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House and Senate Have a Busy Week

Both Chambers of Congress were very active this week with legislation moving to and being passed on the House Floor and Senate Appropriations Committee passage of two fiscal 2013 funding packages.

In the House…

Prohibiting the promulgation of any new major Federal regulation until the unemployment rate falls below 6 percent is the substance of HR 4078, the Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act. The measure, designed to curb “an excess of red tape,” made its way through both the House Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees and now awaits House Floor action.

HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, passed the House on Thursday. The bill calls for a program that promotes voluntary information sharing between the Federal intelligence community and the private sector. The measure was amended on the House Floor to specify that shared information would have to be linked to threats of both government and private networks such as system/service disruptions or unauthorized access. The bill also clearly states that it does not alter any existing authorities or provide new authority for Federal agencies to impose cybersecurity systems on private sector networks.

In the Senate…

Senate appropriators took action on two more FY 13 appropriations bills on April 26 – Energy & Water and Agriculture – bringing their total to four funding measures ready for Senate Floor action. Senate Appropriations passed the Commerce, Justice, & Science and Transportation/HUD fiscal 2013 funding bills on April 19.

Energy and Water Development: Provides an overall total of $33.4 billion to support the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Department of Energy projects for critical investments in water infrastructure; clean and alternative energy sources; and nuclear national security activities. The Corps is slated to receive $5 billion of which $2.4 billion goes to their O&M programs; $1.7 billion goes for Construction; and $253 million for the Mississippi River and Tributaries program. The Bureau of Reclamation (included in an overall $1.05 billion for Department of Interior) is set to receive $892 million for Water and Related Resources.

Agriculture: Overall discretionary spending for FY 13 is $20.8 billion. Within that amount, $828 million is targeted for the Natural Resources Conservation Service; however, funding for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program was not included. The Rural Development Program (which includes the Rural Utilities Service) is funded at $2.3 billion and provides slightly more than $1.5 billion for water and wastewater loan and grant program for small and remote rural communities.