Congress

New Bills You Probably Didn’t Know about

With all the never-ending distracting news and scandals, have you stopped to think what is going on in Congress? After all, they are the ones who enact our laws.

Here are some thought-provoking bills that have recently been introduced in Congress. Regardless of whether you love or hate them, don’t forget to call and write to your representatives and senators and voice your opinion. As we have recently seen, this is a powerful tool we, the People, have.

1. H.R. 1430: HONEST Act
This bill seeks to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from “proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” Is this yet another attack on global warming and science?

The House Majority Leader indicated on Mar 24, 2017 that this bill may be considered in the House as early as next week. So, if you are worried about global warming and our planet in general (as we all should?), let your representatives and senators know how you feel.

2. H.R. 899: To terminate the Department of Education
During his presidential campaign, President Trump said: “A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don’t eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach.”

This bill is just a single sentence: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

What would happen if we get rid of the Department of Education? It would save taxpayers money, although it is one of the lowest-spending Cabinet agencies. Thousands of employees would be laid off. Most importantly, however, states would gain more control over education (as opposed to federal control).

Supporters of this legislation claim that the Department of Education is an expensive bureaucracy and that it takes away power that belongs to the states (since the Department is part of the federal government). However, the Department of Education serves an important purpose: it ensures equality in education for children throughout the whole country.

3. S. 65: Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA5) introduced this bill. This law would require the President and the Vice-President to reveal and divest from potential conflicts of interest. Both major party presidential nominees would also be required to publicly release their tax returns from the preceding three years.

4. H.R. 861: To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
The title speaks for itself. Pretty upsetting for anyone who cares about the environment…

5. Repeal of hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska
The Senate, unfortunately, already approved this last week. Now President Trump just needs to sign it, which he probably will do. This bill gets rid of restrictions that protected predator species in Alaska from hunters. Now hunting, live trapping or baiting of predators such as bears and wolves is allowed — as well as killing them while near their dens or their cubs.

Lesson of the week?
We need to pay more attention to what Congress is doing and what bills are being introduced… we don’t want to wake up one day and suddenly realize how much the world has changed (perhaps for the worse).

 

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