THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 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

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

H.R. 5544 – Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act (Rep. Cravaack – Natural Resources) H.R. 5544 authorizes the exchange of 86,000 acres of land in the Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota for educational trust lands owned by the State of Minnesota that are located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The exchange would allow the state to manage these lands to generate revenue for local schools by allowing mining and logging, but the bill fails to acknowledge that Minnesota counties are already compensated for the presence of federal land within their boundaries.  
 
The bill does not specifically identify the federal Forest Service lands be acquired by Minnesota through this exchange.  It declares that the land exchange is not a "major federal action," thereby waiving the environmental review and public participation requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The bill specifies that the valuation of those lands should be dictated by Minnesota statute and not a third party appraisal as is typically required in legislated federal land exchanges.  If the land exchange does not occur within 18 months of enactment, the Forest Service would be required to submit a report to Congress regarding its status.

The Rule, which the House adopted yesterday makes in order 4 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  The amendments are:

Rep. McCollum Amendment. Ensures tribal treaty rights (to hunt, fish and gather) are preserved and tribes are consulted
Rep. Holt Amendment.
Would restore public participation and transparency in development of this proposed land exchange, which is prohibited under H.R. 5544
Rep. Ellison Amendment.
Would ensure that no National Forest System lands shall be included in the exchange where the inclusion or use of the lands is likely to have a negative impact on private property, property values, and small businesses
Rep. Grijalva Amendment.
Would strike the unusual appraisal language from H.R. 5544 and replaces it with standard appraisal provisions used in federal land exchanges to protect the public interest

Bill Text for H.R. 5544:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 5544:
House Report (HTML Version)

House Report (PDF Version)

H.R. 5949 – FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2012 (Rep. Smith (TX) – Judiciary/Intelligence) H.R. 5949 reauthorizes the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments for five years, through December 31, 2017.

In 2008, Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act in response to 2005 press reports that the National Security Agency had been conducting surveillance of U.S. residents without judicial review. The law was designed to restore the oversight role of the FISA Court in approving surveillance before it begins, or in certain emergency situations, after the surveillance has begun. The measure allows the Intelligence Community to use FISA authorities to acquire information about terrorist plans, cyber threats, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons proliferation and other important intelligence about foreign adversaries by targeting foreign persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States.  H.R. 5949 does not modify or change the existing requirements or authorities provided under current law – it is a straight five-year extension of current law.

The Rule for H.R. 5949 was adopted yesterday. The Rules Committee recommended a closed Rule that provides for 40 minutes of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary and 20 minutes of general debate equally divided between the Chair and Ranking Member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Bill Text for H.R. 5949:
HTML Version

PDF Version

Postponed Suspensions (4 Votes)

  1. H.R. 1775Stolen Valor Act of 2011 (Rep. Heck – Judiciary)
  2. S. 3245A bill to extend by 3 years the authorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, the E-Verify Program, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program (Sen. Leahy – Judiciary)
  3. H.R. 3857Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act (Rep. Turner (NY) – Homeland Security
  4. H.R. 5865American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2012 (Rep. Lipinski – Energy and Commerce)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, September 13: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to consider H.R. 6365 – National Security and Job Protection Act (Rep. West – Budget) Subject to a Rule, and H.J.Res. 117 - Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (Rep. Rogers (KY) Appropriations) Subject to a Rule.

 
The Daily Quote

“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives…. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants…. The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.”

       -      President Barack Obama, 9/12/12