McCarthy warns House of ‘further action’ on Patriot Act next week

Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned Republicans on Friday that they may need to pass new legislation to renew expiring provisions of the Patriot Act when they return to Washington next week.

In a memo to Republicans outlining the June agenda, McCarthy said “further action on the expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act may be necessary” if the Senate doesn’t pass the House bill.

June will likely also feature votes on trade, healthcare, education and spending bills for the next fiscal year.

The House passed legislation to renew the provisions that expire on June 1 and limit the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk data collection program of Americans’ phone call data. The measure, titled the USA Freedom Act, passed in a resounding vote of 338-88.

{mosads}But the Senate left town in the early morning hours last Saturday unable to pass the House bill or a “clean,” temporary extension of any length.

Senators will return Sunday at 4 p.m., just eight hours before the programs would officially expire. But it’s unclear what the Senate will be able to do, especially if GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) causes time delays.

Another major policy debate may come up when the House takes up the Senate-passed trade bill. The measure would empower President Obama to negotiate a trade deal with only an up-or-down approval vote from Congress. 

But so far it’s unclear whether the bill has the votes to pass in the House due to opposition from many Democrats wary of trade deals, as well as conservatives wary of giving President Obama any more authority. 

The third week of June will feature House action on bills to reform the healthcare system as a Supreme Court decides whether people in all states are eligible for federal tax subsidies through ObamaCare. The court is expected to issue a ruling later this month that could destabilize the healthcare overhaul.

The seven bills slated for floor consideration would repeal the medical device tax, do away with the Independent Payment Advisory Board and delay the authority for terminating Medicare Advantage contracts for plans that don’t have minimum quality ratings.

The House Rules Committee, which decides how legislation is considered on the floor, is expected to hold a hearing Monday evening on two 2016 appropriations bills funding the Departments of Transportation, and Urban Development as well as the Departments of Justice and Commerce.

But McCarthy offered no specific dates for floor consideration of the appropriations measures, telling lawmakers to “stay tuned.” Nonetheless, both bills are listed on the schedule for next week, though each will likely eat up hours of floor time with lawmakers offering multitudes of amendments.

Notably, McCarthy’s memo made no mention of the Export-Import Bank. The bank’s charter is set to expire at the end of June, leaving Congress limited time to extend it. But many House Republicans, including McCarthy, Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), oppose renewing the bank.

But one bill that’s been left off the agenda for months made a return in McCarthy’s Friday memo: a measure to reform the No Child Left Behind education law.

GOP leaders yanked the legislation off the floor in February — on the same day a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security also faltered — due to a lack of votes.

McCarthy said that precise timing for consideration “will be relayed as soon as possible.”

05.29.15 June Agenda

Tags Kevin McCarthy

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