About Jim Kaufmann

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So far Jim Kaufmann has created 26 blog entries.

H.R. 5275, Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions Act

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: To amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to provide an exemption from certain notice requirements and penalties for air emissions from animal waste at farms.

Bill Sponsor: Billy Long (R-MO)


H.R. 5275, Agricultural Certainty for Reporting Emissions Act 2018-04-05T22:30:09+00:00

H.R. 1116, TAILOR Act of 2017

TAILOR = Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk.

This bill requires federal financial regulatory agencies to: (1) tailor any regulatory actions so as to limit burdens on the institutions involved, with consideration of the risk profiles and business models of those institutions; and (2) report to Congress on specific actions taken to do so, as well as on other related issues. The bill’s tailoring requirement applies not only to future regulatory actions but also to regulations adopted within the last seven years.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“[This bill] would take a major step backwards on the progress made since the 2008 Financial Crisis to ensure our financial markets are stronger, more resilient, and more protective of consumers.

    The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) establishes a tiered and tailored regulatory framework for financial institutions. Instead of imposing a one-size-fits-all approach for regulating all firms, the Dodd-Frank Act focuses the toughest rules on the largest  and most complex financial firms that, as evidenced in the  2007-2009 financial crisis, can destabilize the financial  system and inflict long-lasting damage to the economy and the  constituents we serve.

    Congress has carefully monitored the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and, when warranted, has passed targeted legislation or encouraged regulators to further tailor rules to reduce unnecessary compliance requirements on community financial institutions while maintaining robust standards and appropriate protections that are in the public interest.

    If enacted, H.R. 1116 would undo these efforts by providing every financial institution overseen by agencies like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with new opportunities to challenge rulemakings in court if they felt a regulation was not uniquely tailored to their individual firm.

    We share the belief that regulators must take into account, and tailor rules, for smaller sized institutions when appropriate. Unfortunately, the TAILOR Act would only serve to put consumers and the financial system at risk by subjecting important regulations to endless litigation.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-588, Committee on Financial Services

“HR 1116 (the TAILOR Act) would force consumer and financial regulators to prioritize costs to Wall Street over benefits to the public before taking any action to control financial abuses, and empower financial institutions to overturn current and future consumer protections in court.” (Source: Joint statement from Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Action, US PIRG, and 22 other groups)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 1116, TAILOR Act of 2017 2018-03-16T13:57:41+00:00

H.R. 1917, Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017

This bill prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring compliance with Clean Air Act rules concerning national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants with respect to brick and structural clay products manufacturing or clay ceramics manufacturing until judicial reviews of the rules are complete.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

“We oppose H.R. 1917, also known as the BRICK Act. This legislation would delay implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Brick and Structural Clay Products rule and the final Clay Ceramics Manufacturing rule (Brick and Clay MACT) by extending all compliance deadlines until ‘judgment [on court appeals, motions for stay, and administrative stay motions] becomes final, and no longer subject to further appeal or review.’ The bill’s mechanism for extending compliance deadlines establishes a dangerous and hazardous precedent. It would specifically encourage the filing and perpetuation of frivolous and inappropriate lawsuits to delay the legal effect of regulations to protect public health and the environment.” (Source: Dissenting Views, House Report 115-509, Committee on Energy and Commerce

This bill is merely another in the trend of congressional efforts to delay needed health protections for as long as polluters can keep a legal case alive. The Clean Air Act requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards to limit toxic air pollution from brick manufacturing facilities. These facilities emit mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin that harms children’s developing brains, and other dangerous toxins including arsenic and chromium, that are known to cause cancer. Congress required the EPA to set these standards over 15 years ago. EPA finalized these standards in 2015, but the brick industry is still fighting to emit more toxic pollution. The BRICK Act aims to help the polluters avoid regulation, since it seeks to further delay implementation of toxic air pollution standards for brick facilities until every polluter’s lawsuit has been fully litigated and appealed, including to the Supreme Court. This would have the effect of stalling these much needed and overdue health protections for as long as industry lawyers can keep a case alive.” (Source: Joint statement from Clean Water Action, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, and 14 other groups


More Info See Bill


H.R. 1917, Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2017 2018-03-10T15:43:07+00:00

H.R. 3978, TRID Improvement Act of 2017

This bill amends the Real Estate Settlement Procedures of 1974 to modify disclosure requirements applicable to mortgage loan transactions. Specifically, the disclosed charges for any title insurance premium shall be equal to the amount charged for each individual title insurance policy, subject to any discounts as required by either state regulation or the title company rate filings.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

“H.R. 3978 would change the way that title insurance fees are presented on both the loan estimate and the closing disclosure forms that are part of the Truth in Lending Act/Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure (‘TRID’) forms, also known as the TILA/RESPA Rule or the ‘Know Before You Owe’ mortgage disclosure rule. Since the rule’s inception, TRID disclosures have provided homebuyers with consistent and understandable information on what they will have to pay at closing on a mortgage loan. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘Consumer Bureau’) is currently tasked with conducting rulemaking for TRID disclosures. … [T]he Consumer Bureau’s current TRID rule ensures that for consumers in all states, there will not be an unanticipated, dramatically higher cost for the lender’s title insurance at closing if a homebuyer decides to decline an owner’s title insurance policy.” (Source: Minority Views, House Report 115-524, Committee on Financial Services

“This bill, which amends Section 2603 of RESPA, would create confusion and undermine consistency in mortgage disclosures. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) required method of disclosure of title insurance premiums, which can include both lender and owner policies, reduces consumer confusion and enhances consistency between the estimated and final loan cost disclosures. The bill would only change how the final loan disclosure addresses title insurance, not the early good faith estimate. As a result, it would increase consumer confusion, especially where the consumer opts not to purchase both types of policies after getting the early disclosure (only the lender policy is required). The CFPB regulations now take into account that comparison shopping in about half of all states is not possible because title insurance companies in those states are not required to provide standardized disclosures.” (Source: Center for Responsible Lending)

“H.R. 3978 has been dramatically expanded without input from Democrats to include several highly problematic and damaging bills. If enacted, this amended package of bills would ease the ability of high frequency traders to manipulate the stock markets undetected, encourage a regulatory race-to-the-bottom at our nation’s stock exchanges, and harm investors and small businesses by weakening efforts to prevent accounting fraud at smaller public companies. Taken together, this deregulatory package, could significantly undermine market stability and gut investor and consumer protections at a time when our financial markets are already rattled.” (Source: Maxine Waters’ House Floor Statement, Feb. 14, 2018)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 3978, TRID Improvement Act of 2017 2018-02-16T16:36:14+00:00

H.R. 620, ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

From the bill: “This bill requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and local governments and property owners on strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability. … The bill prohibits civil actions based on the failure to remove an architectural barrier to access into an existing public accommodation unless: (1) the aggrieved person has provided to the owners or operators a written notice specific enough to identify the barrier, and (2) the owners or operators fail to provide the person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to improve the barrier or they fail to remove the barrier or make substantial progress after providing such a description.The aggrieved person’s notice must specify the circumstances under which public accommodation access was denied.”

Why Jason Lewis’ vote against our values

“[This bill] undermines the civil rights of Americans with disabilities and would set a dangerous precedent for civil rights enforcement more generally. By weakening enforcement, it would undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA’s) goal of full inclusion and integration of persons with disabilities into the mainstream of American life. Specifically, H.R. 620 would amend title III of the ADA to bar victims of disability discrimination by places of public accommodations–such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, private schools, private day care centers, and health care providers–from filing suit to enforce their rights under the ADA unless the victim: (1) notifies a business of a violation of the ADA’s prohibition on access barriers to public accommodations; and (2) waits up to 180 days to allow the business to either remedy the violation or to simply make ‘substantial progress’ towards complying with the law. Additionally, the bill mandates that the required notice of a violation must provide detailed information about the alleged violation, including the specific provision of the ADA that has been violated, whether the victim made a request to the business about removing an access barrier, and whether an access barrier was temporary or permanent. By going far beyond requiring notice of a violation, the bill would effectively impose a standard more akin to the heightened pleading standard applicable to a legal complaint, thus potentially dissuading meritorious complaints from being pursued.” (Source: Dissenting Views, Committee on the Judiciary)

“This latest attempt to curtail the civil rights of people with disabilities was reignited by a popular ’60 Minutes’ segment alleging the widespread filing of frivolous Title III lawsuits by attorneys who spot ADA violations using, for example, Google Earth. The segment implies that people with disabilities have no complaints about the noncompliant establishments but that, because of these lawsuits, business owners end up with a bill that many of them cannot afford to foot. … So-called frivolous lawsuits, however, are nowhere near as pervasive as proponents of the ADA Education and Reform Act suggest. Proponents of the bill point to increases over the past several years in Title III filings, including a 37 percent uptick in 2016 compared with 2015. But a quick look at the numbers shows that this increase is easily explained by a small number of large-scale filers. In fact, just 12 individual attorneys and a single disability law firm were responsible for more than one-third of all Title III lawsuits filed in 2016, accounting for more than 100 cases each. Even in the unlikely event that all of these large-scale filers’ lawsuits were indeed frivolous—which is disproven by the fact that many of them have brought to light very real violations of the ADA—they would hardly present an issue systemic enough to warrant federal intervention, particularly when such an intervention would gut a decades-old civil rights law.” (Source: Center for American Progress

In a March 2017 letter to Congress, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and over 200 of its allies expressed their opposition to this bill. (Source: ACLU)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 620, ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 2018-03-02T16:09:54+00:00

H. R. 772, Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to revise the nutritional information that restaurants and retail food establishments must disclose. The nutrient content disclosure statement on the menu or menu board must include: (1) the number of calories contained in the whole menu item; (2) the number of servings and number of calories per serving; or (3) the number of calories per common unit of the item, such as for a multi-serving item that is typically divided before presentation to the consumer. Nutritional information may be provided solely by a remote-access menu (e.g., an Internet menu) for food establishments where the majority of orders are placed by customers who are off-premises.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote is against our values

We oppose passage of H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, a bill that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to revise how calorie and other nutritional information is displayed in restaurants and other retail food establishments. Disclosure of nutritional information in certain restaurants and other retail food establishments was established in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nearly eight years ago as a consumer driven approach to prevent and combat obesity. We have significant concerns that H.R. 772 would undermine the intent of the federal menu labeling requirements and interfere with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to implement the law as Congress intended. THE PUBLIC HEALTH NEED FOR NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION IS GREAT In recent years, obesity and diet related chronic diseases have become a prominent public health issue. More than two- thirds of adults and one-third of children are considered to be overweight or obese. Additionally, on average, Americans consume roughly one-third of their calories, and nearly half of their total food spending, on food prepared outside the home. For this reason, access to nutritional information at the point of sale is an important tool for consumers to make informed nutrition choices. (Source: Dissenting View, Energy and Commerce Committee Report. 115-486).

We, the undersigned organizations oppose the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017” (S.261/HR.772). We do not think that it is common sense to weaken a policy that would allow people to make their own, informed choices about how many calories to eat at a time when obesity rates are at a record high. The bill would undercut the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) menu labeling regulations and undermine congressional intent to provide access to calorie labeling in a broad range of chain food service establishments. (Source: Joint statement from American Heart Association and numerous others)

H. R. 772, Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017 2018-02-07T20:02:34+00:00

H.R. 4712, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

This bill amends the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital. … Also, a health care practitioner or other employee who has knowledge of a failure to comply with these requirements must immediately report such failure to an appropriate law enforcement agency. An individual who violates the provisions of this bill is subject to a criminal fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Why Jason Lewis’ vote conflicts with our values.

“Partisan politics and fear mongering, rather than legitimate legal or medical needs, are the motivation behind this bill. It would deter abortion providers from using procedures to keep a fetus intact so its tissue can be used for research.” (Source: Countable)

It has always been the law that health care providers cannot deliberately harm newborn infants, and that they must exercise reasonable care in their treatment of such infants. … [The bill] puts children’s lives and health at risk.  It requires doctors to immediately ensure transportation and admission of the infant to a hospital in all cases, with no regard as to whether doing so is in the best interest of the child’s health and well-being.  This mandate effectively overrides the careful, case-by-case exercise of professional medical judgment by health care providers, and replaces it with a blanket rule enforceable with criminal penalties.” (Source: House Judiciary Committee)

This bill is yet another in a line of political attacks by Congress on access to safe, legal abortion care. By spending time on this offensive and unnecessary bill, amidst countless other pressing issues before them, leaders in the House of Representatives are making clear that they care more about stigmatizing abortion care, shaming women, and scaring reproductive health care providers than they do about addressing the real problems facing our nation.” (Source: Center for Reproductive Rights)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 4712, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act 2018-01-22T16:42:10+00:00

H.R. 4852, Pay Our Protectors Not Our Politicians Act of 2018

Bill Summary:

This bill provides FY2018 appropriations for military pay during any period in which interim or full-year appropriations for FY2018 are not in effect. The appropriations provided by this bill are available until the earlier of: (1) the enactment into law of specified appropriations legislation, or (2) January 1, 2019. …

Bill Sponsor: Martha McSally (R-AZ)


H.R. 4852, Pay Our Protectors Not Our Politicians Act of 2018 2018-04-10T15:00:32+00:00

H.R. 4508, PROSPER Act

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: To support students in completing an affordable postsecondary education that will prepare them to enter the workforce with the skills they need for lifelong success.

Bill Sponsor: Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

Cosponsors: Jason Lewis and 20 additional Republicans; no Democrats.

Why This Bill Is Against Progressive Values:

On behalf of the undersigned associations, we write to express our deep concern with H.R. 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act (PROSPER), the legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act scheduled to be marked up by the committee Dec. 12. Most importantly, this bill would make higher education more expensive for millions of students and families. In addition, it would make significant changes in federal higher education policy without a clear understanding of the likely consequences. (Source: American Council on Education)

The House education and work-force committee last month [Dec 2017] completed a marathon markup of the PROSPER Act, their proposed HEA [Higher Education Act] rewrite. The bill would make the biggest change to the financing of graduate student education since 2005. Where graduate students can now borrow an unlimited amount up to the cost of attendance, the provision would limit federal lending to graduate students to $28,500 annually. Student advocates and graduate education groups, including the Council of Graduate Schools, have warned that those limits could shut many less privileged students out of graduate programs or force them to take out private loans with less generous benefits. (Source: Inside Higher Ed)

At a time when outstanding student debt has surpassed $1.45 trillion, the PROSPER Act would exacerbate the problem even further. The bill eliminates the $0 per month payment that the lowest income borrowers qualify for in certain income-driven repayment plans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has found that there are over 8 million borrowers in default on their student loans — this change that would push even more borrowers into default. This isn’t the only swipe the bill takes at vulnerable borrowers. According to the National Consumer Law Center, the changes the bill makes to Income Based Repayment would mean it could take a low-income borrower with just $30,000 in student loan debt an incredible 138 years to repay their student loans. The bill also takes direct aim at those who’ve committed their careers to public service, by eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which forgives federal loans after 10 years for those who pursue work in emergency services, public education, social work, or other public sector jobs. (Source: Americans for Financial Reform)

While it is meant to reform higher education to help students, the changes it makes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, interest rates on student loans, and graduate borrowing limits would hurt a lot of students. Graduate and professional students in particular certainly won’t prosper if this bill becomes law. The biggest impact will come for current and future students interested in earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for their work in the public sector. Perhaps to prevent an uproar, the bill does not outright eliminate the program—instead, it makes eligibility essentially impossible for new borrowers by eliminating the Federal Direct Loans and repayment plans eligible for PSLF, and instead creating new “Federal ONE Loans” with limited repayment options that are not eligible. Congresswoman Foxx is effectively making PSLF unattainable for any new borrowers. (Source: Huffington Post)

A landmark Republican higher education bill would not only rescind programs that help make college affordable–it also seeks to reform campus culture in ways that could restrict schools’ ability to govern campus speech and address allegations of sexual assault. The most striking provisions take aim at Title IX, the law that protects students from gender-based discrimination and governs how schools handle sexual violence investigations. Under the bill, school counselors would not have to report sexual assault incidents to campus administrators, and law enforcement officials would be permitted to postpone campus disciplinary proceedings as they conduct their own criminal investigations. Those changes could lead to underreporting of sexual violence and delays in bringing school-based remedies to victims. (Source: Mother Jones)

H.R. 4508, PROSPER Act 2018-01-16T14:53:04+00:00