government regulation and interference. This resolution (number three on POPVOX) from Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) has had a Congressional hearing, but there are no plans yet to move it to the floor. A related resolution is HRes 57 also from Rep. Bono Mack was introduced last year and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
BILLS STILL IN LIMBO
Several bills are still in congressional limbo, reflecting disputes between the House and Senate over whether or how to move them:
The 21st Century Postal Service Act (S 1789)
The Senate approved this bill in April, but there has been no action in the House.
The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (HR 10)
The House approved this bill last December, but the Senate has not considered it.
The Federal Highway Bill (HR 4348 and S 1813)
The House and Senate are still meeting on a multi-year highway spending bill. The Senate’s bill would spend $109 billion over two years, which House Republicans have rejected as too expensive. House Republicans have indicated that another short-term extension might be needed.
NEW BILLS LIST
Check out the list of newly introduced bills. (This list comes directly from POPVOX user requests!)