Congress is back on today from August recess, and it faces two big issues in its first full week of work: whether to approve military action in Syria and a 2014 federal spending.
Authorizing Military Action in Syria
On Aug. 31, the President sent Congress draft legislation that would authorize use of the US military “in connection with the conflict in Syria.” In the past week, more than 2,700 POPVOX users weighed in on the President’s proposal — overwhelmingly in opposition — and even the media took note: Check out POPVOX on NBC news and The Hill.
Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved its resolution to authorize the limited and specified use of the US Armed Forces. The resolution allows up to 90 days of military action against Syria, and due to a bipartisan amendment in committee, it allows the Administration to take steps to change the “momentum on the battlefield” to help Syrian rebels. Weigh in on the Senate’s resolution at POPVOX.
- The resolution passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a close 10-7 vote, and the Obama Administration will be pushing Senators to support it before this week’s vote. It’s not yet clear if the Senate can pass the resolution given scant public support for a new military campaign, even one that the Administration says would be very limited and would not involve ground troops. Meanwhile, House leaders have indicated they would let the Senate act first, and might consider Syria language later in the month. There’s also a chance the House doesn’t vote at all, particularly if the Senate fails to pass its language.
Learn more and find other bills related to Syria in PopVox’s Issue Spotlight.
2014 Federal Spending
The House will take the lead on 2014 spending, by considering a short-term continuing resolution. The plan is to allow the government to operate for the first few months of the new fiscal year, so Congress can spend time working on a debt ceiling agreement. As of Friday, the House had not revealed the text of the continuing resolution it hopes to pass.
Also in the House
The No Subsidies Without Verification Act (HR 2775): would prohibit any federal subsidies for Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges from being provided until there is a system in place that verifies eligibility as outlined by current law, according to the bill sponsor.
- HR2775 reflects Republican disapproval of an Obama administration decision not to verify eligibility of people receiving subsidies. Many Republicans said failing to see if people qualify for these subsidies will only lead to more demand for the payments, which would drive up the costs of Obamacare.
Finally, the House will consider several suspension bills early in the week, including several Senate land use bills:
- National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (HR 1155): To reform the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers.
- Science Laureates of the United States Act (HR 1891): To establish a position of Science Laureate of the US.
- Global Investment in American Jobs Act (HR 2052): Requiring a report on how to increase overseas investment in the US.
- Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act (HR 2747): To transfer certain functions from the Government Accountability Office to the Dept. of Labor relating to the processing of claims for the payment of workers who were not paid appropriate wages under certain provisions of such title.
- Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act (HR 2844): To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to consolidate the reporting obligations of the Federal Communications Commission in order to improve congressional oversight and reduce reporting burdens.
- Powell Shooting Range Land Conveyance Act (S 130): To require the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain Federal land to the Powell Recreation District in the State of Wyoming.
- Denali National Park Improvement Act (S 157): To provide for certain improvements to the Denali National Park and Preserve in the State of Alaska.
- S 256: Conveying submerged land to the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Natchez Trace Parkway Land Conveyance Act (S 304): To direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi 2 parcels of surplus land within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act (S 459): To modify the boundary of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in the State of South Dakota.
As you can see, Immigration Reform is nowhere on the House agenda at this point.