[StBernard] Washington Report from Rep. Richard H. Baker

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Jul 27 22:04:51 EDT 2007

July 27, 2007

Thank you for signing up for Congressman Baker’s newsletter. Below are issue updates that you may find interesting. As always, please visit his website at http://www.baker.house.gov <http://www.baker.house.gov/> for the most up-to-date news and information on what Congressman Baker is working on in the Sixth Congressional District of Louisiana.

Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) Poised to Pass Congress

This week Congressman Baker, who serves as ranking member of the Water Resources subcommittee, was named as a conferee to the conference committee responsible for negotiating a final WRDA bill with the Senate. This legislation, which authorizes funding and work by the Corps of Engineers, includes projects critical to Louisiana and the Baton Rouge area.

After exhaustive negotiations with the House and Senate, Congressman Baker is pleased that the conference report for WRDA has been approved by the conferees and now awaits final consideration by the two chambers. This legislation includes flood prevention provisions; sewer and wastewater infrastructure improvements; authorization for the Morganza to the Gulf hurricane and storm protection system; a comprehensive and historic federal coastal restoration plan and closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. For a list of local projects championed by Congressman Baker, click here <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/news_item.cfm?id=669> .

Congress Passes 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act

Today the House of Representatives passed the conference report to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. The conference passed the Senate on July 26, 2007, and the president is expected to sign the Act into law. The report contains a number of significant security improvements including:

* Requiring annual vulnerability assessments of most at-risk infrastructure.
* Providing civil immunity to "Good Samaritans" who report potential suspicious activity relating to terrorist threats.
* Establishing a grant program to insure communication interoperability for first responders.
* Requiring 100 percent inspection of air cargo within 3 years.

House to Vote on Sudan and Iran Legislation

On Monday, the House of Representatives will vote on legislation to promote divestment from firms that conduct business with the Iranian and Sudanese governments. H.R. 2347 would promote divestment from firms with more than $20 million invested in Iran’s energy industry. H.R. 180 would bar federal contracts with companies that do business with the Sudanese government. It would also authorize states to do the same and to divest assets from Sudan. Congressman Baker remains very concerned about the activities of both countries and strongly supports these efforts.

National Economy Continues to Grow

The real domestic product, the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the U.S., increased at an annual rate of 3.4 percent in the second quarter of 2007. Key growth areas include business investment in tools and equipment, commercial real estate and a rise in exports. For more information, click here <http://www.commerce.gov/opa/Economics/Index.html> .

LA 42 and LA 16 funding for improvements

Rep. Baker announced federal funding of $250,000 for LA 42 improvements aimed to address safety problems. Another $250,000 was secured for LA 16 to widen a two-mile stretch between Denham Springs and Watson. Click here to view the announcement. <http://www.baker.house.gov/html/news_item.cfm?id=668>

Farm Bill Update

H.R. 2419, the "Farm Bill Extension Act of 2007," which funds a wide-range of programs including commodity price and income support; farm credit; agricultural conservation; research; rural development; and foreign and domestic food programs, was considered by the House of Representatives this week.

Congressman Baker, who supports the underlying provisions of the Farm Bill, was alarmed and concerned with a provision included by Rep. Lloyd Doggert (D-TX) to finance the domestic food and nutrition programs spending in this legislation by increasing taxes, in some cases by as much as 30 percent, gross receipts tax on certain American businesses that are owned by foreign companies. This tax increase crafted literally in the dark of night violates carefully negotiated trade policy, jeopardizes jobs and investments in the U.S., and was included without any congressional hearings or debate. For these reasons, Congressman Baker voted against H.R. 2419.

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