Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate also passed the U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act (H.R. 534), to require the State Department to take such actions as may be necessary for the U.S. to rejoin the Bureau of International Expositions; passed the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act (S. 141), to improve understanding and forecasting of space weather events; and passed the Modernizing Government Travel Act (H.R. 274), to provide for reimbursement for the use of modern travel services by federal employees traveling on official government business.

HOUSE VOTES

CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS: The House has passed a bill (H.J. Res. 99), sponsored by Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., to provide further continuing appropriations for government spending though May 5. Frelinghuysen said the one-week extension of current funding levels for government operations gave Congress time to complete its fiscal 2017 appropriations legislation. The vote, on April 28, was 382 yeas to 30 nays.

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

RESEARCH ON EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS: The House has passed the Fair Access to Investment Research Act (H.R. 910), sponsored by Rep. J. French Hill, R-Ark. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule to encourage financial firms to release research reports on exchange-traded investment funds by finding that the reports are not offers to buy the funds. The vote, on May 1, was 405 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Bruce Poliquin

FEMA GRANTS: The House has passed the Federal Emergency Management Agency Accountability, Modernization and Transparency Act (H.R. 1679), sponsored by Rep. Garret Graves, R-La. The bill would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to modernize its systems for reviewing and issuing disaster recovery grants. The vote, on May 2, was unanimous with 419 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Bruce Poliquin

COMPENSATORY TIME OFF FOR WORKERS: The House has passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180), sponsored by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala. The bill would allow private sector employers to offer their employees compensatory time and a half off in lieu of monetary overtime compensation. The vote, on May 2, was 229 yeas to 197 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

DISASTER DECLARATIONS: The House has passed the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act (H.R. 1665), sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. The bill would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give greater consideration to severe local impacts when advising the president on whether to make a major disaster declaration. The vote, on May 3, was unanimous with 425 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree

NOT VOTING: Poliquin

FISCAL 2017 BUDGET: The House has concurred in the Senate amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 244), sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif. The bill would provide $1.07 trillion for discretionary government spending for the remainder of fiscal 2017, including $551 billion for military programs and $519 billion for other programs. The vote, on May 3, was 309 yeas to 118 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NOT VOTING: Poliquin

FEMA DISASTER PAYMENTS: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 1678), sponsored by Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., to establish a 3-year statute of limitations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover disaster assistance payments the agency has sent to state and local governments. The vote, on May 3, was unanimous with 423 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree

NOT VOTING: Poliquin

HEALTH CARE REFORM AND CONGRESS: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 2192), sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. The bill would eliminate waiver provisions in new health care reform legislation for members of Congress and their staffers. McSally said removing the exemption would appropriately ensure that Congress must abide by the laws it passes. The vote, on May 4, was unanimous with 429 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

HEALTH INSURANCE: The House has passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. The bill would make numerous changes to the 2010 health care reform law, also known as Obamacare, including ending the individual and employer health insurance mandate, establishing a program of tax credits for purchases of insurance plans on government-run health exchanges, establishing subsidies for states with high insurance costs, and repealing various taxes. Black said it repealed the worst parts of Obamacare, “brings choice and competition back into the healthcare marketplace and puts healthcare decisions back into the hands of patients and doctors.” A bill opponent, Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., said that by allowing essential health benefits to be removed from health insurance plans, it would remove protections for those with pre-existing conditions and “drive a race to the bottom, with insurers dropping coverage for everything from chemotherapy to high-cost drugs.” The vote, on May 4, was 217 yeas to 213 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA: The House has passed the Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act (H.R. 1644), sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif. The bill would authorize further executive branch sanctions against North Korea and those doing business with North Korea. Royce called a tighter sanctions regime necessary “to protect the U.S. and our allies from the threat of North Korean nuclear missiles by going after those who enable the regime’s aggression.” The vote, on May 4, was 419 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

SEC CHAIRMAN: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Jay Clayton to serve as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for a four-year term. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Clayton had an impressive background in the private sector and a commitment to promoting fair and transparent practices at the SEC. An opponent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that given his time representing Goldman Sachs as a lawyer at a major New York City law firm, Clayton was “likely to pursue a Wall Street-friendly agenda when it comes to the SEC’s rulemaking responsibilities.” The vote, on May 2, was 61 yeas to 37 nays.

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

RETIREMENT PLANS: The Senate has passed a bill (H.J. Res. 66), sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich. The bill canceled a Labor Department rule authorizing state governments to enroll non-government employees in payroll deduction retirement savings plans. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., faulted the rule for forcing employers to put their employees into state government-run savings plans that lack various federal standards designed to safeguard workers’ retirement savings. An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said voiding the rule “will get in the way of our states’ efforts to expand access to retirement savings programs.” The vote, on May 3, was 50 yeas to 49 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

FISCAL 2017 BUDGET: The Senate has concurred in the House amendment to the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 244), sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif. The bill would provide $1.07 trillion for discretionary government spending for the remainder of fiscal 2017, including $551 billion for military programs and $519 billion for other programs. A supporter, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, cited the bill’s increase in funding for improved border security, funding for military programs and pay increases for soldiers, and said it “begins to steer our country in a better direction” by reducing economically damaging regulations. An opponent, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., criticized the bill’s 120 percent increase in the annual cap for H-2B visas issued to temporary immigrant workers. The vote, on May 4, was 79 yeas to 18 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King