Is This What You Want Your Government To Do? Current US House Bills (part 1)

Is This What You Want Your Government To Do?

A post is going around social media publicizing current House bills and asking people to call their officials to request they vote against the following bills. See below the list for the current status of the first four bills and what each covers — and why you should care. I plan to continue the review of all of these bills in the next few days.

  1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
  2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
  3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
  4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
  5. HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act
  6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
  7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one ends unions)
  8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
  9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
  10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
  1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency

This bill would terminate the Environmental Protection Agency on December 31, 2018. On 02/10/2017, it was referred to the House Subcommittee on Environment.  While pundits do not believe this bill will pass, it is the first in a long line of bills that are intended to weaken or destroy EPA.[1]

For instance, H.R.1030 – Secret Science Reform Act of 2015. It will stop “Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” Essentially, under cover of supporting science and the scientific method (the text of the bill does neither), the bill will prevent EPA from passing regulations unless the information used for the basis of the ruling is available online, thereby preventing EPA from using public health research its rulings. Because public health research examines private medical records, this bill would mean that EPA could not use medical records[2]  to make rulings such as the recent ones about antibacterial soap, lead poisoning, or mercury contamination. H.R.1030 passed the House and was referred to Senate where it was sent to Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Under President Nixon, EPA was established to restore and maintain clean air and clean water. All of the Republican Presidents since Nixon have supported EPA; however, but the current crop of Republican representatives seem to think the costs in money outweigh the future health and well-being of our citizens. I wonder what people living in Beijing and Mexico City who cannot breathe the air where they live think about air pollution?

  1. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education

This bill repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education so that block grants can be awarded only to states qualified under the bill.  To find the truly bad news, you have to read the entire bill: it also repeals the No Hungry Kids Act which improved nutrition standards for school breakfasts and lunches.[3] On 01/23/2017, it was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Critics claim using public school money in vouchers will not bring advantages and will lead to increased segregation in schools. Privatization of public education hurts those who cannot go to private schools and does nothing to improve or fix problems in either private or public schools. In addition, voucher money often goes to religious schools, a violation of the separation of church and state as set up in US Constitution.[4] Since this bill will apply regulations to control which states receive the money, federal government will increase its control on education at the state and local levels. For an administration that claims it wants to reduce government oversight in education that seems hypocritical. This bill should go away simply because it reduces the level of nutrition in school meals.

  1. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education

House bill 899 terminates the Department of Education on December 31, 2018. It was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on 02/07/2017.   I’ll let the founders of our country argue against this one.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people, enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve it … they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

James Madison: “Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people … the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.”

John Jay:  “I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and the wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of the latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people the means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”

Thomas Jefferson again: “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

  1. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife

The House passed HJR (House Joint Resolution) 69. By doing so, they sent the bill to the Senate. If the Senate passes it, the bill will repeal protections on hunting or trapping bears, wolves, and other endangered predators in Alaska national wildlife refuges. It will allow hunting in dens with cubs, permit using aircraft to hunt, allow use of wire traps, and permit baiting (using food to lure them into kill areas).[5] The arguments included a statement that Alaskans needed to be able to put food on their families’ table. I don’t think Alaskans really want to feed their children wolf and bear meat.

This bill is also another attack against federal level environmental laws. The bill passed the House under the rarely-used Congressional Review Act measure which permits Congress to repeal a federal regulation with a simple majority vote.[6] Before 2017, the Congressional Review Act was only used once since its creation in 1996. The same act was used a few days ago to repeal the Stream Protection Rule. [7]
—- Footnotes —-

[1] Robinson Meyer  “Congress and Trump Won’t ‘Terminate the EPA’ Instead, they’ll restrict the agency in far subtler ways.” The Atlantic (2017) https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/congress-wont-terminate-the-epa/516918/  (3/4/2017).

[2]  Ed Young “How Trump Could Wage a War on Scientific Expertise: The mechanics of stripping empiricism out of America’s regulatory systems The Atlantic (2016)  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/how-trump-could-wage-a-war-on-scientific-expertise/509378/ (3/4/2017).

 

[3] Summary: H.R.610 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/610?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+610+Vouchers+for+Public+Education%22%5D%7D&r=1 (3/4/2017).

[4]  Valerie Strauss “Study: Private school vouchers favored by DeVos don’t offer real advantage over public schools” The Washington Post (2017) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/02/27/devos-favors-private-school-vouchers-but-new-study-says-they-dont-offer-real-edge-over-public-schools/?utm_term=.f40b946bdf72 (3/4/2017).

[5] Dakshayani Shankar “House Overturns Obama-Era Law to Protect Alaskan Bears and Wolves” NBC News (2017) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/house-overturns-obama-era-law-protect-alaskan-bears-wolves-n722481 (3/4/2017)

[6] Erica Martinson “U.S. House passes Don Young’s bill to repeal Alaska wildlife management rule” adn.com (2017) https://www.adn.com/politics/2017/02/16/u-s-house-passes-rep-don-youngs-bill-to-repeal-alaska-wildlife-management-regulation/ (3/5/2017).

[7] Erica Martinson ibid.

Advertisements

About Lillith ThreeFeathers

Lillith ThreeFeathers is a shamanic healer, author, medium, and priestess.
This entry was posted in Media Thoughts, Politics, Society and Civilization and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s