This week: Sportsmen's bill, appropriations

The House will consider fiscal 2015 appropriations this week, while the Senate will take up a bill to expand shooting on federal lands.

Appropriations have stalled in the Senate due to a disagreement over amendments. But the House has already passed five of the 12 annual appropriations bills and will consider spending for the Department of Energy and Army Corps of Engineers.

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The $34 billion measure is a $50 million reduction from current funding levels. Controversial riders in the bill include a boost for the coal industry by preventing the Corps from working on a new regulation this year on "fill material," which is the waste left over from mining operations like mountain top removal. 

As with other appropriations bills in the House, it will be considered under an open rule that allows members to offer an unlimited number of amendments.

The House is expected to keep up its pace of appropriations bills on the floor for the rest of July. But with the Senate stalemate, it remains likely that both chambers will ultimately pass a short-term measure in September to keep the government funded at current levels through the midterm elections.

Sportsmen's bill

In the Senate, a measure to enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting on federal lands will be a boon for red-state Democrats in tough reelection races this year.

Among those vulnerable Democrats is the bill's sponsor, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). Other Democratic targets have signed on as cosponsors, including Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Udall (Colo.). 

“In North Carolina, hunting, fishing and shooting are a way of life,” Hagan said. “Many of these traditions have been handed down through my own family, and I’m proud that our bill protects these activities for future generations while ensuring that outdoor recreation can continue to support jobs and local economies across the country.”

The bill would also reauthorize conservation programs and increase recreational use of federal lands.

Democrats have used similar legislation before to try to help incumbents fighting for reelection.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a similar bill while he was up for reelection in 2012, but Republicans filibustered it.

Job training programs

The House will also consider legislation this week that would authorize federal job training programs. 

Before departing for the July Fourth recess, the Senate passed the bill on a 95-3 vote. Approval of the measure marks a rare bipartisan area of agreement in an election year.

The measure would authorize job training programs for six years and require them to document how many people are subsequently newly employed.

It is expected to clear the House easily with a vote slated for Wednesday.  

- Laura Barron-Lopez and Ramsey Cox contributed.


Below is a more detailed schedule of the House and Senate this week:

Monday

The Senate will convene at 2 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote to confirm Cheryl Ann Krause to be a judge for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court and to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the sportsmen's bill.

The House will not be in session.

Tuesday

The Senate is expected to continue consideration of the sportsmen's bill.

The House will vote at 6:30 p.m. on the following bills under suspension of the rules:

H.R. 1528, to prohibit veterinarians registered to manufacture or distribute controlled substances from being required to have a separate registration.

- H.R. 4653, to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom through fiscal 2019.

- H. Res. 588, to express concern over the impact on children and families caused by suspending exit permit issuance in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

- H.R. 3488, to authorize the secretary of Homeland Security to establish preclearance facilities or provide customs services outside the U.S. to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

- H.R. 4007, to reestablish the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program.

- H.R. 4263, to establish a social media working group within Homeland Security to provide guidance for emergency responses on social media before, during and after a terrorist attack.

- H.R. 4812, to require the Transportation Security Administration to establish a process for providing "expedited and dignified" screening services for veterans traveling to war memorials dedicated to honor their service. 

- H.R. 4289, to direct Homeland Security to maintain interoperable communications abilities among the agency.

Wednesday

The Senate will likely continue consideration of the sportsmen's bill.

The House will consider the Workforce Innovation Act to reauthorize job training programs. It will likely also begin consideration of the fiscal 2015 Energy-Water appropriations bill.

Thursday

The Senate may complete work on the sportsmen's bill before adjourning for the week.

The House will continue consideration of the Energy-Water appropriations bill.

Friday

The Senate is not expected to be in session.

The House will likely consider a bill to permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break, which expired at the end of 2013.