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October 23, 2007

Legislative Quicksand

Legislative Update
  • House: Employment Non-Discrimination Act
  • Senate: Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations
There are many dramatic headlines in the news — the San Diego fire, IEDs in America, drought, — and we would do well to seek "the LORD our God who gives the rain."

In the midst of all that, Congress is poised to make, in the words of the public interest Web site citizenJoe, "a little history" for "gay & lesbian rights."

The House is set to take up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to "prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." While the danger of the hate/thought crimes legislation is still pending, this legislation is another attempt at disintegrating the foundations of our national identity.

The Senate is expected to finish the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill wherein we have already had some victories and defeats. Praise the Lord for executive spending restraint. It is then expected to turn its attention to Internet taxes or immigration.

Read today's edition of Inside the Mountain for more.

October 22, 2007

Senate Schedule - H.R. 3043: Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations (continued)

H.R. 3043: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008
Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.

Previous Senate Votes

PDF of White House Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3043, S. 1710

Debate, Votes

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

S.Amdt. 3369 by Sen. Allard [R-CO]
To reduce the total amount appropriated to any program that is rated ineffective by the Office of Management and Budget through the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).
Motion to Table Agreed to 68-21

S.Amdt. 3347 by Sen. Menéndez [D-NJ]
To provide funding for the activities under the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005.
Agreed to 88-3


Pending Brownback Amendments:

S.Amdt. 3363
To restore funding for CBAE in the Senate bill and restore the "A-H" requirements for CBAE.
CWA: The President requested an increase of $28 million for Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) above last year's request. The House supported the President's request, and provided $141 million for CBAE, and protected the "A-H" guidelines which govern abstinence education programs to ensure it goes to true abstinence programs (not counterfeits by abortion groups).

S.Amdt. 3392
Related to "reporting of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, or incest."

S.Amdt. 3406
Related to "contraceptives to students under the age of 16."


Update:
Senate Democrats Cite Meeting Bush 'Halfway' on Spending Bill Proposals
Senate Democrats asked President Bush on Monday to reconsider his threat to veto a large fiscal 2008 domestic spending measure as it proceeded toward passage. Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said Democrats had made a major concession to Bush by dropping a provision that would have expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

House Schedule - H.R. 3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act

H.R. 3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007
To prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

H.R. 3686: (ENDA, Part II)
To prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity.

Sponsor Introduction


H.R. 3685 is scheduled for House floor action this week.
H.R. 3686 is expected to be offered as an amendment.


Previous Version: H.R. 2015 (more details on legal problems with the bill)


Transgender Tumult
Go figure: Twenty years ago, Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, and now he’s the sponsor of an antidiscrimination bill on sexual-orientation matters that has earned him the near-universal condemnation of the gay-advocacy community.

Quandary Over Gay Rights Bill: Is It Better to Protect Some or None?
There's a saying in Congress about passing legislation: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The transgender community is learning that lesson the hard way.


In this case we're talking about the really bad not being the enemy of the bad.

This is legal quicksand at its finest.

Appropriations - Article I vs. Article II

Fiscal Year 2008 Appropriations Bills


Bush Stands His Ground on Budget
The White House and Congress are heading for what President Bush predicts will be a "fiscal showdown" at a time when the nation's financial health has actually improved for the moment.

Will Overture to Bush Lead to Budget Detente?
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Wednesday he used a private moment with President Bush to extend a hand of peace before the budget battles yet to come.

Supplemental

Bush Sends War Supplemental to Capitol Hill
The Bush administration on Monday formally asked Congress for an additional $45.9 billion in fiscal 2008 emergency spending for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to congressional aides.

Bush Asks Congress For $46 Billion More In War Funding
President Bush challenged Congress to another clash over the direction of the Iraq war yesterday as he asked lawmakers for $46 billion more to pay for overseas military operations and insisted that they approve it by the end of the year.

October 21, 2007

Senate - Passed Committee

The following bills have passed committee and could be considered on the Senate floor at any time.


S. 2185: A bill to permanently extend the current marginal tax rates.

S. 2184: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permanently allow penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans for individuals called to active duty for at least 179 days.

S. 2180: A bill to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service, and the Department of Energy, and to amend the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003, and for other purposes.

S. 2179: A bill to authorize certain programs and activities in the Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Energy, and for other purposes.

S. 1778: Maritime Administration Authorities Act of 2007

S. 1662: Small Business Venture Capital Act of 2007

S. 1200: Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2007

S. 680: Accountability in Government Contracting Act of 2007

S. 2020: Tropical Forest and Coral Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2007

S. 1839: A bill to require periodic reports on claims related to acts of terrorism against Americans perpetrated or supported by the Government of Libya.

S.Res. 326: A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of a National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims

S. 453: Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007

S. 221: Fair Contracts for Growers Act of 2007
A bill to amend title 9, United States Code, to provide for greater fairness in the arbitration process relating to livestock and poultry contracts.

S. 1446: National Capital Transportation Amendments Act of 2007

House - Passed Committee

Update: The following rules have passed committee meaning consideration on the floor of their respective bills is imminent.
  • H.Res. 763: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1011) to designate additional National Forest System lands in the State of Virginia as wilderness or a wilderness study area, to designate the Kimberling Creek Potential Wilderness Area for eventual incorporation in the Kimberling Creek Wilderness, to establish the Seng Mountain and Bear Creek Scenic Areas, to provide for the development of trail plans for the wilderness areas and scenic areas, and for other purposes.
  • H.Res. 764: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 505) to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity.
  • H.Res. 765: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1483) to amend the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 to extend the authorization for certain national heritage areas, and for other purposes.

The following bills have passed committee and could be considered on the House floor at any time.


H.R. 135: Twenty-First Century Water Commission Act of 2007

H.R. 1462: Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and Pathfinder Modification Authorization Act
To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to participate in the implementation of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program for Endangered Species in the Central and Lower Platte River Basin and to modify the Pathfinder Dam and Reservoir.

H.R. 1528: New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act

H.R. 2094: To provide for certain administrative and support services for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, and for other purposes

H.R. 2197: Hopewell Culture National Historical Park Boundary Adjustment Act

H.R. 29: To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct facilities to provide water for irrigation, municipal, domestic, military, and other uses from the Santa Margarita River, California, and for other purposes.

H.R. 3111: Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Enhancement Act of 2007

H.R. 523: Douglas County, Washington, PUD Conveyance Act

H.R. 53: Virgin Islands National Park School Lease Act

H.R. 664: Dana Point Desalination Project Authorization Act

H.R. 767: Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Act

H.R. 783: Mesa Verde National Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2007

H.R. 830: Denali National Park and Alaska Railroad Land Exchange Act of 2007

H.Res. 106: Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution

H.R. 3775: Industrial Energy Efficiency Research and Development Act of 2007

H.R. 3776: Energy Storage Technology Advancement Act of 2007

H.R. 3685: Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007

H.R. 3796: Early Warning and Health Care for Workers Affected by Globalization Act

H.R. 3866: Small Business Programs Act of 2007

H.R. 3867: Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act

H.R. 1424: Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007

Senate Votes - H.R. 3043: Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations

H.R. 3043: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008
Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.

House Votes

PDF of White House Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 3043, S. 1710

Debate, Votes

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

S.Amdt. 3338 by Sen. DeMint [R-SC]
To provide a limitation on funds with respect to the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service.
Rejected 34-61
Senate Votes to Preserve Rangel’s "Monument to Me" Earmark
The Senate voted 61 to 34 to reject an amendment offered by Senator Jim DeMint, to the Senate Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which would have prevented $2 million of taxpayer money from being spent on a building project at the City College of New York that will house — wait for it — not one, not two, but three construction projects bearing the gravelly voiced lawmaker's name--House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

S.Amdt. 3368 by Sen. Harkin [D-IA]
To provide funding for activities to reduce infections from methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and related infections.
Agreed to 90-3 - Congressional Record (!!)

S.Amdt. 3362 by Sen. Byrd [D-WV]
To increase funding for the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Agreed to 89-4

S.Amdt. 3348 by Sen. Brown [D-OH]
To provide funding for the Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.
Agreed to 81-12

S.Amdt. 3350 by Sen. Lautenberg [D-NJ]
To prohibit the use of funds to provide abstinence education that includes information that is medically inaccurate.
This amendment was not accepted.

S.Amdt. 3321 by Sen. Coburn [R-OK]
To provide additional care for pregnant women, mothers, and infants by eliminating a $1,000,000 earmark for a museum dedicated to Woodstock.
Motion to Table Failed 42-52
Amendment SA 3321 agreed to in Senate by Unanimous Consent.
11/5/2007 Update:
A Museum On Woodstock, With a Haircut
A $1 million congressional earmark--pushed by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D), with fellow New Yorker, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), signing on--generated a squabble on Capitol Hill, and Republicans, led by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), killed the measure with the help of a handful of Democrats.

S.Amdt. 3395 by Sen. Reid [D-NV]
To clarify the application of current law. - "Nothing in this act shall be construed to effect or otherwise modify provisions of current law with respect to abortion funding."
Agreed to 68-25

S.Amdt. 3330 by Sen. Vitter [R-LA]
To prohibit the provision of funds to grantees who perform abortions.
Rejected 41-52

S.Amdt. 3373 by Sen. Sessions [R-AL]
To increase the amount of funds available for the Office of Labor Management Standards.
Rejected 46-47

Senate Votes - H.R. 3093: Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations

H.R. 3093: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008
Making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.

House Votes

Debate, Votes

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

S.Amdt. 3243 by Sen. Coburn [R-OK]
To provide $1,680,000 to investigate and prosecute unsolved civil rights crimes in a fiscally responsible manner by prioritizing spending.
Motion to Table Agreed to 61-31

S.Amdt. 3260 by Sen. Brown [D-OH]
To prohibit the use of any funds made available in this Act in a manner that is inconsistent with the trade remedy laws of the United States, and for other purposes.
Agreed to 85-3

S.Amdt. 3289 by Sen. DeMint [R-SC]
To prevent Federal employees from purchasing unnecessary first-class or premium-class airline tickets at taxpayers' expense.
Agreed to 90-0

S.Amdt. 3294 by Sen. Ensign [R-NV]
To increase funding for the United States Marshals Service to ensure full funding for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 and offset the increase by reducing funding for the Advanced Technology Program.
Agreed to 91-0

S.Amdt. 3295 by Sen. Ensign [R-NV]
To increase funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and offset the increase by reducing NASA funding.
Motion to Table Agreed to 70-23

S.Amdt. 3317 by Sen. Thune [R-SD]
To provide, in a fiscally responsible manner, additional funding for United States attorneys to prosecute violent crimes in Indian country.
Motion to Table Agreed to 61-32

S.Amdt. 3313 by Sen. Dole [R-NC]
To set aside $75,000,000 of the funds appropriated under the heading State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance for activities that support State and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to assist the Federal Government's enforcement of immigration laws.
Motion to Table Agreed to 50-42

S.Amdt. 3277 by Sen. Vitter [R-LA]
To prohibit funds from being used in contravention of section 642(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Motion to Table Agreed to 52-42

Motion to Commit H.R.3093 to the Committee on Appropriations, with Instructions
for the purpose of reducing the bill to the President's request
(consideration: CR S12921-12924)
Congressional Record:
Sen. Byrd Challenges, Sen. Coburn Accepts
Rejected 44-50

On Passage of the Bill
Bill Passed 75-19

Senate Votes - H.R. 3222: Department of Defense Appropriations

H.R. 3222: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2008
Making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.

House Votes

Senate Launches Defense Spending Debate, Avoiding Iraq for Now
As the Senate began debate Tuesday on its $459.6 billion Defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2008, the White House warned that President Bush will veto the measure if Congress attaches any restrictions on his Iraq policy.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

S.Amdt. 3126 by Sen. Boxer [D-CA]
To prohibit waivers for enlistment in the Armed Forces of individuals with certain felony offenses.
Motion to Table Agreed to 53-41

S.Amdt. 3117 by Sen. Graham [R-SC]
To improve the security of United States borders.
Agreed to 95-1
Senate Adds Border Security Funds to Defense Spending Bill
As the $459.6 billion fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations measure headed for final passage Wednesday, the Senate added $3 billion in emergency spending for border security.

S.Amdt. 3164 by Sen. Feingold [D-WI]
To safely redeploy United States troops from Iraq.
Rejected 28-68

On Passage
Passed Senate with an amendment by Voice Vote.

House Veto Override Vote - H.R. 976: SCHIP Reauthorization Act

On Postponing to a Date Certain
Passed 222-197

H.R. 976: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007
An act to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes.

Congress Passed

On Approving the Journal
Passed 219-187

Veto Override
Failed 273-156


House Fails To Override Bush's Veto of Children's Health Bill
As expected, the House on Thursday failed to override President Bush’s veto of legislation to expand a children’s health insurance program, despite weeks of pressure from Democrats and outside advocacy groups.

House fails to muster SCHIP veto override
Dems plan to ramp up the pressure in a new bid to force a few Republicans to wilt on the next vote.

SCHIP override fails; fight to continue
House fails to override President Bush’s veto of children’s health bill Thursday, but the debate is far from settled.

Democrats Press Ahead on SCHIP
A failed veto override on a major children's health insurance program yesterday prompted House Democratic leaders to promise to push a new version of the bill, daring Republicans to oppose them.

Stark Language Angers Republicans
The debate over the fate of the State Children's Health Insurance Program was a surprisingly desultory affair, marked by the occasional charge of "socialized medicine" from Republicans or "heartlessness" from Democrats.

Moving On

House Republican Leaders to Speaker: We are "Ready and Willing" to Craft Bipartisan SCHIP Compromise
A day after the House upheld the President's veto of a Democrat-authored State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill, which would continue covering more than 700,000 adults under the program while some 500,000 eligible low-income children are still not covered, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) for a second time offered to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders to craft a truly bipartisan SCHIP renewal. Boehner and Blunt extended the invitation to the Speaker in a letter sent this morning.

White House Says Bush Still Open to Children's Health Compromise
The White House repeated Monday that President Bush is open to a compromise with Democratic congressional leaders once his veto of a $35 billion expansion of children’s health programs is sustained.

Democratic Leaders Hold Up Water Bill Until After Children's Health Veto Showdown
Democratic congressional leaders are holding back a $23.2 billion measure for water resources projects that President Bush has threatened to veto until after next week’s showdown over the president’s veto of a children’s health bill.

House Votes - H.R. 2095: Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act

H.Res. 724: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2095

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 218-194

On agreeing to the resolution
Agreed to by voice vote.


H.R. 2095: Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007
To amend title 49, United States Code, to prevent railroad fatalities, injuries, and hazardous materials releases, to authorize the Federal Railroad Safety Administration, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11694-11695; text: CR H11694)
Failed 198-222

On Passage
Passed 377-38

House Rule Votes - H.R. 3773: RESTORE Act

H.Res. 746: Providing for consideration of H.R. 3773

Debate

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 221-199

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 223-196


H.R. 3773: Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007
To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

House Votes - H.R. 2102: Free Flow of Information Act

H.Res. 742: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2102

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 224-196

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 222-194


H.R. 2102: Free Flow of Information Act of 2007
To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Passage
Passed 398-21


House Passes Bill to Protect Confidentiality of Reporters' Sources
The House yesterday overwhelmingly passed first-ever federal protections for journalists pressured to reveal confidential sources, as lawmakers from both parties backed legislation that advocates for the news media have sought for a generation.

House Votes - H.Res. 734: Corruption Information in Iraq

H.Res. 741: Providing for consideration of H.Res. 734

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 223-196

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 225-195


H.Res. 734: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the withholding of information relating to corruption in Iraq.

Debate, Votes

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 395-21


House Rebukes State Over Iraq Corruption
The House passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning the State Department for its refusal to divulge public details on Iraqi corruption in a new showdown with the Bush administration over the war and its classification policies.

October 20, 2007

House Votes - H.R. 3056: Tax Collection Responsibility Act

H.Res. 719: Providing for consideration of H.R. 3056

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 220-198

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 217-198


H.R. 3056: Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the authority of the Internal Revenue Service to use private debt collection companies, to delay implementation of withholding taxes on government contractors, to revise the tax rules on expatriation, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11462-11464)
Failed 196-212

On Passage
Passed 232-173


House Republicans to Offer Permanent Death Tax Repeal as Motion to Recommit on Democratic Tax Collection Bill
Led by Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO), House Republicans will today offer a permanent repeal of the death tax as a motion-to-recommit to the Democrats' "Tax Collection Responsibility Act."

The proposal Hulshof will offer is identical to the bill he introduced in the 109th Congress, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act (H.R. 8), which passed by a vote of 272-162 when the House last voted on the issue as a straight up-or-down vote. 42 Democrats supported a permanent repeal of the Death Tax in the last Congress.

House Votes - H.R. 2895: National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act

H.Res. 720: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2895

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 223-195

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 224-194


H.R. 2895: National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007
To establish the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States to provide for the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of decent, safe, and affordable housing for low-income families.

House Report 110-369

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

H.Amdt. 843 by Rep. Frank [D-MA]
Amendment establishes a state minimum allocation percentage, under which every state will receive at least one half of one percent (.5%) of the total funds available each year that are allocated to states, Indian Tribes, and insular areas.
Agreed to 418-2

H.Amdt. 850 by Rep. Neugebauer [R-TX]
Amendment sought to establish a National Affordable Housing Grant Fund program within the HOME program, which is currently administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Failed 163-257

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11443-11445)
Failed 199-218

On Passage
Passed 264-148


National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act Passes House
As passed by the House, the legislation allows third party groups with political agendas that are contrary to our free-market principles (such as ACORN), to receive funding from the Affordable Housing Fund. Language in the bill states that no funds from the bill may be used for political activities.

However, many conservatives have expressed concern that since money is fungible, the bill would still allow liberal entities to use money from the Affordable Housing Fund to displace other funds, thus freeing up other money for political activities.

To solve this problem, some conservatives have fought for language preventing groups that participate in political activities from receiving funding. In addition, some conservatives have regarded the required GSE contributions to the Fund as a tax on publicly-traded corporations.

Arguably, since the GSEs constitute a duopoly, they have a heightened ability to pass this “contribution” on to consumers—thus making housing less affordable rather than more.

House Votes - H.R. 3648: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act

H.Res. 703: Providing for consideration of H.R. 3648

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 223-194

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 222-193


H.R. 3648: Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude discharges of indebtedness on principal residences from gross income, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11296-11297; text: CR H11296)
Failed 201-212

On Passage
Passed 386-27


Mortgage Relief Tax Act Passes
Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA) generally supported the measure but expressed concern about the bill offsets. As has been true with all legislation in 2007, the Democratic leadership insisted that any tax reduction be offset with an equal tax increase. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act will require individuals who have a second home and move to the second home to reside there for as long as five years in order to qualify in full for the $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples) capital gain exclusion on sale of a principal residence.

House Votes - H.R. 3246: Regional Economic and Infrastructure Development Act

H.Res. 704: Providing for consideration of H.R. 3246

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 224-194

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 227-188


H.R. 3246: Regional Economic and Infrastructure Development Act of 2007
To amend title 40, United States Code, to provide a comprehensive regional approach to economic and infrastructure development in the most severely economically distressed regions in the Nation.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11284-11285; text: CR H11284)
Failed 201-218

On Passage
Passed 264-154


House Defeats Amendment to Prevent Taxpayer Money from Being Spent on Lobbyists
RSC Member Jim Jordan offered an amendment in the form of a Motion to Recommit (MTR) to the Regional Economic and Infrastructure Development Act of 2007 (H.R. 3246). The amendment would simply have prohibited any funding authorized by the legislation from being used for lobbying on the common sense principle that no taxpayer money should be used for lobbyist activities.

House Votes - H.R. 2740: MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act

H.Res. 702: Providing for consideration of H.R. 2740

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 218-192

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Passed 217-193


H.R. 2740: MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007
To require accountability for contractors and contract personnel under Federal contracts, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11262-11266; text: CR H11262)
Passed 342-75

On Passage
Passed 389-30


House Passes Bill Subjecting All Contractors in Iraq to U.S. Criminal Code
Legislation that would bring all government contractors working in war zones within the reach of the federal criminal code was passed by the House Thursday by a wide margin.

State Department Issues New Rules for Security Contractors
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday announced new procedures for security contractors in Iraq, a day after the House passed a bill to bring civilian contractors working in war zones under the jurisdiction of U.S. law.

House Votes - H.R. 928: Improving Government Accountability Act

H.Res. 701: Providing for consideration of H.R. 928

On Ordering the Previous Question
Passed 216-192

On Agreeing to the Resolution
Agreed to by voice vote.


H.R. 928: Improving Government Accountability Act
To amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to enhance the independence of the Inspectors General, to create a Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, and for other purposes.

Debate

Amendments (GovTrack, Thomas)

Votes

H.Amdt. 831 by Rep. Conyers [D-MI]
Amendment provides that the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General is not required to refer to the Counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of DOJ, allegations of misconduct involving DOJ attorneys and related personnel where the allegations relate to the exercise of the authority of an attorney to investigate, litigate, or provide legal advice.
Agreed to 217-192

On Motion to Recommit with Instructions
(consideration: CR H11200-11204; text: CR H11200-11201)
Passed 274-144

On Passage
Passed 404-11

House Suspension Votes

The rules were suspended and 2/3 of those voting were required for passage.


H.R. 3087: A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress reports on the status of planning for the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq and to require the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and appropriate senior officials of the Department of Defense to meet with Congress to brief Congress on the matters contained in the reports.
Passed 377-46
House Passes Bill on Pullout
The House, with overwhelming, bipartisan support, voted yesterday to give the Bush administration two months to present to Congress its planning for the withdrawal of combat forces in Iraq.

H.Res. 635: Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and expressing respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion, and for other purposes.
Passed 376-0, 42 voting Present

H.Con.Res. 203: Condemning the persecution of labor rights advocates in Iran.
Passed 418-1

H.R. 2828: To provide compensation to relatives of United States citizens who were killed as a result of the bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa on August 7, 1998.
Passed 409-12

H.Con.Res. 200: A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the severely deteriorating human rights situation in Burma.
Passed 413-2

H.Res. 32: A resolution denouncing the practices of female genital mutilation, domestic violence, "honor" killings, acid burnings, dowry deaths, and other gender-based persecutions, and expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that participation, protection, recognition, and equality of women is crucial to achieving a just, moral and peaceful society.
Passed 378-0

H.R. 400: War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007
To prohibit profiteering and fraud relating to military action, relief, and reconstruction efforts, and for other purposes.
Passed 375-3
House Passes Bill Outlining Prison Time, Fines for 'War Profiteering’
The House overwhelmingly passed a measure Tuesday that would prohibit “war profiteering” by contractors.

H.Res. 738: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the Government of Syria's continued interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon.
Passed 375-5

H.R. 20: Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act
To provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis.
Passed 382-3

H.R. 3678: Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007
To amend the Internet Tax Freedom Act to extend the moratorium on certain taxes relating to the Internet and to electronic commerce.
Passed 405-2
Long-Term Internet Tax Ban Trumped
House leaders are using a looming deadline and procedural heavy-handedness to thwart the will of nearly 240 House members who support a permanent ban on Internet-access taxes, some supporters of the ban say.

H.R. 2295: ALS Registry Act
To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment of an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Registry.
Passed 411-3

H.Res. 549: Recognizing the importance of America's Waterway Watch program, and for other purposes.
Passed 420-0

H.Con.Res. 222: Commending NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia on the celebration of its 90th anniversary on October 26 and 27, 2007.
Passed 421-0

House Voice Votes

Passed House by Voice Vote:


H.R. 2003: Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007
To encourage and facilitate the consolidation of peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy, and economic freedom in Ethiopia.

H.R. 3068: Federal Protective Service Guard Contracting Reform Act of 2007
To prohibit the award of contracts to provide guard services under the contract security guard program of the Federal Protective Service to a business concern that is owned, controlled, or operated by an individual who has been convicted of a felony.

H.R. 3432: Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Act
A bill to establish the Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

H.R. 3571: To amend the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 to permit individuals who have served as employees of the Office of Compliance to serve as Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director, or General Counsel of the Office, and to permit individuals appointed to such positions to serve one additional term.

H.Res. 676: Declaring that it shall continue to be the policy of the United States, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, to make available to Taiwan such defense articles and services as may be necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.

H.R. 1699: Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act
To direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require certain manufacturers to provide consumer product registration forms to facilitate recalls of durable infant and toddler products.

H.R. 1721: Pool and Spa Safety Act
To increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by requiring the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and pool and spa drainage systems, by establishing a swimming pool safety grant program administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to encourage States to improve their pool and spa safety laws and to educate the public about pool and spa safety, and for other purposes.

H.R. 2185: To amend the Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998 to provide debt relief to developing countries that take action to protect tropical forests and coral reefs and associated coastal marine ecosystems, to reauthorize such Act through fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes.

H.R. 2474: To provide for an increased maximum civil penalty for violations under the Consumer Product Safety Act

H.R. 2553: Public Diplomacy Resource Centers Act of 2007
To amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for the establishment and maintenance of existing libraries and resource centers at United States diplomatic and consular missions to provide information about American culture, society, and history, and for other purposes.

H.R. 814: Children's Gasoline Burn Prevention Act
To require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue regulations mandating child-resistant closures on all portable gasoline containers.

H.Res. 405: Expressing the strong support of the House of Representatives for implementation of the July 8, 2006, United Nations-brokered agreement between President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat relating to the reunification of Cyprus.

H.Con.Res. 25: Expressing the sense of Congress that it is the goal of the United States that, not later than January 1, 2025, the agricultural, forestry, and working land of the United States should provide from renewable resources not less than 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States and continue to produce safe, abundant, and affordable food, feed, and fiber.

H.R. 1727: Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act
To enhance and further research into paralysis and to improve rehabilitation and the quality of life for persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities, and for other purposes.

H.R. 507: Vision Care for Kids Act of 2007
To establish a grant program to provide vision care to children, and for other purposes.

H.R. 970: Dextromethorphan Distribution Act of 2007
To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the distribution of the drug dextromethorphan, and for other purposes.

H.Res. 448: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that there should be established a National Cancer Research Month, and for other purposes.

H.Res. 624: Congratulating the State of Israel on chairing a United Nations committee for the first time in history, and for other purposes
Floor Discussion

H.Res. 716: Expressing the sense of Congress with respect raising awareness and enhancing the state of computer security in the United States, and supporting the goals and ideals of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.


House Approves Product Safety Measures Aimed at Children After Recall Spate
The House passed four measures by voice vote Tuesday that were designed to protect children from hazardous consumer products.

Senate Voice Votes

Passed Senate by Unanimous Consent:


S.J.Res. 13: A joint resolution granting the consent of Congress to the International Emergency Management Assistance Memorandum of Understanding

S.Res. 319: A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the United States Transportation Command on its 20th anniversary

S. 2106: Procedural Fairness for September 11 Victims Act of 2007
A bill to provide nationwide subpoena authority for actions brought under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.

S.Con.Res. 45: A concurrent resolution commending the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation for its work in aiding children and families affected by child abuse, and designating November 2007 as National Courage Month.

S. 1640: Vessel Hull Design Protection Amendments of 2007
A bill to amend chapter 13 of title 17, United States Code (relating to the vessel hull design protection), to clarify the definitions of a hull and a deck.

S. 742: Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007
An act to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing materials and products having asbestos-containing material, and for other purposes.

S.Con.Res. 39: A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of a world day of remembrance for road crash victims

S.J.Res. 17: A joint resolution directing the United States to initiate international discussions and take necessary steps with other Nations to negotiate an agreement for managing migratory and transboundary fish stocks in the Arctic Ocean.

S.Res. 344: A resolution commending the Government of Germany for preventing a large-scale terrorist attack in September 2007, and supporting future cooperation to prevent terrorism.

S.Con.Res. 36: A concurrent resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Teen Driver Safety Week

S. 1839: A bill to require periodic reports on claims related to acts of terrorism against Americans perpetrated or supported by the Government of Libya.


11/19 Update:
H.R. 2761: An original bill to reauthorize the Federal terrorism risk insurance program, and for other purposes.

Senate Passes Terrorism Insurance Measure
The Senate passed a seven-year extension of the nation's terrorism insurance backstop on Friday, after negotiators hammered out a solution to pay-as-you-go issues that had stalled the bill. The chamber took up the House-passed measure (HR 2761) and substituted the text of a Senate bill (S 2285) that differs in some critical respects from the House version. The bill passed by voice vote.

Passed Both Chambers

Passed House by Voice Vote:

S.Con.Res. 49: A concurrent resolution providing for a conditional adjournment or recess of the Senate


Passed Senate by Unanimous Consent:

H.R. 2082: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes.
Senate Passes Intelligence Policy Bill
The Senate on Wednesday passed its first intelligence authorization bill in three years, after dropping contentious provisions that had held up action earlier.

H.Con.Res. 193: Recognizing all hunters across the United States for their continued commitment to safety

H.Con.Res. 182: Recognizing the need to pursue research into the causes, a treatment, and an eventual cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, supporting the goals and ideals of National Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Week, and for other purposes.

H.Con.Res. 222: Commending NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia on the celebration of its 90th anniversary on October 26 and 27, 2007

H.R. 1284: Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2007
To increase, effective as of December 1, 2007, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.

New Public Laws

P.L. 110-89: To extend the trade adjustment assistance program under the Trade Act of 1974 for 3 months

P.L. 110-90: TMA, Abstinence Education, and QI Programs Extension Act of 2007
To provide for the extension of transitional medical assistance (TMA), the abstinence education program, and the qualifying individuals (QI) program, and for other purposes.

P.L. 110-91: Increasing the statutory limit on the public debt

P.L. 110-92: Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2008, and for other purposes

P.L. 110-93: To make permanent the waiver authority of the Secretary of Education with respect to student financial assistance during a war or other military operation or national emergency.

P.L. 110-94: Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act
A bill to amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to renew and amend the provisions for the enhanced review of covered pesticide products, to authorize fees for certain pesticide products, and to expend and improve the collection of maintenance fees, and for other purposes.

P.L. 110-95: A bill to award a congressional gold medal to Michael Ellis DeBakey, M.D

P.L. 110-96: International Emergency Economic Powers Enhancement Act
An original bill to amend the penalty provisions in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and for other purposes.

Congressional Record - Sen. Byrd Challenges, Sen. Coburn Accepts


Sen. Robert Byrd [D-WV]: Mr. President, I rise to commend Senator Mikulski for her skillful management of this bill. The Commerce-Justice-Science bill requires tough tradeoffs between critical programs that serve our country well.

I thank Senator Shelby for his many contributions to this bipartisan legislation.

I urge Senators--do you hear me?--I urge Senators to vote no on the motion to commit the bill to committee for the purpose of reducing the bill to the President's request. If such a motion were approved, the bill would need to be reduced by $3.2 billion. Did you get that? If such a motion were approved, now, the bill would have to be reduced by $3.2 billion.

Now, to any Senators who intend to vote for the motion, I ask this question--listen--what programs would you cut? Hear me. What programs would you cut? Stand up. Let me see you. Let me hear you.

Should we reduce funding for the FBI while it is struggling to fight the global war on terror and fight crime on our streets? Should we? Is that what you want? Should we? I ask again, should we reduce funding for the FBI? I do not hear anyone responding on that.

Should we reduce funding for law enforcement grants to State and local governments when violent crime is on the rise in this country? Should we? Let me ask you again. Should we reduce funding for law enforcement grants? Step up to the plate now. Should we reduce funding for law enforcement grants to State and local governments when violent crime is on the rise in this country?

This summer, the President signed the America COMPETES Act authorizing increased funding for the National Science Foundation and for NIST. Should we cut those programs that will help to drive a prosperous economy?

Should we reduce our commitment to NASA? Should we? Should we reduce our commitment to NASA? I hear nobody. Why all this silence? I think not.

I urge a "no" vote on the motion to commit, and I yield the floor.


Sen. Thomas Coburn [R-OK]: Mr. President, I was listening to Senator Byrd, the distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and he asked who would stand up. I will stand up. I think we ought to cut a lot of things, but the first thing we ought to do is cut out claiming something that isn't true.

What we need to claim is that we can live within the same parameters that every family in this country has to live within. We are not doing it on this bill. It is not about whether the FBI is funded. It is not about the ATF or the Drug Enforcement Agency--it is about priorities. There is just $640 million worth of earmark nonpriority things in this bill. So we could get $640 million tomorrow out of the earmarks that are not priorities, and I will be happy to list for anybody the total for every State, for every Senator who has a priority they think is more important than families having to live within a budget that they have to live with every day.

This isn't a debate about the President. This is a debate about the future of our country starting to live within the means of which we have.

The very things we claim we want to do for all the States that they don't have money to do--by the way, there are cumulative budget surpluses over $40 billion right now. Ours is, if you take Washington speak, $160 billion; if you take true accounting, it is $330 billion. But the States have a surplus. The Justice Department had the highest unexpended balances they have ever had this last year--almost $1.6 billion. Yet we think they need more money. Does anybody in this country think every agency of this Government couldn't run 5 percent more efficiently? Nobody outside of Washington believes they couldn't. They know they can because they know they have to make those same choices every day in everything they do because they can't run with a credit card and charge it to their grandchildren.

Now, 10 percent growth in this bill is too much. This motion to commit doesn't have anything to do with the President. It has to do with whether we will stand up and do what every other American has to do, and that is live within the realities of the money available to them. We can claim that we are doing everything. Since when is fire prevention the total responsibility of the Federal Government? Since when is police protection the total responsibility of the Federal Government? It is not going to go away. If it is a higher priority, then let's make it a higher priority, but let's get rid of some things that aren't. There are no choices to get rid of things that are low priority. We can't have it both ways. Those who want to grow the Government can't have it both ways. Either you want to live within the means, you want to be honest with the American people and say: You are right; we can do a better job.

This bill does not do a better job. We ought to relook at it, reformulate priorities. That doesn't undermine what the committee has done. We added $1 billion on the floor. The committee didn't do that, we did. What we ought to say is let's add 2 or 3 percent, live with less than inflation, do what every American has to do, and if we do that all the way across the board, then we will start solving the fiscal problems that are in front of us.

I yield the floor.

October 19, 2007

Text - Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)

Law of the Sea Treaty is Being 'Rubber Stamped,' Critic Charges
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard clashing views on the 1982 U.N. Law of the Sea treaty Thursday, as a long-time critic accused the panel of acting hastily to “rubber stamp” the accord.

LOST justice
I am not a lawyer. But you don't need to be one to recognize a legal train-wreck in the making. And that is what recent events portend if the U.S. Senate agrees to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty or LOST) in the next few weeks.

Thomas > Treaties > 103rd Congress > Treaty 103-39

Treaty Number: 103-39
Transmitted: October 06, 1994
Short Title: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Type: International Law and Organization
Countries: n/a
Formal Title: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with Annexes, done at Montego Bay, December 10, 1982 (the "Convention"), and the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, with Annex, adopted at New York, July 28, 1994 (the Agreement"), and signed by the United States, subject to ratification, on July 29, 1994.
Senate Executive Report(s): 108-10
Related Document(s): 86-14; Ex.Rept. 108-10
Source: United Nations

Legislative Actions

Floor Action: October 07, 1994 - Received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations by unanimous consent.
Committee Action:
February 25, 2004 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably.
Committee Action:
October 14, 2003 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. in Ex. Rept. 108-10.
Committee Action:
October 21, 2003 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. in Ex. Rept. 108-10.
Floor Action: March 11, 2004 - Reported favorably by Senator Lugar, Committee on Foreign Relations with printed Ex. Rept.108-10 and a resolution of advice and consent to ratification with declarations and understandings. Executive Calendar No. 13.
Committee Action:
September 27, 2007 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.
Committee Action:
October 04, 2007 - Committee on Foreign Relations. Hearings held.

Resolution: As recommended by the Committee on Foreign Relations:

SECTION 1. SENATE ADVICE AND CONSENT SUBJECT TO DECLARATIONS AND UNDERSTANDINGS.

The Senate advises and consents to the accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with annexes, adopted on December 10, 1982 (hereafter in this resolution referred to as the "Convention"), and to the ratification of the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with annex, adopted on July 28, 1994 (hereafter in this resolution referred to as the "Agreement") (Treaty Doc.103-39), subject to the declarations of section 2, to be made under articles 287 and 298 of the Convention, the declarations and understandings of section 3, to be made under article 310 of the Convention, and the conditions of section 4.

SEC. 2. DECLARATIONS UNDER ARTICLES 287 AND 298.

The advice and consent of the Senate under section 1 is subject to the following declarations:

(1) The Government of the United States of America declares, in accordance with article 287(1), that it chooses the following means for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention:

(A) a special arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the articles of the Convention relating to (1) fisheries, (2) protection and preservation of the marine environment, (3) marine scientific research, and (4) navigation, including pollution from vessels and by dumping; and

(B) an arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VII for the settlement of disputes not covered by the declaration in subparagraph (A).

(2) The Government of the United States of America declares, in accordance with article 298(1), that it does not accept any of the procedures provided for in section 2 of Part XV (including, inter alia, the Sea-Be d Disputes Chamber procedure referred to in article 287(2)) with respect to the categories of disputes set forth in subparagraphs (a), (b), and (c) of article 298(1). The United States further declares that its consent to accession to the Convention is conditioned upon the understanding that, under article 298(1)(b), each State Party has the exclusive right to determine whether its activities are or were "military activities" and that such determinations are not subject to review.

SEC. 3. OTHER DECLARATIONS AND UNDERSTANDINGS UNDER ARTICLE 310.

The advice and consent of the Senate under section 1 is subject to the following declarations and understandings:

(1) The United States understands that nothing in the Convention, including any provisions referring to "peaceful uses" or "peaceful purposes," impairs the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense or rights during armed conflict.

(2) The United States understands, with respect to the right of innocent passage under the Convention, that -

(A) all ships, including warships, regardless of, for example, cargo, armament, means of propulsion, flag, origin, destination, or purpose, enjoy the right of innocent passage;

(B) article 19(2) contains an exhaustive list of activities that render passage non-innocent;

(C) any determination of non-innocence of passage by a ship must be made on the basis of acts it commits while in the territorial sea, and not on the basis of, for example, cargo, armament, means of propulsion, flag, origin, destination, or purpose; and

(D) the Convention does not authorize a coastal State to condition the exercise of the right of innocent passage by any ships, including warships, on the giving of prior notification to or the receipt of prior permission from the coastal State.

(3) The United States understands, concerning Parts III and IV of the Convention, that-

(A) all ships and aircraft, including warships and military aircraft, regardless of, for example, cargo, armament, means of propulsion, flag, origin, destination, or purpose, are entitled to transit passage and archipelagic sea lanes passage in their "normal mode";

(B) "normal mode" includes, inter alia-

(i) submerged transit of submarines;

(ii) overflight by military aircraft, including in military formation;

(iii) activities necessary for the security of surface warships, such as formation steaming and other force protection measures;

(iv) underway replenishment; and

(v) the launching and recovery of aircraft;

(C) the words "strait" and "straits" are not limited by geographic names or categories and include all waters not subject to Part IV that separate one part of the high seas or exclusive economic zone from another part of the high seas or exclusive economic zone or other areas referred to in article 45;

(D) the term "used for international navigation" includes all straits capable of being used for international navigation; and

(E) the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage is not dependent upon the designation by archipelagic States of specific sea lanes and/or air routes and, in the absence of such designation or if there has been only a partial designation, may be exercised through all routes normally used for international navigation.

(4) The United States understands, with respect to the exclusive economic zone, that-

(A) all States enjoy high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight and all other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, including, inter alia, military activities, such as anchoring, launching and landing of aircraft and other military devices, launching and recovering water-borne craft, operating military devices, intelligence collection, surveillance and reconnaissance activities, exercises, operations, and conducting military surveys; and

(B) coastal State actions pertaining t o these freedoms and uses must be in accordance with the Convention.

(5) The United States understands that "marine scientific research" does not include, inter alia-

(A) prospecting and exploration of natural resources;

(B) hydrographic surveys;

(C) military activities, including military surveys;

(D) environmental monitoring and assessment pursuant to section 4 of Part XII; or

(E) activities related to submerged wrecks or objects of an archaeological and historical nature.

(6) The United States understands that any declaration or statement purporting to limit navigation, overflight, or other rights and freedoms of all States in ways not permitted by the Convention contravenes the Convention. Lack of a response by the United States to a particular declaration or statement made under the Convention shall not be interpreted as tacit acceptance by the United States of that declaration or statement.

(7) The United States understands that nothing in the Convention limits the ability of a State to prohibit or restrict imports of goods into its territory in order to, inter alia, promote or require compliance with environmental and conservation laws, norms, and objectives.

(8) The United States understands that articles 220, 228, and 230 apply only to pollution from vessels (as referred to in article 211) and not, for example, to pollution from dumping.

(9) The United States understands, with respect to articles 220 and 226, that the "clear grounds" requirement set forth in those articles is equivalent to the "reasonable suspicion" standard under United States law.

(10) The United States understands, with respect to article 228(2), that-

(A) the "proceedings" referred to in that paragraph are the same as those referred to in article 228(1), namely those proceedings in respect of any violation of applicable laws and regulations or international rules and standards relating to the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from vessels committed by a foreign vessel beyond the territorial sea of the State instituting proceedings; and

(B) fraudulent concealment from an officer of the United States of information concerning such pollution would extend the three-year period in which such proceedings may be instituted.

(11) The United States understands, with respect to article 230, that-

(A) it applies only to natural persons aboard the foreign vessels at the time of the act of pollution;

(B) the references to "monetary penalties only" exclude only imprisonment and corporal punishment;

(C)8the requirement that an act of pollution be "wilful" in order to impose non-monetary penalties would not constrain the imposition of such penalties for pollution caused by gross negligence;

(D) in determining what constitutes a "serious" act of pollution, a State may consider, as appropriate, the cumulative or aggregate impact on the marine environment of repeated acts of pollution over time; and

(E) among the factors relevant to the determination whether an act of pollution is "serious," a significant factor is non-compliance with a generally accepted international rule or standard.

(12) The United States understands that sections 6 and 7 of Part XII do not limit the authority of a State to impose penalties, monetary or nonmonetary, for, inter alia -

(A) non-pollution offenses, such as false statements, obstruction of justice, and obstruction of government or judicial proceedings, wherever they occur; or

(B) any violation of national laws and regulations or applicable international rules and standards for the prevention, reduction and control of pollution of the marine environment that occurs while a foreign vessel is in any of its ports, rivers, harbors, or offshore terminals.

(13) The United States understands that the Convention recognizes and does not constrain the long-standing sovereig n right of a State to impose and enforce conditions for the entry of foreign vessels into its ports, rivers, harbors, or offshore terminals, such as a requirement that ships exchange ballast water beyond 200 nautical miles from shore or a requirement that tank vessels carrying oil be constructed with double hulls.

(14) The United States understands, with respect to article 21(2), that measures applying to the "design, construction, equipment or manning" do not include, inter alia, measures such as traffic separation schemes, ship routing measures, speed limits, quantitative restrictions on discharge of substances, restrictions on the discharge and/or uptake of ballast water, reporting requirements, and record-keeping requirements.

(15) The United States understands that the Convention supports a coastal State's exercise of its domestic authority to regulate discharges into the marine environment resulting from industrial operations on board a foreign vessel.

(16) The United States understands that the Convention supports a coastal State's exercise of its domestic authority to regulate the introduction into the marine environment of alien or new species.

(17) The United States understands that, with respect to articles 61 and 62, a coastal State has the exclusive right to determine the allowable catch of the living resources in its exclusive economic zone, whether it has the capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch, whether any surplus exists for allocation to other States, and to establish the terms and conditions under which access may be granted. The United States further understands that such determinations are, by virtue of article 297(3)(a), not subject to binding dispute resolution under the Convention.

(18) The United States understands that article 65 of the Convention lent direct support to the establishment of the moratorium on commercial whaling, supports the creation of sanctuaries and other conservation measures, and requires States to cooperate not only with respect to large whales, but with respect to all cetaceans.

(19) The United States understands that, with respect to article 33, the term "sanitary laws and regulations" includes laws and regulations to protect human health from, inter alia, pathogens being introduced into the territorial sea.

(20) The United States understands that decisions of the Council pursuant to procedures other than those set forth in article 161(8)(d) will involve administrative, institutional, or procedural matters and will not result in substantive obligations on the United States.

(21) The United States understands that decisions of the Assembly under article 160(2)(e) to assess the contributions of members are to be taken pursuant to section 3(7) of the Annex to the Agreement and that the United States will, pursuant to section 9(3) of the Annex to the Agreement, be guaranteed a seat on the Finance Committee established by section 9(1) of the Annex to the Agreement, so long as the Authority supports itself through assessed contributions.

(22) The United States declares, pursuant to article 39 of Annex VI, that decisions of the Seabed Disputes Chamber shall be enforceable in the territory of the United States only in accordance with procedures established by implementing legislation and that such decisions shall be subject to such legal and factual review as is constitutionally required and without precedential effect in any court of the United States.

(23) The United States-

(A) understands that article 161(8)(f) applies to the Council's approval of amendments to section 4 of Annex VI;

(B) declares that, under that article, it intends to accept only a procedure that requires consensus for the adoption of amendments to section 4 of Annex VI; and

(C) in the case of an amendment to section 4 of Annex VI that is adopted contrary to this understanding, that is, by a procedure other than c onsensus, will consider itself bound by such an amendment only if it subsequently ratifies such amendment pursuant to the advice and consent of the Senate.

(24) The United States declares that, with the exception of articles 177-183, article 13 of Annex IV, and article 10 of Annex VI, the provisions of the Convention and the Agreement, including amendments thereto and rules, regulations, and procedures thereunder, are not self-executing.

SEC. 4. CONDITIONS.

(a) In General.- The advice and consent of the Senate under section 1 is subject to the following conditions:

(1) Not later than 15 days after the receipt by the Secretary of State of a written communication from the Secretary-General of the United Nations or the Secretary-General of the Authority transmitting a proposal to amend the Convention pursuant to article 312, 313, or 314, the President shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a copy of the proposed amendment.

(2) Prior to the convening of a Conference to consider amendments to the Convention proposed to be adopted pursuant to article 312 of the Convention, the President shall consult with the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate on the amendments to be considered at the Conference. The President shall also consult with the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate on any amendment proposed to be adopted pursuant to article 313 of the Convention.

(3) Not later than 15 days prior to any meeting-

(A) of the Council of the International Seabed Authority to consider an amendment to the Convention proposed to be adopted pursuant to article 314 of the Convention, or

(B) of any other body under the Convention to consider an amendment that would enter into force pursuant to article 316(5) of the Convention,

the President shall consult with the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate on the amendment and on whether the United States should object to its adoptio n.

(4) All amendments to the Convention, other than amendments under article 316(5) of a technical or administrative nature, shall be submitted by the President to the Senate for its advice and consent.

(5) The United States declares that it shall take all necessary steps under the Convention to ensure that amendments under article 316(5) are adopted in conformity with the treaty clause in article 2, section 2 of the United States Constitution.

(b) Inclusion of Certain Conditions in Instrument of Ratification.-
Index Terms :
103-39
LAW OF THE SEA
SEA
T.DOC. 103-39
UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE
Control Number: 103TD00039

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