Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bills Introduced – 02-05-18

Yesterday, with both the House and Senate in session, there were 35 bills introduced. Of these, two may be of specific interest to readers of this blog:

HR 4925 To require the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration to implement certain recommendations for management and collection of railroad safety data. Rep. Gottheimer, Josh [D-NJ-5]

HJ Res 128 Making a further extension of continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2018, and for other purposes. Rep. Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. [R-NJ-11]

I will be watching HR 4925 for references to chemical transportation issues.

HJ Res 128 is the next proposed iteration of a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through the end of September. A copy of the bill has been published by the GPO. It would provide funding for DOD through the end of the fiscal year and the remainder of the government through March 23rd, 2018. HJ Res 128 will be considered by the House Rules Committee this afternoon where it will be considered as an amendment to the Senate amendment to HR 1892. The bill will probably reach the House floor this afternoon.

Two things make this bill very iffy when it comes to consideration in the Senate. First it does nothing to solve the Dreamer issue, which was the proximate cause for the short shutdown last month. Second it effectively sets a new spending cap for DOD (§1408 exempts the authorized spending for DOD from sequestration) without addressing spending caps for non-security funding or specifically setting new spending cap calculations.

I expect that this CR will pass in the House with a party-line vote (it looks like it was crafted specifically to get conservative support). The big question is whether or not the Democrats in the Senate were burned bad enough by the January shutdown to roll over and accept this. I do not think that that is the case. There will still be time to come up with an alternative CR, but to be acceptable to the Senate it would have to draw Democratic support in the House as there would be conservative objections to anything that does not include a full year DOD spending provision

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