Supporting Tibet, Exposing Hidden Fees and Protecting Judges Amid Rising Threats

Supporting Tibet, Exposing Hidden Fees and Protecting Judges Amid Rising ThreatsPromoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act (S 138) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Jan. 30, 2023. It establishes a statutory definition of Tibet that includes areas currently claimed by China. The legislation also expands efforts to combat Chinese government propaganda, such as disinformation about Tibet’s history and institutions. The bill passed in the Senate on May 23 and in the House on June 12. It is currently awaiting enactment by the president.

No Hidden Fees on Extra Expenses for Stays Act of 2023 (HR 6543) – Introduced on Dec. 1, 2023, by Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), this bill requires providers of short-term lodging (e.g., hotels, motels, inns, and short-term rentals) to include each mandatory fee when displaying or advertising the price for a reservation. This largely bipartisan bill passed in the House on June 11, 2024, and currently lies in the Senate.

Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act (HR 2964) – This bill mandates that certain premoistened, nonwoven wipes (e.g., baby wipes, cleaning wipes, personal care wipes) be labeled “Do Not Flush” with an accompanying symbol. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) on April 27, 2023, with three Democrat co-sponsors. It passed in the House on June 11 and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 (HR 8070) – Introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) on April 18, this bill passed in the House on June 14 and currently lies with the Senate. It is an annual budgetary must-pass bill to reauthorize funding for the nation’s military defenses. The current bill that passed in the House is laden with amendments that will likely sink in the Senate, such as prohibiting services for gender transition, eliminating offices focused on diversity, and prohibiting funding for the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group (focused on preventing extremism in the military). However, some form of this bill will likely pass both Houses and be sent to the president before the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2024).

Countering Threats and Attacks on Our Judges Act (S 3984) – The purpose of this bill is to create a new resource center to provide threat monitoring and training to help protect the safety of judges and others who work in state courthouses nationwide. The legislation was crafted in response to a rising number of threats to the judiciary. This bipartisan bill was sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). It passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on June 12 and currently lies with the House.

Billie Jean King Congressional Gold Medal Act (S 2861) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) on Sept. 20, 2023, with more than 60 co-sponsors across both aisles. The bill would award a Congressional Gold Medal to former professional tennis player Billie Jean King, in recognition to her devotion to championing equal rights for all, both in sports and in society. The bill passed in the Senate on May 8 and is now in the House.

Forgotten Heroes of the Holocaust Congressional Gold Medal Act (HR 537) – This bill would award a Congressional Gold Medal to 60 diplomats posthumously in recognition of their brave and vital service of saving Jews during the Holocaust. It was introduced on Jan. 26, 2023, and sponsored by 295 co-sponsors (155 Democrats, 140 Republicans). It passed in the House on June 11 and currently lies with the Senate.

Funding for Federal Aviation, Reinforcing Supply Chains, and Deterring Iranian Terror Attacks Around the World

HR 3935, HR 4581, HR 6571, HR 3033, HR 6015, HR 5826FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (HR 3935) – This bipartisan bill reauthorizes funding and direction for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSBB) for another five years. The legislation is designed to improve air travel safety, provide increased protections for consumers, hire more people to the aviation workforce, and modernize the U.S. national airspace system for the future. It authorizes more than $105 billion for FAA funding through fiscal year 2028. The bill passed in the Senate on May 9, in the House on the next day, and was signed by the president on May 16.

Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act of 2023 (HR 4581) – introduced by Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) on July 12, 2023, this bill funds additional research and activities with the goal of preventing stillbirths. It passed in the House on May 15, 2023, and is currently in the Senate.

Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act of 2023 (HR 6571) – Introduced on Dec. 4, 2023, by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), the purpose of this bipartisan bill is to establish supply chain resiliency and a crisis response program within the Department of Commerce. Given the potential threat of pandemics, extreme climate events, and even war with anti-democracy adversaries, this bill would help secure American supply chains, reduce reliance on other countries, and develop our own emerging technology resources. The bill passed in the House on May 15 and currently lies in the Senate.

Solidify Iran Sanctions Act of 2023 (HR 3033) – The purpose of this bill is to enact a permanent requirement for the president to sanction individuals or entities that aid Iran’s ability to acquire or develop certain chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, among other provisions.

This bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) on April 28, 2023. It passed in the House on April 16 of this year and currently lies with the Senate.

Iran Sanctions Accountability Act of 2023 (HR 6015) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) on Oct. 20, 2023. The bill would establish protections to ensure that humanitarian exceptions to Iranian sanctions do not inadvertently facilitate international terrorism or the sale of weapons to terrorists. The bill passed in the House on April 16 and is now in the Senate.

No Paydays for Hostage-Takers Act (HR 5826) – This bill, which was introduced by Sen. Joe Wilson (R-SC) on Sept. 28, 2023, passed in the House on April 16 and is currently in the Senate. It would empower the president to deny a U.N. diplomatic representative entrance to the country if that person is sanctioned due to ties to terrorism and distribution of weapons of mass destruction. The bill also would require the president to issue reports to Congress on matters such as blocked Iranian assets, any U.S. hostages taken by Iran, and if travel to Iran by U.S. citizens would put them in imminent danger.

Funding Foreign Military and Humanitarian Aid, Setting up a Tik Tok Ban, and Re-Authorizing Foreign Surveillance on U.S. Soil

Funding Foreign Military and Humanitarian Aid, Setting up a Tik Tok Ban, and Re-Authorizing Foreign Surveillance on U.S. SoilUkraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 (HR 8035) – Introduced on April 17, this bill authorizes $60 billion to provide military aid to support Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion. More than a third of this allocation will fund U.S. manufacturing for the replenishment of weapons, stocks and facilities. The bill passed in the House on April 20, in the Senate on April 23, and was signed by the President on April 24. The President indicated that up to $1 billion in weapons supplies for Ukraine would begin delivery within hours.

Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 (HR 8034) – Introduced on April 17, this bill authorizes $26 billion to provide military aid to Israel with $1 billion designated for humanitarian assistance for civilian victims of the war in Gaza. The bill passed in the House on April 20, in the Senate on April 23, and was signed by the President on April 24.

Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 (HR 8036) – Introduced on April 17, this bill authorizes $8 billion in defense spending to counter Chinese aggression against Taiwan and other key U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The bill passed in the House on April 20, in the Senate on April 23, and was signed by the President on April 24.

21st Century Peace through Strength Act (HR 8038) – Also on April 24, the President signed what is referred to as the Tik Tok bill, representing the first time Congress has initiated legislation designed to ban a social media platform. In effect, the Act mandates that Chinese tech firm ByteDance has up to a year to sell the short-form video streaming app to a U.S.-owned entity or be shut down. The bill was introduced on April 17 by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), passed in the House on April 20, and in the Senate on April 23.

Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (HR 7888) – This Act reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was scheduled to expire on April 19, 2024. This bill amends previous language (from 2008) to better represent technology updates in 2024. However, the premise of the bill remains the same. It authorizes targeting surveillance data of foreigners outside the United States. No Americans, or even foreigners located in the United States, can be targeted. This bipartisan-supported bill was introduced by Rep. Laura Lee (R-FL) on April 9, passed in the House on April 12 and in the Senate on April 19. It was signed by the President on April 20.

A bill to require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to submit to Congress an annual report on projects that are over budget and behind schedule, and for other purposes (S 1258) – This bill was introduced on April 25, 2023, by Rep. Joni Ernst (R-IA). This bill would require federal agencies to make an annual report to Congress regarding the status of federally funded projects that are either more than five years behind schedule, or whose expenses have exceeded original cost estimates by $1 billion or more. The Act passed in the Senate on March 23 and currently resides in the House.

Funding the Government, Protecting Americans from Misuse of Data, Expanding Internet Access and Improving Recycling

HR 4366, HR 7521, HR 7520, HR 1752, HR 6276, HR 1046Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (HR 4366) – On March 9, the president signed the latest appropriations bill passed in time to halt a government shutdown. While this bill does authorize funding through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30), it only addresses six of the 12 bills necessary to fully fund the government. The recent legislation covers Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commerce, Justice and Science-related departments, the Energy Department, the Department of the Interior and the Environment, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. On March 23, the president signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024 (HR 2882) in the nick of time to prevent a government shutdown. This subsequent budget legislation includes the remaining spending bills to fully fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30).

Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary ControlledApplications Act (HR 7521) – Congress is currently considering a bill designed to force the sale of the social media app Tik Tok, which is currently owned by ByteDance Ltd. This Chinese firm is subject to the laws of China, which has the right to seize all data procured by the app as well as influence content for political purposes – which is considered a threat to U.S. national security.This roundly bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) on March 5. It was passed by the House on March 13 and is under consideration in the Senate.

Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024 (HR 7520) – The purpose of this bill is to prevent the current targeting, surveilling, and manipulation of user data from apps by brokers who sell sensitive information to foreign adversaries, such as China. Examples of data collected and sold include individual physical and mental health, as well as where and when they travel outside the country. This bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) on March 7. It is currently assigned to a committee for review in the House.

E-BRIDGE Act (HR 1752) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) in March 2023. It would authorize the Department of Commerce to issue economic development grants for the purpose of expanding and improving high-speed broadband service in underserved and geographically diverse markets. The bill passed in the House on March 11 and currently lies with the Senate.

USE IT Act of 2023 (HR 6276) – This Act would require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA), through the use of technology sensors, to ensure federal government building utilization and federally leased spaces average at least 60 percent in each public building over each one-year period. The bill, introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) on Nov. 7, 2023, passed in the House on March 12 and is now under consideration in the Senate.

A bill to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out certain activities to improve recycling and composting programs in the United States and for other purposes (S 1194) – This Act was introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) on April 19, 2023, and passed in the Senate on March 12. This bipartisan bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect data and issue reports on nationwide composting and recycling efforts, including implementing a national composting strategy to help reduce contamination rates for recycling. The legislation is currently under consideration in the House.

A bill to establish a pilot grant program to improve recycling accessibility and for other purposes (S 1189) – A companion bipartisan bill to S 1194, this Act would authorize the EPA to issue grants to states, local governments, Indian tribes, or public-private partnerships to fund improved recycling accessibility within communities. It was introduced by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-VA) on April 19, 2023, and passed in the Senate on March 12. It is also under consideration in the House.

Social Security Expansion Act (HR 1046) – This new bill is designed to enhance Social Security benefits and ensure the long-term solvency of the Social Security program. It was introduced on Feb. 14 by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). The bill includes the following provisions: 1) increase benefits for low earners; 2) restore student education benefits to children of deceased or disabled parents, up to age 22; 3) revise the calculation to yield higher annual COLA benefits; 3) make active trade or business income subject to the net investment income tax; 4) make all earnings above $250,000 subject to Social Security payroll taxes. The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee and has virtually no chance of being enacted by the current Congress.

Debating U.S. Border Policies and Foreign Aid, Providing Tax Relief Before Tax Season, and Training More Nurses

Formerly known as the RELIEVE Act, this bill was originally written to improve veteran eligibility for reimbursement for emergency treatment. However, the bill was altered to incorporate the Senate’s effort to combine new U.S. border policies with aid for wars abroad

The Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act (HR 815) – Formerly known as the RELIEVE Act, this bill was originally written to improve veteran eligibility for reimbursement for emergency treatment. However, the bill was altered to incorporate the Senate’s effort to combine new U.S. border policies with aid for wars abroad. On Feb. 13, the Senate passed this bill to provide $95.3 billion in aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. While the border policy portion of the bill was struck out, the Senate did manage to pass the foreign aid funding. The bill includes $4.83 billion to help deter China’s aggression against Taiwan, $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in conflict zones such as Gaza and the West Bank, $14.1 billion to support Israel’s war against Hamas, and $60 billion in aid to Ukraine. It is worth noting that about 75 percent of the Ukraine funding would be spent in the United States to refill inventories and purchase new weapons from American manufacturers. However, the House speaker has indicated he will not bring the bill to the floor for a vote until they have satisfactorily readdressed immigration policies affecting the U.S. border.

Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 (HR 7024) – This bipartisan legislation was introduced on Jan. 17 by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO). The bill includes a variety of tax-related provisions, such as enhancing the low-income housing and child tax credits, as well as offering additional tax incentives to promote economic growth for small and private business owners and entrepreneurs. The bill passed in the House on Jan. 31 and has the potential to pass in the Senate before the April tax filing deadline.

No Dollars to Uyghur Forced Labor (HR 4039) – This bill prohibits two U.S. government agencies from spending funds associated with goods procured via forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China. However, if the State Department advises Congress of evidence that no forced labor was used in making particular goods, it may waive the prohibition. The act was introduced by Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) on June 12, 2023. It passed in the House on Feb. 13 and currently lies with the Senate.

A bill to improve performance and accountability in the Federal Government and for other purposes (S 709) – This bipartisan bill was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on March 8, 2023. It is designed to improve performance and accountability within the Federal Government by re-evaluating the goals of federal agencies and authorizing a Deputy Performance Improvement Officer in addition to a Performance Improvement Officer. The act passed in the Senate on Feb. 8 and is now under consideration in the House.

Train More Nurses Act (S 2853) – This bill requires the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to research and prepare recommendations to make grant programs that support nurses more effectively. Specifically, how to increase pathways for experienced nurses to become teachers at nursing schools, particularly in underserved areas, and how to encourage more licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses. The act, which was introduced by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) on May 3, 2023, passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on Jan. 24. It is currently under review in the House.