The House has PASSED HR 507, the Putting Trafficking Victims First Act. Now in the Senate, it implements several oversight requirements intended to focus DOJ anti-trafficking efforts on victim aid.

The Senate has PASSED the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act. It now goes to the House. In addition to several foreign policy measures, S 1 would also allow state and local govts to penalize contractors that support (boycott–divest–sanction).

On the House schedule for this week: HR 866, the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act, would require most public government buildings to provide lactation rooms.

The House has scheduled HR 507, the Putting Trafficking Victims First Act, for next week. It would require the AG to report to Congress on DOJ efforts to direct anti-trafficking funds to victim aid.

The Senate will likely pass a non-binding amendment, expressing opposition to the President's decision to withdraw from the war in Syria:

It's being reported as a rebuke to Trump, but it may also be intended to entice Dems to vote in favor of bill S 1.

"There’s a desire by Republicans to use Israel as a wedge issue," says a former US Ambassador. No Senate Democrats have publicly supported boycott–divest–sanction, but some worry about the implications of S 1.

Opposition to S 1 centers on . The ACLU says the bill's anti-BDS provision "violates the core principle of the First Amendment — that the government cannot dictate to its citizens which causes they can and can’t support."

SCHEDULED: S 1, the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, is coming up for a vote on the Senate floor. Initially bipartisan, an addition to the bill would let state and local govts bar contractors from boycotting Israel.

Two related bills in House committee:

HR 135 would strengthen anti-discrimination laws protecting federal workers:

HR 136 would extend those protections to federal interns:

Currently in Senate Committee: S 142, the American Data Dissemination Act, would mandate a process for drafting protection rules, but would also invalidate potentially stronger laws enacted by states.

Currently in House Committee, H Res 53 would officially censure Rep. Steve King for discriminatory remarks made as a member of Congress.

On the radar: Members of both parties are exploring legislation that would keep the government open at existing spending levels during an impasse, rather than shuttering parts or all of the government.

Currently in House Committee, HJRes 8 proposes a Constitutional amendment that would prevent US Presidents from pardoning themselves or members of their family, administrations or election campaigns.

"Surprisingly, while the NEH may seem like a prime example of a government agency that Republicans would seemingly oppose, the bill has not yet attracted any House cosponsors."

Though it's not likely to pass, HR 68 is currently in House committee. It would effectively defund the National Endowment for the Humanities by prohibiting it from using funds allocated to it.

Passage of HR 44 may be complicated by recent allegations that its sponsor, Sheila Jackson Lee, retaliated against a staffer. Jackson Lee has since stepped down from two leadership roles.

Currently in House committee, the Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act would combat gerrymandering by limiting redistricting to once per Census and state legislature, except when court ordered to comply with the Voting Rights Act:

The shutdown has been sucking all of the air out legislative news lately, but there are a handful of bills that I'll be posting about over the weekend, to get us up to speed before Congress starts back up next week.

Yesterday, I deleted two posts that incorrectly identified the funding bills in the Senate. From now on, I'll find independent corroboration before I post bill names or numbers, but here's how it happened:

PASSED: HJRes 28, providing funding for the government through Feb 28th:

SIGNED by POTUS, who threatened another shutdown, or a declaration of national emergency, if Congress failed to approve border wall funding by Feb 15th.

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