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House Passes Bills to Expand Congressional Oversight of Regulatory Actions

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, January 6, 2017

This week the U.S. House of Representatives took their the first actions in the 115th Congress to address the regulatory agenda of the past 8 years. The House voted on and passed both the Midnight Rules Relief Act (H.R. 21) and the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act or H.R.26) almost completely along party lines. When taken together H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 allow Congress greater influence and oversight over both the last regulations to come out of the Obama Administration and future proposed regulations. Over the last 8 years, the Republican Caucus has consistently criticized and challenged the regulatory overreach promulgated under the Obama Administration; passage of H.R. 21 and H.R. 26 were in line with the start of this new congressional session. 

The Midnight Rules Relief Act will amend the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to allow lawmakers to bundle together multiple rules and overturn them en masse with a joint resolution of disapproval, if it passes the Senate. The CRA would apply to regulations put forward for review within the last 60 legislative days of the 114th Congressional Session. Opponents of the bill argue that it will result in the overturning of regulations without considering the merits of individual regulations, while sponsor Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) sees the action as streamlining the process of the CRA.

The REINS Act, true to its name, aims to curb the ability of agencies to promulgate unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations without Congress's sign off. Should the REINS Act pass the Senate and be signed into law, It would require Congressional approval of regulations, with an impact of $100 million or more on the economy, for them to take effect. 

These two bills would provide either more necessary oversight over the regulatory agencies or eat into the autonomy and power of the executive branch, depending on one's view of the jurisdictional limitations of the different branches of government. 

To read the Midnight Rules Relief Act click here.

To read the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 click here. 

Tags:  115th Congress  administration  Congress  GOP  House  legislation  overregulation  regulations  regulators  REINS 

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Perkins Reauthorization Passes House

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This afternoon the House of Representatives passed the Perkins reauthorization, HR 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, with broad bipartisan support. The Perkins bill has not been reauthorized in over a decade and is an important federal investment in career and technical education across the United States.  In the current political environment or severe partisanship, it is important to note that HR 5587 passed out of the Education and Workforce Committee unanimously and today passed in the House by a vote of 405-5 (with 22 no votes). IMA-NA has worked with a broad coalition of industry and other stakeholders in support of the Perkins reauthorization and is pleased to note the continued bipartisan support for this measure. Indications seem to be that the bill will move through markup in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee next week, with the vote likely happening when Congress returns in December.

To read more about HR 5587 click here

Tags:  House  legislation  perkins reauthorization  Senate  training  workforce development 

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NISA Sends Letter on Final Silica Rule to House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last week the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a heading on the OSHA final rule on suitable occupational exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica. As expected, the hearing broke down along partisan lines with the majority Republicans questioning whether the final rule reflected functional public policy and the minority Democrats saying it was long overdue. Both the Members and the witnesses spoke to the need to protect workers from a potential, but preventable, occupational hazard; they just differed in approach.

As follow up to the hearing, NISA sent a letter to Chairman Tim Walberg and Ranking Member Frederica Wilson to be entered into the public record of the hearing.  The letter highlights NISA and IMA-NA's steadfast position that OSHA's rule should keep the current 100 micrograms PEL but create an action level of 50 micrograms which triggers further exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.  The "NISA Solution" has been our message from the start of the rulemaking process. Our members have had tremendous success from implementing the Silicosis Prevention Program (SPP) and we wanted to ensure NISA's voice was on the Congressional record as well as the rulemaking record.

Please see the attached letter and op-ed NISA submitted to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Click here to watch the hearing.  

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Files:

Tags:  comments  hearing  House  NISA  nisa solution  silica  Subcommittee on Workforce Protections 

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Capitol Hill Briefing Today on Critical Minerals & Materials

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, March 3, 2016

As part of IMA-NA's role on the steering committee of the Minerals Science Information Coalition (MSIC), we are sponsoring both a Senate and House Briefing entitled: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America’s Critical Minerals and Materials.  The primary goal of MSIC is to increase awareness and funding of the USGS programs and research.  USGS's research and mapping of resources is the primary source of information related to mineral stores not just for the United States, but for the world. In support MSIC's long term goals,  IMA-NA and the Coalition have supported legislation offered by Senator Murkowski this session to increase funding to USGS in order to develop a system to categorize critical minerals and work towards forecasting tools. The Briefings this afternoon begin on the House side and aim to further support USGS as well as highlight the importance of a strong supply chain of minerals. Speakers include: Lawrence D. Meinert, Program Coordinator, Mineral Resources Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Steven M. Fortier, Director, National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and Rod Eggert, Professor, Colorado School of Mines, and Deputy Director, Critical Materials Institute, Ames Laboratory.   

Please see the attached flier for more information or contact Ariel Hill-Davis to find out more about the work of the Minerals Science Information Coalition. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  briefing  education  House  legislation  minerals science  msic  outreach  Senate 

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House Republicans Nominate Paul Ryan for Speakership

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Five weeks after Representative John Boehner (R-OH-8) announced his resignation from Congress and Speaker of the House, the House Republicans have nominated Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) to take the gavel.  The nomination also comes three weeks after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) surprisingly announced he would not seek the Speakership.  The protracted nature of the nomination process of a new Speaker has highlighted the somewhat fractious nature of the current class of House Republicans. After multiple closed door meetings, last week the ultra conservative branch of the party known as the Freedom Caucus agreed to endorse Rep. Ryan, clearing the way for him to step into the Speakership. It's important to note that Ryan accepted the nomination only after setting terms to curb the influence by groups like the Freedom Caucus on his ability to perform the role of Speaker. 

Today, after another closed door meeting it was announced the House GOP officially nominated Rep. Ryan.  He won the support of 200 of the 247 GOP conference.  Interestingly the nomination fell on the same day as the House vote on the 2 year fiscal plan that would increase government spending by $80 billion through September 2017 and raise the federal debt limit. The deal was negotiated by Boehner and is considered largely undesirable by the House conservatives. Ryan has already gone on the record as supporting the plan despite acknowledging it includes  “some good, some bad, and some ugly".  Voting in favor of the measure puts Ryan out of step with conservatives, but should not impede his ascendency to Speaker of the House. 

 

Tags:  Boehner  Congress  fiscal  House  legislation  Paul Ryan  Ryan  speaker of the house 

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House Passes TSCA Reform

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On June 23rd, the House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act, (H.R.2576), by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 398-1.The vote reflects the bipartisan nature in which the TSCA Modernization Act was authored. Its drafting brought together Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY), Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and H.R. 2576 rapidly found support on both sides of the aisle.

The original Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was signed into law in 1976, but has not been modernized to keep pace with the risks presented by existing chemicals used in U.S. manufacturing. Today’s marketplace, with industry advancements and increased interstate commerce, has long required updates to TSCA in order to facilitate the growth of U.S. manufacturing and improve protections for public health and the environment. The TSCA Modernization Act was several years in the making and had broad support from industry and environmental groups as well as the private and public sectors. As Representative Shimkus said, “The TSCA Modernization Act has been a long time in the making. The bill is clear and understandable and takes a common sense approach to protecting people from unsafe chemical exposure while setting a new standard for quality regulation”. 
 
The Senate will now need to consider and pass the bill in order for President Obama to sign it into law. Given the support for H.R.2576 in the House, it looks hopeful that TSCA can finally enjoy a long overdue modernization.   
 
To read the Energy and Commerce's Press Release click here.

Tags:  chemicals  Congress  House  legislation  tsca 

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Proposed Budgets Pass in Both House and Senate

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, March 27, 2015

This week, both the House and the Senate passed their respective budgets for FY 2016.  Following the House's narrow passage of their proposed budget on Wednesday, the Senate also managed to pass a proposed budget in the early hours of Friday morning. The final vote of 52-46 happened shortly before 3:30 in the morning following hours of votes on the numerous amendments offered.  The "vote-a-rama", as it is being called, included over 40 amendments largely aimed at forcing each party to vote on issues with political capital.

Although each House passed budget proposals, the real test will be whether the chambers can agree on a final budget prior to the April 15th deadline.  It has been over 5 years since Congress has managed to agree on a final budget and it remains to be seen whether the GOP can deliver a package the different segments of the party will support. In the coming weeks, the GOP will attempt to deliver on at least part of the campaign promises which gave them control of both the House and the Senate.

For more details on the Senate budget package click here

For more details on the House budget package click here.

Tags:  budget  Congress  House  politics  Senate 

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