Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate also passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act (S. 24), to provide for the compensation of federal and other government employees affected by lapses in appropriations.

The House also passed the Medicaid Extenders Act (H.R. 259), to extend the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Rebalancing demonstration and extend protection for Medicaid recipients of home and community-based services against spousal impoverishment; the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act (H.R. 133), to promote economic partnership and cooperation between the United States and Mexico; and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act (H.R. 192), to establish an interagency program to assist countries in North and West Africa to improve immediate and long-term capabilities to counter terrorist threats.

House Votes

MODERNIZATION OF CONGRESS: The House has agreed to a title of a bill (H. Res. 6), sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., to create a House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, to be charged with recommending ways to modernize Congress’s operations. A supporter, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the committee “is a way this Congress can identify and address the challenges of tomorrow, and will assist us in boldly meeting these challenges.” The vote, on Jan. 4, was 418 yeas to 12 nays.

YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District; Jared Golden, D-2nd District

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The House has passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (H.R. 269), sponsored by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., to reauthorize various public health security and all-hazards preparedness and response programs. Eshoo said the programs were needed to maintain America’s ability to adequately respond to natural and manmade disasters. The vote, on Jan. 8, was 401 yeas to 17 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

HAZARDS AT CHEMICAL PLANTS: The House has passed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Extension Act (H.R. 251), sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss. The bill would extend until early 2021 the Homeland Security Department’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program, which is a joint effort by Homeland Security and high-risk chemical plants to adopt security measures at the plants. Thompson said the program has succeeded in reducing dangers at the plants, and an extension would give Congress time to pass new laws that address recommendations for improvements. The vote, on Jan. 8, was 414 yeas to 3 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS: The House has passed the Clarity on Small Business Participation in Category Management Act (H.R. 226), sponsored by Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., to change the categories included in Small Business Administration annual reports on small business contracting goals. Velazquez said the change would particularly help minority-, women-, and veteran-owned small businesses in their efforts to remain competitive in the federal contracting marketplace. The vote, on Jan. 9, was 414 yeas to 11 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

OBAMACARE LITIGATION: The House has agreed to a title of a bill (H. Res. 6), sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The title would authorize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to intervene, on behalf of the House, in an effort to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the case of Texas v. United States, which concerns the constitutionality of the ACA. A supporter, Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., said the title would allow the House to “defend the valuable protections in the Affordable Care Act that this case threatens to take away.” An opponent, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said it would be a partisan, money-wasting effort by Democrats that went against the desire of many states to have the Affordable Care Act repealed. The vote, on Jan. 9, was 235 yeas to 192 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

SELECTED GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS: The House has passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 264), sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. The bill would provide fiscal 2019 funding for the Treasury Department, judiciary branch, executive office of the president, and several independent government agencies, including the postal service. Quigley said the funding would end the government shutdown for more than 130,000 government workers at Treasury and other agencies, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. An opponent, Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., faulted the bill for lacking key financial reforms, and underfunding loans to help small businesses recover from disasters. The vote, on Jan. 9, was 240 yeas to 188 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: The House has passed the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 267), sponsored by Rep. David E. Price, D-N.C., to provide fiscal 2019 funding for the Transportation Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and various related transportation and urban agencies. A supporter, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., said the funding was needed to avert the disruption of safe air travel due to the government shutdown. An opponent, Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., said the bill was a “bad faith” political effort by House Democrats rather than a serious attempt to negotiate bipartisan legislation that can become law. The vote, on Jan. 10, was 244 yeas to 180 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden

FUNDING AGRICULTURE: The House has passed the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 265), sponsored by Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., to provide fiscal 2019 funding for the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration. A supporter, Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., said the funding was needed to stop a shutdown of the agencies and “prevent hungry families from losing the lifeline of SNAP benefits and assure that our farmers get the services that they need.” An opponent, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the bill was a hastily developed measure with no chance of becoming law. The vote, on Jan. 10, was 243 yeas to 183 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden


DEBATING MIDDLE EAST SECURITY: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on a motion to consider the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S. 1), sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The bill would extend a military partnership agreement with Jordan, impose sanctions on Syria’s government, and take measures to protect U.S. government bodies that oppose the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel from lawsuits stemming from that opposition. Rubio said the bill properly reiterated congressional support for U.S. allies Jordan and Israel, and opposition to human rights abuses in Syria. An opponent, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the Senate should be prioritizing the consideration of legislation to end the partial government shutdown over legislation involving foreign policy. The vote to end debate, on Jan. 10, was 53 yeas to 43 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

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