Aug 30, 2014
In this episode, we look at a bill that furthers the "new
normal" in Africa, a bill that sanctions Venezuela, a banking bill,
a charter school bill, some silly bills that won't become law, and
a few Presidential declarations.
H. Doc. 113-107: Withdrew Russia as a beneficiary country under
the Generalized System of Preferences program Russia loses
duty-free treatment. On what?
State Dept website says: Products that are eligible for
duty-free treatment under GSP include: most manufactured items;
many types of chemicals, minerals and building stone; jewelry; many
types of carpets; and certain agricultural and fishery
USTR numbers sheet: Top 6 Products: Car parts, metals, tires,
oil, precious metal jewelry, corn
H. Doc. 113-108: Continued National Emergency in Syria
H. Doc 113-109: Proposed agreement for nuclear
energy with Vietnam
Bills That Passed the House
4386: State Supervision of Banks
Became Law on August 8th without any recorded votes.
H.R. 3080: Water Project Funding
This was the bill that privatized water projects that was the
subject of episode CD050:
Privatize Water Projects.
- The version that became law didn't rush environmental reviews.
There's no deemed approval of projects and lawsuits against a
permit will be barred after
3 years, not five months.
- The bill
keeps the provision that allows natural gas companies and
utilities to pay the Army to speed up their permitting process, but
added that the authority will expire in
seven years and the permits have to be
available to the public on the Internet.
- The House version would have allowed privatization of facility
management and emergency water projects but the law allows
privatization of the construction of publicly paid-for water
projects in the United States.
pilot program to privatize fifteen flood mitigation projects
[caption id="attachment_1556" align="aligncenter"
width="300"] Escape from privatized flood control
projects in style![/caption]
297-117 on May 8, 2014
Millennium Challenge Corporation's work in the energy sector
shows high projected economic rates of return that translate to
sustainable economic growth and that the highest returns are
projected when infrastructure improvements are coupled with
significant legislative, regulatory, institutional, and policy
- Orders a report on "Administration policy to support partner
country efforts to attract
private sector investment and public sector resources."
- Would be US policy to promote installation of
20,000 megawatts of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020
and support "the necessary in-country legislative, regulatory and
reforms to make such expansion of electricity access
- Electricity would come from new
hydroelectric dams "supported" by the private sector.
Introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, who represents the hot and dusty
parts of Orange County, California. S. 2508, an
almost identical bill, was introduced in the Senate in June by a
Democrat. The White House has not issued a veto threat.
4578: Sanction Venezuela Act
No Recorded Vote - Passed Unanimously After the former President
of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, died in 2013, his hand-picked Vice
President, Nicholas Maduro, became President. President Maduro
continued the policies of Hugo Chavez which are not liked by the
multi-national corporations. For example, he recently cracked down
dealers for price gauging, making good on an announcement from
late last year during which he said he wants limits on
business' profit margins. President Nicholas Maduro is
not a free-market kind of leader. Since February, there have
been protests in the wealthier areas of Venezuela. This is where
things get murky. The protests
were started by students who were apparently protesting the
high crime rate, inflation, and inability to get certain products.
People against President Maduro quickly joined. President Maduro
accused the United States of stirring up the protests to
attempt what he called a "slow-motion" coup, like the recent
successful coup in Ukraine. It's worth remembering that the
was proven to have attempted a coup in Venezuela as recently as
2002. Either way, President Maduro's government has responded with
arrests of protestors and
expelled three U.S. diplomats from Venezuela whom President
Maduro said were responsible recruiting students to lead the
protests. H.R. 4578 says that in response to the government's
response to the protests - including the intimidation
of journalists by the government - the U.S. government will
take the following actions:
Sanctions against current or former Venezuelan government
officials, or anyone acting on behalf of the government, who
ordered violence, the arrest of protestors, media censorship, or
provided money or support to someone who did.
- The sanctions include asset blocking of money or property if it
comes into the possession of the United States or a United States
- Exception: The importation of goods.
- The same people eligible for sanctions will be ineligible for
visas into the United States.
- Exception: To let them in for a United Nations event.
Sanctions will be applied to people or companies who give
Venezuela firearms, ammunition, technology, including
- The bill also orders a
classified report from the Secretary of State on how to improve
communications for activists in Venezuela, including activities to
"train human rights, civil society, and democracy activists in
Venezuela to operate effectively and securely."
$5,000,000 to USAID to "provide
assistance to civil society in Venezuela"
There is currently a
hold on the Venezuelan sanctions in the Senate because Senator
Mary Landrieu -
who has taken at least $1.4 million from the oil & gas
industry - put a hold on the bill after Citgo - the wholly
owned U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's national oil company - raised
concerns that the sanctions would make it harder for the company to
import their Venezuelan oil.
Another Charter School Bill
A public school that is exempt from State and local rules about
the management of public schools. The schools can not be religious
or charge tuition.
The vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans voted for
it. This bill was authored by
Rep. John Kline of Minnesota. He's Chairman of the Education
Committee and his #1 campaign contributor for this upcoming
election is Apollo Education
Group, a multi-billion dollar corporation that makes its money
in for-profit education.
Privately Insured Credit Unions Can Become Members of Federal Home
- Are privately owned cooperatives; they're owned by the member
- They provide money to local banks
- There are twelve of them around the country
- Most locals banks are members of at least one Federal Home Loan
- They get their money from the global credit market.
What Would H.R. 3584 Do?
- Allows privately insured credit unions to become members of
Federal Home Loan Banks
if they are FDIC eligible or are certified by the State.
- If the State doesn't get to it in under 6 months, the
application is deemed approved.
This bill was sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio. His top
two contributing industries are
Insurance and Commercial Banks.
Jail for Advertisers Bill
representatives voted against this bill and it now moves into
the Senate. Authored by Rep. Ann Wagner
of Missouri. [caption id="" align="aligncenter"
width="300"] Will I get ten years in prison for
posting this image?[/caption]
Therapy for Veteran Sexual Assaults
- Allows veterans who were sexually assaulted
during training to get therapy to deal with the assault
included as part of their veterans' health benefit package.
Passed without a recorded vote.
Permanent Business Tax Credits
The bill was written by
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. The President said he would
veto the bill because the tax credits are not paid for.
Music Presented in This Episode
Intro and Exit Music:
Tired of Being Lied To by David Ippolito (found on
Music Alley by mevio)
Let Their Heads Roll by Jack Erdie (found on Music Alley by mevio)