This week, the Senate will vote on a 10-week continuing resolution (H.R. 5325), which in its current form is a substitute amendment (#5082) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 42%. The amendment — the Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act — falls far short of conservative expectations. Throughout the summer and into the fall, conservatives said Congress should ensure the length of any continuing resolution did not require a post-election session of Congress. And throughout the appropriations process, Heritage Action evaluated each individual appropriations measure on the following three criteria: 1) level of spending; 2) funding of bad programs; and 3) exclusion of conservative policy riders. Heritage Action also uses these criteria to evaluate any continuing resolution, as well as factoring in a fourth, additional, and critical criteria: length of time.
Length of Time.The current bill would allow funding to lapse on December 9, requiring a post-election lame duck session of Congress. Some will argue that bill could be worse, but requiring a lame duck session will ensure things do get worse. A recent report from The Heritage Foundation outlines the history of lame duck sessions:
It has been reported that the Senate, at the request of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 50%, may vote on the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, before the end of the week. With less than six months left before President Obama leaves office, there is absolutely no need for the Republican Senate to confirm Obama’s unqualified nominee to a 10 year renewable term as our nation’s Librarian of Congress, who oversees all the operations of the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
As Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has written:
“In his statement nominating Carla Hayden to become the librarian of Congress, President Obama didn’t even try to sell Dr. Hayden as a distinguished scholar, author, historian, or public intellectual. The president had no choice. Any claim that Hayden possessed credentials that match those of her distinguished predecessors over the last 40 years would have been dismissed as false.”
On Wednesday, the House is scheduled to vote on the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304), initially introduced by Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) 90% as H.R. 4828. This bill is a critical and timely response to a decision by California’s Department of Managed Health Care which forces all health plans under their jurisdiction to cover elective abortions for any reason, including late term abortions and sex-selective abortions. The Department is even forcing plans provided by churches and other religious organizations to cover these life-ending procedures, despite their religious convictions.
This California edict, first issued in 2014, is a blatant violation of current federal law, known as the Weldon and Hyde amendments, which prohibit states receiving taxpayer funds under federal law from discriminating against health insurance plans that don’t cover abortion. Even more troubling, than California’s disregard of these protections, however, is the Obama Administration’s refusal to enforce them.
The Daily Signal reports:
Heritage Action will key vote the following three amendments to H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act:
Key Vote Alert: “NO” on Graham-Jolly Amendment to Restrict Coastal Exploration Research
This week the House will vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL) 16%, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) 41% and Rep. Curt Clawson (R-FL) 87%, to H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017. This amendment would prohibit funds to be used to research, investigate, or study offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
This week, the House is scheduled to vote on S. 764, a Senate-passed bill authored by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) 53% and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 2% that would create a new federal labeling requirement for GMO products.
The new GMO labeling requirements passed by the Senate stand in stark contrast to the approach advocated by the House. In their “A Better Way” blueprint — a product of Speaker Ryan’s task force on the economy and regulations — House Republicans embraced voluntary labeling standards: