July 19, 2019

Weekly Wrap

This week, the House passed the bipartisan Intelligence Authorization bill. We are proud of the leadership of Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Jim Himes, and other New Dem Members on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for their work on this bill that will give our intelligence community the tools needed to help keep Americans safe. After making changes to increase Member support, the House also passed the Raise the Wage Act which will gradually increase the federal minimum wage and increase pay for up to 33 million American workers.

At the start of the week, Members visited the NIH where they learned about the innovative, lifesaving biomedical research, clinical trials, and care of the 27 centers. While there, they met with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, as well as several other section heads, doctors, and patients and their families. Dr. Collins joined Members for lunch later in the week, where he discussed NIH’s cutting-edge research and medical breakthroughs, the need for more inclusivity and diversity in STEM fields, and more. The NDC Health Care Task Force also called for leadership to move forward three New Dem-endorsed bipartisan prescription drug bills that would help increase transparency, lower costs, and expand access to both generic and prescription drugs.

NDC also endorsed Rep. Raul Ruiz’s (CA-36) Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Custody Act, which would establish basic humanitarian standards of care for individuals in CBP custody.

More on what Members have been up to below.

Coalition Highlights

NDC Visits National Institute of Health

  • NDC Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Bill Foster (IL-11), and Angie Craig (MN-02) toured the National Institute of Health (NIH) to learn more about the innovative, cutting-edge research taking place there. The broader Coalition also had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Francis Collins, Director of NIH, who discussed the innovative research and medical breakthroughs being done at NIH. More from NDC Chair Kilmer, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, and The Children’s Inn.

NDC Endorses Ruiz’s Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act

  • The NDC announced its official endorsement of Rep. Raul Ruiz’s (CA-36) Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Custody Act, which would establish basic humanitarian standards of care for individuals in CBP custody.

NDC Urges Democratic Leadership to Move Bipartisan Drug Pricing Bills

  • NDC leadership and members of the Health Care Task Force sent a letter to House Democratic Leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, and Assistant Leader Ben Ray Luján, urging the House to move bipartisan drug pricing bills forward.

CSPAN, Roll Call: NDC Chair Kilmer Touts Democratic Unity

  • House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI), New Democrat Coalition Chair Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Blue Dog Coalition Chair Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) issued the following joint statement this week after reporters of disputes within the Party:

“House Democrats are a diverse, robust and passionate family. We love our country and are dedicated to making life better for everyday Americans. At times, there may be different perspectives on the way forward. That is a hallmark of the legislative process.

“We will remain clear-eyed with respect to our unity of purpose. Every single voice within the House Democratic Caucus is an important one.  We have a shared mission. Onward and upward. 

“Together, House Democrats will deliver For The People.”

NDC Hosts Announces Economic Policy Pitch Day ‘Popular Vote’ Winner

  • NDC hosted an online Economic Policy Pitch Day competition and Rep. Scott Peters won the popular vote with his Saving for the Future Act. Check out all of the participants’ policy proposals here and watch their pitches here.

Member Highlights

Floor Action

House Passes McAdams’ Bill to Improve Investment Research

  • The House passed Rep. Ben McAdams’ (UT-04) Improving Investment Research for Small and Emerging Issuers Act. This legislation will improve investment research for small stock issuers, including emerging growth companies and companies considering initial public offerings.

House Passes Crow’s Small Business Cyber Security Bill

  • The House passed Rep. Jason Crow’s (CO-06) Small Business Administration (SBA) Cyber Awareness Act. This legislation would expand cyber security operations at the SBA by requiring the Administration to issue a report assessing the agency’s ability to combat cyber threats.

Committee Action

Small Business Committee Passes Schneider’s Veteran Entrepreneurship Bill

  • The House Small Business Committee passed Rep. Brad Schneider’s (IL-10) Veteran Entrepreneurship Act, bipartisan legislation that codifies the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Boots to Business Program for five years to help transitioning servicemembers launch and grow small businesses. This bill was featured at last month’s NDC Economic Policy Pitch Day. Learn more about his legislation here.

Homeland Security Committee Passes Escobar’s Homeland Security Improvement Act

  • The Committee on Homeland Security passed Rep. Veronica Escobar’s (TX-16) Homeland Security Improvement Act. This legislation helps address our nation’s immigration challenges at the southern border by ensuring accountability and oversight within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Soto’s Medicaid Bill

  • The Energy and Commerce Committee passed Rep. Darren Soto’s (FL-09) Territories Health Care Improvement Act to provide equal access of federal resources for Medicaid to all American citizens living in the five U.S. territories: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Veterans Affairs Committee Passes Cisneros’ Helping Expand and Launch Transitional Health (HEALTH) for Women Veterans Act

  • The Committee on Veterans Affairs passed Rep. Gilbert Cisneros, Jr.’s (CA-39) Helping Expand and Launch Transitional Health (HEALTH) for Women’s Veterans Act, which will direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out the Women’s Health Transition Training pilot program through fiscal year 2020 and require its expansion to all service branches.

Energy and Commerce Committee Passed Stanton and Veasey’s Legislation to Create a Grant Program for Conservation Efforts

  • The Energy and Commerce Committee passed Reps. Greg Stanton (AZ-09) and Marc Veasey’s (TX-33) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, which would empower states, local governments and Indian tribes to invest in sustainable infrastructure and find ways to become more energy efficient.

Bill Introductions

Kilmer Introduces Teacher Education for Computer Science Act

  • Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) introduced the bipartisan Teacher Education for Computer Science Act (the “Teach CS Act”) to help build a robust pipeline for computer science education to ensure today’s students can be successful and innovative in the workforce. The bill would establish “Centers of Excellence” for teacher education programs in computer science at graduate schools for higher education.

Peters Introduces National Security and Health Care Bill

  • Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the Ensuring Conditions are Humane by Oversight (ECHO) Act, a bill that would help ensure the Office of Inspector General (OIG) personnel can perform surprise inspections of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) migrant facilities when located on military bases. The bill would require the Secretary of Defense to coordinate with the DHS and HHS Secretaries to create a suitable protocol to allow OIG access onto bases.
  • Rep. Scott Peters also introduced the bipartisan Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019 to expand patient access to highly-targeted, precision diagnostics that result in more accurate diagnoses and treatment of diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so patients can get the right treatment faster.

Lawson Introduces the College Student Hunger Act of 2019

  • Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) introduced the College Student Hunger Act of 2019. The legislation addresses food insecurity on college campuses by enabling more low-income college students to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and pushing the federal government, states, colleges and universities to take a more proactive role in addressing student food insecurity.

McAdams Introduces the Solar Energy Research and Development Act of 2019

  • Rep. Ben McAdams (UT-04) introduced the Solar Energy Research and Development Act of 2019. The measure would reauthorize a Department of Energy program for research, development and demonstration of a range of solar energy technologies.

Moulton, Shalala, Hill’s ACTION for National Service Act

  • Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06), Donna Shalala (FL-29), and Katie Hill (CA-25) introduced the ACTION for National Service Act to expand national service opportunities like AmeriCorps, while offering student loan relief in exchange for service.

DelBene Introduces “Internet of Things” Legislation

  • Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced the bipartisan Internet of Things Readiness Act to direct the Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) to provide Congress with the data it needs in order to be prepared for the continued growth of IoT devices, and devices that use 5G mobile networks.

Foster Introduces Fab Lab Network Legislation

  • Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11) introduced the Fab Lab Network Act. The legislation would create a federally-chartered non-profit organization, the National Fab Lab Network (NFLN), to serve as a central seed funding source for Fab Labs across the country. It would provide aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs with access to Fab Labs, lowering the entry barrier for small businesses and manufacturing.

Panetta Introduces Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act

  • Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the bipartisan Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide grants to organizations that provide legal services to homeless veterans and veterans at risk for homelessness.

Heck Introduces the ADVANCE Act

  • Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10) introduced the Aiding Development of Vital Assets in Native Communities and Environments (ADVANCE) Act to support the growth and development of Native American communities by strengthening the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program’s incentives for investments in Indian country. The bill also directs the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which administers the NMTC, to conduct proactive outreach and training to underserved communities, including Native American communities.

Davis Introduce Military and Student Loan Legislation

  • Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53) introduced the Military Hunger Prevention Act to help low-income military families living with food insecurity. This legislation would create a basic needs allowance to bridge the gap for eligible servicemembers who are currently not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Davis and Davids Introduce Student Loan Legislation

  • Reps. Susan Davis and Sharice Davids also introduced The Fee Free Student Loan Act to eliminate all administrative fees on federal student loans, which would save students over $1.7 billion per year.

Davids Introduces Bill to Help Veteran-Owned Businesses Succeed

  • Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03) introduced the SERV Act, a bill to help Veteran-owned businesses succeed by studying the barriers these businesses face. It requires a report from the Comptroller General of the United States on the ability of Veteran and Reservist small business owners to access credit, a necessary part of a business’ prosperity.

Sherrill and Gottheimer Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Strike Down Treasury Department Regulations Aimed at SALT

  • Reps. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) introduced a bipartisan resolution to overturn harmful U.S. Treasury Department regulations aimed at restricting Americans from deducting charitable contributions from their federal taxes.

Soto, Gonzalez, Escobar Introduce Bill to Protect Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families from Deportation

  • Reps. Darren Soto (FL-09), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Veronica Escobar (TX-16) introduced the Protecting Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families Act following reports that the Trump administration is scaling back the Parole in Place program, which protects undocumented military family members from deportation. The Protecting Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families Act would prevent the Trump administration from deporting the immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, and siblings) of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans who served in active duty who were discharged in conditions other than dishonorable, and servicemembers who died in the line of duty if they have not committed a serious crime.

Houlahan Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Spark Small Business Innovation

  • Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) introduced the Research Advancing to Market Production (RAMP) for Innovators Act to support American innovators by expediting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology (STTR) application processes, improving technical and business assistance, and making small businesses eligible for fast-tracked U.S. Patent Office services.

Member Happenings

Sewell Named Co-Chair of Ways & Means Committee’s Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force

  • Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) was named Co-Chair of the Ways & Means Committee’s Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force. She will help lead the effort to discuss the challenges of delivering health care in rural and underserved areas and explore holistic policy options that could improve outcomes and care in those communities.

Shalala Leads Florida Delegation in Demanding Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Change Florida Condo-Lending Practices

  • Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) led the entire Florida Congressional delegation in demanding that the GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reevaluate their loan-to-value requirements for Florida condominiums so that they align with nationwide condominium underwriting standards, which allow buyers in all other states to put a 10 percent down payment on their condominiums, versus the 25 percent down payment requirement applicable only in Florida.

Horsford: Nevadans’ Health is the Top Priority via Las Vegas Sun

  • Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) penned an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun reiterating his commitment to prioritizing the health of Nevadans and the importance of the Affordable Care Act: “The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it has delivered for millions of Americans. Now is the time to decide which side you’re on: the side of protecting the health of our people, or the side that would deny Americans care.”