United States Congress

In case anyone is getting too sidetracked by the Russian spy drama, the following bills have been introduced:

1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. This bill introduced by Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican on 2/3/17, makes no bones about what it wants to do which is simply to kill the EPA. The last action on this bill was on 2/10/17 when it was referred to the House Subcommittee on Environment.

 2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education This bill introduced on 1/23/17 by Republican Rep Steve King of Iowa, repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.

The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA’s geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.

To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements, and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home-school their child.

No Hungry Kids Act

The bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. (In general, the rule requires schools to increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat free milk in school meals; reduce the levels of sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat in school meals; and meet children’s nutritional needs within their caloric requirements.)

3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education This bill which was introduced on 2/7/17 by Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie, is very clear on its only target which is to terminate the Department of Education. The last action on the bill was on the day it was introduced when it was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife. This bill introduced by Republican Rep Don Young of Arkansas with the fancy and deceitful title of “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.” has just on aim and that is to repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife to make animals on the endangered species list available to hunters. This bill has already passed the House.

5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act. This bill introduced by Republican Rep Bill Flores of Texas, is the one most people have heard about because it’s the only one being debated in the public space. This bill Introduced in House (01/09/2017) repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The repeal is effective on January 1, 2020. Provisions of law amended by the repealed provisions are restored. The latest action on this bill was on 02/10/2017 when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs.

6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood This bill introduced in the House on 01/06/2017 by Republican Rep Diane Black of Tennessee, is titled the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017. The bill prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. This restriction does not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman’s life unless an abortion is performed.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture must seek repayment of federal assistance received by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any affiliate or clinic, if it violates the terms of the certification required by this bill.

Additional funding for community health centers is provided for the one-year period described above. Last action on this bill was on 01/25/2017 when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Health

7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions) This bill introduced on 02/01/2017 by Rep Steve King, Republican of Iowa is titled the National Right to Work Act. What this bill with a very deceptive name aims to do is simply end labor unions, and take away bargaining rights from American workers. The last action on this bill was on the day it was introduced when it was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill This bill introduced in House on 01/03/2017 by Rep Lou Barletta Republican of Pennsylvania, is titled Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act. This bill prohibits a state or local government from receiving federal financial assistance for a minimum of one year if it restricts or prohibits a government entity or official from: (1) sending to or receiving from the responsible federal immigration agency information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status, or (2) maintaining or exchanging information about an individual’s status.

The bill restores assistance eligibility upon a Department of Justice (DOJ) determination that the jurisdiction no longer restricts or prohibits such actions.

DOJ shall report each year to Congress regarding state or local jurisdictions that restrict or prohibit such actions. The last action on this bill was on 01/23/2017 when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) This bill introduced in House on 01/03/2017 by Rep Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, is titled the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2017.

This bill imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent; (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.

Violations or attempted violations shall result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

The bill authorizes civil actions (for verifiable money damages for injuries and punitive damages) by: (1) fathers, or maternal grandparents if the mother is an unemancipated minor, of unborn children who are the subject of an abortion performed or attempted through any of the above violations; or (2) women upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted with a knowing or attempted use of force or threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion.

To prevent an abortion provider from performing or attempting further abortions in violation of this bill, the bill authorizes injunctive relief to be obtained by: (1) the women upon whom such an abortion is performed or attempted, (2) a maternal grandparent of the unborn child if the woman is an unemancipated minor, (3) the father of such an unborn child, or (4) the Department of Justice.

Violations of this bill are deemed to be prohibited discrimination under title VI (Federally Assisted Programs) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Violators of title VI lose federal funding.)

Medical or mental health professionals must report known or suspected violations to law enforcement authorities. Criminal penalties are established for a failure to so report.

A woman having such an abortion may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable.

Courts must make such orders as necessary to protect the anonymity of any woman upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted if she does not give her written consent to such disclosure. In the absence of such a woman’s written consent, any party, other than a public official, who brings an action must use a pseudonym.

For purposes of this bill, “abortion” is defined as the act of using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child, unless the act is intended to: (1) save the life or preserve the health of the unborn child, (2) remove a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion, or (3) remove an ectopic pregnancy.

The latest action on this bill was on 01/23/2017 when it was referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran This bill was introduced on 02/01/2017 by Rep Peter J Roskam, Republican of Illinois, is titled the Iran Non Nuclear Sanctions Act of 2017. What this bill does basically does is reimpose the sanctions against Iran that President Obama removed as part of his administration’s nuclear reduction deal with Iran. The last action on this bill was on the same day it was introduced when it was referred to House Oversight and Government Reform.

So, while Americans are distracted by the Mainstream Media with the deliberately sensationalized stories about Russia, important bills that will directly affect the everyday lives of the people are being surreptitiously worked through Congress. Please share this and get engaged. Contact your representatives and let them know to oppose these harmful bills.

If your senators and reps aren’t saved in your phone yet, text your zip code to 520-200-2223. You’ll get a text back with everyone’s contact info. It gives you Federal and State. PASS IT ON

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