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Eyes on Washington: September 25, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TCAA Staff
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EYES ON WASHINGTON

September 25, 2017

 

In This Issue:

  • Fate of Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill Unclear
  •  President Issues New Travel Ban
  •  Republican Tax Plan and Senate Appropriations Delayed; House to Vote on Disaster Aid and Six-Month FAA Extension
  •  Featured Grant: Brownfields Grants Guidance Published
  •  The Week Ahead

 

Fate of Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill Unclear

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced on September 22, 2017, that he would not support the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. With this announcement, the bill is not likely to receive the 50-vote majority it requires to pass on the Senate floor. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) opposed the measure, saying the revised version contained as many issues as the original, and arguing that it eliminated protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), was a renewed attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

 

Additional Republican holdouts on the bill included Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also voiced his opposition to the bill. Subsequently, on September 24, 2017, a revised version of the bill was circulated to Senate Republicans, in an effort to win key votes from holdout states. The revised bill includes continued eligibility for Native Americans and Alaska Natives who have enrolled in Medicaid expansion before. Additionally, Alaska would receive a 25 percent increase in federal matching funds for Medicaid. The bill also gives additional federal funds to states with Medicaid expansion provided the expansion occurred after 2015. The revised draft allows states to create some of their own insurance rules, eliminating ACA protections for those with preexisting conditions, and allows states to change the essential health benefits, as well as allow insurers to create multiple risk pools.

 

With no Democrats voting for the measure, and holdouts from Sens. Collins, Murkowski, McCain and Paul, uncertainty remains whether the new bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote before the September 30, 2017, fiscal year deadline.

 

President Issues New Travel Ban

 

President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation on September 24, 2017, outlining a new travel ban that indefinitely bans most travel to the United States from seven countries, including those covered under the original ban. The new order stretches further than previous versions, by directing permanent restrictions while the original executive order (EO) called for a 90-day suspension. Countries under the ban include: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. Individuals from Iraq and certain groups from Venezuela will be subject to restrictions or "heightened scrutiny." Restrictions on Venezuelan citizens apply to government officials and their family members. Following numerous legal challenges to his previous travel bans, President Trump issued the proclamation stating that the priority of the new ban was to not admit those into the country who cannot be safely vetted. It is unclear how the proclamation will impact the ongoing legal challenges. Vetting procedures provide the basis for the new ban, and restrictions are tailored to a country-by-country basis. The White House identified that North Korea's failure to cooperate with the U.S. government was the cause for the ban on their citizens. Chad has not shared terrorism-related information as required by the U.S., thus a suspension of business and tourist visas. Venezuelan government officials have been banned because of economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. An accompanying fact sheet published by the White House includes a national security baseline for the ban, as well as an explanation of the review and engagement process, and the new baseline for information sharing required by countries to support visa and immigration vetting determinations.

Republican Tax Plan and Senate Appropriations Delayed; House to Vote on Disaster Aid and Six-Month FAA Extension


Senate Republicans' promises to unveil a tax plan before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017, was delayed by the impending debate over the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. Budget counsel has said a tax plan will not be unveiled until the healthcare issue has been resolved. The potential plan is thought to include a territorial tax system, taxing domestic income, excluding foreign profits of U.S. companies. The U.S. currently uses a worldwide system – corporations are taxed 35 percent regardless of profits generated. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has pushed for a territorial tax system, as companies are rapidly moving headquarters to foreign countries with lower tax rates. However, Democrats have said that excluding foreign profits would eliminate integral revenue from the U.S. Department of Treasury.


Separately, the Senate Appropriations Committee is not expected to pass all 12 appropriations bills by the start of fiscal year 2018 on October 1, 2017, for the first time in three years. Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has said he will not call up remaining measures (Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment and Defense). However, with a short-term funding measure approved last week, the government is funded through December 8, 2017, allowing extra time for the Senate to work through remaining bills.

Additionally, the House will vote on September 25, 2017, on an another disaster relief aid package, in the form of tax breaks. The bill is part of a six-month reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and would extend tax breaks to individuals affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The bill proposes eliminating the requirement that personal property losses be greater than 10 percent of adjusted gross income to qualify as a casualty deduction. It additionally allows affected employers to claim tax credits of up to $6,000 per employee for 40 percent of wages. Further, it will include a provision that allows federal officers or agencies to approve financial assistance and loans in areas identified as having special flood hazards. It requires the property to have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, or be equal to the unpaid principal on a loan.


Featured Grant: Brownfields Grants Guidance Published


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released guidelines for the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants. The following Brownfields grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum):

 

  • Assessment Grants (funded over three years): Applicants may apply for up to $200,000 in hazardous substances funding or up to $200,000 in petroleum funding. Communitywide applicants applying for both hazardous substances funding and petroleum funding may request a combined total up to $300,000, however, the request for hazardous substances funding or petroleum funding cannot exceed $200,000 for any one individual type of grant. For example, an applicant may apply for $200,000 in hazardous substances funding and $100,000 in petroleum funding. Assessment coalition applicants may apply for up to $600,000 in hazardous substances funding and/or petroleum funding.
  • Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grants (funded over five years): Applicants, including RLF coalitions, may apply for up to $1 million in hazardous substances funding and/or petroleum funding.
  • Cleanup Grants (funded over three years): Applicants may request funding to address either a single brownfield site, or multiple brownfield sites, within each proposal. An applicant may request up to $200,000 in each proposal. An applicant can submit up to three cleanup proposals. The proposal submission deadline is November 16, 2017. For more information, please visit the Funding Opportunity Announcement via the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The Week Ahead

 

Senate Hearings

 
Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Reform
Senate Finance Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 25, 2 p.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Block Grants and Health Care Costs
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Walker/Winberg Nominations
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 366 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Special Counsels and the Separation of Powers
Senate Judiciary Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Dunford Nomination
Senate Armed Services Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

 

SEC Oversight
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Security Assistance to Support Foreign Policy
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Federal Trade Commission Stakeholder Perspectives
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation - Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

 

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence Committee
Full Committee Briefing
Sept. 26, 2:30 p.m., 219 Hart Bldg.

 

Forest Management to Mitigate Wildfires
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 406 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Pending Nominations
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Full Committee Markup
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Threats to the Homeland
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Pending Nominations
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

 

Next Generation at National Parks
Senate Energy and Natural Resources - Subcommittee on National Parks
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 366 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Human Trafficking of Native Americans
Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2:30 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Veteran Suicide Prevention
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2:30 p.m., 418 Russell Bldg.

 

Intelligence Matters
Senate Select Intelligence Committee
Full Committee Briefing
Sept. 27, 2:30 p.m., 219 Hart Bldg.

 

Reviewing SBA's Hurricane Response
Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 3 p.m., 428-A Russell Bldg.

 

Farm Bill Rural Development/Energy Programs
Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

 

North Korea Sanctions Enforcement/Policy Options
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Wells Fargo One Year Later
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 3, 10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Equifax Cybersecurity Breach
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 4, 10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Indian Gaming
Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 4, 2:30 p.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

 

Opioid Crisis Federal Response
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 5, 10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Justice Department Oversight
Senate Judiciary Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 18, 10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

 

Russian Election Interference
Senate Select Intelligence Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Oct. 25, 10 a.m., 219 Hart Bldg.

 

House Hearings

 
Pending Legislation
House Rules Committee
Full Committee Business Meeting
Sept. 25, 5 p.m., H-313, U.S. Capitol

 

Pending Legislation
House Veterans' Affairs - Subcommittee on Health
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

 

Improving Aviation Security Around the Globe
House Homeland Security - Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., HVC-210, U.S. Capitol

 

Pending Fishery Bills
House Natural Resources - Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

 

Evidence-Based Policymaking
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Consumer Energy Technology
House Energy and Commerce - Subcommittee on Energy
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

 

State Department Redesign
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Water Infrastructure
House Transportation and Infrastructure - Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

 

GPO Reform (Part III)
House Administration Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 26, 10:15 a.m., 1310 Longworth Bldg.

 

DHS Financial Systems Modernization
House Homeland Security - Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 2 p.m., HVC-210, U.S. Capitol

 

Nuclear Waste Management/Storage
House Oversight and Government Reform - Subcommittee on Interior, Energy and Environment
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Tribal Recognition Bills
House Natural Resources - Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 26, 2 p.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

 

State-based Greater Sage Grouse Recovery
House Natural Resources Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 9:30 a.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

 

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Agenda
House Agriculture Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

 

Highways and Transit Infrastructure
House Transportation and Infrastructure - Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Pending Business
House Veterans' Affairs - Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
Subcommittee Markup
Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

 

Family Self-Sufficiency Program Overview
House Financial Services - Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 10:30 a.m., 2128 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Small Business Tax Reform
House Small Business Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 27, 11 a.m., 2360 Rayburn Bldg.

 

GI Bill Approved Apprenticeship Programs
House Veterans' Affairs - Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.

 

Army Tactical Network Modernization
House Armed Services - Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Wildfire Crisis
House Natural Resources - Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 1334 Longworth Bldg.

Rwanda Democracy
House Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 2200 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Internet of Things Cybersecurity
House Oversight and Government Reform - Subcommittee on Information Technology
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Rohingya Crisis in Burma
House Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 27, 2:30 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Justice Department/FBI Document Production
House Select Intelligence Committee
Full Committee Hearing
Sept. 28, 9 a.m., TBA

 

Agency Compliance with the Congressional Review Act
House Judiciary - Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

 

Great American Eclipse
House Science, Space and Technology - Subcommittee on Research and Technology
Subcommittee Hearing
Sept. 28, 9:30 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.


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