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The Leader’s Floor Lookout: Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Here’s what to watch for on the House Floor today:

Keeping Illegal Immigrants Off the Decennial Census

In Article I, the Constitution requires the government to conduct a census of the population every ten years, upon which the apportionment of U.S. House Representatives and presidential electors for each state is based. 

While only citizens of the United States are able to vote for their preferred candidates for federal offices, the current practice for apportionment wrongly includes noncitizens from the census count, such as illegal immigrants, in a state’s population for the purpose of calculating how many Representatives and electors are allocated to each state. 

This unfairly benefits states with higher noncitizen residents over states with a lower concentration of noncitizens, resulting in the former getting a higher apportionment of Representatives and electors and hence a stronger voice in the federal government. 

Additionally, the decennial census is the best way to accurately obtain information on the citizenship makeup of the population of the United States – a basic data point that is important for U.S. policymakers to have – as the current method of collecting citizenship data is limited to annual estimates with lots of error. And, despite what Democrats may say, including a citizenship question will not discourage census participation – answering that you are not a citizen does not mean you are present in the U.S. illegally. 

This is common sense: It is unfair to include noncitizens and illegal immigrants in apportioning the number of House Representatives and electors allocated to each state. Without Congress taking action to change this practice, the more than 7.2 million illegal immigrants who have entered our country under President Biden will be included in the 2030 census for congressional and federal representation. 

Rep. Chuck Edwards’ legislation, H.R. 7109, the Equal Representation Act, requires the decennial census to include a citizenship question, and excludes noncitizens from the population on which the apportionment of U.S. House Representatives and electors for each state is based. 

House Republicans won’t allow the inclusion of illegal immigrants in the census to weaken the representation of American citizens who vote lawfully in elections.

Overturning the SEC’s Block on Banks Holding Crypto Assets  

In March of 2022, Biden’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 (SAB 121), which requires entities that hold and safeguard cryptocurrency or digital assets to present an associated asset and liability on their balance sheets to indicate that obligation.

By requiring banks to hold these assets on-balance sheet, SAB 121 essentially prevents banks from offering custody services for digital assets because of prudential capital and liquidity requirements for on balance sheet obligations.

This means that currently, very few banks are able to offer custody services for digital assets, reducing customers’ options for well-regulated custodial services and forcing many consumers to turn to non-bank market competitors that may not be subject to the same degree of regulatory oversight. 

By blocking banks from holding crypto-assets for their customers, SAB 121 promotes unregulated activity that can leave consumers vulnerable to significant harm instead of allowing banks subject to prudential regulations to offer safe crypto custody services. Once again, Americans pay the price for the Biden Administration’s executive overreach. 

H.J. Res. 109, introduced by Rep. Mike Flood, overturns the rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to “Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121,” which essentially prevents banks from offering crypto or digital asset custodial services to consumers, as SAB 121 breaks with the banks’ historical practice of treating all custody assets as off-balance sheet.

House Republicans are fighting to ensure the SEC can’t arbitrarily block the banking industry from taking custody of digital assets, removing safe and regulated custody options from the market for consumers. 

Correcting the Rosemont Decision and Supporting Critical Mining Projects

In May 2022, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision repealing an approved mine plan for Rosemont Copper-Mine Project, changing decades of precedent to require discovery and determination of a commercially developable or valid mineral deposit before an operations plan can be approved. This faulty decision is commonly referred to as the “Rosemont decision.”

By restricting the U.S. Forest Service’s ability to approve mining support facilities necessary for federal land mining operations, the Rosemont decision ignores specified U.S. Forest Service regulations that authorize approvals of operations “on or off a mining claim,” as long as these operations reach environmental and regulatory standards.

This misguided and harmful decision threatens hardrock mining and critical mineral projects across Western states rich with minerals, such as Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho, by banning mining support activities including waste storage and processing, and forcing all such activities to happen on mineral-rich lands. 

These critical mineral projects and hardrock mining are crucially important to securing our manufacturing and energy futures, as well as decreasing our dependence on imports from foreign adversaries

Now more than ever, we should be promoting mining operations and domestic energy production in states with rich mineral resources – not upending responsible mining projects and practices under the false guise of protecting the environment. 

Rep. Mark Amodei’s legislation, H.R. 2925, the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act of 2024, undoes the damaging Rosemont decision, allows mining operations to continue as they have historically under the law, and protects the communities and jobs supported by this industry.

House Republicans will continue working to secure essential mineral supply chains and responsibly harvest our abundant natural resources.