Looking Ahead in Congress: Defense spending bill and Disclose Act

In the House 
The Defense Appropriations Act (HR 5856)

This bill cuts total defense spending by about $25 billion from current levels, mostly reflecting less spending in Afghanistan and Iraq. Base-level funding for DOD itself would increase slightly. The House is expected to work on this bill for the bulk of the week with a vote on Friday.

The Sequestration Transparency Act (HR 5872)
House Republicans will bring this bill to the Floor in the middle of the week, in an effort to require the Administration to report on how it proposes to slash more than $100 billion in spending in 2013. That cut is required under the so-called “Sequester,” which Congress approved last year as a way of forcing $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. House Republicans have already approved a bill that would alter the Sequester by avoiding Defense Department cuts, and continue to pressure the Obama administration to support similar alterations.

Several other bills will also be considered in the House this week:

HR 6018
To authorize appropriations for the Department of State for fiscal year 2013.

The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act (S 1959)
Requires a report on the designation of the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Insular Areas Act (S 2009)
Improves the administration of programs in the insular areas.

S 2039
To allow a State or local government to construct levees on certain properties otherwise designated as open space lands.

The US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (S 2165)
Enhances strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel.

In the Senate 
The DISCLOSE Act (S 3369)
This is the second Democratic bill meant to address the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case. That ruling said the government cannot limit campaign spending by corporations, unions and other groups. (See other bills related to Citizens United.)
The bill would require these groups to report aggregate campaign spending of $10,000 to the government. In 2010, Democrats sought to require reporting of all spending above $600, but their bill failed to move in the Senate. The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on the new bill on Monday.

Bill with High Volume Activity on POPVOX 
Most Discussed Bill Last Week: The Repeal of Obamacare Act (HR 6079)
The House approved this bill 244-185 last week, with the help of five Democrats. But as expected, the bill is already “last week’s news,” as the Senate is not expected to consider it at all. Thousands of POPVOX users had opinions of the bill to repeal the 2010 healthcare law, making it the most-discussed bill on the site last week. More than 4,500 people weighed in, and were in favor of the bill by a more than 10-1 margin.

The 21st Century Postal Service Act (S 1789)
This bill, #9 on POPVOX, would give the U.S. Postal Service the flexibility to restructure its finances to help it stop losing millions of dollars each day. The Senate passed it in April. The House has indicated it is unlikely to move any related legislation before the August recess. House Republicans oppose the Senate bill as something that would increase the deficit further, and favor proposals to let the USPS close offices that are not profitable. Without movement by Congress, some version of the House GOP plan will likely come to pass anyway, as the USPS has said it will soon need to begin shuttering offices.

The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S 2237)
This bill, number 11 on POPVOX, would give companies a tax credit of up to $500,000, but it stalled in the Senate last week, as Republican opposition blocked it in a procedural vote.

Link to POPVOX’s Weekly Update online.