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So far David Rugg has created 77 blog entries.

H. R. 1876, Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017.

Bill Summary:

This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to shield a health care professional from liability under federal or state law for harm caused by any act or omission if: (1) the professional is serving as a volunteer in response to a disaster; and (2) the act or omission occurs during the period of the disaster, in the professional’s capacity as a volunteer, and in a good faith belief that the individual being treated is in need of health care services. This protection from liability does not apply if: (1) the harm was caused by an act or omission constituting willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed; or (2) the professional rendered the health care services under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating drug.

Bill Sponsor: Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)


H. R. 1876, Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017. 2018-05-27T18:19:44+00:00

S. 2372, (VA MISSION) Act of 2018.

This bill — the known as the VA MISSION Act — would establish the Veterans Community Care Program to improve veterans’ access to care through non-VA, community providers when comparable Dept. of Veterans Affairs would be deficient in quality, timeliness, or cause a hardship to the veteran. It would also start a multi-year process for reviewing VA facilities and infrastructure to modernize and realign the VA’s services with the needs of veterans.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“There is little debate that the VA MISSION Act is better than the current Veterans Choice Program. In fact, ninety percent of the provisions included in this bill were negotiated on a bipartisan basis and through regular order. Unfortunately, the bill lacks a sustainable source of funding necessary to ensure that veterans’ access to quality healthcare as well as other vital VA programs continue to be sufficiently funded, administered, and protected in the long term.

“CBO has estimated that the VA MISSION Act will cost roughly $47 billion over five years. As it stands today, current budget caps will not allow for this level of spending to occur without requiring cuts to existing VA programs. This means programs investing in VA infrastructure, direct patient care, suicide prevention, medical research, job training, and much more could face cuts in funding in order to pay for care in the community under this new plan. Clearly, this paints a stark picture of a VA forced to cannibalize itself in order to pay for private care. It is unfortunate that an important and commonsense amendment I offered in committee earlier this month to fix this issue was not included in today’s legislation. Congress will inevitably have to find a solution before the end of FY2019.”(Source: Representative Tim Walz, Ranking Member, The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs)

More Info See Bill


S. 2372, (VA MISSION) Act of 2018. 2018-05-21T18:44:49+00:00

H. R. 5645, Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2018.

This bill To amend the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act to provide that the Federal Trade Commission shall exercise authority with respect to mergers only under the Clayton Act and only in the same procedural manner as the Attorney General exercises such authority.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“This bill would significantly undermine the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to enforce the nation’s antitrust laws, which help protect Americans from anti-competitive behavior in the marketplace.  In the guise of ‘harmonization’ with the Department of Justice, it would eliminate the FTC’s administrative litigation enforcement authority with respect to corporate mergers and other transactions.  It would also change—and potentially increase—the burden the FTC must demonstrate in court when seeking a preliminary injunction of a proposed merger.” (Source: Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee)

“We write to express concern about H.R. 5645—Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2018. After close review, the Open Markets Institute has concluded that the bill would dangerously reduce the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to protect American citizens from concentrations of power that threaten them politically and economically. Worse, it would do so exactly at a moment when we need a stronger and more active FTC.” (Source: Open Markets Institute)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 5645, Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2018. 2018-05-16T22:06:31+00:00

H. R. 3144, To provide for operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System.

Full title: To provide for operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System pursuant to a certain operation plan for a specified period of time, and for other purposes.

This bill requires the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) in a manner consistent with the document titled “Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) Supplemental Biological Opinion,” dated January 17, 2014, until the later of September 30, 2022, or the date upon which a subsequent final biological opinion for FCRPS operations is in effect with no pending further judicial review. Such entities may amend the supplemental opinion and operate the FCRPS accordingly before such date if the entities agree that: (1) the amendments are necessary for public safety or transmission and grid reliability; or (2) the actions, operations, or other requirements that the amendments remove are no longer warranted. No structural modification, action, study, or engineering plan may restrict electrical generation at any FCRPS hydroelectric dam or limit navigation on the Snake River in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho unless authorized by Congress.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

H.R. 3144 fundamentally violates our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act. Federal agencies and courts have concluded that the Federal Columbia River Power System causes significant harm to the Columbia River’s native fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce has found that the estimated “current annual salmon and steelhead production in the Columbia River Basin is more than 10 million fish below historical levels, with 8 million of this annual loss attributable to hydropower development and operation.”\1\ As a result, there are thirteen species or populations of Columbia or Snake River salmon and steelhead that are listed as either endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Instead of allowing responsive, science-based fisheries management that will recover these listed species, H.R. 3144 locks in a failing status quo operation plan that unquestionably harms some of our nation’s most iconic fisheries.” (Source: Minority Views, Committee on Natural Resources, Report 115-643)

“LCV (League of Conservation Voters) urges you to vote NO on H.R. 3144, a bill to deal with the Federal Columbia River Power System, also known as the “Salmon Extinction Act,” which would undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by mandating dam operations harmful to endangered salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. H.R. 3144 would overturn two U.S. District Court decisions in 2016 and 2017 that found that current Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) operations illegally endanger the Pacific Northwest’s salmon runs. The court found that the most recent plan for managing the FCRPS dams violated the ESA and NEPA, would not protect wild salmon from extinction, and would cause irreparable harm to salmon already facing extinction.” (Source: Letter from the League of Conservation Voters)

“As Governor of the State of Washington, I write to express my deep concerns with HR 3144, legislation which would freeze in place a 2014 biological opinion (BiOp), or salmon management plan, for the dams composing the Federal Columbia River Power System. While the State of Washington believes the 2014 BiOp represented a step forward for efforts to protect and recover 13 stocks of threatened or endangered Columbia and Snake river salmon and steelhead, HR 3144 would thwart constructive ongoing efforts to improve future salmon and dam management. This would not only hurt salmon but also the recreational and commercial fisheries, tribes, and other species (such as Puget Sound’s southern resident killer whales) that benefit from healthy salmon runs.” (Source: Letter from the Office of Governor, State of Washington)

“As Governor of the State of Oregon, I write expressing deep concerns with HR 3144. I am concerned this legislation would thwart fewer court direction to provide additional spill at dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers and the collaborative state, tribal and federal process that has worked effectively to develop spill provisions for 2018. These court-ordered collaborative efforts resulted in consensus recommendations from all sovereigns, representing a positive, and unprecedented, step forward in building stronger consensus from recovery actions. HR 3144 would negate this progress and our ability to implement and learn from these consensus recommendations.” (Source: Letter from Governor, State of Oregon)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 3144, To provide for operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System. 2018-04-26T08:46:25+00:00

H. R. 5358, DRIVE-Safe Act.

Bill Summary:

This bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations relating to commercial motor vehicle drivers under the age of 21, and for other purposes.

Bill Sponsor: Duncan Hunter (R-CA)


H. R. 5358, DRIVE-Safe Act. 2018-04-19T09:03:48+00:00

H.R. 4790, Volcker Rule Regulatory Harmonization Act.

This bill amends the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 to exempt from the Volcker Rule banks with total assets: (1) of $10 billion or less, and (2) comprised of 5% or less of trading assets and liabilities. (The Volcker Rule prohibits banking agencies from engaging in proprietary trading or entering into certain relationships with hedge funds and private-equity funds.) The bill also grants exclusive rulemaking authority under the Volcker Rule to the Federal Reserve Board. (Currently, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission also have regulatory authority under the Volcker Rule.)

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

H.R. 4790 is the latest attempt to weaken the Volcker Rule, a cornerstone of Wall Street reform enacted in the wake of the financial crisis that prohibits taxpayer-backed banks from risky proprietary trading and from owning hedge and private equity funds. The bill would create a dangerous loophole by providing a blanket exemption from the Volcker Rule for banks with consolidated assets of $10 billion or less and with less than 5% of those assets in trading assets. The bill would also delegate sole rulemaking authority on the Volcker Rule to the Federal Reserve, inappropriately and unnecessarily taking away the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and making it easier for the Trump Administration to weaken or repeal the rule.” (Source: Minority Views, Committee on Financial Services Report 115-621)

“HR 4790 contains several measures that would significantly weaken implementation of the Volcker Rule. First, the bill would grant sole rulemaking authority for Volcker implementation to the Federal Reserve, as opposed to the multiple agencies that currently have responsibility. Delegating sole rulemaking authority to the Federal Reserve would cut the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) entirely out of the implementation of the rule. Yet a core purpose of the Volcker Rule is to prevent deposit insurance funds from being used to finance speculative trading. The FDIC is the custodian and institutional protector of the deposit insurance fund, but HR 4790 would entirely eliminate their role in writing and interpreting the rule. This would greatly weaken the interpretation of the rule and its enforcement. The FDIC does not directly oversee any of the largest trading banks or trading desks, so eliminating the FDIC’s role in rulemaking would effectively eliminate them from implementation of the Volcker Rule. Defining the Federal Reserve as the sole rulemaking agency would also have the effect of significantly speeding up and facilitating the Trump Administration’s announced agenda of weakening Volcker Rule restrictions on proprietary trading.” (Source: Americans for Financial Reform)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 4790, Volcker Rule Regulatory Harmonization Act. 2018-04-14T20:42:44+00:00

H. J. Res. 2, Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment.

This joint resolution proposes a constitutional amendment prohibiting total outlays for a fiscal year from exceeding total receipts for that fiscal year unless Congress authorizes the excess by a three-fifths roll call vote of each chamber. The prohibition excludes outlays for repayment of debt principal and receipts derived from borrowing. The amendment requires a three-fifths roll call vote of each chamber of Congress to increase the public debt limit. It requires a majority roll vote of each chamber to increase revenue. It also requires the President to submit a balanced budget to Congress annually. Congress is authorized to waive these requirements when a declaration of war is in effect or if the United States is engaged in a military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security.

NOTE:  This joint resolution failed the 2/3rds majority required for passage.  Representative Lewis voted in favor of the bill against at least three DFL members of the Minnesota delegation.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

Proposing a balanced budget amendment after enacting a tax cut that will increase the debt by almost $2 trillion dollars and an omnibus appropriation bill that will further add to our nation’s debt proves that in Washington, D.C. hypocrisy knows no bounds. The truth is that the proponents of H.J. Res 2 are not motivated by deficit concerns; rather, they are using a deficit they created to force severe budget cuts in programs that will harm the most vulnerable among us, especially seniors, children, veterans and people with disabilities, as well as slash funding for public health and safety, education and medical research. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if a balanced budget amendment were in place in 2019, when revenue are projected to be 16.5 percent of GDP, federal programs would have to be cut by an average of more than 25%. A balanced budget amendment would result in massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other essential programs.” (Source: AFL-CIO)

“A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be an unusual and economically dangerous way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems. It would threaten significant economic harm, as explained below.  It also would raise a host of problems for the operation of Social Security and other vital federal programs.  It’s striking that the House Republican leadership intends to schedule a vote on a balanced budget amendment just a few months after the President and Congress enacted a tax cut that will increase deficits by as much as $2 trillion over the next decade.” (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

“Democrats support responsible measures to get our long-term budget outlook in check. H.J.Res. 2 does not do that; it is a political stunt that is meant for Republicans to appear to care about fiscal responsibility. Instead, it is an extreme and dangerous proposal that would potentially force cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by requiring a three-fifths vote to run a deficit, regardless of recessions or major disasters. Ironically, Republicans are pushing this proposal the same week in which the Congressional Budget Office released its new baseline projection showing massive new deficits resulting from Republican policies, nearly entirely from their tax law.  Under CBO’s projections, with no changes to their tax law, H.J.Res. 2 would impose a cut to federal spending larger than the entire Medicare program if it were in effect for 2019.  Even President Trump’s own budget proposal stopped short of that level of cuts. It would also make it more difficult to raise the debt limit in the future, even if a majority of Members support it. This would further promote the brinkmanship and uncertainty that has been pursued by Republicans during debt limit debates ever since they took the Majority in 2011. It would also limit Congress’ ability to respond to a national crisis, though it provides one sole exemption in the case of a declaration of war.” (Source: Democratic Whip, Steny Hoyer)

More Info See Bill


H. J. Res. 2, Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment. 2018-04-14T19:09:07+00:00

H. R. 4061, Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2017.

This bill amends the Financial Stability Act of 2010 to require the Financial Stability Oversight Council, in determining whether a nonbank financial company shall be designated as systematically important and consequently be supervised by the Federal Reserve Board and subject to prudential standards, to consider the appropriateness of imposing such standards as opposed to other forms of regulation to mitigate identified risks to U.S. financial stability. Every five years, the council must, upon request by a nonbank financial company, reevaluate such a determination and hold a vote on whether to rescind it. The bill revises procedural requirements related to council determinations.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

H.R. 4061 is an attempt to prevent the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) from doing its statutorily-required job of preventing another financial crisis by bogging it and its designation process down in endless analysis and litigation. Congress created the FSOC when it passed the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd- Frank) for the purpose of identifying and responding to risks to financial stability, as well as eliminating expectations the government will shield market participants from losses. Congress specifically granted the FSOC authority to determine that a U.S. nonbank financial company should be supervised by the Federal Reserve and subject to enhanced prudential standards if financial distress at, or the activities of the company, would pose a threat to U.S. financial stability.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-592, Committee on Financial Services)

“This bill adds numerous additional procedural obstacles to the already cumbersome and time-consuming process which the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) uses to designate large non-bank financial entities for increased oversight. The 2008 financial crisis made it abundantly clear that proper consolidated oversight of large non-banks is critical to financial stability, and that problems can develop rapidly at such companies. Non-bank financial institutions, ranging from investment bank broker-dealers to insurance companies such as AIG, were central contributors to the 2008 crisis and the ensuing economic collapse. Since the crisis, regulators have raised significant concerns about potential systemic risks posed by large multi-trillion dollar asset managers. The FSOC’s ability to designate non-bank financial companies for enhanced prudential supervision is a crucial line of defense against future systemic risks from non-banks.” (Source: Americans for Financial Reform)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 4061, Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2017. 2018-04-14T20:43:31+00:00

H. R. 4293, Stress Test Improvement Act of 2017.

This bill amends the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to modify testing requirements applicable to bank holding companies and certain nonbank financial companies, including by: (1) establishing limitations on Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review by the Federal Reserve Board, (2) reducing the frequency of stress testing from semiannual to annual, and (3) otherwise revising provisions related to stress testing.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

One of the most important policy developments following the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression was the enactment of stress testing for our nation’s largest banks. H.R. 4293 would make several harmful changes to the current bank stress test regime, specifically the stress tests required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as well as the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) program administered by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. While it is appropriate for Congress to examine the effectiveness of enhanced prudential standards, and how they are applied and tailored to our largest banks, H.R. 4293 would make a series of one-sided changes that weaken oversight of Wall Street banks.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-593, Committee on Financial Services)

“Twice a year, large financial intuitions prepare reports for federal financial regulators regarding their ability to withstand financial stress. Under H.R. 4293 those institutions would prepare annual reports instead. The bill also would prohibit the Federal Reserve from using its qualitative assessment of a financial institution’s ability to withstand financial stress as a basis for objecting to that institution’s plan to draw down capital. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4293 would increase the deficit by $14 million over the 2018-2027 period. That figure includes an increase in direct spending of $16 million and an increase in revenues of $2 million. Because enacting the bill would affect direct spending and revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4293 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $2.5 billion in one or more of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028. H.R. 4293 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.”  (Source: Congressional Budget Office)

“On behalf of Americans for Financial Reform, we are writing to urge you to vote in opposition to H.R. 4293, the “Stress Test Improvement Act,” which is being considered on the House floor this week.[1] This bill would significantly weaken stress testing, a crucial element of bank supervision, by preventing regulators from assessing the capacity of big banks to perform adequate data analysis or risk management as part of the stress testing process. Since the Federal Reserve only assesses these issues for the largest and most complex banks in the country, H.R. 4293 would benefit only these banks.” (Source: Americans for Financial Reform)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 4293, Stress Test Improvement Act of 2017. 2018-04-14T20:43:46+00:00

H. R. 5247, Right to Try Act of 2018

Full Title: Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2018.

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: To authorize the use of eligible investigational drugs by eligible patients who have been diagnosed with a stage of a disease or condition in which there is reasonable likelihood that death will occur within a matter of months, or with another eligible illness, and for other purposes.

Why This Bill Is Against Progressive Values:

“This bill, posted just before midnight on Friday night without committee action, threatens to undermine the drug development process and subject patients to serious risk of harm.  Proponents of the bill argue that it will enable seriously ill patients to access unapproved, experimental drugs that could be potentially life-saving.  However, the FDA already has an “expanded access” program in place to enable terminally ill patients to access investigational drugs.  Under the expanded access program, 99.7% of all expanded access requests for patients with immediately life-threatening illnesses are approved by the FDA. Often when patients are denied access to these treatments it is due to the lack of availability of the drug or a pharmaceutical company’s concern about dangerous side effects. This bill will do nothing to compel manufacturers to provide drugs to these patients.
This bill would also weaken FDA’s ability to oversee adverse events or other clinical outcomes from the use of an investigational drug and provide broad liability protections for manufacturers and health care providers —leaving patients with no recourse in the case of an adverse event. This unnecessary legislation ultimately seeks to undermine the FDA’s authority to ensure safety and efficacy in the nation’s drug supply while providing false hope to patients.” (Source: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)) (#7 in the list of bills)

“Removing FDA from the process of obtaining investigational drugs greatly increases the risk of patient harm, creates confusion, and endangers existing clinical trails.” (Source: National Organization of Rare Disorders)

“The undersigned organizations collectively represent millions of patients with serious and life- threatening diseases. We write to express our concern with, and opposition to, the latest version of the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act released on March 10, 2018. While this version of the legislation includes patient safety improvements compared to previous versions of the legislation, we reiterate our concern with creating a secondary pathway for accessing investigational therapies outside of clinical trials that would remove Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and consultation, and would not increase access to promising therapies for our patients because it does not address the primary barriers to such access. FDA’s expanded access program, though imperfect, facilitates access to investigational therapies for over a thousand patients facing serious and life-threatening conditions each year. FDA repeatedly approves over 99 percent of requests while sometimes making important dosing and safety improvements to proposed expanded use. Conversely, it is often times the pharmaceutical company that denies access to its investigational therapy outside of its clinical trials for any number of reasons.” (Source: American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network)

“Supporters of this legislation have claimed that it will provide seriously ill patients who have exhausted all of their available treatment options access to experimental therapies free from the barriers of FDA oversight.  While it is understandable that someone suffering from a disease that has no more options would want to try anything that could help them fight their disease, this legislation delivers the false hope to patients and their families that they will receive a cure to their underlying disease or condition.  In fact, this legislation provides patients and their families nothing more than the right to ask a manufacturer for access to early stage unproven treatments.” (Source: Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ))

More Info See Bill


H. R. 5247, Right to Try Act of 2018 2018-03-24T08:35:29+00:00