A Daily Legislative Update Service of the Governmental Affairs Office
daily edition 12.31.2009
The House and Senate are not in session. They will reconvene 1/5/10.

Congressional Record, Vol. 155, Nos. 198-201 (December 22-24, 2009)
Federal Register, Vol. 74, Nos. 245-250 (December 23-31, 2009)
Bills Introduced
S Res 387 ( Inouye, D-HI), urging the people of the United States to observe Global Family Day and One Day of Peace and Sharing on 1/1/20; to Judiciary. S14138, CR 12/24/09.
On 12/22/09, the Senate received the nominations of J. Michelle Childs and Richard Mark Gergel, both of South Carolina, to be United States District Judges for the District of South Carolina.
On 12/24/09, the Senate received the nominations of Timothy S. Black, of Ohio, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio; and Gloria M. Navarro, of Nevada, to be United States District Judge for the District of Nevada.
On 12/24/09, the Senate confirmed the nominations of Dolly M. Gee, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of California; and Richard Seeborg, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California.
On 12/24/09, the Senate reached a unanimous consent agreement providing that all nominations received by the Senate during the First Session of the 111 th Congress remain in status quo, with some exceptions, including Edward Milton Chen, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California; and Louis B. Butler Jr., to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin.
On 12/28/09, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a request for public comment on several information collections, including the Request to Resolve Questionable Quarters of Coverage, the Statement for Determining Continuing Eligibility Supplemental Security Income Payment, and the Application of Circuit Court Law. Comments are due 2/26/10. FR 68655.
On 12/29/09, SSA announced a 1/20/10-1/22/10 meeting in Dallas, TX, of the Occupational Information Development Advisory Panel, which provides independent advice and recommendations on plans and activities to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles used in the SSA disability determination process. FR 68896.
On 12/29/09, the Department of Education announced a request for public comment on a proposed priority for the Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, which will improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Comments are due 1/28/09. FR 68808.
Bills Introduced
S 2928 ( Grassley, R-IA), to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain disaster tax relief provisions; to Finance. S13883, CR 12/23/09.
Floor Action
On 12/24/09, the Senate passed, by a 60-39 vote, HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
On 12/23/09, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced a 6/4/10 meeting in Bethesda, MD, of the PubMed Central National Advisory Committee to review and analyze current health systems. FR 68272.
On 12/28/09, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS, announced the reorganization of the CDC to strengthen its response to H1N1 and other public health emergencies, to establish systems to better identify and address leading causes of death and disability, and to strengthen CDC’s ability to support state and local action to improve health. Under the reorganization, several organizational units have been deleted in their entirety, and several have been reclassified. FR 68630.
On 12/28/09, HHS announced a 1/5/10-1/6/10 meeting in Washington, DC, of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health to discuss strategies to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities, among other things. FR 68626.
On 12/28/09, HHS announced a 1/7/10 meeting of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee’s Nationwide Health Information Network Workgroup to provide recommendations to the national coordinator on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that permits the electronic exchange and use of health information as is consistent with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and that includes recommendations on the areas in which standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria are needed. The location for this meeting is yet to be determined. FR 68625.
On 12/29/09, HHS announced a request for public comment on the initial recommended core set of children’s health care quality measures for voluntary use by state programs administered under Titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act, by health insurance issuers and managed care entities that enter into contracts with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program, and by providers of items and services under these programs. Comments are due 3/1/10. FR 68846.
On 12/30/09, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), HHS, announced the tentative 2010 schedule of meetings of its advisory committees. FR 69119.
On 12/30/09, FDA, HHS, announced a 1/25/10-1/27/10 public workshop in Silver Spring, MD. The workshop, entitled “Medical Device Interoperability,” will facilitate discussion among FDA, industry, academia, professional societies, clinical investigators and other interested parties on issues related to safe and effective interoperable medical devices. FR 69125.
On 12/30/09, FDA, HHS, announced a 1/11/10 workshop in Washington, DC, to discuss the Sentinel System, a national resource for medical product safety surveillance. FR 69122.
On 12/30/09, NIH, HHS, announced a 1/26/10 meeting in Bethesda, MD, of the National Advisory Research Resources Council to hear reports from the director and other institute staff. FR 69123.
On 12/23/09, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced a request for public comment on a submitted information collection, the Petition for Alien Fiance(e), which must be filed with USCIS in order to petition for an alien spouse, fiance(e), or child. Comments are due 1/22/10. FR 68273.
On 12/29/09, USCIS, DHS, announced a request for public comment on an extension of an existing information collection, the Notice of Appeal or Motion, which is used by USCIS to make a determination that an appeal or motion to reopen or reconsider meets eligibility requirements, and which is used by the Administrative Appeals Office to adjudicate the merits of the appeal or reopen the motion. Comments are due 1/28/10. FR 68854.
On 12/31/09, USCIS, DHS, announced a request for public comment on an extension of a currently approved information collection, the Interagency Alien Witness and Informant Record, which is used by law enforcement agencies to bring alien witnesses and informants to the United States in “S” nonimmigrant classification. Comments are due 2/1/10. FR 69352.
On 12/31/09, USCIS, DHS, announced a request for public comment on an extension of a currently approved information collection, the Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, which is used to determine whether an alien applying for asylum or withholding of deportation in the United States is classified as a refugee and is eligible to remain in the United States. Comments are due 2/1/10. FR 69353.
On 12/31/09, USCIS, DHS, announced that the secretary of Homeland Security has extended the designation of Sudan for temporary protected status (TPS) through 11/2/11. The notice also sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) with TPS to re-register and apply for an extension of their employment authorization documents with USCIS. FR 69355.
On 12/23/09, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, announced an invitation for applications for participation in the Tribal Self-Governance Program in fiscal year 2011 or calendar year 2011. Applications are due 3/1/10. FR 68278.
On 12/29/09, the Administration for Children and Families, HHS, announced a request for public comment on proposed changes to Administration for Native Americans program interpretive rules, general statements of policy, and rules of agency procedure or practice. Comments are due 1/28/10. FR 68849.
On 12/28/09, the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced a request for public comment on the proposed information collection of patent reexaminations, which may be filed by any person at any time for any claim of a patent on the basis of prior art patents or printed publications. Comments are due 1/27/10. FR 68567.
Bills Introduced  
S 2925 ( Wyden, D-OR), to establish a grant program to benefit victims of sex trafficking; to Judiciary. S13785, CR 12/22/09.
S Res 385 ( Lugar, R-IN), recognizing the great progress made by the people of Ukraine in the establishment of democratic institutions, and supporting a free and transparent presidential election on 1/17/10; to Foreign Relations. S13785, CR 12/22/09.
Floor Action  
On 12/22/09, the Senate passed S Res 386, condemning the government of Iran for restricting and suppressing freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly, and for its human rights abuses.
Presidential Action  
On 12/23/09, the president notified the Senate of his intention to designate the Republic of Maldives as a beneficiary developing country and to terminate the designations of Croatia and Equatorial Guinea as beneficiary developing programs under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
On 12/23/09, the president issued a proclamation taking certain actions under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, including the designation of Mauritania as a “lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African country,” and the termination of the designations of Guinea, Madagascar, and Niger as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries. FR 69229.
On 12/29/09, the secretary of State issued a certification declaring that the Bolivian military and police are respecting internationally recognized human rights and cooperating fully with civilian judicial authority investigations and prosecutions of military and police personnel who have been credibly alleged to have violated such rights. FR 68906.
On 12/30/09, the State Department issued a determination declaring sufficient factual basis to find that the group al-Jihad, also known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, has merged with al Qaeda, and that the group’s previous designation as a foreign terrorist organization shall be maintained. FR 69186.
On 12/29/09, the Department of Education announced a request for public comment on proposed revisions to the system of records for the Federal Student Financial Aid Application File that would update the categories of records maintained in the system, clarify the system’s purposes, and expand the routine uses to reflect needed programmatic disclosures. Comments are due 1/28/10. FR 68802.
On 12/30/09, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a 1/15/10 meeting in Washington, DC, of the Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces to receive briefings regarding current service efforts related to the investigation of suicides among members of the Armed Services. FR 69077.
Bills Introduced  
S 2929 ( Feingold, D-WI), to prohibit secret modifications and revocations of the law; to Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. S13883, CR 12/23/09.
S 2930 ( Specter, D-PA), to deter terrorism and provide justice for victims; to Judiciary. S13883, CR 12/23/09.
On 12/29/09, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), DHS, announced a final rule identifying communities, where the sale of flood insurance has been authorized under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), that are scheduled for suspension on the effective dates listed within the rule because of noncompliance with the floodplain management requirements of the program. FR 68697.
On 12/29/09, FEMA, DHS, announced a request for public comment on a submitted information collection, the NFIP Mapping Needs Update Support System Data Worksheet, which provides a method to notify FEMA of any revisions or updates required for flood maps, and to assist in the prioritization of the flood hazard mapping needs of all mapped communities participating in NFIP. Comments are due 1/28/10. FR 68853.
On 12/29/09, FEMA, DHS, announced a request for public comment on an extension of a currently approved information collection, the Disaster Assistance Registration, which is used to provide financial assistance aid to eligible individuals and households who, as a direct result of a disaster, have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs and are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other financial means. Comments are due 3/1/10. FR 68851.
On 12/24/09, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced a request for public comment on a submitted information collection, the VA/DoD Joint Disability Evaluation Board Claim, which is used to gather the necessary information to determine a servicemember’s eligibility for participation in a joint DoD/VA Disability Evaluation Board and for VA compensation after separation from service. Comments are due 1/25/10. FR 68446.
On 12/28/09, VA announced the 1/28/10-1/29/10 VBA/Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Summit in Washington, DC, to use presentations made by subject matter experts to update the sections of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities that pertain to mental disorders. FR 68659.
On 12/28/09, the VA announced updated data for calculating the “reasonable charges” collected or recovered by VA for medical care or services provided or furnished to a veteran for three forms of nonservice-connected disabilities. These changes are effective 1/1/10. FR 68660.