THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - December 1, 2017

Dec 3, 2017

In this issue:


Bunts-Anderson, Villarmero win App Challenge

Twenty two students from the Northern Marianas entered this year's Congressional App Challenge, competing as individuals or teams of up to four. Thirteen apps were submitted with selection of the winning entries made by tech industry experts. From these submissions, The Student Companion, by Daniel Villarmero and Chenoa Bunts-Anderson of Marianas High School, was chosen as this year’s winner. Mount Carmel School students Joanie Paraiso, Tawnie Manibusan and Cassidy Torres took second and third place for their apps The Thought Bubble and Pocket Homework, respectively. The App Challenge is open to all elementary and secondary students and is intended to encourage student creativity and participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. 

Support firefighter programs

Ensuring our firefighters have the resources and flexibility needed to do their jobs is among the reasons I joined the Congressional Fire Services Caucus and 152 of my colleagues on a letter urging House leadership to act on S. 829, a bill to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs. AFG helps local firefighters obtain training and equipment, including protective gear and emergency vehicles. SAFER grants enable local fire departments to comply with national standards. Our local fire department have received over $2 million AFG and SAFER funds in the past to help our firefighters prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters. S. 829 would make the programs permanent and extend current authorization levels. Without House action, the AFG and SAFER programs will end on January 2, 2018. 

Combating sexual harassment

Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa) and I have teamed up to co-sponsor the ME TOO Congress Act, a bill that makes sexual harassment complaints in Congress easier for victims to file and for the public to see. Introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California), the ME TOO Congress Act also makes Members of Congress personally liable for any settlement payments arising from harassment claims and requires Members and their staff to take annual anti-harassment training. To make this a truly bipartisan effort, Ms. Speier asked that co-sponsors come on board as a pair, one Democrat, one Republican – the Noah’s Ark system. I thank my Republican colleague, Ms. Radewagen, for accepting my invitation to join me in supporting the effort to lift the veil of secrecy that has existed here in Congress for too long on sexual harassment and to make it easier for victims to come forward. 






On the Floor

  • H.R. 1699 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2017 (Passed, 256-163)
  • H.R. 4182 – Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service Act of 2017 (Passed, 213-204)
  • H.R. 3017 – Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Passed, 409-8)
  • H.R. 2228 – Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.Res. 630 – Requiring each Member, officer, and employee of the House of Representatives to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress, and for other purposes (Agreed to by voice vote)

Legislation I Cosponsored

  • H.R.4013 – 2020 American Census Investment Act
  • H.R.4300 – Admiral Lloyd R. "Joe" Vasey Pacific War Commemorative Display Establishment Act
  • H.R.4396 – ME TOO Congress Act
  • H.R.4416 – Simple FAFSA Act of 2017
  • H.R.4444 – Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act
  • H.R.4446 – To amend the Virgin Islands of the United States Centennial Commission Act to extend the expiration date of the Commission, and for other purposes.
  • H.R.4505 – To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to establish a minimum salary threshold for bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees exempt from Federal overtime compensation requirements, and automatically update such threshold every 3 years.


On the Floor

  • H.R. 477 – Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2017
  • H.R. 3971 – Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2017
  • H.R. 38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
  • H.R. 3731 – Secret Service Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017
  • H.R. 3317 – SAFE Act
  • S. 1266 – Enhancing Veteran Care Act
  • H.R. 2658 – Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017
  • H.Res. 259 – Expressing concern and condemnation over the political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela
  • H.Con.Res. 90 – Condemning ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calling for an end to the attacks in and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma

Committee Activity

Wednesday, December 6

  • Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Hearing on "Workplace Leave Policies: Opportunities and Challenges for Employers and Working Families"
  • Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4465, Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2017

Thursday, December 7

  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs Oversight Hearing on "New Names, Same Problems: The VA Medical Surgical Prime Vendor Program"