Daily Leader
9:00 a.m.: Legislative Business

Five “One Minutes”
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. 11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
H.Con.Res. 119  Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy (Rep. Scalise – Ways and Means) (One hour of debate).  The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental to American Families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.” This partisan resolution has no democratic co-sponsors and condemns tax policy that could be helpful in curbing carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.  Not only do House Republicans constantly target the environment with their anti-Clean Air Act legislation and try to tie the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but they refuse to listen to hard scientific facts about the need to maintain policy tools and strategies to address harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 

Instead of addressing the Trump Administration’s manufactured family separation crisis on the border, responding to Russia’s attempts to undermine our democracy by interfering in our elections, working to address climate change, or taking action to prevent skyrocketing health care costs that are bleeding American families dry, House Republicans are wasting time on this resolution. 

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means.

Complete Consideration of H.R. 6147 – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019 (Rep. Calvert – Appropriations). This bill combines two FY19 appropriations bills – Department of Interior, Environment Appropriations Act, and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act – into one “Minibus” package that fails to fully fund critical domestic programs and includes controversial policy riders, many of which Democrats have successfully fought to keep out of the enacted appropriations bills in past years.

Neither division in this bill receives an increase from the FY18 enacted level.  Republicans have prioritized what little additional funding is available to non-defense appropriations to the Department of Homeland Security, presumably to fund President Trump’s border wall and deportation policies.  This approach leaves many Democratic priorities virtually flat-funded.  Additionally, the Financial Services division does not utilize its full allocation, effectively cutting the bill by 2.5%, undermining the Bipartisan Budget Act passed earlier this year.

The Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations division is flat-funded from FY18 and contains numerous problematic provisions.  This division:
  • Cuts funding for EPA: EPA is funded $100 million below FY18 levels and EPA’s operations accounts are cut by $228 million below the current level.  
  • Destroys protections for our environment, natural resources, and wildlife: Reduces funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by $65 million; repeals Waters of the U.S. Rule; and includes several controversial Endangered Species Act provisions.
The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations division is riddled with poison-pill policy provisions. This division:
  • Cuts the bill’s total discretionary allocation by 2.5% by creating a “Fund for America’s Kids and Grandkids:” $585 million is appropriated into a special fund at the Treasury Department that cannot be tapped until the federal budget deficit is eliminated, a disingenuous attempt to appear fiscally responsible after Republicans added $1.8 trillion to the deficit by giving tax cuts to the wealthy.  This appropriation comes out of the subcommittee’s allocation and effectively cuts the non-defense discretionary spending cap set in February’s Bipartisan Budget Act.
  • Zeroes out funding for Election Assistance Commission (EAC) grants: Less than two years after Russia targeted the election systems of at least twenty-one states – including accessing the Illinois voter database – Congress is shirking its responsibility and is failing to protect our democracy.  In committee, not a single Republican voted for Subcommittee Ranking Member Quigley’s amendment to provide $380 million, the amount appropriated in FY18, to help strengthen and improve our outdated voter technology to prevent future intrusions.
  • Subjects the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to the appropriations process:  This has been a longstanding goal of House Republicans so they can zero out or significantly reduce funding for CFPB.
It is essential that this irresponsible bill be defeated and replaced with a bill that protects our democracy by updating our nation’s antiquated election systems, adequately funds measures to protect our environment and natural resources, and that stands by the Bipartisan Budget Act that was enacted in February. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

The Rule provides for no further general or amendment debate.
“The House floor is seeing an uptick in messaging bills as Republicans prepare for a monthlong district work period... Nonetheless, some Republicans feel like their majority would be better… if they spent less time on messaging bills and more time on legislation to address problems the American people face. ‘I’ve never been one that believes that you just put forth bills that send a message,’ Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said… As an example, the North Carolina Republican said GOP lawmakers should have spent this week passing legislation to stop foreign interference in the U.S. election cycle…”
    -     Roll Call, 7/19/2018