Daily Leader
10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes”
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

H.Res. 616 – Rule providing for consideration of both the Conference report to accompany H.R. 2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Rep. Thornberry – Armed Services) and H.R. 2874 – 21st Century Flood Reform Act (Rep. Duffy – Financial Services) (One hour of debate).  The Rules Committee has recommended one Rule which would provide for consideration of two bills.

For the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2810, the Rules Committee has allowed debate on the conference report be divided pursuant to clause 8(d) of Rule XXII.  The Rule allows one motion to recommit and waives all points of order against the conference report and against its consideration.  Section 3 of the Rule prohibits the Clerk of the House from transmitting the NDAA conference report to the Senate, until the Senate passes H.R. 4374 – To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to authorize additional emergency uses for medical products to reduce deaths and severity of injuries caused by agents of war, and for other purposes (Rep. Walden – Energy and Commerce) (without amendment).

For H.R. 2874, the Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services.  The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter of New York to consider H.R. 2874 under an open Rule.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (Rep. Thornberry – Armed Services) (One hour of debate).  The Conference Report would authorize funding for the Department of Defense and other related agencies, programs, and operations for Fiscal Year 2018. It authorizes approximately $634.2 billion in base budget authority ($605.5 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD), $20.6 billion for the defense-related activities of the Department of Energy (DOE), and $300 million for defense-related activities) and approximately $65.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) for a total defense discretionary topline of $699.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2018.

The total funding authorized in the Conference Report will exceed both the Administration’s request of $668 billion total in discretionary funding, and the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) defense cap of $549 billion for Fiscal Year 2018.  This results in $77.5 billion in base funding above the BCA caps. The initial House-passed bill authorized $72.5 billion above the BCA caps.

The Conference Report supports a 2.4 percent pay increase for military personnel, updates the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include new protections against military sexual assault, and retains the milestone House-passed provision recognizing that climate change poses a direct threat to U.S. national security interests. It addresses the military readiness gaps by authorizing $3.6 billion in additional operations and maintenance funds for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It does not include any provisions related to LGBT service members, including any language banning transgender services members from military service or limiting transgender service members’ ability to receive health care.  The Conference Report removes language from the Senate-passed bill that would have prevented DOD from using Congressionally Directed Medical Research funds to perform research on diseases linked to military readiness, traumatic brain injuries and a cure for breast cancer.

The Conference Report contains measures to strengthen U.S. deterrence capabilities against Russian aggression, including strategies to analyze Russia’s strategic objectives, the threat it poses, and a plan to counter Russian efforts to undermine democratic values both domestically and abroad.  Further, it strengthens U.S. cyber capabilities and efforts to counter information operations of adversaries, while enhancing U.S. and allied information operations.  The legislation supports our ongoing efforts against ISIS, while maintaining congressional oversight over the Syria train and equip program, and requires the President to submit a report on a comprehensive strategy for Syria. It enhances our security relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and continues $350 million in security assistance to Ukraine while requiring institutional reforms to address corruption.  $706 million will be allocated for the Israeli missile defense programs.  The Conference Report establishes a goal of $41 million to support women in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, as well as renews authority to issue special visas for Afghans who supported U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and increases the number of available visas to 3,500 visas.

The legislation maintains existing restrictions on domestic transfers of Guantanamo detainees and prevents the use of funds for construction or modification of U.S. facilities to house Guantanamo detainees.

H.R. 2874 – 21st Century Flood Reform Act (Rep. Duffy – Financial Services) (One hour of debate).  On September 8, 2017, the House passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 601, which among many things provided a short term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), until December 8, 2017. Since then, House Republicans have not shown any good faith efforts to work with Democrats to produce a long term reauthorization of the NFIP and have instead decided to bring a controversial bill to the Floor.  Although there is bipartisan agreement that the NFIP is unsustainable in its current state and in need of reform, this package is not the solution.

H.R. 2874 would extend the NFIP for five years while making a number of changes to the program. A key issue in H.R. 2874 is regarding affordability. This package makes flood insurance more expensive by increasing premiums by a minimum of 6.5% a year on properties that were built prior to the first flood map, while also increasing surcharges on primary residences, second homes, and businesses.  Reserve fund fees are increased by 1% every year for the next twenty to thirty years in addition to the 15% of premiums that are currently assessed.  Policyholders are also required to pay for mitigation.  H.R. 2874 also fails to address the $20.5 billion in debt remaining in the NFIP.  That debt is a drain on policyholders, in that they are forced to pay $400 million in interest payments per year. Ranking Member Maxine Waters worked with Chairman Hensarling for months in order to come to a compromise regarding affordability. Unfortunately, Chairman Hensarling abandoned those conversations and chose to include language that makes flood insurance more expensive. 

H.R. 2874 also unfairly penalizes repetitive loss properties. FEMA classifies properties that are flooded repeatedly “repetitive-loss properties” and although they only account for less than 1% of NFIP policies, they make up more than 25% of the insurance claims.  Under this version of H.R. 2874, once a property has two new claims, its annual premium will increase by 10%.  If a third claim is filed, there will be a 15% annual increase until a full risk-based rate is reached even if the property was previously protected under grandfathering because they built to code and did everything right.  Properties also become ineligible for NFIP coverage once paid claims total more than three times the structure’s replacement value.  This ineligibility requirement severely disadvantages low-value homes which are mostly owned by lower-income families.  Instead, property owners should be assisted with mitigation funds, such as elevating homes, or property buyouts – neither of which are appropriately included in this legislation.

H.R. 2874 also does nothing to decrease the administrative hurdles in order to receive claim payments.  Instead this legislation requires all policyholders to exhaust “all administrative remedies” before filing suit. Lastly, this bill does nothing to decrease the amount of claims because it fails to provide funding to update flood maps.  The flood maps that are used by builders, homebuyers, and floodplain managers are severely outdated and are lacking necessary information due to outdated technology and significant changes due to climate change.    

Although H.R. 2874 contains a number of bipartisan provisions, the entirety of the bill remains problematic. It is disheartening that after one of the most disastrous hurricane seasons on record, Republicans still continue to play games with the NFIP.  Instead of coming up with a serious compromise before the December 8th deadline, Republicans are forcing through a bill that will make flood insurance more expensive, does nothing to address the $20.5 billion debt or the $400 million a year that the NFIP pays just to cover the interest on the debt, and provides no funding for flood maps which are in dire need of updating and better technology.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.
Bill Text for H.R. 2874:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 2874:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Postponed Suspension (1 bill)
  1. H.R. 2331Connected Government Act, as amended (Rep. Kelly (IL) – Oversight and Government Reform)

The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Wednesday, November 15: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.  The House is expected to consider bills listed for consideration under suspension of the Rules. 
“More broadly, Republicans are battling criticism that their [tax reform] legislation would disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthy, giving less relief to the middle class and in some cases pushing up taxes for middle-class families.  Trump and GOP leaders have promised for months that all Americans will receive a tax cut under their plan, but in recent days, GOP leaders have conceded that these were false statements and that some people’s taxes will actually rise.”

    -    Washington Post, 11/12/2017