Along with roll call votes this week, the Senate also passed the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act (H.R. 304), to amend the Controlled Substances Act with regard to the provision of emergency medical services; and passed a bill (H.R. 1329), to increase rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and veterans’ survivors.

The House also passed the Cuban Airport Security Act (H.R. 3328), to require a study regarding security measures and equipment at Cuba’s airports; passed the Congressional Subpoena Compliance and Enforcement Act (H.R. 4010), to enhance compliance with requests for information pursuant to legislative power under Article I of the Constitution; passed the Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Illicit Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342), to impose sanctions on foreigners responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights by Hezbollah’s use of civilians as human shields; and passed a bill (H. Res. 359), urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members.

HOUSE VOTES

BORDER PRODUCT INSPECTIONS: The House has passed the C-TPAT Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3551), sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. The bill would reauthorize the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program for ensuring the security of international supply chains into the U.S. and border security. McSally said C-TPAT has increased the efficiency of importing products into the U.S. without sacrificing national security, improving the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to inspect and approve shipments. The vote, on Oct. 23, was 402 yeas to 1 nay.

NOT VOTING: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEA: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

BUSINESS TRAVEL TO ASIA: The House has passed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards Act (S. 504), sponsored by Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii. The bill would permanently authorize the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business travel card program for U.S. citizens who travel to Asian countries with the travel card, which can be used in lieu of a visa. A supporter, Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., said the program has proved successful in enhancing security and supporting economic ties with U.S. allies by easing business travel to Asia. The vote, on Oct. 23, was 401 yeas to 2 nays.

NOT VOTING: Pingree

YEA: Poliquin

LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS: The House has passed the Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act (H.R. 732), sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. The bill would bar federal government agencies from reaching lawsuit settlements that involve the defendants paying money to non-government entities. Goodlatte said the settlement payments “create opportunities to play favorites” by presidential administrations funneling money to activist groups without any oversight by Congress. A bill opponent, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., said such payments “have been successfully used to remedy various harms, particularly those caused by reckless corporate actors.” The vote, on Oct. 24, was 238 yeas to 183 nays.

NAY: Pingree

YEA: Poliquin

NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS: The House has passed the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions Act (H.R. 3898), sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky. The bill would order the Treasury Department to impose secondary sanctions on financial institutions that process payments for North Korea’s government and use U.S. banks to help process the payments. Barr said extending sanctions beyond just those banks that directly do business with North Korea would impose “tremendous economic pain in store for the Kim Jong Un regime and its foreign enablers.” The vote, on Oct. 24, was 415 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

GOVERNMENT SETTLEMENTS: The House has passed the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act (H.R. 469), sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga. The bill would establish requirements for federal government agencies to provide the public with notices and opportunities to comment on lawsuit settlements and consent decrees pending before the agencies. Collins said the requirements would help restore to Congress its constitutional authority over the execution of the laws it passes. A bill opponent, Rep. David Cicillini, D-R.I., said the bill instead undermined congressional authority “by imposing a series of onerous procedures that will constrain the use of settlements to resolve a federal agency’s noncompliance with the law.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 234 yeas to 187 nays.

NAY: Pingree

YEA: Poliquin

BUDGET BILL: The House has passed the Senate amendment to a bill (H. Con. Res. 71), sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., setting out a government budget for fiscal 2018 and suggested budget levels for 2019 through 2027. The budget would authorize tax reform legislation, include $621.5 billion of military spending in fiscal 2018, replace the Obamacare health care law, and increase state control of Medicaid. Black said the tax reform would give the economy a desperately needed jolt by cutting taxes and promoting job creation. An opponent, Rep. John A. Yarmuth, D-Ky., called the bill “a single-minded plan to make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations, regardless of the consequences for everyone else,” including greater debt and worse health care. The vote, on Oct. 26, was 216 yeas to 212 nays.

NAY: Pingree

YEA: Poliquin

NEW IRAN SANCTIONS: The House has passed the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 1698), sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif. The bill would require presidential sanctions against Iran and foreign entities that support Iran’s effort to obtain or develop nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. Royce said the sanctions were part of a needed move to counter Iran’s threat to the peace and security of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Middle East and elsewhere. The vote, on Oct. 26, was 423 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

FUNDING DISASTER RECOVERY: The Senate has concurred in the House amendment to the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act (H.R. 2266). The bill would provide $36.5 billion for recovery efforts following recent hurricanes and wildfires in the West, and to fund the government’s National Flood Insurance Program. A supporter, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., called the emergency funding necessary “to ensure that every community impacted by hurricanes, floods and fires will have the resources to recover and turn the page.” The vote, on Oct. 24, was 82 yeas to 17 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

FINANCIAL ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS: The Senate has passed a bill (H.J. Res. 111), sponsored by Rep. Keith J. Rothfus, R-Pa., to void a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection rule that barred financial companies from requiring their customers to sign predispute arbitration agreements that keep the customers from filing or participating in certain class action lawsuits against the companies. A bill supporter, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said the rule was an effort to benefit lawyers, not consumers, by promoting class action lawsuits over arbitration to resolve disputes. An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the arbitration agreements were used against consumers, who usually lose when they take arbitration action against the financial companies. The vote, on Oct. 24, was 51 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice President Mike Pence being the 51st yea.

YEA: Collins

NAY: King

OKLAHOMA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Scott L. Palk to serve as a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. A supporter, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said that Palk, who was previously nominated by the Obama administration, had considerable experience as a U.S. attorney in the district and at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and said Palk’s service on an overloaded district court with three vacancies was badly needed. The vote, on Oct. 26, was 79 yeas to 16 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

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