Articles From December 2011
Some dominated the headlines, some never got a vote. The bills that moved people to contact Congress in 2011 span the gamut from jobs to taxes, internet policy and immigration.
POPVOX compiled the top 50 bills that were important to you in 2011, along with a "where are they now." And check out the slide show featuring the Top Ten.
A Congressional session is two years long. These bills are still pending. If you have not already told Congress what you think, click the link to register your opinion and POPVOX will deliver your message.
- Bill #1H.R. 3035: Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 - "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to permit informational calls to mobile telephone numbers..."
H.R. 3035 was pulled by its sponsor and is no longer being considered.
- Bill #2H.R. 25: Fair Tax Act of 2011 - "To promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States."
H.R. 25 was the subject of a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. It did not receive a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #3H.R. 2306: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 - "To limit the application of Federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marihuana, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2306 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #4H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act - "prohibits taxpayer funded abortions and provides for conscience protections.
H.R. 3 passed the House on May 4, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #5H.R. 2: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act - "To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010."
H.R. 2 passed the House on January 19, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #6H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) - "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3261 is being considered in the House Judiciary Committee, mark-up is ongoing.
- Bill #7S. 724: Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011 - "A bill to appropriate such funds as may be necessary to ensure that members of the Armed Forces... receive pay and allowances (in the event of a government shutdown)"
S. 724 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #8H.R. 822: National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 - "to provide a national standard in accordance with which nonresidents of a State may carry concealed firearms in the State"
H.R. 822 passed the House on Nov 16, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #9S. 13: Fair Tax Act of 2011 - "A bill to promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the States."
S. 13 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #10H.R. 589: Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011 - "To amend title IV of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 to provide for additional weeks of first-tier emergency unemployment compensation"
H.R. 589 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #11H.R. 96: Internet Freedom Act - "To prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet. "
H.R. 96 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #12H.R. 308: Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act - To prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices, and for other purposes"
H.R. 308 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #13S. 1176: American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 - to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption
S. 1176 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #14S. 1549: American Jobs Act of 2011 - "A bill to provide tax relief for American workers and businesses, to put workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America, and to provide pathways back to work for Americans looking for jobs."
S. 1549 was reported out of committee on Sep 14, 2011.
- Bill #15H.R. 1380: New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011 - to encourage alternative energy investments and job creation.
S. 1380 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #16S. 1108: 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2011 - A bill to provide local communities with tools to make solar permitting more efficient, and for other purposes.
S. 1108 was reported out of committee on Dec 15, 2011.
- Bill #17S. 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PIPA) - "A bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes."
S. 968 was reported out of committee on May 26, 2011.
- Bill #18H.J.Res. 17: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.
H.J.Res 17 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #19H.R. 21: Reclaiming Individual Liberty Act - "To repeal the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance."
H.R. 21 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #20H.R. 1116: Respect for Marriage Act - "To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage."
H.R.1116 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #21S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act (Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act) - "Assist states and outlying areas in providing special education and related services to children with disabilities. Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to increase excise taxes on cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco."
S. 1403 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #22H.R. 2560: Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011 - "To cut, cap, and balance the Federal budget."
H.R. 2560 passed the House on Jul 19, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #23H.R. 1297: Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act of 2011 - "A bill to appropriate such funds as may be necessary to ensure that members of the Armed Forces... receive pay and allowances (in the event of a government shutdown)"
H.R. 1297 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #24H.R. 1983: States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act - "To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana and for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States."
H.R. 1983 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #25H.R. 3630: Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 - to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, provide for the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3630 passed the House Dec 13, 2011 and passed the Senate on Dec 17, 2011.
It was signed into law by the President on Dec 23, 2011.
- Bill #26H.R. 223: Federal Prison Bureau Nonviolent Offender Relief Act of 2011 - to provide an alternate release date for certain nonviolent offenders
H.R. 223 has not received a vote in either chamber.
H.R 87 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #28H.R. 3012: Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011 - "to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants."
H.R. 3012 passed the House on Nov 29, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #29H.Res. 135: Holding Congress Accountable Act of 2011 - "Requiring the posting of information on the disbursements made during each session of Congress from the Members’ Representational Allowance on official public Internet sites of the House of Representatives"
H.Res 135 has not received a vote in the House.
- Bill #30S.J.Res. 23: A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to balancing the budget
S.J.Res 23 was reported out of committee on Jun 30, 2011.
- Bill #31H.R. 153: Ensuring Affordable Energy Act - "To prohibit funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to be used to implement or enforce a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases"
H.R. 153 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #32H.J.Res. 16: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the sixteenth article of amendment (authorizing taxation of income).
H.J.Res 16 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #33H.R. 601: End Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act of 2011 - to repeal fossil fuel subsidies for large oil companies.
H.R. 601 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #34H.R. 2966: American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 - "to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption"
H.R. 2966 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #35H.R. 1124: Fairness in Taxation Act of 2011 - "to impose increased rates of tax with respect to taxpayers with more than $1,000,000 taxable income."
H.R. 1124 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #36H.R. 29: To provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
H.R. 29 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #37H.R. 1174: Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act - "to provide for the licensing of Internet gambling activities by the Secretary of the Treasury, to provide for consumer protections on the Internet, to enforce the tax code, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1174 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #38S. 1867: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) - "To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense...)
S. 1867 passed the House on Nov 15, 2011 and passed the Senate on Dec 1, 2011.
It was signed into law by the President on Dec 19, 2011.
- Bill #39H.R. 2615: Second Amendment Protection Act of 2011
H.R. 2615 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #40H.R. 140: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 - "To clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth."
H.R. 140 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #41H.Con.Res. 34: Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2012 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 through 2021 (Ryan Budget)
H.Con.Res. 34 passed the House on Apr 15, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #42H.R. 12: American Jobs Act of 2011 - "To provide tax relief for American workers and businesses, to put workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America, and to provide pathways back to work for Americans looking for jobs."
H.R. 12 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #43H.R. 358: Protect Life Act - "To modify special rules relating to coverage of abortion services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "
H.R. 358 passed the house on Oct 13, 2011.
- Bill #44H.R. 43: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the diversity immigrant program and to re-allocate those visas to certain employment-based immigrants who obtain an advanced degree in the United States.
H.R. 43 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #45S. 679: Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011
S. 679 passed the Senate on Jun 29, 2011 and is pending in the House.
- Bill #46H.R. 1351: United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011 - recalculating the amount of any Postal surplus or supplemental liability under the Civil Service Retirement System
H.R. 1351 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #47S. 1301: Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 - "appropriations for fiscal years 2012 through 2015 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to enhance measures to combat trafficking in persons"
S. 1301 was reported out of committee on Oct 13, 2011.
- Bill #48H.Con.Res. 13: Reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States
H.Con.Res. 13 passed the House on Nov 1, 2011 and is pending in the Senate.
- Bill #49H.R. 2028: Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011
H.R. 2028 has not received a vote in either chamber.
- Bill #50H.R. 1: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011
H.R 1 passed the House on Feb 19, 2011.
Round Up: Week of 12/19
- HJRes 96 Proposes a Constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms that a Member of Congress may serve to 4 in the House of Representatives and 2 in the Senate. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3737 The Unlocking Lifesaving Treatments for Rare-Diseases Act (ULTRA) amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to fast track approval of certain orphan drugs. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3747 The Permanent AMT Relief Act amends the tax code to increase the alternative minimum tax exemption amount and index such amount for inflation. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3638 The Act for the 99% includes emergency jobs legislation, revenue raisers, cuts to unnecessary weapons platforms and measures to strengthen and protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, according to the bill sponsors. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3676 Amends the detainee provisions of the NDAA to specifically state that United States citizens may not be detained against their will without all the rights of due process afforded to citizens in a court ordained or established by or under Article III of the Constitution. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3702 The Due Process Guarantee Act (also S 2003) clarifies that an authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3704 The Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act ensures the humane slaughter of nonambulatory livestock. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3720 The New Illegal Deduction Elimination (New IDEA) Act clarifies that wages and benefits paid to illegals are not tax deductible and gives employers "safe harbor" if they use the E-verify program, according to the bill sponsor. (Just introduced.)
- S 2017 The Democracy Restoration Act (also HR 2212) secures the Federal voting rights of persons when released from incarceration. (Just introduced.)
- S 1994 The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act prohibits deceptive practices in Federal elections. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3709 Amends the War Powers Resolution to limit the use of funds for introduction of the Armed Forces into hostilities. (Just introduced.)
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.
'Tis the season for families, big dinners and political discussions! Finally, a chance to discuss all of those forwarded emails in person -- over egg nog or latkes or football.
We at POPVOX send our best wishes for your celebrations. Here's a little present from our team: breaking down the "most asked about" forwarded email of the year, the "Congressional Reform Amendment." We hope it spices up your holiday discussions... and please, if your relatives start discussing something pending in Congress -- tell them about POPVOX!
Many have written into the POPVOX team asking about the "Congressional Reform Act of 2011" or the "28th Amendment." As explained by several sources (Snopes, FactCheck, UrbanLegends) the Congressional Reform Act is not really a bill. It has never been introduced in Congress. However, there are several actual bills that are similar to those described in the many forwarded emails. We hope you will weigh in on these bills and let Congress know what you think:
- CONGRESSIONAL PAY
- CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
- CONGRESSIONAL HEALTH CARE
- CONGRESSIONAL PENSIONS
- TERM LIMITS
- INVESTMENTS BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
- Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) (S 1903) prohibits commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, and requires additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transactions.
- Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (S 1871) prohibits commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, and requires additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transactions.
In a blog post about advocacy tactics for individuals, Clay Johnson wrote that POPVOX is not tactical enough. I wanted to take a quick moment to respond in particular to:
"Organizations like PopVox and Votizen . . . don't . . . go far enough for two reasons. The first is tactical: people are already communicating with members of Congress using the tools they want to communicate with: Facebook, Twitter, the Email, and the Telephone. . . . If Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ allowed for people to associate their various legislative districts to their profile, and defaulted to making that public, that'd go a long way."
We've long been working on how to use existing social media tools better in advocacy, and if we haven't gone far enough then it's because farther is not yet practical. We have already begun to offer Congressional staff the ability to see more information about the individuals posting on their official Facebook Pages, and we have talked with a number of staffers about it, but Congressional offices so far are just not particularly interested in using their social media accounts in new ways. Until they get their traditional constituent correspondence system into a better shape, which by the way already gives them a wealth of information about what their constituents are saying, I don't know if they really stand much to gain from tapping a whole new medium. For more on our work here, see our Analysis of Who's Posting on Congressional Facebook Pages.
I also want to respond to:
"The second is personal and ideological: having a single for-profit business be the gateway between people and Congress seems like a heap-of-trouble in the long term -- though I have to say I really love the team at Popvox and would probably trust them."
I appreciate the love, but I think ideological fears are not very useful. The non-profit model has its place, but I've found that nonprofits have agendas just like everyone else. And not to mention, all of the major social media channels that Clay is advocacting we use are for-profit, and I've personally been doing open government work under a for-profit model for seven years and I've never been told that that was not good enough!
Anyway, I have a lot of respect for Clay --- I've pre-ordered his book --- so I am glad we are able to debate how to make advocacy better.
Don't worry, it's not just you! EVERYONE is confused about what is going on with the payroll tax cut extension bill. Here's an attempt to put it in English:
- The original House bill HR 3630 (360 pages), introduced by Ways and Means Chairman, Dave Camp, on December 9, was far reaching. It contained a 1-year extension and some policy changes for the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance (UI), physician standard growth rate (SGR), and flood insurance (and some policy changes to these programs). It also contained Keystone Pipeline expedited permitting procedures, broadband spectrum auction, some legislative stays on pending regulations, and several other provisions. HR 3630 passed the House on December 13 and was sent to the Senate.
- The Senate majority disagreed with the House bill and "amended" it by deleting basically all of its text and inserting its own amendment (34 pages) that provided a 2-month extension of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance, physician standard growth rate (SGR), and flood insurance, expedited Keystone Pipeline consideration, and several other provisions. HR 3630 passed the Senate on December 17 and was sent back to the House.
- According to reports, the House Leadership did not want its Members to have to vote against the Senate bill, but did not agree with a 2-month extension, so instead voted on HRes 501 (5 pages) laying out its priorities. This resolution describes the issues (a lot of "whereas"es), and lays out the approach the House majority wants to see: extend payroll tax holiday through 2012, extend and reform UI, implement a 2-year SGR fix, find other cuts, expedite Keystone pipeline consideration, capital assets expensing, and new boiler MACT rules. (Apoloogies for the acronyms.) HRes 501 passed the House on December 20.
- The House also voted on H.Res 502, which disapproved of the Senate amendment to HR 3630 and requested a conference to resolve differences. HRes 501 passed the House on December 20.
So isn't this weird for the House to send HR 3630 to conference without passing it? Yes. Usually a conference committee is set up to resolve differences between different bills that passed both chambers. In this case, the only documents for a conference committee to work from are the last version of HR 3630 that passed the Senate and HRes 501 laying out House priorities.
(Update: Our CTO and co-founder Josh tauberer points out that the House actually DID pass the original HR 3630, so the conference could technically be resolving those two bills, with HRes 502 simply the instruction to go to conference on those two bills. That makes a lot more sense.)
The Game of Chicken:
So now the House is telling the Senate to come back and appoint conferees and have a conference to come up with a new bill that would have a longer-term fix.
The Senate is telling the House that it won't come back and the House should just pass HR 3630 as amended by the Senate (the 2-month fix.)
People are weighing in on HR 3630 with POPVOX:
- (For the most part) those who oppose the current HR 3630 (the 2-month Senate fix) are supporting the House majority -- and in favor of the Senate coming back to conference on a new bill.
- Those who support the current HR 3630 support the 2-month Senate version and are telling the House to pass it in its current form.
This situation is challenging. If you are looking to measure how sentiment may have changed as the bill itself made its way through the process, you should look to the line graph on the bill report. Most input on HR 3630 has come in over the past 24 hours, and therefore relates to the current version. Update: That means that letters on this bill will be sent first to Representatives in the House, since HR 3630 is pending in the House.
Hope this helps -- if you have additional questions, please add them in comments and we will try to get them answered for you.
POPVOX is neutral - we don’t take sides, we don’t endorse, we just get messages to Congress in the most effective way possible. Almost daily, we get questions about what makes up a great grassroots campaign -- how individuals and groups can truly reach Congress and have an impact, instead of just adding to the noise of the hundreds of millions of messages bombarding Congress each year.
As Rachna recently wrote, the efforts of consumer and privacy advocates opposed to H.R. 3035, the Mobile Informational Call Act, provide a unique success story. The advocates leveraged tools like POPVOX to get the message out in just the right way to have major impact. And to his great credit, the bill’s sponsor, Lee Terry, listened. How did they do it? A timeline of the efforts of the past three months present a textbook example of what a grassroots campaign should do: demonstrate support from real people, rally polifluentials and local press, engage with the official process, gain national attention, and effectively get the message to Congress.HR 3035: A Textbook Example of Successful Grassroots AdvocacyView more presentations from POPVOX
Last week, the sponsor of the Mobile Information Call Act killed his own bill. In a letter to the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Lee Terry asked that his own legislation not be advanced.
The Congressman explained on his Facebook page: "After listening to concerned constituents, today I have asked House leadership to not advance HR 3035, the Mobile Informational Call Act."
When POPVOX co-founder, Marci Harris, and I first heard about this turn of events, we did a collective, "Say what?" It is indeed an unusual move on Rep. Terry's part -- but it's a great demonstration of Congress actually listening to constituents.
Nationwide, more than 10,000 people sent messages to Congress opposing HR 3035 through the POPVOX platform. Opposition for the bill was equally overwhelming in Rep. Terry's Congressional district, NE-2, (97%) as it was across Nebraska (98%) and the nation (99%).
I frequently get asked by POPVOX users for examples of bills that were propelled (or derailed) with the help of POPVOX's platform. This one will certainly top my list. It's also an example of why the POPVOX platform is so effective:
- POPVOX.com's neutral, nonpartisan platform gave a 360-degree view of HR 3035. Our HR 3035 bill page gave users information on which organizations supported and opposed the bill and what others were saying about it.
- POPVOX delivered every message to the appropriate Members of Congress and offered confirmation of delivery. For individuals that are skeptical of petitions or the "contact Congress" model of advocacy, POPVOX is both transparent and accountable. (You can find the confirmation for your message on your POPVOX homepage.)
- POPVOX enables everyone to see the "big picture." Have you seen the map of support vs. opposition on HR 3035? It’s pretty powerful to see that people have weighed in from every state.
- POPVOX’s free widgets can empower organizations and individuals to mobilize others.
Citizens for Civil Discourse, a nonprofit organization, began working with POPVOX in October, soon after the bill was introduced. The organization embedded a POPVOX Write Congress widget onto their website and asked their network to oppose the bill. (See their profile on POPVOX.)
Then, in early November, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller testified before Congress against HR 3035. He then urged Indianans to go to POPVOX.com to oppose the bill. "I'm not trying to shut down Congress with a lot of calls. I respect the hassles of too many calls," Mr. Zoeller told the Journal Gazette. "But I do think this is a representative government. People need to be heard."
We pulled together a list of bills related to the National Guard to mark the Guard's 375th birthday, which was celebrated this week. (The origin of the nation's state National Guard organizations sprang from the forming of militia in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 17th century, according to the DOD.) On behalf of the POPVOX team, I'd like to extend a special thank you to those serving in the National Guard.
On the 375th Birthday of the National Guard
- S 1839 National Guard & Reserve Soft Landing Reintegration Act provides for the retention of members of the reserve components on active duty for a period of 45 days following an extended deployment in contingency operations or homeland defense missions to support their reintegration into civilian life.
- S 1579 National Guard Basic Allowance for Housing Equity Act provides that the basic allowance for housing in effect for a member of the National Guard is not reduced when the member transitions between active duty and full-time National Guard duty without a break in active service.
- S 491 Honor America's Guard-Reserve Retirees Act (and HR 1025) recognizes the service in the reserve components of the Armed Forces of certain persons by honoring them with status as veterans under law.
- HR 1169 National Guard Technician Equity Act eliminates inequities in the treatment of National Guard technicians; reduces the eligibility age for retirement for non-Regular service.
- S 1025 National Guard Empowerment and State-National Defense Integration Act enhances the national defense through empowerment of the National Guard, enhancement of the functions of the National Guard Bureau, and improvement of Federal-State military coordination in domestic emergency response.
- HR 1197 National Guard Retention & College Access Act encourages the enlistment and retention of persons in the D.C. National Guard by providing financial assistance to enable members of the D.C. National Guard to attend undergraduate, vocational, or technical courses.
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.
Here are the bills that caught the attention of the POPVOX team and POPVOXnation this past week, or were considered on the House or Senate floors. Have a bill you'd like spotlighted on POPVOX's Bill Page? Send me an email at email@example.com. And on behalf of the POPVOX team, thanks for using POPVOX!
Round Up: Week of 12/12
- HR 3671 The Consolidated Appropriations Act makes consolidated appropriations for the FY ending Sept. 30, 2012. (House vote)
- HR 3672 The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act makes appropriations for disaster relief requirements for the FY ending Sept. 30, 2012 (House vote)
- SJRes 10 The Balanced Budget Amendment requires a balanced budget, a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes and a spending limit of 18% of gross domestic product. (Senate vote)
- SJRes 24 The Balanced Budget Amendment requires a balanced budget each year unless three-fifths of each house votes to waive the requirement; protects Social Security from any balanced-budget requirement; and prohibits tax breaks for millionaires unless there are budget surpluses. (Senate vote)
- HR 1905 The Iran Threat Reduction Act strengthens Iran sanctions laws for the purpose of compelling Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other threatening activities. (House vote)
- HR 2105 The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act provides for the application of measures to foreign persons who transfer to Iran, North Korea, and Syria certain goods, services, or technology. (House vote)
- HR 3543 The Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act overturns Illinois' prohibition on concealed weapons and allow nonresidents with valid permits in their home states to carry concealed weapons in Illinois, according to the sponsor. (Just introduced.)
- HRes 490 HRes 490: Expressing no confidence in the Attorney General. (Just introduced.)
- HR 3261 The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) promotes prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property. (House committee markup)
- HR 3612 The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act clarifies presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam. (Just introduced.)
- S 1944 The Middle Class Tax Cut Act (Senate Democratic proposal) cuts in half (from 6.2% to 3.1%) payroll tax paid by employees and the self-employed in 2012, increases the fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge mortgage lenders to guarantee repayment of new mortgage loans, and is paid for by a temporary millionaires surtax, according to the bill's sponsor. (Just introduced.)
- S 1960 The Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act extends the Payroll Tax Cut, creates jobs by cutting taxes for businesses and investing in transportation infrastructure, and is paid-for with a surtax on millionaires, according to the bill's sponsors. (Just introduced.)
- SJRes 33 The Saving American Democracy Amendment (and The OCCUPIED Amendment) proposes a Constitutional amendment to expressly exclude for-profit corporations from the rights given to natural persons by the Constitution, prohibit corporate spending in all elections, and affirm the authority of Congress and the States to regulate corporations and to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures. (Just introduced.)
- HR 2885 The Legal Workforce Act (or E-Verify Act) makes mandatory and permanent requirements relating to use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system.
- HR 3573 The RISE Out of Poverty Act reauthorizes and amends the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) and related programs. (Just introduced.)
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill doesn't imply a POPVOX endorsement in any way. Rather, we're simply trying to offer one more way to stay informed of an overwhelmingly complex legislative system.
SOPA Supporters, Opponents Make Last-Ditch Efforts Ahead of Hearing in TalkingPointsMemo
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261, will be "marked up" in the House Judiciary Committee on December 15. This means that the committee will consider amendments and vote on a final version. If the bill passes, it will be "reported out of committee" and ready for consideration by the full House of Representatives (the "Committee of the Whole.")
It is customary in a markup for the chairman to introduce a "Chairman's Mark," a refined version of the introduced bill that contains any technical changes (and in some cases substantive changes) that the chairman wants included. This is the first amendment considered by the committee, and will be the version that gets "marked up" with subsequent amendments. Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith made his mark public on Monday, (language here and an in-depth discussion at BNA.)
See the map below for more information on the members of the Judiciary Committee and the location of their districts. Note that those with a gold ring have signed on as co-sponsors and can be expected to support the bill. Importantly, these include the most senior committee members of both parties -- the chairman, Lamar Smith (sponsor of the bill) and the Ranking Minority member, John Conyers.
As always - POPVOX is neutral. Highlighting a bill does not indicate endorsement.
A bill was recently introduced related to Vietnam Veterans and exposure to "Agent Orange," so we pulled together some similar bills to share with POPVOX users. We hope you'll take the time to read others' comments before you weigh in for yourself and send a message to your Members of Congress.
According to the Veterans Administration, the military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange, a specific blend of herbicides, on trees and vegetation that provided cover for enemy forces during the Vietnam era. (Learn more.)
Agent Orange and Vietnam Veterans
- HR 3612 Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act extends coverage and associated benefits with “Agent Orange” exposure to blue water veterans who served up to 12 miles off-shore in Vietnam, according to the bill's sponsor. (Just introduced.)
- S 1629 Agent Orange Equity Act (and HR 812) clarifies presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam.
- HR 2634 Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act directs the Secretary of State to provide assistance for certain individuals affected by exposure to Agent Orange and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enhance the availability of medical care for descendants of veterans of the Vietnam era.
- HRes 184 H.Res. 184: Expressing support for designation of a "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day".
- S 873 S 873 provides benefits for children with spina bifida of veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in the Armed Forces during the Vietnam era outside Vietnam.
Round Up: Week of 12/5
- S 1944 The Middle Class Tax Cut Act cuts in half (from 6.2% to 3.1%) payroll tax paid by employees and the self-employed in 2012, increases the fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge mortgage lenders to guarantee repayment of new mortgage loans, and is paid for by a temporary millionaires surtax, according to the bill's sponsor.
- S 1960 The Bipartisan Jobs Creation Act extends the Payroll Tax Cut, creates jobs by cutting taxes for businesses and investing in transportation infrastructure, and is paid-for with a surtax on millionaires, according to the bill's sponsors.
- HR 1148 The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) prohibits commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, and requires additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transactions.
- S 1947 The Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act prohibits attendance of an animal fighting venture.
- HR 3538 HR 3538 amends the Railway Labor Act to direct the National Mediation Board to apply the same procedures, including voting standards, to the direct decertification of a labor organization as is applied to elections to certify a representative.
- S 1945 S 1945 (and HR 3572) permits the televising of Supreme Court proceedings.
- HR 3346 The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act provides for the continuation of certain unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the year.
- HR 3565 The Reconnecting Congress with America (RCWA) Act reduces the salaries of Members of Congress if a Federal budget deficit exists, and prohibits commodities and securities trading based on non-public information relating to Congress.
- HR 3540 The Military Families Child Care Assistance Act increases the tax benefits for child care assistance for military families.
- S 1925 The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
- S 1932 S 1932 requires the Secretary of State to act on a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
- HR 1254The Synthetic Drug Control Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to place synthetic drugs in Schedule I.
- HR 313The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act clarifies that persons who enter into a conspiracy within the U.S. to possess or traffic illegal controlled substances outside the U.S., or engage in conduct within the U.S. to aid or abet drug trafficking outside the U.S., may be criminally prosecuted in the U.S.
Attention Congressional Staff - Join us this Friday for tips on using POPVOX to:
Research & craft bill recommendations
Write better constituent letters
Find potential organizational allies and Congressional co-sponsors
and much more!
December 9, Capitol Visitor's Center (House Side) Room, 201 (HVC-201)
10:00 AM Tips for Legislative Correspondents and Mail Managers (session repeated at 1:00 PM)
11:00 AM POPVOX for Communications and Press Staff
12:00 PM Tools for Legislative Assistants and Committee Staff
1:00 PM Tips for Legislative Correspondents and Mail Managers (same as 10:00 AM session)
2:30 PM Leveraging Grassroots efforts with POPVOX (session is open to the public)
Each session will include an overview of tools designed for legislative staff on POPVOX, including a demo of the new iPad app, MarkUp, followed by Q&A and a chance to tell the POPVOX team what you want to see next.
RSVP or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Defense Authorization Bill, S. 1867, generated a lot of buzz last week. The bill passed the Senate and now heads to conference with the House (merging with H.R.1540). The resulting conferenced bill will go back to both the House and Senate for a vote. Below is the sentiment map as of December 5 for S. 1867.
Last week, we began experimenting by posting sentiment map graphics on bills of interest on Google Plus and Tumblr. We realized that these platforms provide a great space for sharing visuals -- and we think the POPVOX maps (showing what people across the country think about the bills in Congress) are pretty darn cool.
The response has been great -- with lots of sharing and positive comments, so we thought why not share on the blog. Let us know what you think -- and if there is a sentiment map you would like to see make the morning cut.
We posted a map for HR 2471 this morning. It will get a vote in the House next week:
And please check us out across the social netorks:
World AIDS Day is held on 1st of December each year, since 1988, when it became the first ever global health day. POPVOX has compiled these bills related to HIV/AIDS. Please weigh in and share with your friends and networks.
Commemorating World AIDS Day
- HR 3053 The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act eliminates discrimination in the law for those who have tested positive for HIV.
- HR 3324 The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act provides for the reduction of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and the promotion of healthy relationships.
- HRes 362 HRes 362: Supporting the goals and ideals of National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day.
- HR 1880 The Status Report on the 30th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS Act requires, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS, reporting on the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and on the status of international progress towards achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment.
- HR 1774 The Increasing Access to Voluntary Screening for HIV/AIDS and STIs Act provides for an evidence-based strategy for voluntary screening for HIV/AIDS and other common sexually transmitted infections.
- HR 1085 The Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act eliminates the abstinence-only education program (and S 578).
- HR 1319 The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act promotes the sexual and reproductive health of individuals and couples in developing countries.
(For media inquiries, please contact Marci Harris, POPVOX’s CEO, at email@example.com.)
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 21, 2013
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 20, 2013
- The Week Ahead: May 20 - 25
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 17, 2013
- What to Watch in Congress - Week of May 19
- The POPVOX Top 20: May 10 - 16
- Issue Spotlight: Firearms and Gun Control
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 16, 2013
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 15, 2013
- POPVOX Daily Digest - May 14, 2013