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Congress at Work for August, 2019

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Relief for Immigrants, Attempts to Deter Foreign Election Interference and Failed Resolutions to Condemn Foreign Arms Sales

HR 3401, HR 559, S 2242, S 2238, S 1328, SJ 36, 37, 38, S 1749Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019 (HR 3401) – This legislation provides $4.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to federal departments and agencies for humanitarian assistance and security to respond to migrants attempting to enter the United States at the southern border for the rest of the fiscal year. This funding is available for appropriations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services for the Administration for Children and Families. The bill also includes requirements and restrictions for how the funds may be used. It was introduced on June 21 by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and was signed into law by the president on July 1.

Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (HR 559) – This bill grants resident status to certain aliens who have resided continuously and lawfully in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands since Nov. 28, 2009. The bill was introduced by Gregorio Sablan (D-Representative for the CNMI) on Jan. 25 and signed into law by the president on June 25.

A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to clarify the obligation to report acts of foreign election influence and require implementation of compliance and reporting systems by presidential campaigns to detect and report such acts. (S 2242) – This bill was introduced on July 23 by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). It is in the first stage of the legislative process and will be considered by committee before possibly being sent to the Senate for a vote.

A bill to protect elections for public office by providing financial support and enhanced security for the infrastructure used to carry out such elections, and for other purposes (S 2238) – This bill was introduced on July 23 by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). It is in the first stage of the legislative process and will be considered by committee before possibly being sent to the Senate for a vote.

DETER Act (S 1328) – Introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) on May 6, this bill is designed to block any foreign persons from entering the United States whose intent is to interfere in a United States election. The bill passed in the Senate on June 3 and is currently with the House for consideration.

Joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the proposed transfer and/or export of … certain defense articles and services (SJ 36, 37, 38) – Three joint resolutions were introduced by Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on June 5 designed to condemn the presidential administration for initiating the sale of arms to various countries, including the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Two of the three bills passed in both branches (one was not put up for vote in the Senate) in late June. However, all three were vetoed by the president on July 24. No override attempt is expected.

Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act of 2019 (S 1749) – On July 25, the president signed a bill into law that enables veteran homebuyers to borrow above the current cap of $484,350 (for most counties) without a down payment. The legislation was introduced on June 5 by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and was passed by both houses in Congress within four days.

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