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So far Jim Kaufmann has created 33 blog entries.

H.R. 6147, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019

This comprehensive bill “Provides appropriations to Interior for [non-Departmental Offices]…; Interior for Departmental Offices…; Interior for Department-Wide Programs…; the EPA; the Department of Agriculture for the Forest Service; the Department of Health and Human Services…; other related agencies… [and] Sets forth requirements and restrictions for using funds provided by this and other appropriations Acts.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

[This] bill provides $35.3 billion, which is equal to the FY 2018 enacted level. … Unfortunately, the [Republican] majority targeted EPA’s regulatory programs with a total cut of $100 million while refusing to rein in the spending of the Administrator of EPA [Scott Pruitt]. It is unconscionable that American taxpayers are on the hook for an EPA Administrator’s misuse of federal dollars for lavish expenses, while they suffer the consequences of an EPA that prioritizes the interests of corporations over protecting American families. … We wish the positives in the bill extended beyond Native American funding, Historic Preservation, and the arts. This bill went to Full Committee with 14 poison pill riders that do not belong in an appropriations bill, but instead should be fully and transparently debated by the authorizing committees. When Democrats attempted to strike those egregious riders, which affect the Department of the Interior, EPA, and U.S. Forest Service, through Ranking Member McCollum’s amendment, the Majority rejected this effort and instead added additional policy riders that would block judicial review of California water projects, limit Clean Water Act Section 401 Authorities, and jeopardize imperiled species such as grizzly bears, marbled murrelet, and bi-state Sage Grouse. … In its current form, this bill fails the American people by cutting environmental protection; shredding safeguards that protect our air, water, and endangered species; and allowing rampant corruption in the Executive Branch to go unchecked. Given these shortcomings, we cannot support this bill in its current form.” (Source: Dissenting Views, Committee on Appropriations, House Report 115-765)

“Today [July 19, 2018], House Republicans passed an Interior-Environment appropriations bill that fails the American people. This bill cuts environmental protections; removes safeguards for our air, water, and endangered species; and allows rampant corruption at the Executive Branch to go unchecked. … Democrats were able to secure a few meaningful victories on the floor…. However, the Republican majority made this bad bill even worse by adding toxic partisan riders and making deeper cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service.” (Source: Statement from Betty McCollum)

“The chief reason NPCA opposes H.R. 6147 is the addition of numerous riders to the base bill, including harmful policy provisions that would impact our national parks. For example, section 431 of the bill repeals the Clean Water Rule which works to protect waterways that flow in and through our national parks. Section 438 unnecessarily disallows funds to be used to support reintroduction of grizzlies into North Cascades National Park—an effort supported by both the Obama and Trump administrations and years of constituent engagement and the region’s best available science. Additionally, Section 117 legislatively removes federal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states, an action that NPCA opposes as it bypasses the Endangered Species Act delisting process and would impact wolves in national parks across the country.” (Source: National Parks Conservation Association)


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H.R. 6147, Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019 2018-07-21T13:26:06+00:00

H.R. 3281, Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act

From the bill: “This bill authorizes the Department of the Interior to convey U.S. interest in an eligible reclamation project or facility to an agency of a state political subdivision, a joint action or powers agency, a water users association, or an Indian tribe or tribal utility authority that holds a water service contract for such property and that has the capacity to continue to manage the property for the same purposes for which it has been managed under reclamation law, if: (1) Interior notifies Congress in writing of the proposed conveyance at least 90 days in advance, and (2) Congress does not pass a joint resolution disapproving the conveyance. A facility that generates hydropower marketed by a power marketing administration shall not be eligible for such conveyance.” Two of the 3 DFL Reps present for the roll call voted opposite Jason Lewis, as did 176 other Dems in the House. We therefore regard Lewis’s vote as being against progressive values.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

H.R. 3281 would authorize de facto privatization of federal infrastructure across the Western United States. Specifically, it permits the Secretary of Interior to transfer title (i.e. ownership) of many federally-owned Bureau of Reclamation water projects and facilities to non-federal entities without Congressional approval. … Under existing law, transferring ownership of a Reclamation asset requires specific Congressional authorization. The bill removes this longstanding requirement to reduce Congressional oversight and irresponsibly incentivize the privatization of public infrastructure. H.R. 3281 also permits federal lands to be given away without compensation [to taxpayers]. … H.R. 3281 also fails to require consultation with all affected stakeholders before a federal asset is transferred.” (Source: Dissenting Views, Committee on Natural Resources, House Report 115-334)

“H.R. 3281 would authorize de facto privatization of federal water infrastructure across the Western United States. H.R. 3281 also fails to ensure fair taxpayer compensation for lost assets, fails to require consultation with all affected stakeholders – such as tribes, fishing groups, and environmental and recreation interests – before a federal asset is transferred, and encourages poorly planned title transfers that have the potential to harm the environment.” (Source: Democrats, Natural Resources Committee)

“This bill encourages the irresponsible privatization of valuable federal assets, such as dams and reservoirs, while weakening congressional oversight and limiting public input in the decision-making process. Existing transfer procedures should remain in effect.” (Source: Countable)


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H.R. 3281, Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act 2018-07-14T15:47:21+00:00

H.R. 6136, Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018

The purpose of this bill is “To amend the immigration laws and provide for border security, and for other purposes.” Although this bill failed to pass in the House, we regard Jason Lewis’s support of it as a notable vote against progressive values.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“These bills [H.R. 6136, H.R. 4760] escalate efforts to divide, detain and deport working people, while failing to protect families seeking asylum at our border or provide DACA and TPS holders the pathway to citizenship they deserve. While slashing channels for permanent immigration, the bills also expands abusive temporary work visa programs. This approach is wrong. It not only betrays our values, but also drives down standards for all working people in our country.” (Source: AFL-CIO)

This bill does nothing to end family separation, yet exacerbates the child welfare crisis at the border. …ties dreamer protections with harmful immigration enforcement provisions. …harms families and keeps children in detention for longer periods of time. …eliminates protections for unaccompanied children. …curtails protections for asylum seekers. …violates the sanctity of family unity by drastically cutting family-based visas…funds $23 billion for a wasteful and redundant border wall without additional oversight and grows the deportation force by 50,000 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.” (Source: Church World Service)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, which was released by the U.S. House of Representatives leadership today [6-15-18]. Instead of putting children first by ending the harmful policy of family separation at the border once and for all, this legislation strips children of protections designed for their safety and well-being and exposes more children, not fewer, to detention, including long-term detention. Pediatricians have repeatedly spoken out against the detention of immigrant children; this legislation is not the answer and puts children at greater risk of harm.” (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)

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H.R. 6136, Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 2018-07-02T10:53:05+00:00

H.R. 6194, REAL Reform Act of 2018

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: “To reduce costs of Federal real estate, improve building security, and for other purposes.”

Bill Sponsor: Lou Barletta (R-PA)


H.R. 6194, REAL Reform Act of 2018 2018-06-27T12:56:48+00:00

H.R. 4886, Permanent Tax Cuts for Americans Act

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: “It is the sense of Congress that— (1) the constraints of the budget reconciliation process in the Senate required law makers to sunset certain provisions of Public Law 115-97; (2) such provisions included those found within subtitles A and B of such Public Law dealing with the taxation of individuals; (3) making such provisions permanent will provide future tax relief for individual taxpayers across the United States; and (4) instead of waiting until the expiration of such provisions, Congress should act immediately to give certainty to taxpayers.”

Bill Sponsor: Rodney Davis (R-IL)


H.R. 4886, Permanent Tax Cuts for Americans Act 2018-06-27T12:39:19+00:00

H.R. 3, Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act

The purpose of this bill is “To rescind certain budget authority proposed to be rescinded in special messages transmitted to the Congress by the President on May 8, 2018, in accordance with title X of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act 1974.”

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“The House voted along party lines late Thursday [6-7-18] to pass a White House proposal that would claw back nearly $15 billion in previously approved government funding. … Opponents blasted the administration’s decision to target unobligated funds within the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) –– which make up nearly half of the $14.7 billion in rollbacks –– alleging the cuts could lead to a loss of coverage if enrollment is higher than expected. ‘The nearly $15 billion in rescissions cut numerous efforts to create jobs, grow our economy, and strengthen our communities. It cuts funding for the economic development administration, and for community development financial institutions. Both of which create jobs in rural areas and distress communities,’ Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, said on the floor.” (Source: The Hill)

“U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today [6-7-18] announced his strong opposition to H.R. 3, the Republican recissions bill that would cut $15 billion to areas including children’s health care, health infrastructure, rural water programs, transportation improvements, biomedical research, community health centers, and a host of other programs critical to working Americans and families. ‘For Republicans to pretend to care about fiscal responsibility after they exploded the deficit by $1.8 trillion takes real brass. Their attempts to save face by cutting billions in funding for children’s health care and the environment doesn’t pass the smell test.'” (Source: Congressman Bill Pascrell)

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H.R. 3, Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act 2018-06-08T10:21:38+00:00

H.R. 5515, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019

This bill authorizes FY2019 appropriations and sets forth policies for Department of Defense (DOD) programs and activities, including military personnel strengths. It does not provide budget authority, which is provided in subsequent appropriations legislation.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“Democrats were largely united in opposition to the new tactical nuclear weapons, warning they could be destabilizing and normalize nuclear exchanges. ‘This bill … pushes us even further and faster down the path to war, toward a new nuclear arms race,’ warned Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.). ‘Does it make us safer to have a low-yield nuclear weapon on one of our submarines? Probably not.’” … The bill could very well mark the peak for defense budget in the near term. The sky-high defense spending levels may not be sustainable for long, as the federal budget deficit will soon exceed $1 trillion annually, thanks in part to a massive tax cut passed by Republicans late last year.” (Source: Politico)

“The U.S. shouldn’t be spending over $700 billion on national defense, an amount significantly outpacing America’s most significant rivals. A smaller military would free up funding for other priorities.” (Source: Countable)

More Info See Bill


H.R. 5515, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 2018-05-28T17:57:53+00:00

H.R. 5413, Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act of 2018

Bill Summary:

From the text of the bill: To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to permit Members of Congress to use facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purposes of meeting with constituents, and for other purposes..

Bill Sponsor: Brian Mast (R-FL)


H.R. 5413, Improving Veterans Access to Congressional Services Act of 2018 2018-05-18T13:43:54+00:00

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)

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