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Thank you for listening to Congressional Dish! 

Dec 20, 2015

Available for less than 3 days before the votes, the 2,009 page "omnibus" government funding bill was signed into law. History will not look kindly upon provisions that give private companies immunity for forwarding data to the government, make policing political contributions illegal, repeal a food labeling law, restrict international travel, and allow environmental damage.

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Omnibus Outline

  • Section 754: Prohibits the FDA from clarifying foods with partially hydrogenated oils as unsafe before June 18, 2018. 
  • Section 759: Repeals Country of Origin Labels for beef and pork products 
  • Section 761: Prohibits the sale of genetically engineered salmon until the FDA publishes final labeling guidelines and sets aside at least $150,000 for the labeling program.
  • Section 763: Prohibits the government from prohibiting the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp
  • Section 202: Department of Justice money can’t be used to pay for an abortion unless the life of the mother is in danger - this is valid unless declared unconstitutional
    • Section 204: The Director of the Bureau of Prisons will have to provide escort services to female names to get an abortion outside the Federal facility.
  • Section 516: “None of the funds made available in this Act shall be used in any way whatsoever to support or justify the use of toruture by any official or contract employee of the United States Government”
  • Section 520: A national security letter can’t be used by the Executive branch to stop the FBI from issuing national security letters 
  • Section 527: Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates to the United States
  • Section 539: Prohibits the transfer of Internet domain name system functions during fiscal year 2016
  • Section 542: Prohibits Dept. of Justice money from being used to prevent States from implementing their medical marijuana laws.
  • Section 8002: Puts no limit on the compensation for foreign people working at the Department of Defense in the Republic of Turkey
  • Section 8018: Prevents demilitarization and disposal of certain guns
  • Section 8067: A “buy local” requirement for military purchases of beer and wine
  • Section 8079: Says information pertaining to US citizens will only be handled according to the 4th amendment “as implemented through Executive Order No. 12333” 
  • Section 8087: Prohibits the retirement, divestment, realignment, or transfer of RQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft
  • Section 8103:  Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates to the United States
  • Section 8114: Prohibits realignment of forces at Lajes Air Force Base in Azores, Portugal unless determined that it is not “an optimal location for the Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex”
  • Section 8116: Prohibits the NSA from conducting “an acquisition” using FISA 702 “for the purpose of targeting a United States person” or from acquiring, monitoring or storing the contents of “any electronic communication” of a US person from a provider of electronic communication services to the public, as determined by FISA 501
  • Section 9002: Allows the Defense Department to transfer an additional $4.5 billion to the War on Terror fund
  • Section 9006: Department of Defense “operation and maintenance” money can be used in Afghanistan and to counter ISIL
  • Section 9007: Prohibits permanent bases in Iraq, control of Iraqi oil, permanent bases in Afghanistan
  • Section 9014: $250 million for Ukraine for “assistance, including training, equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature… and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine and for the replacement of any weapons or defensive articles provided to the Government of Ukraine from the inventory of the United States"
  • Section 9019: Money can’t be used in Syria in contravention of the War Powers Resolution including the introduction of United States armed or military forces into hostilities in Syria without consulting and reporting to Congress
  • Section 105: Prohibits any changes to the “fill material” in waterways definition
  • Section 110: Prohibits permits from being required for discharges of “fill material”
  • Section 312: Prohibits implementation of energy efficient lightbulb regulations
  • Section 127: Prohibits any change to regulations and standards used by the IRS "to determine whether an organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare for the purposes of section 501(c)(4)” 
  • Section 613: Prohibits money paying for any health plans for Federal employees that cover abortions
    • Section 614: Unless the life of the mother is at risk or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest
  • Section 622: Defunds White House positions
    • Director, White House Office of Health Reform
    • Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change
    • Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy
    • White House Direction of Urban Affairs
  • Section 627: Prohibits the government from requiring a telecom from turning over data it is storing
  • Section 629: Prohibits implementation of safety standards for recreational off-highway vehicles
  • Section 526: Customs and Border Protection can’t stop an individual from importing prescription drugs  from Canada if they are carrying 90 day supply or less 
  • Section 532: Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates to the United States
  • Section 117: Prohibits listing of the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act 
    • Doesn’t say “for fiscal year 2016” 
  • Section 404: Prohibits acceptance of patents for mining sites
    • Some patents are grandfathered
  • Section 417: No money can be used to require permits for emitting carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions from livestock production. 
  • Section 418: Prohibits regulations requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.
  • Section 420: Prohibits regulation of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle
  • Section 110: Prohibits implementation of a regulation for minimum wages for seasonal workers
  • Section 114: Prohibits enforcement of regulations designed to audit companies that use foreign workers
  • Section 301: Prohibits bussing of kids to overcome racial imbalances
  • Section 303: Forces public schools to allow voluntary prayer and meditation programs
  • Section 508: Prohibits funding for research that creates, destroys, or injures human embryos
Division J: Military Construction and Veterans 
  • Section 412: Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates to the United States
Division K: Dept. of State 
  • Section 7007: No money can be given directly to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, or Syria
  • Syria: Money can be used to “establish governance in Syria that is representative, inclusive, and accountable”
  • Section 9002: Increased US quota of the IMF fund to 40.8 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR), about $55 billion as of 12/17 exchange rates
  • Section 305: Limits the information the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will have access to 
  • Section 601: Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prison inmates to the United States
  • Outline Coming Soon (CD113) 
  • Title II: “Terrorist Travel Prevention and Visa Waiver Program Reform”
    • Section 202: Requires people from countries participating in our visa waiver program to have machine readable, electronic passports to enter the US by April 1, 2016.
    • Should have been available since 2005, but people with older passports didn’t need new ones. Now they will
    • Section 203: Visas will be required from anyone who traveled to Iraq or Syria and possibly other countries since March 2011
      • Doesn’t apply to military members or government employees
  • Section 402: Reauthorizes and expands 9/11 victim fund to include damages to business and employment opportunities
    • Does not include mental health care
  • Section 411: Increases visa fees until September 30, 2025 for businesses who bring in foreign employees by about $4,000
  • Section 404: Creates a new program to give money to some victims of terrorism
    • Money will be handed out by a “Special Master” appointed by the Attorney General
    • Decisions of the Special Master will be “final” and “not subject to administrative or judicial review”
    • Eligible people are US “persons” who won a court case against a “state sponsor of terrorism”
    • Victims of the Iran Hostage Crisis will get $10,000 per day they were held, and their spouses and kids will get a lump sum of $600,000, with a maximum payment of $20 million per person and $35 million per family.
    • The President will demand the payment from the offending country before sanctions can be lifted
    • Over $1 billion will be given out during 2017, and the fund will close on January 2, 2026.
    • Attorneys can get 25% of the payments
    • Act of international terrorism = torture, extrajudicial killing, aircraft sabotage, or hostage taking
  • Section 702: Has something to do with exemptions and Wall Street 
  • Section 707: “None of the funds made available by any division of this Act shall bemused by the Securities and Exchange Commission to finalize, issue, or implement any rule, regulation, or order regarding the disclosure of political contributions, contributions to tax exempt organization, or dues paid to trade associations” 
  • Section 708: Repeals an exemption for the SEC from the Right to Financial Privacy Act, which allowed them to get financial records from banks without the customer’s knowledge
  • Section 1001: The budgetary effects of the “Other Matters” division and the Division P tax provisions will not be counted in the PayGo budget 
  • Section 101: Delays the excise tax on high cost employer health plans until 2019.
  • Section 201: Puts a moratorium on a fee on health insurance providers
  • Section 301: Extends until 2020 and fades out tax credits for wind facilities
  • Section 303: Extends until 2022 and fades out tax credits for solar energy 


  • Passed the House of Representatives 316- 113
  • Passed the Senate 65-33

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