A Daily Legislative Update Service of the Governmental Affairs Office
daily edition 3.17.2009
The Senate and House are in session today.
Congressional Record, Vol. 155, No. 45 (March 16, 2009)
CQ Daily, Vol. 45, Nos. 43-44 (March 16-17, 2009)
Federal Register, Vol. 74, Nos. 49-50 (March 16-17, 2009)

Administrative Law
On 3/17/09, the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, extended the deadline for public comment on how to improve the processes and principles governing federal regulatory review, including disclosure and transparency, the encouragement of public participation in agency regulatory processes, the role of cost-benefit analysis, and the role of distributional considerations, fairness, and concern for the interests of future generations. Comments are due 3/31/09. FR 11383.
Business Law
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “Federal and State Enforcement of Financial Consumer and Investor Protection Laws,” focusing on whether federal and state law enforcement agencies have all the tools and resources they need to aggressively pursue financial institutions and individuals that commit fraud, abuse their positions and violate the law. 3/20/09, 10 am, 2128 Rayburn.
The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “Addressing the Need for Comprehensive Regulatory Reform.” 3/26/09, 10 am, 2128 Rayburn.
Civil Rights/Constitutional Law
On 3/11/09, the president issued an executive order creating a White House Council on Women and Girls, to establish a coordinated federal response on issues that particularly impact the lives of women and girls, and to ensure that federal programs and policies address and take into account the distinctive concerns of women and girls, including women of color and those with disabilities. The council will develop and submit to the president a federal interagency plan with recommendations for action consistent with the goals of this order within 150 days. FR 11271.
Bills Introduced
S 603 ( Grassley, R-IA), to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, relating to representation in court and sanctions for violating such rule; to Judiciary. S3113, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1515 ( Scott, D-VA), to assist courts in the states and territories with improving the administration of justice; to Judiciary. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
On 3/17/09, the president submitted to the Senate the nomination of David F. Hamilton, of Indiana, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit.
Presidential Action
On 3/17/09, the Obama Administration requested that the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary resume its historical role in evaluating the professional qualifications of potential federal judicial nominees on a pre-nomination basis. ABA President H. Thomas Wells Jr. issued a statement that the standing committee and the ABA look forward to working with the new administration.
Criminal Law  
Bills Introduced  
S 595 ( Whitehouse, D-RI), to authorize funds to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to carry out its Community Safety Initiative; to Judiciary. S3113, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1514 ( Scott, D-VA), to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to reauthorize the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program through fiscal year 2014; to Judiciary. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1529 ( Rangel, D-NY), to permit expungement of records of certain nonviolent criminal offenses; to Judiciary. H3437, CR 3/16/09.  
Committee Action
The House Judiciary Committee will mark up pending legislation, including HR 1139, to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to enhance the COPS ON THE BEAT grant program. 3/18/09, 1 pm, 2141 Rayburn.
Disability Law
On 3/17/09, the Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor, requested public comment concerning an already approved data collection for three forms of the Employer Assistance Referral Network, a nationwide service designed to provide employers with a technical, educational, and informational resource to simplify and encourage the hiring of qualified workers with disabilities. Comments are due 5/18/09. FR 11379.
Emergency Preparedness
Bills Introduced
HR 1524 ( Matsui, D-CA), to allow flood insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program for new structures, located in special flood hazard zones, designed to protect public safety; to Financial Services. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1525 ( Matsui, D-CA), to amend the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to require the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to consider reconstruction and improvement of flood protection systems when establishing flood insurance rates; to Financial Services. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
Health Law  
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing titled “Addressing Insurance Market Reform in National Health Reform.” 3/24/09, 10 am, 439 Dirksen.
On 3/16/09, the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, announced a 4/23/09 meeting of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) in Rockville, MD. The theme of the meeting will be “HIV Prevention for Women,” and there will be an update on the OARAC Working Groups for Treatment and Prevention Guidelines. FR 11122.
On 3/16/09, the Office of Community Planning, Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced a proposed information collection for the Homelessness Prevention Fund, which provides $1.5 billion of formula grant funding for the provision of short-term or medium-term rental assistance, housing relocation and stabilization services, and other appropriate activities for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing of persons who have become homeless. Comments are due 3/23/09. FR 11127.
Immigration Law
On 3/16/09, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, announced an award of supplemental funds to be granted to the Mountain States Group’s Idaho Office for Refugees, under the Idaho Wilson-Fish Program, which serves as an alternative to the traditional state-administered refugee assistance program for providing integrated assistance and services to refugees, asylees, Amerasian immigrants, Cuban and Haitian entrants, trafficking victims and Iraqi/Afghani special immigrant visa recipients. Idaho is one of 12 sites that has chosen this alternative approach. FR 11122.
International Law
Bills Introduced
HR 1511 ( Smith, R-NJ), to amend the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 to authorize appropriations to provide assistance for domestic and foreign programs and centers for the treatment of victims of torture; to Foreign Affairs. H3436, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1528 ( Rangel, D-NY), to allow travel between the United States and Cuba; to Foreign Affairs. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on prospects for engagement with Russia. 3/19/09, 10 am, 419 Dirksen.
On 3/17/09, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State announced the certification of a passport card that may be used for international travel by U.S. citizens through land and sea ports of entry between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. FR 11377.
On 3/17/09, the Department of State Advisory Committee on Private International Law, Department of State, announced a 4/8/09 meeting in Washington, DC, to continue the discussion on the treatment of intellectual property-secured financing practices in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Draft Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions. FR 11399.
Public Contract Law
Committee Action
The House Judiciary Committee will mark up pending legislation, including HR 1107, to enact certain laws relating to public contracts as Title 41, United States Code, “Public Contracts.” 3/18/09, 1 pm, 2141 Rayburn.
Veterans Affairs
Bills Introduced
S 597 ( Murray, D-WA), to amend Title 38, United States Code, to expand and improve health care services available from the Department of Veterans Affairs to women veterans, especially those serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; to Veterans’ Affairs. S3113, CR 3/16/09.
HR 1535 ( Sestak, D-PA), to direct the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of programs designed to diagnose, treat, and prevent post-traumatic stress disorder; to Armed Services. H3437, CR 3/16/09.
On 3/16/09, the Department of Veterans Affairs corrected a final rule that governs the representation of claimants for VA benefits and that transferred jurisdiction over agents’ and attorneys’ fees from the Board of Veterans Appeals to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). The correction removed obsolete regulations without making substantive change to the content of the final rule. FR 11037.
On 3/16/09, the Department of Veterans Affairs amended the system of records entitled “Litigant, Tort Claimant, EEO Complainant and Third Party Recovery Files –VA,” revising the routine uses of records maintained in the system, editing, deleting, and adding routine uses, and changing the name of the system of records to “Litigation Files—VA” to more closely encompass the complete scope of matters handled in VA litigation and administrative investigations carried out by OGC attorneys. Comments are due 4/15/09. FR 11182.