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House Legislative Update for July 11, 2014

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Although the House had to shut down briefly for an industrial spill which could have caused asbestos to leak, this was a busy week. The Republican Study Committee, a group of House Republicans dedicated to advancing a conservative social and economic agenda, have elected Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Georgia) as Chairman for the remainder of the 113th Congress. He takes over for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) who was recently elected House Majority Whip.

Religious Liberty: Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) worked with Rep. Bob Latta’s (R-Ohio) office to get signers onto a letter he is circulating to Acting Secretary of Veteran Affairs (VA) Sloan Gibson regarding the VA’s policy on religious liberty at VA medical center chapels across the country. That issue at hand is that the National Chaplain Center, a division of Veterans Affairs, has recently drawn the ire of religious liberty advocates after its insistence that religion-specific items (i.e., depictions of Jesus, Mary, etc., and crosses and altars) be hidden or removed in order to effect a more religion-neutral atmosphere.

Support for Israel: The House of Representatives passed H. Res. 657 this week. As a timely response to recent events, this resolution expresses Congress’ overwhelming “support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks” from Hamas. Introduced by Congressman Steve Israel (D-New York), this legislation rightly defines Hamas as a true terrorist organization and emphasizes Iran’s distinct role in providing Hamas with long-range missile capability. Further, it vehemently condemns the unwarranted attacks and demands that all rocket fire against Israel cease. Finally, H. Res. 657 affirms that Israel, one of our greatest allies, maintains the fundamental right to defend her people and her land

Resolution to Sue President Obama: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has introduced a resolution that the House will consider to file a lawsuit against President Obama for overstepping his authority and making changes to the health care law without Congressional authorization.  The resolution focuses on the president’s overreach when he waived the employer mandate which requires employers to provide health care benefits or pay a penalty. The employer mandate, according to the Affordable Care Act, was initially supposed to take effect in 2014, but the administration pushed it back until 2015 and then announced another year-long delay for certain employers. The resolution states that the Legislative Branch (Congress) has the power to make laws and that it’s the president’s role to execute them. The Rules Committee will meet next week for a hearing on this resolution which will likely be on the House floor later this month.

Skills Act: On July 9, the House passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  CWALAC worked with House staff to help garner support for this legislation that helps match job skills with job openings. This legislation will consolidate 15 job training programs, streamlining processes to allow more Americans to find jobs.