Congress at Work for September 2018
Stepping Up Defense Spending, Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business, a Possible National Suicide Hotline and Affirming the U.S. Press Is Not the Enemy
John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515) – Introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), this bill increases the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Naval and Air Reserve and Air Guard; fully funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops; and extends special pay and bonuses for service members in high-demand fields. The legislation increases funding for training for each branch of the Service, such as flying hours and other training operations, and to improve and modernize major combat range and test facility bases, including advanced threat radar systems. Other allocations for the total $717 billion bill include repairing and buying new equipment, military installation construction and infrastructure, nuclear deterrence and missile defense, space warfighting deployment and acquisition planning, and to combat adversarial aggression from emerging technologies, terrorism and countries including Russia, North Korea and Iran. The bill was introduced on April 13 and signed into law by the president on Aug. 13.
National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2018 (S. 1182) – This bill was introduced by Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) on May 18 and signed into law by the president on July 31. The bill temporarily extends the National Flood Insurance Program through Nov. 30 without any reforms.
NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act (S. 770) – Sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), this bill authorizes the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to make available guidelines and resources designed to help small businesses identify, assess, manage and reduce their cyber security risks. The bill was introduced on March 29, 2017, and was signed into law by the president on Aug. 14.
National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 2345) – This bill directs the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to study and report on the feasibility of designating a three-digit dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) on May 3, 2017, and signed into law by the president on Aug. 14.
Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) – This bill was introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) on May 4, 2017, and signed into law by the president on July 31. The legislation reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to help train more Americans for high-skilled, in-demand careers. Specifically, the legislation streamlines the state application process for federal funding, imposes fewer performance measures and reduces the federal role in transparency and accountability.
A resolution reaffirming the vital and indispensable role the free press serves (S.Res. 607) – Introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), this simple resolution affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people. It reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth and act as a check on the inherent power of the government. The bill also condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press. The resolution was introduced and agreed upon on Aug. 16. That is the end of the legislative process for a simple resolution.