Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act (H.R. 1677), to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people and encourage a negotiated political settlement to Syria’s civil war; passed the Federal Register Printing Savings Act (H.R. 195), to restrict the distribution of free printed copies of the Federal Register to members of Congress; passed the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act (S. 583), to authorize COPS grantees to use grant funds to hire veterans as career law enforcement officers; and passed the Modernizing Government Technology Act (H.R. 2227), to modernize government information technology.

HOUSE VOTES

CYBERCRIMES: The House passed the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act (H.R. 1616), sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas. The bill would authorize for the next five years the National Computer Forensics Institute in Alabama, which trains law enforcement officers and other officials in the judicial system on cybercrime issues. Ratcliffe said the authorization would “support our law enforcement and give our officers a leg up on the criminals who are increasingly using digital means in cyberspace to evade justice.” The vote, on May 16, was 408 yeas to 3 nays.

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

MAINE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The House passed the Removing Outdated Restrictions to Allow for Job Growth Act (H.R. 1177), sponsored by Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine. The bill would order the Agriculture Department to remove a deed restriction on land next to the airport in Old Town that has prevented the land from being sold and developed by private business. Poliquin said freeing up the land for sale by the Old Town city government was needed “in order to attract other investment and other jobs to help our families in central Maine.” The vote, on May 17, was 418 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

PUNISHING MURDERS OF POLICE: The House passed the Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115), sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. The bill would add the killing or attempted killing of law enforcement officers or other first responders to the list of aggravating factors for juries to consider in federal capital punishment cases. Buchanan said it “will serve as a strong deterrent to anyone planning an attack against our brave men and women in uniform who protect and serve our communities.” A bill opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said it duplicated state and local laws punishing murders of law enforcement officers and was immoral in seeking the death penalty for unsuccessful attempts to commit murder. The vote, on May 18, was 271 yeas to 143 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

MEMORIALIZING FIRST RESPONDERS: The House passed the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act (H.R. 1892), sponsored by Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., to authorize orders by governors to have the U.S. flag flown at half-staff to mark the deaths of first responders who have died on the job. Larson said deceased first responders deserve the simple but powerful tribute of a lowered American flag “when they have given the full measure of their devotion to their community, their state, and this nation.” The vote, on May 18, was 411 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

DEPUTY TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Jeffrey A. Rosen to serve as Deputy Secretary of Transportation. The vote, on May 16, was 56 yeas to 42 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Rachel L. Brand to serve as associate attorney general. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Brand had extensive private and public sector experience and broad backing from Justice Department senior officials. An opponent, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., criticized Brand’s support for the bulk collection of data on Americans without warrants, and said that she would inappropriately politicize the Justice Department if confirmed. The vote, on May 18, was 52 yeas to 46 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King