10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business
H.Res. 770 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 5278 – Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) (Rep. Duffy – Natural Resources) (One hour of debate). 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 Natural Resources. The Rule allows for 8 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the amendments printed in the report. Members are urged to VOTE NO.
H.Res. 771 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 5325 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017 (Rep. Graves (GA) – Appropriations) (One hour of debate). 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 Appropriations. The Rule allows for 13 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the amendments printed in the report. Members are urged to VOTE NO.
H.R. 5278 – Puerto Rico Oversight, Management,
and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) (Rep. Duffy – Natural
Resources). The bill is a bipartisan compromise between
Congressional Democrats and Republicans, the White House, and the Treasury
Department that would assist the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in restructuring
$70 billion in currently unpayable debt, an amount that exceeds the size of
its entire economy. While the bill could be improved in many ways, H.R.
5278 is preferable to default for this American territory where 3.5 million
American citizens reside. On July 1, Puerto Rico will face nearly $2
billion worth of bond payments. Already, businesses have closed, public
worker benefits are in jeopardy, hospital care is restricted, and basic
governmental functions are at risk. Should the Puerto Rican government
default in early July, it faces certain litigation by its creditors, further
erosion of its economy, and an inability to provide basic services to its
The bill creates a process for the Commonwealth (and potentially the four other U.S. territories should they need to do so in the future and opt-in to such a regime) to restructure their bond debts, avoiding a default that could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe and instead allowing Puerto Rico to return to economic growth and fiscal balance. It would allow for the creation of a seven-member Financial Oversight and Management board which will approve annual budgets and fiscal plans. The fiscal plan must be designed to provide adequate funding for pension obligations.
Regarding minimum wage and overtime, H.R. 5278 would extend the application of the existing federal subminimum wage of $4.25 an hour to those under the age of 25 in Puerto Rico for as long as four years, while all other federal jurisdictions pay the subminimum wage to those under the age of 20 for only up to the first ninety days of employment. Also, the bill contains a provision that provides for a delay on the new Department of Labor overtime pay regulation until a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study is completed and the Department of Labor determines whether the rule could negatively impact the economy of Puerto Rico. Additionally, the bill would create a “Revitalization Coordinator” that works closely with the Oversight Board to determine which energy and other infrastructure projects will be able to bypass local environmental, public health, and consumer protection laws.
While certain provisions like the expansion of the subminimum wage, the
exemption from the new overtime Rule, and the exclusion of protections for
pension benefits were included in the bill, Democrats were successful in
removing a harmful National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) waiver and in
blocking the transfer of 3,000 acres of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
to the Commonwealth.
H.R. 5278 is not a perfect piece of legislation, but House Democrats and Republicans have worked together in good faith to ensure that Puerto Rico does not become a humanitarian crisis. It is essential that we stand with the American citizens of Puerto Rico and take action.
The Rule makes in order 8 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:
Bishop (UT) Amendment. Makes
technical and cross reference corrections to the bill, while addressing its
general workability. Deletes the option for other territories to opt-in to
the bill's restructuring provisions and addresses possible legal challenges;
provides an initial funding mechanism for the Oversight Board, permits the
Board the opportunity to review territorial laws enacted between May 4, 2016
and the full appointment of the Board, moves up the time line for when the
president must have appointed members to the Board, and provides
considerations to the Oversight Board when determining
Graves (MO)/Capuano Amendment. Gives priority in the development of the fiscal plan required by the bill to protecting federal taxpayer assets in Puerto Rico, such as mass transportation assets.
Jolly/Curbelo Amendment. Requires the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico established in Section 409 of the bill to report back to Congress on recommended changes to Federal law and programs that would reduce child poverty in Puerto Rico.
Byrne/Graves (LA)/Polis Amendment. Sets an 18 month deadline for the completion of the GAO report required in Section 410 of the bill, relating to causes of the debt crisis.
Byrne Amendment. Adds a new GAO report requirement to the bill that directs the Comptroller General to report to Congress biennially on the debt and revenue levels of each territory, the drivers of each territory's debt, the effect of federal policy on each territory's debt, and the ability of each territory to repay its debt.
Duffy/Pierluisi/Young (AK) Amendment. Temporarily eliminates a statutory cap that limits the total number of census tracts within a Metropolitan Statistical Area in Puerto Rico that can be designated as qualified census tracts under the Small Business Administration's (SBA) HUBZone program. Requires the SBA to implement a risk-based approach for requesting and verifying information from firms applying to be designated or re-certified as a qualified HUBZone small business.
Serrano/Velazquez Amendment. Preserves the ability of the existing Puerto Rico Commission for the Comprehensive Audit of the Public Credit to continue its work in analyzing the legality of certain debts issued by the Commonwealth, and allows the government of Puerto Rico and the Oversight Board to consider the Commission's findings.
Torres/Gallego/Capps/Grayson/Murphy (FL)/Polis Amendment. Strikes Section 403 of the bill, a section that would expand the application of the subminimum wage in Puerto Rico.
Begin Consideration of H.R. 5325 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017 (Rep. Graves (GA) – Appropriations) (One Hour of Debate). This bill appropriates $1.19 billion for the operations of the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as $2.29 billion for other legislative branch agencies and programs affiliated with the House, like the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Government Printing Office. While it contains a 1.5% increase to Members’ Representational Allowance, it also contains a measure that continues to freeze the salaries of Members of Congress, preventing any pay increase for FY 2017.
It increases funds for the U.S. Capitol Police and the Library of Congress, while flat funding the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), all of which are below the requested levels. Funding for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is $2.1 million more than the FY 2016 enacted level, but $34.7 million short of its request. Funding for the Architect of the Capitol is increased by $23 million more than the FY 2016 enacted level, but $54.2 million less than requested.
While the overall allocation is higher than it has been in previous years,
H.R. 5325 is using some of that allocation to continue partisan witch-hunts
like the Benghazi Committee which has spent more than $6.5 million taxpayer
dollars and the Select Panel to Attack Women’s Health which Republicans
refuse to disband despite having found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned
Parenthood or any other health care provider. Also, House Republicans have
allocated resources under this bill to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and
to sue the President over the Affordable Care Act.
Additionally, the Committee Report for this measure includes ideological language that seeks to influence the Library of Congress (LOC) to continue to use the term “Illegal Alien” in its subject headings, despite LOC’s March decision to use “noncitizen” and “unauthorized immigration” in its place. The LOC uses a well-documented, thorough process in which they use headings that reflect current day uses of words or phrases in order to make information easily accessible to users. Ranking Member Wasserman Schultz offered an amendment in full Committee Markup to strip the provision that forces the LOC to continue to use the term “Illegal Alien.” The amendment failed by a vote of 24-25 with four Republicans voting in favor of the amendment.
The Rule makes in order 13 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The amendments are:
Speier Amendment. Increases
funding for the Sergeant at Arms by $100,000 for additional clearance
investigations, and decreases the Office of the Clerk by the same
Ellison/Grijalva Amendment. Reduces then adds back $1,000,000 from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in order to create an Office of Good Jobs for the House of Representatives.
Blumenauer Amendment. Requires the Architect of the Capitol to conduct a feasibility study regarding the installation and operation of Capital Bikeshare stations on Capitol Grounds.
Welch/Matsui Amendment. Transfers $500,000 from the Capital Construction and Operations account to the Capitol Building and House Office Buildings accounts, appropriating $250,000 to each. This amendment would bring the Capitol and House office buildings into compliance with General Services Administration requirements for federal buildings regarding lactation stations for breastfeeding mothers.
Sanford Amendment. Transfers $430,000 from the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development to the spending reduction account.
Blackburn Amendment. Provides for a one percent across the board cut to the bill's spending levels and applies the balance to the spending reduction account. Accounts for the Capitol Police, Architect of the Capitol-Capitol Police Buildings, Grounds and Security, and Office of the Sergeant At Arms shall be exempt.
Flores/Blackburn/Walker Amendment. Prohibits funds from being used for the manufacturing of government security credentials by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) for any agency other than Capitol Police and the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives.
Gosar Amendment #1. Prohibits any funds for delivering printed copies of the United States House of Representatives Telephone Directory to the office of any Member of the House of Representatives.
Gosar Amendment #2. Prohibits any funds for delivering printed copies of the President's Budget to the office of any Member of the House of Representatives.
Grayson Amendment. Expands the list of parties with whom the federal government is prohibited from contracting due to serious misconduct on the part of the contractors.
Takano/Esty/Foster/Lujan Amendment. Appropriates $2.5 million to re-institute the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), offset from funds from the Architect of the Capitol's Capital Construction and Operations Account.
Russell Amendment. Prohibits use of funds under this Act to be used to deliver a printed copy of the Federal Register to a Member of the House of Representatives.
Pearce Amendment. Reduces the Office of Congressional Ethics budget to FY16 levels and transfers remaining funds to the spending reduction account.
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Friday, June 10: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider H.Con.Res. 89 – Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy (Rep. Scalise – Ways and Means) and H.Con.Res. 112 – Expressing the sense of Congress opposing the President's proposed $10 tax on every barrel of oil (Rep. Boustany – Ways and Means). The House is also expected to complete consideration of H.R. 5325 – Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017 (Rep. Graves (GA) – Appropriations).
“House Speaker Paul Ryan is looking to tighten leadership’s grip on the appropriations process by blocking amendments that could sink spending bills. The proposal, which Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, made in a closed-door party meeting Wednesday morning, is being billed as a slight walk-back from his promise of opening the House floor to a raft of amendments… The move by Ryan… comes on the heels of a massive fight over LGBT rights that ultimately sank the energy and water spending bill a couple of weeks ago. Just a week before, action on a similar amendment threw the House into chaos, with Republicans switching votes at the last minute and Democrats yelling ‘Shame!’ at their GOP colleagues… ‘I’m completely against a structured rule,’ Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said after the meeting, adding that members shouldn’t need to be ‘protected’ from taking tough votes.”
- Politico, 6/8/2016
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