This Week In Congress: Blue Alert, Freedom Act.
The House returns this week from a district work period, set to focus on legislation related to law enforcement, defense and national security matters, while the Senate will begin debate on trade promotion authority.
The House will begin the week on Tuesday by completing consideration of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, a bill to prevent implementation of the so-called “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulation that would bring within the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers a much wider array of property deemed to be wetlands under federal authority than under current regulation. The bill will be sent to the president for signature after House passage.
Members are then scheduled to consider several suspensions related to fallen law enforcement and public safety officials. S. 665, the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015, will assist with the establishment of a nationwide Blue Alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. This bill is named in honor of two New York City police detectives who were assassinated while sitting in their police patrol car in December 2014. H.R. 606, Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act, would amend the IRS Code to exempt death benefits paid to surviving dependents of public servants who died in the line of duty from being considered taxable gross income. H.R. 723, the Fallen Heroes Flag Act of 2015, would provide Capitol-flown flags to the immediate family of fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and other public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. Also related to law enforcement and public safety officials is H.R. 2146, which would allow federal law enforcement officers and firefighters to access money in their Thrift Savings Plan accounts without the 10 percent tax penalty when they are eligible to retire.