Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.
Both the House and Senate are in session this week. It is expected to be a busy week of votes, but the timing of a funeral for Rep. John Lewis could disrupt the schedule. The House plans to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act. However, several Republicans are pushing back because the revenues from offshore oil leases are lower than in past years; these revenues would be used to offset costs of the Act. Beginning on Thursday, the House will take up a minibus that includes the FY 2021 Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture and Military- Construction-Veterans bill. This minibus will be separate from bills addressing the virus and unemployment. UPDATE: The House passed the Great American Outdoors Act on Thursday afternoon. The bill will make permanent $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and direct up to $9.5 billion over five years to the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund to help address huge backlogs in maintenance needs.
The Democrats on the Appropriations Committee have used their bills as vehicles to remove Confederate monuments and rename military bases. The Secretary of Defense issued a new policy that effectively bans the Confederate flag from all military bases.
The recent Supreme Court ruling that nearly half of eastern Oklahoma is tribal land will have major impacts on pipeline construction. Oklahoma is the nation’s 4th-largest oil producing state. About ¼ of the state’s recent oil and gas wells and roughly 60% of its refinery capacity now lie within the territory of 5 tribes, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. Additionally, pipelines leading to Cushing, OK, a terminal for the Keystone XL, go across the redrawn reservation borders. This has likely been the most far-reaching Court decision affecting tribes since the Cobell decision in 1999 addressing government mismanagement of individual Indian money accounts. If you are interested in learning more about these issues and the Supreme Court case, see the podcast This Land. The ruling will force the state and the tribes to negotiate several issues, including who will be responsible for environmental permitting.
President Trump appears to be using his Executive Order on monuments to authorize intelligence surveillance of protesters. For information on a Department of Homeland Security memo authorizing intelligence collection, click here.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House minority leader, rolled out a bill titled the "Protect America’s Statues Act of 2020" with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sam Graves (R-MO). The bill would prevent state and local governments that do not protect monuments from receiving federal grants.
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