This Week in Congress: July 21, 2014
This week, the House is expected to consider 28 bills, ranging from a series of bills targeting human trafficking to some designed to improve the student loan program. Legislation under consideration this week includes:
STELA Reauthorization Act, as amended (H.R. 4572): This bill extends two existing mandates regarding the retransmission of broadcast programs by distributors of video programming services
Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 Act, as amended (H.R. 4450) This bill extends through FY 2020 the authority of the Corporation for Travel Promotion to collect fees on foreign visitors to the United States, which are used to fund both its activities and operations of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and it modifies numerous other corporation authorities. The corporation's current authority to collect fees expires Sept. 30.
The Honor Flight Act, as amended (H.R. 4812): This bill requires the Transportation Security Administration, in collaboration with the Honor Flight Network or other not-for-profit organizations that honor military veterans, to develop a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling on private charter flights to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their service.
Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act of 2014 (H.R. 4802): This bill directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to undertake a variety of activities aimed at enhancing Security at airports where TSA performs or oversees Security-related activities
The TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act of 2014 (H.R 4803): This bill directs the Inspector General (IG) of the Homeland Security Department to review the data and methods used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to classify personnel as law enforcement officers, and it requires TSA to reclassify any staff of the Office of Inspection (OOI) that are currently misclassified.
Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2014, as amended (H.R. 1022): This bill creates a program within the Energy Department to ensure the long-term, secure and sustainable supply of energy critical elements in order to satisfy the national security, economic well-being and industrial production needs of the United States.
To reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and for other purposes (H.R. 5035): This bill reauthorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and modifies existing authorities, particularly to the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), in an effort to make them more effective.
The Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2014, as amended (H.R. 5120): The bill makes a number of changes to rules regarding national lab system partnerships with the private sector in an effort to promote the conversion of national lab research into marketplace innovation.
Hinchliffe Stadium Heritage Act (H.R. 2430): This bill amends the boundaries of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson, N.J., to include approximately 6 acres of land containing the Hinchliffe Stadium.
H.R. 3802: To extend the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy, and for other purposes
H.R. 3716: Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe – Fish Springs Ranch Settlement Act
H.R. 4508: To amend the East Bench Irrigation District Water Contract Extension Act to permit the Secretary of the Interior to extend the contract for certain water services
H.R. 4562: To authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska (Rep. Smith (NE) – Natural Resources)
Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, as amended (H.R. 4411): This bill imposes sanctions on foreign financial institutions that facilitate transactions or money laundering on behalf of Hezbollah or its agents. The measure also requires several «reports» and briefings on Hezbollah and on the administration's efforts to deter its activities.
Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, as amended (H.R. 4983): This bill modifies and expands the type of information that colleges and universities that participate in federal student aid programs must provide to the public about their institutions, and it requires the Education Department to replace its existing college comparison website with a more robust website that includes more detailed information on enrollment, cost, financial aid, faculty and graduation rates that students and parents can use in deciding which college to attend.
H.R. 5134: NACIQI and Advisory Committee for Student Financial Assistance (Rep. Foxx – Education and the Workforce)
To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking (H.R. 5111): This bill includes "child sex trafficking, including child prostitution," as an area of reporting to a tip line on Internet-related child sexual exploitation run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The term replaces "child prostitution."
Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 5081): This bill modifies the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to incorporate efforts against human trafficking as part of the law, including by requiring that state plans for federal grants for child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment programs include elements focused on human trafficking.
Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 5076): This bill amends the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to add human trafficking to the list of crimes to which runaway and homeless youth may be victims, and for which nonprofit private agencies may apply for federal grants to provide street-based services to these youth.
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980): This bill requires states to take steps to prevent, identify and address sex trafficking of youth in foster care, including by developing policies for assisting victims of sex trafficking. It also modifies foster care policies to improve the foster care experiences of children who may be at risk of falling victim to sex trafficking. In an effort to protect children by creating more stable home environments, the bill reauthorizes the existing Adoption Incentives program through FY 2016 and focuses more resources on increasing adoptions of older children.
The Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2014 (H.R. 5135): This bill directs the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to identify strategies to prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking and review trafficking prevention efforts.
H.R. 5116: To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes (Rep. Meadows – Homeland Security)
H.R. 4449: To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to expand the training for Federal Government personnel related to trafficking in persons, and for other purposes (Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney – Foreign Affairs)
Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, as amended (H.R. 2283): This bill modifies the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to change the status of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to that of the Bureau to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which shall be headed by an assistant secretary of State.
Advancing Competency–Based Education Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 3136): This bill authorizes the Education Department to establish up to 20 competency-based education demonstration projects under which participating students may receive federal aid, and it allows the department to waive any other Higher Education Act requirements that inhibit the operation of competency-based education.
Empowering Students Through Enhanced Counseling Act (H.R. 4984): This bill modifies the financial counseling that recipients of federal student aid must receive at different points throughout their academic careers — including by requiring loan counseling annually with the counseling to reflect the student's individual borrowing situation, requiring annual counseling for borrowers (including parents) of PLUS loans and for low-income students receiving Pell Grants, and requiring students to consent in writing each year before receiving federal loans.
Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014 (H.R. 4935): This bill makes permanent a modified child tax credit for taxpayers that eliminates the tax credit's "marriage penalty" by significantly increasing the income threshold at which the tax credit begins to phase out for married couples, and it indexes for inflation both the $1,000 tax credit itself as well as the credit's income phaseout thresholds. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that the bill would reduce revenues by $114.9 billion over 10 years. The measure includes no offsets.
Student and Family Tax Simplification Act (H.R. 3393): This bill modifies and makes permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit for tuition and higher-education expenses first created by the 2009 stimulus law and currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2017 — repealing and replacing the Hope Scholarship tax credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit.
It also repeals the "above the line" higher-education tax deduction for qualified tuition and other related expenses. That provision expired at the end of 2013. The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the bill would reduce revenues by $96.5 billion over 10 years. The measure includes no offsets.