THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2012

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

3:00 - 3:30 p.m. 3:30 - 4:00 p.m.

**Members are advised that today, the House is only expected to have one vote series.

**Members are also advised that the House will complete consideration of H.R. 4402 tomorrow. 

H.Res. 726Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 4402 - National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 (Rep. Amodei – Natural Resources/Judiciary) (One Hour of debate) The Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Natural Resources. The Rule allows 7 amendments debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. It allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions. It also waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rules committee once again rejected a motion by Mr. McGovern of Massachusetts to consider H.R. 4402 under an open Rule.

Begin Consideration of H.R. 4402 - National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 (Rep. Amodei – Natural Resources/Judiciary) (Five hours of debate) H.R. 4402, reclassifies certain mining operations as "infrastructure projects" in order to streamline the permitting process for mining on federal lands. It requires federal agencies to expedite environmental review of proposed mining projects, and limits the judicial review process for challenges to approved mining permits on federal lands or associated environmental reviews.

In addition to reducing or eliminating environmental reviews, the measure would give mining companies control over the timing of permitting decisions for virtually all mining operations on public land, not just those involving strategic or critical minerals.  This bill would also elevate mining above all other uses of public lands, including hunting, fishing, grazing, and recreation. 

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

Rep. Tonko (NY) Amendment Would narrow the scope of the underlying bill to address only strategic and critical minerals
Rep. Hastings (FL) Amendment #1
Would give the lead agency in a mining permit decision the authority to extend by two six-month periods the arbitrary 30 month time limit the bill imposes on permit approval in the event of new or unforeseen information regarding the proposed project
Rep. Markey (MA) Amendment
Would require a royalty payment of 12.5% of the value of hardrock minerals mined on federal lands. Revenue generated by the royalty payment would be dedicated to cleaning up abandoned hardrock mines
Rep. Young (AK) Amendment
Would allow the lead agency in a mining permit decision, to exempt areas of identified mineral deposits that are located within designated roadless and recreation areas of national forests from their current management requirements, and allow the construction of new roads or other ways of access to facilitate mining
Rep. Cravaack (MN) Amendment
Would allow projects that have already applied for a permit to access the new expedited process under the bill
Rep. Hastings (FL) Amendment #2
Would continue to allow non-profit entities and individuals to recover attorney’s fees and court costs under current provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).  Section 205 of the underlying bill eliminates the right of any party in a civil lawsuit against the federal government to recover such costs if they prevail in court. The amendment creates an exception to that section to allow non-profit groups or individuals to recover litigation costs
Rep. Grijalva (AZ) Amendment
Would exempt from the bill any mineral exploration or mining permit a lead agency determines would diminish opportunities for hunting, fishing, grazing, or recreation on public lands. By protecting the status of hunting, fishing, grazing and other recreational uses on federal lands, the amendment will guarantee that the multiple use mandate for federal lands is not compromised by the underlying bill

Bill Text for H.R. 4402:
HTML Version

PDF Version

Background for H.R. 4402:

House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Complete Consideration of H.R. 6079 - Patients’ Rights Repeal Act (Rep. Cantor – Energy and Commerce/Ways and Means/Education and the Workforce)  (Five hours of debate) The Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law two years ago and recently upheld by the Supreme Court, has many benefits, including:

Already Providing Relief to Millions of Americans:

  • 17 million children with pre-existing conditions now have health insurance;
  • 54 million Americans are now receiving free preventative care services;
  • 360,000 small businesses are now taking advantage of the healthcare tax credit to provide insurance to 2 million workers;
  • 105 million Americans no longer have to deal with lifetime caps; and
  • Allows 2,800 employers to take advantage of the retiree reinsurance program to help cover over 12 million retirees not yet eligible for Medicare

Putting Americans – not insurance companies – in charge of their health care by enacting multiple insurance reforms, including:

  • Eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions for kids immediately and for all Americans by 2014;
  • Eliminating lifetime limits and caps on coverage immediately and phasing out annual limits and caps on coverage by 2014;
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from canceling or rescinding your policy if you get too sick;
  • Requiring insurance companies to spend 80-85% of your premium dollars on benefits – not CEO salaries or administrative costs; and
  • Allowing 6.6 million youth up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance policy

Strengthening the Medicare program – extending Trust Fund solvency by 8 years – and reducing costs for seniors by:

  • Providing each senior that entered the donut hole in 2010 with a $250 check to help cover drug costs;
  • Reducing brand name drug costs in the donut hole by at least 50%, discounting generic drug costs, and closing the donut hole entirely over time;
  • Eliminating all co-pays and deductibles for preventive services;
  • Eliminating overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans; and
  • Providing seniors with a free annual wellness exam

Reducing both the short-term and the long-term deficit:

  • Resulted in a net deficit reduction of $210 billion over the next 10 years;
  • Slowed the growth in long-term health care spending, resulting in over $1 trillion of savings in the second ten years

Repeal turns the clock back on all of this – it increases the deficit, puts insurance companies back in charge of Americans’ health care, increases costs and cuts benefits for Medicare seniors, and eliminates $40 billion in tax credits to help make insurance more affordable for small businesses. The House only has 16 legislative days remaining before the August break, and the House should be spending its time on creating jobs for the American economy, and not on ideological theatre. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for H.R. 6079:
PDF Version

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, July 12: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 4402 - National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 (Rep. Amodei – Natural Resources/Judiciary) (Subject to a Rule).

 
The Daily Quote

“In the House of Representatives, it seems Republican leadership is hoping to run out the clock. With just 15 days left to legislate before the August recess, House leadership isn't scurrying to pass job creation legislation or curb the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ Instead, lawmakers are devoting their time to largely symbolic votes like repealing the Affordable Care Act, the 31st time such a vote has taken place.”
-       U.S. News & World Report, 7/10/12

“[Health care reform] is not the bill that [Republicans] would have written, it is not the bill that I would have drafted. But it is the law of the land and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make that system better, for that patient, for that family, will be based. And that is a fact…The bill has many strong elements, and those elements, whatever happens, need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented…”

-      Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), 1/18/11