THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS - How we are using $32.5M E-NAP funds

Oct 29, 2017

In this issue: October 27, 2017


VA should study medical marijuana

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Democrats are urging Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to start looking at how medical marijuana could help veterans who suffer from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. We took this position because the Department’s Inspector General has reported that addiction to opioids and opioid-related deaths are widespread among veterans. One in five veterans are prescribed these narcotics for the mental and physical injuries they sustained during their military service. We must do more to find effective alternative treatments for our veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD. With the VA’s access to world class researchers and history of innovative treatments, the agency is well-suited to determine whether medical marijuana has a place in the treatment of our veterans.

Chair agrees to Pacific vets hearing

Pacific area veterans, whose needs are often neglected, will get a congressional hearing next year as a result of a request from Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa), Congresswoman Madeleine Z Bordallo (D-Guam), and myself. House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Dr. Phil Roe (R-Tennessee) responded affirmatively on Tuesday to the request the three of us made on October 11 for an oversight hearing on the barriers facing veterans living in the U.S. Pacific insular areas. In his response, Dr. Roe said his top priority as Chairman is to ensure that all of our nation’s veterans have access to the care and services they need to live full and healthy lives. And he promised to work with us to schedule a hearing during the second session of this Congress. I am very grateful to the Chairman for this commitment. Both Ms. Radewagen and I are members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

CW cap delay hurts business, workers

Four weeks into fiscal year 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has not yet announced the cap on the number of CW-1, Marianas-only foreign worker, permits to be issued for the year. I cannot speculate on why the Trump administration has not made this decision on time. But I do know that the delay is harmful to Marianas businesses and workers, who are waiting for the decision to find out whether they will get 2018 CW permits applied for. My position is that the 2018 cap should go down by one—just one—to 12,997. That would be the safest decision for the Northern Marianas economy right now. The Government Accountability Office report that I commissioned found that drastic cuts in the number of CW workers would likely result in drastic cuts in economic activity in the Marianas. Conversely, the 37 percent increase in workers in 2016 was matched by a 29 percent increase in GDP.

Helping add to retirement savings

As Ranking Member on the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, I work on finding bipartisan solutions to trying to ensure retirement security for all Americans. Yesterday, Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-Michigan) and I introduced H.R. 4158, the Retirement Plan Modernization Act, which will reduce administrative costs in retirement plans for active employees by updating a two-decade-old standard for automatic rollovers.  This legislation will make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans and that is good for employees of those small businesses.

Troop Store grand opening postponed

The grand opening of the expanded Army and Air Force Exchange Services Troop Store in Tanapag has been pushed back due to construction delays contrary to our report in last week's e-news. The AAFES troop store held a soft opening in August and a formal ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled to occur on October 26. The store will remain open while work is underway. We apologize for the error.




Public Comments

Legislative Highlights


On the Floor

  • Consideration of the Senate Amendment to H.Con.Res. 71 – Establishing the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2018 and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2019 through 2027 (Passed, 216-212)
  • H.R. 732 – Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act of 2017 (Passed, 238-183)
  • H.R. 469 – Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017 (Passed, 234-187)
  • H.R. 4038 – DHS Accountability Enhancement Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3328 – Cuban Airport Security Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3551 – C-TPAT Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Passed, 402-1)
  • S. 504 – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act of 2017 (Passed 401-2)
  • H.R. 2142 – INTERDICT Act (Passed, 412-3)
  • H.R. 4010 – Congressional Subpoena Compliance and Enforcement Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3101 – Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3972 – Family Office Technical Correction Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3898 – Impeding North Korea's Access to Finance Act of 2017 (Passed, 415-2)
  • H.R. 1698 – Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (Passed, 423-2)
  • H.Res. 359 – Urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3342 – Sanctioning Hizballah's Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (Agreed to by voice vote)
  • H.R. 3329 – Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017 (Agreed to by voice vote)

Legislation I Sponsored

  • H.R.1057 - STOP Act of 2017
  • H.R. 1098 - New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2017


On the Floor

  • H.R. 2936 – Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017
  • H.R. 849 – Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2017
    Legislation to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Programs and other public health priorities.

Committee Activity

Thursday, November 2

House Veterans' Affairs Committee Markup