In addition to roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act (H.R. 88), to modify the boundary of the Shiloh National Military Park located in Tennessee and Mississippi, and establish Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield as an affiliated area of the National Park System; the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act (H.R. 228), to facilitate the ability of Indian tribes to integrate the employment, training, and related services from diverse federal sources; and the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act (H.R. 1033), to require the maintenance of databases on, awards of fees and other expenses to prevailing parties in certain administrative proceedings and court cases to which the U.S. is a party.

HOUSE VOTES

REGULATIONS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., to the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act (H.R. 998). The amendment would require federal agencies to consider the impact on public health of repealing regulations. DeSaulnier said “understanding the impacts of government actions on public health not only saves lives, but saves money.” The vote on Feb. 28 was 348 yeas to 75 nays.

YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

REVIEWING REGULATIONS: The House has passed the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act (H.R. 998), sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo. The bill would establish the Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission and direct the commission to identify federal rules and groups of rules that should be repealed, and set out criteria for such identification. Smith said the Obama administration alone adopted regulations costing many tens of billions of dollars, and the bill was needed to remove outdated, burdensome regulations stifling the economy and suppressing employment. A bill opponent, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., called the proposed commission an undemocratic measure that will “make people sicker, our environment dirtier, and our products more dangerous.” The vote on March 1 was 240 yeas to 185 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

REGULATORY TRANSPARENCY: The House has passed the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act (H.R. 1009), sponsored by Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich. The bill would establish transparency requirements for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and require the office to deliver to Congress a review of significant federal regulations. Mitchell said the requirements would work to “hold back the floodgates of unnecessary burdensome and duplicative regulations” issued by the government in recent years. An opponent, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said that by giving the White House authority over independent financial regulatory agencies, the bill would empower the Trump administration to block sensible regulations and disrupt the Federal Reserve’s ability to set monetary policy. The vote on March 1 was 241 yeas to 184 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

REPORTING WORKER INJURIES: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 83), sponsored by Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., disapproving of a Labor Department rule adopted on Dec. 19, 2016, requiring employers to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses suffered by their employees. Byrne called the rule a unilateral effort by Labor to rewrite the law by extending its statute of limitations for punishing employers who fail to properly maintain injury and illness records. A resolution opponent, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said cancelling the rule would shield employers from punishment for noncompliance and, by shortening the statute of limitations, give employers a “perverse incentive for underreporting” worker injuries. The vote on March 1 was 231 yeas to 191 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

AGENCIES PROPOSING REGULATIONS: The House has passed the Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004), sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich. The bill would require federal agencies to identify themselves when distributing information about proposed regulations to the public and use unbiased language to describe those regulations. Walberg said it “will restore the integrity to our regulatory process by ensuring agencies are honestly asking for feedback, constructive criticism, and dialogue about how to improve upon the agency’s existing thoughts, not advocating for a predetermined outcome.” An opponent, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the bill would impose a gag rule stopping agencies from soliciting public input on their proposed regulations. The vote on March 2 was 246 yeas to 176 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

COMMERCE SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Wilbur L. Ross Jr. to serve as commerce secretary. A supporter, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., although praising Ross as “a really good person,” cautioned that as commerce secretary, he would need to maintain scientific standards to support the agency’s work of monitoring the weather, climate trends, and potential security hazards. An opponent, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., criticized Ross for frequently urging companies he has invested in to move manufacturing jobs to other countries rather than keep them in the U.S. The vote on Feb. 27 was 72 yeas to 27 nays.

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

INTERIOR SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Ryan Zinke, formerly a House member from Montana, to serve as interior secretary. A supporter, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., cited Zinke’s 23 years of service as a Navy SEAL, followed by state and federal legislative service. Daines said Zinke “knows that we must strike the right balance between conservation and responsible energy development, and he understands more than most that these one-size-fits-all policies from Washington, D.C., never work for real America.” An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized Zinke for supporting policies to make it easier to sell off federal lands, increase oil and natural gas drilling, and decrease presidential authority to designated national monuments on federal lands. The vote on March 1 was 68 yeas to 31 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

HUD SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Benjamin S. Carson Sr. to serve as secretary of housing and urban development. A supporter, Sen. Mike Crapo, D-Idaho, said Carson, formerly a neurosurgeon, had support from many former HUD secretaries and housing experts, and would work to ease regulatory burdens on local public housing agencies and reduce homelessness. An opponent, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., criticized Carson’s lack of experience in managing public housing and his “seeming animosity toward the affirmatively furthering fair housing” rule. The vote on March 2 was 58 yeas to 41 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

ENERGY SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Rick Perry, formerly governor of Texas, to serve as energy secretary. A supporter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said that in his 14 years as Texas governor, Perry oversaw substantial economic growth while reducing air pollution and a shift toward cleaner energy sources, and predicted that Perry’s extensive management experience will help resolve Energy’s long-term nuclear waste disposal problems. An opponent, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., faulted Perry for failing to support aggressive research and development programs to improve the nation’s energy efficiency and production of reliable and affordable electricity. The vote on March 2 was 62 yeas to 37 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King