Global water access and equity act introduced into Congress

January 31, 2011

Legislation designed to direct the US Government to guarantee developing countries access to safe water and sanitation.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-D)

To improve efforts of the United States Government to ensure that developing countries have affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation, and for other purposes.

HR 80 was introduced on January 5, 2011 by Democratic House Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. The “Global Water Access and Equity Act” was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and brought no co-sponsors.

Included in the bill is authorization of such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.

The outlined duty of the United States Government will be to ensure that developing countries have affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation.

“Safe water” is defined in the bill to mean water for drinking, household use, and crop irrigation.’

Read H.R. 80

Bio: Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, born in 1950, has been in the US House of Representatives since 1995 and is serving her seventh term in Congress. Prior to her service to the US House of Representatives, she was a member of the Houston City Council.

What is a bill?
A bill is a legislative proposal before Congress. Bills from each house are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced, starting at the beginning of each Congress (first and second sessions). Public bills pertain to matters that affect the general public or classes of citizens, while private bills pertain to individual matters that affect individuals and organizations, such as claims against the Government.


Congress looks at Corporation for Public Broadcasting

January 28, 2011

To CUT federal funding to Corporation for Public  Broadcasting

Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-R)

To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after fiscal year 2013.

HR 68 was introduced on January 5, 2011 into the House of Representatives by Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado (R) which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Co-sponsors include:
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-R)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-R)
Rep. Paul Broun (GA-R)
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-R)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-R)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-R)
Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-R)
Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-R)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-R) 
Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY-R)
Rep. Wally Herger (CA-R)
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-R)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-R)
Rep. Pete Olson (TX-R)
Rep. Reid Ribble (WI-R)
Rep. Mike Ross (AR-D) — signed on –then withdrew his co-sponsorship the following day

Read HR 68

Bio: Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, born in 1954, has been a US Representative since 2007. Prior to his position in the US House of Representatives he served as a member of the Colorado state house of representatives, 1995-1998; member of the Colorado state senate, 1998-2006, president pro tempore, 1999-2000


More foreign assistance to squeeze US taxpayers

January 26, 2011

A Concurrent Resolution to give at least 1% of US GDP towards foreign assistance

Dem. Rep. Barbara Lee of California

Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should provide, on an annual basis, an amount equal to at least 1 percent of United States gross domestic product (GDP) for nonmilitary foreign assistance programs.

H. Con. Res. 11 was introduced on January 20, 2011 into the House of Representatives by Rep. Barbara Lee of California (D) which was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The 2009 GDP was approximately $14.3 trillion.

Co-sponsors include:
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA)
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Fortney Stark (D-CA)
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

Read H. Con. Res. 11

Bio: Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, born in 1946, has been in a US Representative since 1998. She is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and former co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. Prior to her service to the US House of Representatives, she held positions with the California State Assembly.

What is an H. Con. Res.?
A Concurrent Resolution originating in the House must be passed in the same form by both houses, but does not require the signature of the president and does not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions are generally used to make or amend rules that apply to both houses. They are also used to express the sentiments of both of the houses. For example, a concurrent resolution is used to set the time of Congress’ adjournment. It may also be used by Congress to convey congratulations to another country on the anniversary of its independence. Another important use of the concurrent resolution is for the annual congressional budget resolution, which sets Congress’ revenue and spending goals for the upcoming fiscal year.


English only off limits

January 24, 2011
A resolution to oppose “English only” measures
 
 
 

Jose' Serrano (D-NY)

 

On January 7, 2011 the “English Plus Resolution” was introduced into the House of Representatives by Jose’ E. Serrano of New York (D) which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The Resolution proposes that the United States Government should pursue policies that:
1) encourage all residents of this country to become fully proficient in English by expanding educational opportunities and access to information technologies;

2) conserve and develop the Nation’s linguistic resources by encouraging all residents of this country to learn or maintain skills in languages other than English;

3) assist Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and other peoples indigenous to the United States, in their efforts to prevent the extinction of their languages and cultures;

4) continue to provide services in languages other than English as needed to facilitate access to essential functions of government, promote public health and safety, ensure due process, promote equal educational opportunity, and protect fundamental rights; and

5) recognize the importance of multilingualism to vital American interests and individual rights, and oppose “English-only” measures and other restrictionist language measures.

ABOUT: Democratic Representative Jose’ Serrano of New York, born 1943, is currently serving his 12th term in the House (1990-present). He serves in the House Appropriations Committee and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Serving as an active member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus he is the most senior member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent.

Read H. Con. Res. 8

What is a Concurrent Resolution?
A concurrent resolution is a legislative proposal that requires the approval of both houses but does not require the signature of the President and does not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions generally are used to make or amend rules that apply to both houses. They are also used to express the sentiments of both of the houses.


Congress introduces legislation opposing postal consolidation and closures

January 20, 2011
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the need to prevent the closure or consolidation of post offices.

House Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri (R)

On January 7, 2011 a concurrent resolution was introduced by House Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri (R) which was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. There were no co-sponsors for this Resolution.

…it is the sense of Congress that the United States Postal Service

(1) should provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to all communities, including rural areas and small towns where post offices may not be self-sustaining; and

(2) should take all necessary steps to ensure that post offices are not closed or consolidated.

Republican Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, born in 1950, has been in the House of Representatives since 1996. Emerson holds a B.A. in political science and is a member of the Appropriations Committee, Jo Ann is the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Subcommittee and also sits on the Agriculture Subcommittee.

Read H. Con. Res. 7*

According to the USPS FY 2010 Annual Report:

Source: USPS 2010 Annual Report (dollars in millions)

Source: USPS 2010 Annual Report

*What is an H. Con. Res.?
A Concurrent resolution originating in the House must be passed in the same form by both houses, but does not require the signature of the president and does not have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions are generally used to make or amend rules that apply to both houses. They are also used to express the sentiments of both of the houses. For example, a concurrent resolution is used to set the time of Congress’ adjournment. It may also be used by Congress to convey congratulations to another country on the anniversary of its independence. Another important use of the concurrent resolution is for the annual congressional budget resolution, which sets Congress’ revenue and spending goals for the upcoming fiscal year.

Congress introduces Amendment to strike Presidential term limit

January 19, 2011

An amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal term limits of President has been introduced

serrano-obama

Jose’ E. Serrano of New York (w/Obama inset)

On January 7, 2011 – the first week in session by the 112th Congress — a joint resolution was introduced into the House of Representatives by Mr. Jose’ E. Serrano of New York (D) which was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Democratic Congressman Jose’ E. Serrano of New York, born in 1943,  has served in Congress since 1990.

–JOINT RESOLUTION–

An amendment to the Constitution of the United States has been proposed to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled   (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

HJ RES 17

What is a Joint Resolution?
A joint resolution is a legislative proposal that requires the approval of both houses and the signature of the President, just as a bill does. Resolutions from each house are assigned a number in the order in which they are introduced, starting at the beginning of each Congress (first and second sessions). There is no real difference between a bill and a joint resolution. Joint resolutions generally are used for limited matters, such as a single appropriation for a specific purpose. They are also used to propose amendments to the Constitution. A joint resolution has the force of law, if approved. Joint resolutions become a part of the Constitution when three-quarters of the states have ratified them; they do not require the President’s signature.


Federal pay freeze — what you weren’t told

November 30, 2010
John Sarbanes

Democratic Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was not mentioned on November 29, 2010 when the President called for a two-year wage freeze for civilian federal employees — an about face from his proposed 1.4% raise earlier in the year.

Less than two weeks before the Presidents’ “bold” announcement, Congress passed the “Telework Enhancement Act of 2010” which was introduced by Democratic Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland.  (see his bio and co-sponsors below)

This bill will require that management establish and implement a policy authorizing federal employees to work at home. Each employee is estimated to save $6,000-$10,000 in commuting expenses alone by working at home.

According to a study, titled “Telework Eligibility Profile: Feds Fit the Bill,” underwritten by Tandberg and released by Telework Exchange 96 percent of respondents are eligible to telework (79 percent eligible to telework full time).

What wasn’t assessed in the “study” was the Federal cost of providing duplicate supplies and equipment for employee home offices. The cost “savings” will be for the employee (rather than the employer) who will now be able to pocket the extra $6,000-$10,000 saved on the commute. Other employee cost savings such as work attire, child care, etc. is not available.

Telework Exchange is a public-private partnership focused on providing educational and communication requirements of the Federal teleworker community. The organization facilitates communication among Federal teleworkers, telework managers, and IT professionals.

Tandberg (now a part of Cisco) is the fastest growing company in the telepresence and video conferencing industry.

John Sarbanes (D-MD), born 1962, has served in the “House” since his election in 2006. Schooled at Princeton and Harvard, John is the son of former Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) who served in the US Congress from 1971-2006. (1971-1976 as a Rep.; 1976-2006 as a Senator)

Co-sponsors include: Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV 2001-present); Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD 1995-present); Lloyd Doggett (D-TX 1995-present); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 1995-present);  James P. Moran (D-VA 1991-present); Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD 2003-present); Robert J. Wittman (R-VA 2007-present); Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA 2009-present); Danny Davis (D-IL 1997-present); James Himes (D-CT 2009-present); Stephen Lynch (D-MA 2001-present); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC 1991-present); Edolphus Towns (D-NY 1983-present); and Frank Wolf (R-VA 1981-present).

Read HR 1722

View roll call vote

Federal employees saw a 3.9% and  2% raise in 2009 and 2010 respectively.