Wednesday: House to vote on Giffords’s last bill as a member of Congress

The House will take up H.R. 3801, the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act, which Giffords introduced on Monday. Under the bill, penalties would increase for drug smugglers who use ultralight planes to smuggle drugs into the United States from Mexico.

{mosads}Under current law, smugglers using these smaller planes are subject to lower penalties than other smugglers. But the bill would make those penalties equivalent to others, increasing them to a fine of $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

“Congresswoman Giffords is committed to taking this crucial step that would help secure the border against drug smugglers,” said Pia Carusone, chief of staff to Giffords. “That’s why she decided this would be the last bill she introduces before she steps down.”

Also today, the House will consider a motion to go to conference on H.R. 658, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. This bill would extend taxes on airports that help fund the Federal Aviation Administration.

Congress is thought to be close to finally reaching a long-term deal extending these taxes, after reaching an agreement on labor provisions for air industry workers. On Tuesday, however, the House approved the 23rd short-term extension of these taxes, which will give members another few weeks to finalize that agreement.

Finally, the House will vote on H.R. 1022, the Buffalo Soldiers in the National Parks Study Act. That bill was debated briefly Tuesday, and will pass easily today before the House finishes its work this morning.

The Senate is not in Wednesday, but will return Thursday to vote down a resolution disapproving of President Obama’s request to increase the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion.

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