April 1, 2019

Blocking Emergency Funds, Protecting Land, Withdrawing Troops, Spying on Russia

Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on Feb. 15 (H.J.Res. 46) – This resolution was an effort to block the national emergency declared by President Trump for the purpose of using funds previously allocated for other initiatives to build a border wall along the southern border shared with Mexico. The resolution, which was introduced on Feb. 22 by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), represents the first ever Congressional challenge to the 1976 National Emergencies Act. The initiative passed in both the House and the Senate but was then vetoed by the President on March 15.

John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act (S. 47) – This bill (renamed from Natural Resources Management Act) sets forth provisions for various programs, projects, activities and studies for the management and conservation of natural resources on federal lands. The expansive bipartisan legislation incorporates provisions from more than 70 other bills previously introduced in Congress by dozens of senators and representatives for conservation and land management projects in their jurisdictions. The bill was introduced on Jan. 8 by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). It was passed by both the House and the Senate and signed into law on March 12.

Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act of 2018 (S. 483) – PRIA 4 reauthorizes and updates the fee collection provisions and authorities available under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, as well as addresses worker protections. This newest version of PRIA provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with more resources to evaluate pesticide registrations and preserves two rules to protect workers and consumers who are exposed to pesticides in agricultural, residential and commercial settings: the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and the Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule. This legislation was introduced on Feb. 13 by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). It was passed unanimously in the House and the Senate and signed into law on March 8.

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress (S.J.Res. 7) – Throughout both the Obama and Trump administrations, the United States has supported a Saudi Arabia-led coalition to restore the pre-existing Yemeni government to power. The current civil war has been ongoing since March 2015. However, since the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was believed to have authorized the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October, public sentiment has largely turned against the Saudi regime. This joint resolution is designed to prevent the United States from fighting in or assisting in Yemen’s civil war, starting 30 days after the legislation passes. The legislation was introduced into Congress on Jan. 30 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It passed in the Senate on March 13 and has been sent to the House for consideration.

Vladimir Putin Transparency Act (H.R. 1404) – This bill was introduced by Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) on Feb. 27. It passed in the House on March 12 and is now with the Senate for consideration. This bill would direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress about Russian President Vladimir Putin on matters concerning his estimated net worth and known sources of income; intermediaries, including shell companies, that he uses; and the identities of senior Russian officials and oligarchs who facilitate his corrupt acts.

KREMLIN Act (H.R. 1617) – This bill was introduced on March 7 by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). The legislation would authorize the Director of National Intelligence to submit ongoing assessments of the intentions of the political leadership of the Russian Federation, and for other purposes. This bill passed in the House on March 12 and is now in the Senate.