This Week in Congress

The House is in session Monday through Wednesday.  This is a short week because the Democrats have their retreat this week. The retreat is usually earlier but was delayed because of the government shutdown.

The most significant bill the House will consider this week is H.R. 2023, which increases the spending caps. As I wrote last week, under the bill, non-defense discretionary spending is set at $631 billion in 2021, a 5.7% increase, and $646 billion in 2022.

The bill increases “defense” spending by 2.6%.

Despite this, Republicans are saying Democrats are “underfunding” defense. Perhaps that’s because the bill limits spending on the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund (OCO) to $59 billion for defense and $9 billion for non-defense matters.

The House will also consider H.R. 1644. This legislation requires the Federal Communications Commission’s to bring back “net neutrality” rules.  These rules prevent internet service providers from “discriminating” among websites. The rule would cripple innovation and the fact that none of the parade of horrible predictions when the FCC overturned the regulation came true shows it is not necessary.

The House will also consider a number of suspension bills this week, including:

  1. H.R. 1331— Reauthorizes clean water programs relating to “no point source management”—which is where pollution comes from several sources and authorizes spending $800,000,000 over four years.

  2. H.R. 639—Clarifies that search and rescue task forces may include federal employees.

  3. H.R. 559—Gives commonwealth status to the Northern Marina islands.

  4. H.R. 1759—Extends employment services to everyone on unemployment benefits.

  5. H.R. 1957—Changes the way the IRS  operates by installing an independent appeals board, and requires the IRS to develop a customer service plan. (I wish more thieves where so considerate as to develop a customer service plan.) The bill also limits the IRS’s use of civil asset theft in cases involving structuring—where  people arrange their bank deposits to avoid  having their financial deposits reported to the federal government.


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