Senate Watch: 27 September 2017

Senate Watch is tracking Senators Warren and Markey as well as select Senate committees. We will be reporting on significant Senate events in an effort to help IN members stay informed and be in a position to take actions in line with the IN mission.

Action item: Same as last week: the Cassidy-Graham Obamacare repeal proposal is being considered by Senate Republicans, who have until 9/30 to pass a bill under ‘Reconciliation’, which would only require 50 votes. If you have friends with a Republican senator, encourage them to voice opposition to this bill. Keep at it!

Elizabeth Warren

Senate Web Page:

warren.senate.gov

2018 Campaign Page:

elizabethwarren.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/senatorelizabethwarren

News:

  • Quote from Warren in Globe: “Senators Cassidy and Graham have plowed through the garbage of various health care bills, and boy, they’ve come up with a real stinker.”

Ed Markey

Senate Web Page:

markey.senate.gov

Social Media:

facebook.com/EdJMarkey

News:


For a list of all Senate committees please see: https://www.senate.gov/committees/committees_home.htm

Foreign Relations Committee

foreign.senate.gov

Select Committee on Intelligence

intelligence.senate.gov

Armed Services Committee

armed-services.senate.gov
Hearing: Recent United States Navy Incidents at Sea
Committee: Senate Armed Services
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 10:00am
Location: G-50 Dirksen Building
Witnesses:
Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy
Navy Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations
John Pendleton, Director, Defense Force Structure and Readiness Issues, Government Accountability Office

Finance Committee

finance.senate.gov

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

banking.senate.gov

Budget Committee

budget.senate.gov

Appropriations Committee

appropriations.senate.gov

WASHINGTON — In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate passed a $700 billion defense policy bill on Monday that sets forth a muscular vision of America as a global power, with a Pentagon budget that far exceeds what President Trump has asked for.

Senators voted 89-9 to approve the measure, known as the National Defense Authorization Act; the House has already adopted a similar version.By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG New York Times, SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

Judiciary

judiciary.senate.gov

  • Full committee hearing coming up on Tuesday (9/26) on ‘Special Councils and the Separation of Powers’. No opening statement is posted yet and no witness list is available, but two bills to protect the Mueller investigation may be considered. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/351452-senate-panel-to-probe-special-counsels-amid-bills-to-protect-mueller
  • Thursday is an executive business meeting with just one assistant attorney general confirmation hearing and one bill – the bipartisan S. 1766 SAFER (Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting) Act of 2017, which reauthorizes and amends SAFER 2013. Legislation before the committee: the House passed H.R. 3697 ‘Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act’ 233-175 on 9/14 and it now sits in this Senate committee. No other major actions at present.
  • The DACA hearing scheduled for 9/13 was postponed and time remains TBD.
  • Scheduled well in advance: it appears that an oversight hearing for the Department of Justice on 10/18/2017 has one witness – Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

hsgac.senate.gov

  • This coming week there will be a full committee hearing on ‘Threats to the Homeland’ with testimony from the acting Secretary of Homeland Security, the FBI director, and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. One might hope questioning and opening statements address a wide range of threats, including Homeland Security’s slow action in notifying states that their election systems were hacked last year.
  • Legislation introduced in committee: Roy Blunt (R-MO) wants to make houses of worship eligible for disaster relief/emergency assistance to the same degree as eligible private nonprofit facilities, “and for other purposes.” (S. 1823) Here’s a fun one introduced this week: S. 1832: “A bill to prohibit Federal agencies from using Government funds to pay for the lodging of agency employees at establishments that are owned by or employ certain public officials or their relatives,” cosponsored by Elizabeth Warren! This was referred to committee and has no Republican cosponsors.
  • A FEMA modernization act (H.R. 1679) passed the House unanimously and only four House members voted against the ‘Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop Series Act of 2017” (H.E. 3284) – both have reached this senate committee. Bipartisan committee support and unanimous Senate vote to stop funding oil paintings of federal employees. Bipartisan cosponsor bill by Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the ‘Homeland Security for Children Act’ (S. 1847).

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

commerce.senate.gov

  • Hearings next week (Tues/Wed/Thurs.) : ‘FTC Stakeholder Perspectives: Reform Proposals to Improve Fairness, Innovation, and Consumer Welfare’, nominations, and ‘TSA Modernization: Improvements to Aviation Security.’ The FTC hearing will focus on ‘improving the FTC’s handling of consumer protection cases and general process reforms’ – Sen. Markey is a member of this subcommittee.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

https://www.help.senate.gov/

Additional News:

Senate Watch: 16 September 2017

Senate Watch is tracking Senators Warren and Markey as well as select Senate committees. We will be reporting on significant Senate events in an effort to help IN members stay informed and be in a position to take actions in line with the IN mission.

Action item: The Cassidy-Graham Obamacare repeal proposal is being considered by Senate Republicans, who have until 9/30 to pass a bill under ‘Reconciliation’, which would only require 50 votes. If you have friends with a Republican senator, encourage them to voice opposition to this bill.

Elizabeth Warren

Senate Web Page:

warren.senate.gov

2018 Campaign Page:

elizabethwarren.com

Social Media:

facebook.com/senatorelizabethwarren

News:

  • Warren introduced the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) act to give citizens more control of their data.

  • Warren is not happy with the Equifax breach. Here are three tweets from her:

Ed Markey

Senate Web Page:

markey.senate.gov

Social Media:

facebook.com/EdJMarkey

News:

  • Markey Town Hall on Sunday, Sept. 17th in Newton (Newton North High School, doors open at 5:30pm): https://www.facebook.com/events/209976499537618/
  • Markey spoke on the Senate floor today (Sept 14) defending his bill preventing POTUS from launching nuclear strike w/o Congress authorization (S.200).
  • In advance of Climate Week next week, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17) speak with public health experts, physicians, climate experts, and clean air advocates in support of bicameral legislation that will help improve America’s public health.:

  • Markey supports the Medicare for All Act.
  • A group of Democratic Senators, including Markey, is demanding Trump take action to combat the opioid epidemic, nearly a month after the president declared it a national emergency.

For a list of all Senate committees please see: https://www.senate.gov/committees/committees_home.htm

Foreign Relations Committee

foreign.senate.gov

  • The Senate Foreign Relations committee held hearings on Sept. 14 to examine United States policy options to support democracy in Venezuela.

Select Committee on Intelligence

intelligence.senate.gov

Armed Services Committee

armed-services.senate.gov

Finance Committee

finance.senate.gov

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

banking.senate.gov

Budget Committee

budget.senate.gov

Appropriations Committee

appropriations.senate.gov

The House easily cleared a package today to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months. Also, President Donald Trump has signed the hurricane emergency aid package that also addresses the debt ceiling and government funding until early Dec. 8, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted. The Senate passed the measure Thursday and the House cleared it Friday. POLITICO Staff, 09/08/2017 10:51 AM EDT
  • Statement courtesy of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, committee Vice Chairman).

Judiciary

judiciary.senate.gov

  • The committee considered nominees to Circuit and District Courts as well as U.S. Attorneys on Thursday, September 14th (Grassley intro statement) and one bipartisan bill providing funds for better managing sexual assault evidence. More nominations, mostly for judges, are scheduled for next week (9/20). The committee investigation into Russian contact with the Trump campaign continues to move forward, with a closed door questioning of Donald Trump, Jr. by committee investigators on 9/7. Grassley and Feinstein are reportedly considering subpoenas to compel testimony from persons of interest. To recap: four investigations into these issues are concurrently operating (DOJ Special Council Mueller, House Intel, Senate Intel, and Senate Judiciary).

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

hsgac.senate.gov

  • One subcommittee hearing is scheduled for next week (9/20), chaired by Rand Paul: ‘Prudent Planning or Wasteful Binge? Another Look at End of the Year Spending.’ A flurry of homeland security/counter-terrorism bills that passed the House were referred to committee this week, but it is unclear which will be taken up, given the busy fall schedule of Congress. A number of nominations have also been considered over the past two weeks.

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

commerce.senate.gov

  • The committee will hold a hearing on 9/19 entitled, ‘S. 1693, The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017’, which amends the Communications Act of 1934 to increase accountability for internet companies with platforms used by sex traffickers. The bill has 27 cosponsors and broad bipartisan support. No nomination business has occurred since early August.

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

https://www.help.senate.gov/

Additional News:

  • S.J.Res. 49, a joint resolution condemning the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place in Charlottesville, passed the Senate with unanimous consent and the House with no objection. It is awaiting Trump’s signature.

Senate Watch Report: 9 Sep 2017

Indivisible Nashoba’s Senate Watch Committee is tracking Senators Warren and Markey as well as select Senate committees. We will be reporting on significant Senate events in an effort to help IN members stay informed and be in a position to take actions in line with the IN mission.

Congress has just returned from its long August recess and now faces big decisions on a wide range of fronts, including producing a workable budget. The Boston Globe is reporting these things to watch for from Congress: hurricane victims, debt limit, defense authorization bill, tax overhaul, immigration, children’s health care, and flood insurance. Full article.

Elizabeth Warren

Senate Web Page:

warren.senate.gov

2018 Campaign Page:

elizabethwarren.com

Facebook:

facebook.com/senatorelizabethwarren

Twitter:

News:

  • Warren is co-sponsoring Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare For All” single-payer health care plan.
  • Warren, Markey, Healey, Baker and others from MA spoke out strongly against Trump’s decision to end DACA. Boston Globe report.
  • One of Warren’s many tweets on the topic of DACA:

  • From back in August: Warren’s affordable hearing aid bill passed Senate and is on its way to Trump.

Ed Markey

Senate Web Page:

markey.senate.gov

Facebook:

facebook.com/EdJMarkey

Twitter:

News:

  • On Sept 6, Markey testified at an EPA hearing in support of strong fuel economy standards.
  • Markey and Healey attended a press conference, some of which can be seen here:


For a list of all Senate committees please see: https://www.senate.gov/committees/committees_home.htm

Foreign Relations Committee

foreign.senate.gov

Select Committee on Intelligence

intelligence.senate.gov

  • From WaPo: Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company.
  • Mark Warner, ranking member, wants to see more about the Facebook ads.

Armed Services Committee

armed-services.senate.gov

Finance Committee

finance.senate.gov

Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

banking.senate.gov

Budget Committee

budget.senate.gov

Appropriations Committee

appropriations.senate.gov

  • FYI, with some useful definitions when following budget developments this fall:
  • The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. an appropriations bill sets overall spending limits by agency or program. (Authorizations direct how federal funds should or should not be used.) Appropriations are typically made for single fiscal years (October 1 through September 30 of the next year).

Judiciary

judiciary.senate.gov

  • The committee considered nominees to Circuit and District Courts on Wednesday, September 6th (Grassley intro statement). Thursday was an ‘Executive Business Meeting’ with a long list of judicial and U.S. district attorney nominations (time to fill those positions after the mass firing in March). Next week (9/13) the full committee will hold a panel hearing entitled, ‘The Long-term Impact of Immigration: Exploring Reforms to our Nation’s Guest Worker Programs and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and their Potential Impact on the American Economy and Local Communities.’ More nominations are scheduled for hearings the following day.

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

hsgac.senate.gov

  • The committee kicked off the fall with a hearing on 9/6 entitled, “The History and Current Reality of the U.S. Health Care System” (Chair’s opening statement). The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing with several panels on 9/7 about federal infrastructure permitting. Next week nomination hearings for a FEMA position and a DC Superior Court will be held 9/12. Hearings on government reorganization (9/13) and fraud in the FCC’s Lifeline program (9/14) are also scheduled.

Commerce, Science, and Transportation

commerce.senate.gov

  • An executive session considering bills and nominations 8/2 occurred, with the following results. On Wednesday (9/6) the committee convened for a hearing on ‘Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program.’ Majority statement here. Upcoming business next week: a hearing on reauthorizing a fishery conservation and management act (9/12) and ‘Transportation Innovation: Automated Trucks and our Nation’s Highways’ (9/13).

Education

  • DeVos’s latest mind-boggling decision:

  • From August 1st:  Posted on Facebook by Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

Additional News:

  • From August 21st: Beth Lindstrom, a Groton resident, announces her run for Senate against Elizabeth Warren.
  • From August 2nd: Geoff Diehl announced his candidacy against Warren yesterday. Right-wing. Trump supporter. Curt Schilling supportee.