The Week Ahead in the House and Senate 7/13/15

July 13, 2015

Submitted by:  Veronica  Coffin

Can you believe the 114th Congress has been in session for six months already? Since this Congress convened on January 6, 2015, 3,428 bills and resolutions were introduced in the House, and 1,916 were introduced in the Senate. Here’s a look at the Top 20 most active bills on POPVOX from the past six months.

This week, the House will consider legislation addressing California’s drought, access to capital especially for small businesses, and homelessness among veterans. The Senate will continue to work on fixing ‘No Child Left Behind’. Also, here’s a look at getting a woman on the $10 bill. 

California’s Drought

As House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained, “California is enduring its worst drought in 1,200 years, and a growing number of communities across the West have become impacted by severe drought conditions.”

This week, the House will consider a bill to address water policies in California and the West:

Western Water and American Food Security Act (HR 2898)

  • Sponsor: Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) —Bipartisan— “Aims to make more water available to families, farmers, and communities in California and bordering Western states. The dedication of vast quantities of water to protect certain species of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a significant obstacle hindering water delivery in Central and Southern California. HR 2898 will require federal agencies to use current and reliable data when making regulatory decisions, which in turn will provide more water for communities in need,” according to the bill sponsor. The bill will also provide federal regulators with direction and flexibility to capture water during periods of greater precipitation, which can be used to increase California’s water supplies dramatically. (Read bill text)


Reforming ‘No Child Left Behind’

The Senate will work on:

Every Child Achieves Act (S 1177)

  • Sponsor: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) According to the Senate HELP Committee, bipartisan legislation to fix ‘No Child Left Behind’. “Would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the chief law governing the federal role in K-12 education. The most recent reauthorization of ESEA was the “No Child Left Behind Act,” which was enacted in 2001 and expired in 2007. Since then, nearly all states have been forced to ask the U.S. Department of Education for waivers from some of the law’s most unworkable requirements. The senators’ bill would fix the problems with “No Child Left Behind,” while keeping successful provisions, such as the reporting requirement of disaggregated data on student achievement. The bill would end states’ need for waivers from the law.” (See summary. Read bill text)

From our Hill Sources: This weekend, Senator Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, explained, “the problems with No Child Left Behind have been created by a combination of presidential action and congressional inaction.”

“No Child Left Behind” expired in 2007 but Congress has been unable to agree on how to reauthorize it. As a result, the law’s original requirements have stayed in place and gradually became unworkable. This has caused almost all of America’s public schools to be classified as failing under the terms of the law. To avoid this bizarre result, President Obama’s Education Secretary offered waivers from the terms of the law.  But, in return, the Secretary told each of the 42 states currently operating under waivers exactly what academic standards to use, exactly what steps to take to address failing schools, and exactly how to evaluate teachers. So much new federal control of local schools has produced a backlash against Common Core academic standards, teacher evaluation, and against tests in general.”

(Read Sen. Alexander’s full explaination of the No Child Left Behind reforms.)

Small Business Legislation

The House will work on bills related to improving access to capital for small firms particularly within the SBA’s programs, including the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program:

Small Business Investment Company Capital Act (HR 1023)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) —Bipartisan— “The SBIC Program is a public-private partnership that provides small businesses access to equity and debt financing. The program has provided billions in private capital to startups and small businesses, some of which have become household names such as Pandora, Whole Foods, Apple, and Nike. HR 1023 would allow experienced managers of multiple SBIC funds to increase their leverage from $225 million to $350 million, helping these entities provide additional capital to small businesses,” according to the House Small Business Subcommittee.  (Read bill text)

Microloan Modernization Act (HR 2670)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) —Bipartisan— “Aims to increase loans available to small businesses and provide greater flexibility for borrowers,” according to the bill sponsor. Creates a waiver for the “25/75 rule”; Increases the aggregate loan limit cap to $6 million to better serve small business borrowers in high-demand areas; Extends the repayment period to 10 years for loans greater than $10,000; Authorizes the SBA to extend lines of credit for small businesses. (Read bill text)

Veterans Entrepreneurship Act (HR 2499)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) “There are over 21 million veterans living in the United States. Sadly, the unemployment rate among those that have served in active duty since September 2001 is substantially higher than the national average,” according to the House Small Business Subcommittee. “The Veteran Entrepreneurship Act seeks to address this reality by making it easier for a veteran or spouse of a veteran to obtain the private capital needed to start a business. The legislation does this by waiving the upfront guarantee fee for a Small Business Administration 7(a) express loan – all at no cost to the taxpayer.”  (Read bill text)

Superstorm Sandy Relief and Disaster Loan Program Improvement Act (HR 208)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) “Would restart the SBA’s disaster loan program helping hurricane-impacted firms access assistance,” according to the bill sponsor. (Read bill text)

Financial Regulations and Access to Capital

The House will also vote on a series of bills that “will help Main Street businesses access the capital they need to grow the economy and create jobs,” according to the House Financial Services Committee.

SBIC Advisers Relief Act (HR 432)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) —Bipartisan— “Allows SBIC advisers that jointly advise SBICs and venture funds to be exempt from registration; it excludes SBIC assets from the SEC registration threshold calculation; and it allows SBIC funds with less than $90 million in assets under management to be regulated solely by the U.S. Small Business Administration, as they are today,” according to the bill sponsor. (Read bill text)

Holding Company Registration Threshold Equalization Act (HR 1334)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) —Bipartisan— “Extends the shareholder registration thresholds to SLHCs that the JOBS Act established for banks and bank holding companies,” according to the bill sponsor. (Read bill text)

Encouraging Employee Ownership Act (HR 1675)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) —Bipartisan— Allows the employees of privately-held businesses to take full advantage of JOBS Act shareholder provisions. (Read bill text)

Small Company Simple Registration Act (HR 1723)

Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act (HR 1847)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) —Bipartisan— Repeals sections of the Dodd-Frank Act to increase market transparency and facilitate global regulatory cooperation. (Read bill text)

Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act (HR 2064)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) —Bipartisan— Makes changes related to the treatment of Emerging Growth Companies and their registration with the SEC. (Read bill text)

Streamlining Excessive and Costly Regulations Review Act (HR 2354)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) —Bipartisan— “Would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to review its significant regulations to determine if they are necessary in the public interest or should be amended or rescinded,” according to the bill sponsor. “The bill requires that within the first five years after enactment, and every ten years thereafter, the SEC must engage in a retrospective review of all significant SEC rules and regulations. This legislation is modeled on the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996, which requires prudential financial regulatory agencies to retrospectively review their regulations every ten years.”  (Read bill text)


Also in the House…

This week, the House will also vote on these bills:

Homes for Heroes Act (HR 251)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Al Green (D-TX) Aims to address homelessness among low-income veterans and their families. Also establishes a Special Assistant for Veterans’ Affairs and an annual report on veterans’ homelessness. The Special Assistant would coordinate all the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) programs and activities relating to veterans and serve as a HUD liaison with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), according to the bill sponsor.  (Read bill text)

Economic Development Through Tribal Land Exchange Act (HR 387)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) —Bipartisan— Provides for the disposition of four parcels of land in California. The Department of the Interior must transfer 41.15 acres designated as Morongo lands to Lloyd L. Fields in exchange for 41.15 acres owned by Fields to be held in trust for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. The City of Banning is granted a 1.76 acre easement for a public right-of-way in exchange for 1.21 acres of land to be held in trust for the Tribe. (Read bill text)

Housing Assistance Efficiency Act (HR 1047)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) To authorize private nonprofit organizations to administer permanent housing rental assistance provided through the Continuum of Care Program under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. (Read bill text)

Mortgage Servicing Asset Capital Requirements Act (HR 1408)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) —Bipartisan— To require certain Federal banking agencies to conduct a study of the appropriate capital requirements for mortgage servicing assets for nonsystemic banking institutions. (Read bill text)

Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act (HR 1529)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) —Bipartisan— Amends the Truth in Lending Act to create a safe harbor from requirements for an escrow or impound account for the payment of taxes and hazard insurance in the case of mortgage loans made by a creditor with consolidated assets of $10 billion or less that holds the loan on its balance sheet for three years after its origination. (Read bill text)

Preservation Enhancement and Savings Opportunity Act (HR 2482)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) Amends the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990 (LIHPRHA) with respect to a plan of action the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may approve for extension of the low-income affordability restrictions on any eligible low-income housing. (Read bill text)

Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act (HR 2722)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) —Bipartisan— Would direct the US Treasury to issue up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, up to 400,000 $1 silver coins and 750,000 half-dollar clad with a design to symbolize the fight against breast cancer in 2018. The production cost of these coins will be fully covered within the sales price, and the proceeds will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, headquartered in New York, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, headquartered in Texas, according to the bill sponsors. (Read bill text)

Private Investment in Housing Act (HR 2997)

  • Sponsor: Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) —Bipartisan— “Would provide the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the authority to establish a demonstration program and enter into budget-neutral, performance-based agreements that result in the reduction in energy or water costs for multi-family housing,” according to the bill sponsors. (Read bill text)


A Woman on the $10 Bill

Last month, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that a woman will be featured on the 2020 release of the $10 note. The year 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The Treasury Department is “asking the American people to share ideas, symbols, and designs for the new $10 note that reflect what democracy means to them.” You can share your ideas by visiting

To date, Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on a US currency note. The engraving appeared on the face of the $1 Silver Certificate, Series 1886 and 1891, and on the back of the $1 Silver Certificate, Series 1896. (Learn more.)

Related Bills in Congress

Panel to Recommend a Woman on the Ten Dollar Bill (S 1613)

  • Sponsor: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Require the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of citizens to make a recommendation to the Secretary regarding the likeness of a woman on the ten dollar bill. (Read bill text)

Celebrating the First Woman in Congress Currency Act  (S 1633)

  • Sponsor: Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) Requires that former Montana Representative Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, be featured as the first woman on U.S. paper currency. (Read bill text)
  • “Jeannette Rankin, a proud Montanan and the first woman to serve in Congress, has left a lasting mark on our nation’s democratic process,” according to the bill sponsor. “She is a true example of America’s rich legacy of service and I urge the Treasury to make her the first woman to serve as the face of our paper currency.”

Harriet Tubman Tribute Act (HR 2610 and in the Senate, S 1720)

  • Sponsor: Rep. John Katko (R-NY) —Bipartisan— Would require the Secretary of the Treasury to place Harriet Tubman’s likeness on a Federal Reserve Note by 2017. (Read bill text)
  • Harriet Tubman “bravely led countless Americans to freedom and opportunity, courageously fought for her country, and was an outspoken advocate for women’s suffrage,” explained the bill sponsors. “Placing Harriet Tubman on our US Currency is a fitting tribute to a woman who fought to make the values enshrined in our Constitution a reality for all Americans.”

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