Along with roll call votes this week, the Senate also passed Kari’s Law Act (H.R. 582), to require multiline telephone systems to have a configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 911 without dialing any additional digit.

The House also passed the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park Establishment Act (H.R. 2888), to establish the Ste. Genevieve National Historic Site in Missouri; the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act (H.R. 2646); the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act (H.R. 2371), to require the Administrator of the Western Area Power Administration to establish a pilot project to provide increased transparency for customers; and the Gateway Arch National Park Designation Act (S. 1438), to designate the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Missouri as the Gateway Arch National Park.

HOUSE VOTES

CONDEMNING FELLOW REPRESENTATIVE: The House has agreed to a motion to table a resolution (H. Res. 726), sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., that would have condemned Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for tweets Gosar sent before the State of the Union address calling on the U.S. Capitol Police to consider arresting illegal aliens attending the address as guests of members of Congress. The resolution was not debated on the House floor. The vote to table, on Feb. 6, was 231 yeas to 187 nays.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

FOOD LABELING REQUIREMENTS: The House has passed the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 772), sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. The bill would revise nutrition disclosure requirements for restaurants and grocery stores, including relaxing penalties for noncompliance and giving food retailers 90 days to come into compliance before facing enforcement penalties from the Food and Drug Administration. McMorris Rodgers said the new labeling rules would alleviate the enormous compliance challenges food retailers currently face by giving them greater flexibility in providing nutrition information to their customers. A bill opponent, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., said its changes to labeling rules set back efforts to increase transparency about food nutrition “and will cause confusion for both consumers and businesses.” The vote, on Feb. 6, was 266 yeas to 157 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT FUNDING: The House has agreed to an amendment to the Senate amendment to the Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 1892). The House amendment would fund the federal government through March 23, provide $659 billion to fund the Defense Department for fiscal 2018, and adopt an array of health care measures, including fiscal 2018 funding for community health centers. A supporter, Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said the extension of temporary government funding would allow needed time “for our leaders in the House, the Senate, and the White House to negotiate overall funding levels for the 2018 fiscal year.” An opponent, Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., said the extension lacked any workable plan for longer-term spending on vital areas such as biomedical research, infrastructure projects, health care for military veterans, and addressing the opioid epidemic. The vote, on Feb. 6, was 245 yeas to 182 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

PUNISHING WAR CRIMES: The House has passed the War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act (H.R. 3851), sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.,to expand the State Department’s payment of rewards to people whose information helps lead to war crimes convictions to those convictions that happen under U.S. law, not just convictions in overseas courts. Foxx said making domestic war crimes part of the rewards program would help the U.S. punish terrorism within the country and work with its allies to issue joint rewards for bringing war criminals to justice. The vote, on Feb. 7, was unanimous with 407 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

CYBERSECURITY AND UKRAINE: The House has passed the Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act (H.R. 1997), sponsored by Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, D-Pa. The bill would affirm U.S. commitments to reduce Ukraine’s use of Russian technology and increase cybersecurity protection for Ukraine’s data networks, and reaffirm a variety of U.S. financial and technical aid to Ukraine’s government. Boyle said the bill “will send a strong and important signal of Western support for Ukraine at a time when it is literally fighting to protect its own democracy” against Russian aggression. The vote, on Feb. 7, was 404 yeas to 3 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

REGULATING MORTGAGE FEES: The House has passed the Mortgage Choice Act (H.R. 1153), sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich. The bill would state that mortgage charges for affiliated title and escrow for insurance and taxes are not to be classified by regulators as points and fees for determining whether a given mortgage meets the federal government’s qualified mortgage rule capping upfront points and fees on home loans at 3 percent. Huizenga said the bill aimed to improve mortgage availability for moderate-income families in particular, “without overturning the important consumer protections and sound underwriting required under” federal law. An opponent, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said the looser regulation of mortgage fees would free predatory lenders to trick unsuspecting home buyers into unaffordable loans by hiding mortgage fees and expenses. The vote, on Feb. 8, was 280 yeas to 131 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

REGULATING SMALL BANKS: The House has passed the Small Bank Holding Company Relief Act (H.R. 4771), sponsored by Rep. Mia B. Love, R-Utah. The bill would change the threshold for Federal Reserve rules governing allowable levels of debt at small bank holding companies from $1 billion to $3 billion of assets held by a given small bank. Love said the larger regulatory threshold would make it easier for the small banks to raise capital to back loans to meet the credit needs of small businesses and families. An opponent, Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, D-Mich., said the change could impair credit availability by promoting consolidation of community banks while also encouraging small banks to hold dangerously high amounts of debt. The vote, on Feb. 8, was 280 yeas to 139 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

BUDGET DEAL: The House has concurred in the Senate amendment to the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892), sponsored by Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn. The amendment authorized a $165 billion increase in military spending in the next two years, along with a $131 billion increase in spending on discretionary government programs and funding $89 billion for disaster relief programs. It also suspended the debt limit until March 2019 and ended a brief government shutdown on Friday morning by funding the federal government through March 23. The vote, on Feb. 9, was 240 yeas to 186 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

PATENTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Andrei Iancu to serve as undersecretary of Commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Iancu received engineering and law degrees from UCLA, and had spent the last two decades as an intellectual property lawyer at the Irell & Manella law firm. A supporter, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Iancu “possesses strong legal qualifications, has a proven record in the field of intellectual property law, and is well respected in the intellectual property community.” The vote, on Feb. 5, was unanimous with 94 yeas.

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

BUDGET DEAL: The Senate has agreed to an amendment to the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892), sponsored by Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn. The amendment authorized a $165 billion increase in military spending in the next two years, along with a $131 billion increase in spending on discretionary government programs and funding $89 billion for disaster relief programs. It also suspended the debt limit until March 2019 and ended a brief government shutdown on Friday morning by funding the federal government through March 23. The vote, on Feb. 9, was 71 yeas to 28 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

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