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House - January 9, 2007

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House - January 9, 2007 - week 2
110th - United States Congress
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Previous January 8, 2007
Next January 10, 2007

This is the daily summary of the actions in United States House of Representatives in the 110th United States Congress for January 9, 2007 during week 2 of this Congress' term. For a summary of the actions in the Senate click here, and for Congress as a whole on this date, click here.


House Daily Summary

Overview Today’s legislative activity began at about 10:30 AM, followed by a two-hour break. When proceedings finally got underway at about noon, the House spent the day debating H.R. 1 and H.Res. 35. You can read both summaries below. There are some new information sections added to the updates, so make sure you examine them closely to give you a bit of context surrounding the process the legislation took to passage.

Action: House passes H.Res. 35 Primary Sources: PDF Version of H.Res. 35, THOMAS summary of H.Res. 35 Path to Action

H.Res. 35 was debated for one hour on the House floor on Jan. 9, 2007. After debate was concluded, a final vote on passage of the resolution was called. It was interrupted by a point of order by Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) to recommit the resolution to the House Rules Committee. The motion was rejected by a majority of the House. Again, a final vote was called and the resolution passed 239-188, with all but eight Republicans voting against and all Democrats voting in favor. Legislative Summary:

This resolution establishes the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel of the Committee on Appropriations. It will consist of thirteen members of the House, with eight majority members (Democrats) and five minority members (Republicans). According to its text, the panel will have the power to review budget requests for the intelligence community and will prepare a report for the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations making recommendations for budget and oversight duties.

Action: House passes H.R. 1 Primary Sources: PDF Version of H.R. 1, THOMAS summary page for H.R. 1

Path to Action:

The House began debate on this bill at 12:58 P.M. on Jan. 9th, 2007. There was three hours of debate on the House floor, and further consideration was suspended to debate H.Res. 35. At 6:20 P.M. the same day, debate on H.R. 1 continued until a final vote was called for. It was interrupted by a Republican-supported motion to recommit the bill to the Homeland Security Committee, which failed to gain the support of a majority of the chamber. The proceedings continued to a final vote, which passed with the support of 299 and the opposition of the rest of 167 members of the Republican caucus.

Legislative Summary:

H.R. 1 is perhaps the largest of all of the bills to fulfill the “100 Hours” agenda. There are many changes to federal law that you should be concerned about, so we’ll try to summarize and condense the information so that it can be understood as easily as possible.

Title I to H.R. 1 implements a system of “risk-based” counter-terrorism funding. This was one of the 9/11 Commission’s more prominent suggestions. In short, it mandates that the Department for Homeland Security must assign funds to areas based upon the likelihood that it will be struck by a terrorist attack and the financial & logistical damage such a strike could cause. Under this system, no longer will large DHS grants be going to places where powerful members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on appropriations happen to represent. This language became a priority when, in December 2005, the 9/11 Commission gave the Bush Administration an “F” for their handling of the DHS grant program.

Title II to H.R. 1 relates to the role of first responders. If you don’t know, first responders are the people that, well, respond first to national emergencies. If foreign or domestic terrorists set off a biological weapon in the middle of Times Square, they will be the first to get on the scene and try to clean up the mess. The changes made under H.R. 1 seek to enhance their stand-alone interoperability when chaos and disorder surround them. To give you a sense of how important that is: The 9/11 Commission highlighted this as one of the main reasons why no Air Force personnel or command control officers were able to get a handle on hijacked planes crossing into New York City.

Title III to H.R. 1 mandates that the Department of Homeland Security develop a system of sharing information with local and municipal and appoints a network of “regional administrators” to ensure proper implementation of the plan.

Title IV to H.R. 1 introduces a host of security measures for U.S. air and sea ports. H.R. 1 will mandate that 100% of all cargo incoming on passenger aircraft be scanned by 2009. By 2011, it will mandate that all airports will have improved explosive screening at baggage check-in. Sections 405 and 408 specifically deal with appropriations for the new programs, which amount to nearly $250 million. Also, the legislation will set out a process for passengers to quickly “appeal or redress” getting delayed or prohibited from boarding a flight. Finally, it puts a core plan to implement a passenger pre-screening system so that threats can be identified before they get on flights via the federal no-fly list. Title V to H.R. 1 mandates that 100% of shipping containers be scanned by both X-ray machines and radiation detectors before they can be cleared to enter the port. It appropriates funds for security upgrades.

Title VI to H.R. 1 looks at a more holistic approach to stopping terrorists from entering the country, in terms of personnel. It enhances the scope of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center by appropriating more funds and requiring the hire of more field agents to stop human trafficking and international travel of terrorists. It also seeks to establish a system of biometric entry and exit to the United States.

Title VII to H.R. 1 establishes offices and funds grants to local law enforcement and first responders so that they too can react on some of the government’s highest intelligence. Some of the bigger programs are the Border Intelligence Fusion Center Program, which attempts to get Border Control officers working in unison with law enforcement of respective towns and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border. It founds the Office of Infrastructure Protection, whose purpose is self-explanatory.

Title VIII to H.R. 1 is probably the most exciting part of the bill for liberals. It separates the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from its administrative position and makes the board independent, requires all of its members to be confirmed by the Senate and gives subpoena power to its Chairperson. It also enhances the authority of privacy officers for the Department of Homeland Security, giving them the power to file official discrepancies with the board. Surprisingly, this Title was left out of the Speaker’s press release on the bill.

Titles IX, X and XI to H.R. 1 establish that the bill calls a “National At-Risk Database”, which apparently will help private businesses and the transportation sector assess their financial and logistical risk of being hit by a terrorist attacks. It also coordinates emergency preparedness activities.

Titles XII and XIII to H.R. 1 is the Democrats’ best attempt to stem the proliferation of WMDs. It fields a number of changes. First, it strengthens the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction, perhaps the only federal program which tries to get a handle on the nuclear materials which floated across the globe in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Second, it increases funding to the Proliferation Security Initiative, where the United Nations acts to confiscate WMDs. Third, it creates the office of U.S. Coordinator for the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, which will assist the President and the also-established Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism in developing a strategy to preventing the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Finally, it forces the President to impose sanctions on nations (read: Syria, Iran and North Korea) that share nuclear materials with states that are less-than-favorable to the civilized world. It would also require the President to revoke existing assistance to countries that are caught aiding the transfer. This is the most ambitious anti-proliferation mandate seen passed by the U.S. Congress in quiet some time. Title XIV to H.R. 1 seeks to improve the image of the U.S. around the world by a series of cooperative initiatives in the Muslim countries. Some of the programs are vague and are probably unlikely to make it into the conference agreement, but what they do right now is attempt to increase “educational opportunities” for Muslims in the international community. Instead of studying hatred in madrases, this bill hopes to spread Western education. It also establishes a fund for translating Western reading materials into Arabic and other local languages. Finally, it gives a list of not-exactly-binding ways for the U.S. to repair its image with the international community by expanding the U.S. scholarships for Muslim students to come to the other side of the lake to study.

Just as a note, there are alot of programs, mandates and appropriations made under this bill and it would be impossible to note them all here. U.S. House Digest believes these are the most noted and most effective in terms of impact provisions included in the bill. There is not alot left out of this summary. But, we strongly encourage you to investigate more on your own. As a final note, this legislation and the funds it appropriates was not subject to the “pay-as-you-go” restrictions.

Additional Actions

The House considered H.Res. 15, a resolution “mourning the passing of President Gerald Rudolph Ford and celebrating his leadership and service to the people of the United States”. An hour debate was conducted, and the final vote was postponed until Jan. 10th. This gives the members who did not have time to speak during the aforementioned 60 minutes a chance to insert their remarks about the late President into House record.

On the Floor

The above link is to the consolidated congressional record of what occured on the floor of the House on this date.

NOTE: This area's structure and format are still in development.
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In the Committees

The above link is to the consolidated congressional record of what occured in any House committees that had activity on this date.

Note: This area's structure and format are still in development. The above header text will become a link to a culled and consolidated portions congressional record of the committees of the House that had activity on the date this page is about. This blurb here will also eventually have a format on how to link to the relevant committee articles in the Congressional Committees Project. I envision that the portions of the congressional record that will be at this link (formated similar to the floor portions of the record would be a also utilized (and with luck, maintained by those signing up for the various committees by that project.
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This page was last modified 04:15, 14 February 2007 by dKosopedia user Abou Ben Adhem. Based on work by dKosopedia user(s) Lestatdelc. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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