THE DAILY WHIP: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013

For Immediate Release:

September 19, 2013

Contact:

Katie GrantStephanie Young, 202-225-3130

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes” per side

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

***MEMBERS ARE ADVISED THAT CLOSE VOTES ARE EXPECTED THIS WEEK ON BOTH H.R. 3102 – “NUTRITION REFORM AND WORK OPPORTUNITY ACT” AND H.J.RES. 59 – CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS RESOLUTION, 2014. ANY EXPECTED ABSENCES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE WHIP’S OFFICE AT X5-3130.

**Members are also advised that following last votes today, the House is expected to begin consideration of H.R. 1526.  Votes on final passage of H.R. 1526 are expected to occur tomorrow.

H.Res. 351 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 3102 – “Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013” (Rep. Lucas – Agriculture), H.R. 1526 - Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources), and H.R. 687 - Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013 (Rep. Gosar – Natural Resources) (One Hour of Debate). The Rules committee has recommended one Rule which provides for consideration of 3 bills.

For H.R. 3102, the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

For H.R. 1526, the Rules committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Natural Resources.  The Rule allows for 7 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions and it also waives all points of order against the legislation.

For H.R. 687, the Rules committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Natural Resources.  The Rule allows for 3 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions and it also waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Mr. McGovern of Massachusetts to consider all three bills under open Rules. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.Res. 352 – Rule providing for consideration of H.J.Res. 59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (Rep. Rogers (KY) – Appropriations) (One Hour of Debate). For H.J.Res. 59 , the Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Appropriations. The Rule allows one motion to recommit, and waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rules Committee rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter of New York to make in order an amendment offered by Mr. Van Hollen that would fund the government through November 15, 2013 at presequester Budget Control Act caps that total $1.058 trillion and replaces the entire sequester for FY2014 with savings from specific policies that reflect a balanced approach to deficit reduction. It would also protect our most vulnerable citizens, ask those earning over $1 million per year to contribute more, eliminate agriculture direct payments, and cut subsidies for large oil companies. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.R. 3102 – “Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act of 2013” (Rep. Lucas – Agriculture). (One Hour of Debate). This bill would cut funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $39 billion – nearly 10 times the reductions passed in the bipartisan Senate bill, which would result in the loss of SNAP benefits for 3.8 million Americans. This bill is coming to the Floor because House Republicans rejected the original Farm Bill in June, that would have cut food stamp funding by $20.5 billion, because the cuts were not deep enough.

SNAP provides assistance to 47 million Americans in need and has long been a vital tool in empowering struggling families to put food on their tables as they seek new employment, send their children to school and get themselves back on their feet.  It is estimated that 4 in 5 SNAP households live below the poverty line — 2 in 5 are below half the poverty line. Republicans claim their bill will increase incentives to work.  In fact, the number of SNAP households that have earnings while participating in SNAP has been rising for more than a decade, and has more than tripled — from about 2 million in 2000 to about 6.4 million in 2011.  The increase was especially pronounced during the recent deep recession, suggesting that many people have turned to SNAP because of under-employment — for example: when one wage-earner in a two-parent family lost a job; when a worker’s hours were cut; or when a worker turned to a lower-paying job after being laid off.  As a result, this bill will take away food from struggling Americans who are seeking employment.  More generally, the Republican approach ignores SNAP’s role in supporting the economy during economic downturns and will ensure that this safety net does not work as intended in the future.   

The cuts in this bill would have devastating effects on some of our nation’s most vulnerable, as nearly 2/3 of recipients are children, elderly, or disabled. The bill significantly restricts so-called "categorical eligibility" for SNAP, under which individuals become eligible for SNAP benefits based on their participation in other low-income assistance programs. This would result in the loss of SNAP benefits for about 2 million Americans, and eliminate school lunch eligibility for about 210,000 children. The bill changes the interaction between SNAP and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), reducing benefits for an estimated 850,000 households according to CBO.  The bill would also cut food aid for an estimated 170,000 unemployed veterans, while it is estimated that nearly 3 million veterans and their families don’t get enough to eat each month.

SNAP has historically been the most responsive federal program after unemployment insurance in assisting families and communities during economic downturns. However, this bill contains all of the poison-pill amendments that sunk the previous version June, including the Southerland amendment. The Southerland amendment allows states to cut off an entire family’s food assistance benefits, including their children’s, if the parents cannot find a job or job training slot. Further, it incentivizes states to do so by allowing them to keep half of the federal savings from cutting people off SNAP and allowing the use of these funds for any purpose, including tax cuts and special-interest subsidies or plugging holes in state budgets.  States that decline this option and maintain their current approach to SNAP work requirements and training would face a significant fiscal penalty: they would lose all federal matching funds for their SNAP employment and job training programs (which all states now operate).  The result is an incentive for states to remove those in need from being able to receive assistance to keep food on their family’s table. In a time of high unemployment, Republicans should be pursuing measures that create jobs and opportunity for our nation’s poor instead of ones that pull the safety-net out from under them. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for H.R. 3102:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 3102:
CRS Report: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Categorical Eligibility

Begin Consideration of H.R. 1526 – Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) (One Hour of Debate). This bill requires the U.S. Forest Service to increase timber production on National Forest lands by creating timber production zones, called “Forest Reserve Revenue Areas,” within each national forest.  Zones must meet annual timber volume targets set at half of what the forest grows each year.  Meeting these targets would require logging and related road building in currently roadless areas and national monuments.  It would also greatly reduce environmental reviews, legislatively prescribing timber production compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA); limiting scientific review by establishing a “non-jeopardy” presumption for all logging projects; and discourage judicial review by requiring plaintiffs to post bonds to have their day in court. In addition to increased timber production on National Forest lands, the bill also walk back over 100 years of National Forest management, establishing “community forest demonstration areas” that would be at least 200,000 acres, managed by state forest councils, and governed by state forest environmental laws.

The bill extends the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 for one year at the FY2010 level. The program provides to rural counties that have national forests within their borders support payments for government services like education and law enforcement.

The Rule makes in order 7 amendments, debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:

Rep. Daines Amendment #1. Limits judicial review of timber sales under the bill by precluding Court-issued injunctions based on alleged violations of procedural requirements in selecting, planning, or analyzing the such sales.
Rep. Daines Amendment #2. Requires the Secretary to submit to Congress a one page annual report specifying the annual timber harvest requirements for each Forest Reserve Revenue Area designated under the bill. The report must include the annual volume of timber required to be cut in that fiscal year, the volume of board feet actually harvested, the average cost of preparation of timber sales, the revenues generated from such sales, the amount of receipts distributed to each beneficiary county.
Reps. McClintock/McCarthy (CA)/LaMalfa/Denham Amendment. Waives judicial review on any timber salvage project resulting from a wildfire occurring in 2013.
Reps. Smith (MO)/Luetkemeyer/Long Amendment. Puts a moratorium on the use of prescribed fires in the Mark Twain National Forest until the Secretary of Agriculture submits a report to Congress on the economic impacts of these fires. The amendment does not prohibit the use of prescribed fire as part of wildfire suppression activities.
Rep. McClintock Amendment. Prohibits the U.S. Forest Service from removing any roads or trails unless there has been a specific decision, which included adequate and appropriate public involvement, to decommission the specific road or trail in question. 
Rep. LaMalfa Amendment #6. In the event of a wildfire originating on private lands that spreads to federal land, the amendment limits the scope of damages the Department of Justice (DOJ) is able to seek to those which are covered under state law. In a state that limits damage recovery, DOJ may only seek to recover damage to property and public lands and firefighting and restoration costs.
Rep. LaMalfa Amendment #7. Allows funds appropriated for fire suppression activities by any federal agency to be used for reforestation, salvage logging, site rehabilitation, and post-fire tree planting.

Bill Text for H.R. 1526:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 1526:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Friday, September 20: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider H.J.Res. 59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (Rep. Rogers (KY) – Appropriations) (Subject to a Rule).  The House is also expected to complete consideration of H.R. 1526 – Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (Rep. Hastings (WA) – Natural Resources) (Subject to a Rule).

 
The Daily Quote

“As a political statement, this plan illuminates the chaotic state of the Republican Party. Speaker John Boehner, who preferred to have symbolic rather than real votes against the health law, lost control of his chamber to hard-liners obsessed with repealing it. Many on the right, who came to Washington with the radical agenda of ending as many government programs as they could, practically welcome the prospect of a shutdown or even a default... If he allows the entire House, including Democrats, to vote on straightforward measures to pay for the government and raise the debt limit, the double crisis will instantly end. If he does not, he will give free rein to his party’s worst impulses.”

-    New York Times Editorial, 9/19/13