Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Hydropower Permit Extension Act (H.R. 2274), to provide for extended periods relating to preliminary permits and commencement of construction of hydropower projects; and passed a bill (H.R. 338), to promote a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce.

The Senate also passed a resolution (S. Res. 193), commending the bravery of the U.S. Capitol Police, police department of Alexandria, Virginia, and other first responders for their actions during the shootings Wednesday at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria.

HOUSE VOTES

HEALTH INSURANCE TAX CREDIT: The House passed the Verify First Act (H.R. 2581), sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., to block a taxpayer from receiving the health insurance premium assistance tax credit until the taxpayer’s status as a legal U.S. resident has been verified by the federal government. Barletta said the verification requirement would work to stop fraudulent tax credit claims and fulfill an obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer funds by not giving aid to people who do not need or deserve government assistance. The vote was 238 yeas to 184 nays.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

VA REFORMS: The House passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094), sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The bill would establish an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the VA and establish measures intended to hold VA employees to accountability standards and protect agency whistleblowers from retaliation. The vote was 368 yeas to 55 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

COBRA HEALTH PLANS: The House passed the Broader Options for Americans Act (H.R. 2579), sponsored by Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi, R-Ohio. The bill would allow those enrolled in COBRA health insurance plans provided by their former employers to continue to receive the premium assistance tax credit, under the health care legislation now under consideration by Congress. The vote was 267 yeas to 144 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Kenneth P. Rapuano to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security. Rapuano, a former Marine, served in various positions in the Defense and Energy departments, and was Deputy Homeland Security Adviser during part of the George W. Bush administration. His nomination was not debated on the Senate floor. The vote was 95 yeas to 1 nay.

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

EXPORTING WEAPONS TO SAUDI ARABIA: The Senate rejected a motion to discharge a resolution (S.J. Res. 42), sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would state congressional disapproval of the inclusion of precision-guided munitions as part of a recent agreement to export $110 billion of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. Paul criticized Saudi Arabia for its support of extremist Muslim groups that threaten the U.S. and for military operations in Yemen that, Paul said, have put 17 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation. The vote to discharge was 47 yeas to 53 nays.

NAYS: Collins

YEAS: King

SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act (S. 722). The amendment would impose and expand sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea, activities in Ukraine, and cyberwarfare against the U.S. The vote was 97 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

NASA AND RUSSIA SANCTIONS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act (S. 722). The amendment would exempt NASA programs from the bill’s imposition of sanctions on Russia. Gardner said the exemption allows NASA space launches to continue without interruption and decrease U.S. reliance on Russian spacecraft to take U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. The vote was 94 yeas to 6 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

NATO DEFENSE AFFIRMATION: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act (S. 722). The amendment would reaffirm the strategic importance and success of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which pledges NATO member countries to respond to an attack against any NATO member as if it were an attack against all NATO members. The vote was unanimous with 100 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, King

IRAN SANCTIONS: The Senate passed a bill (S. 722), sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. The bill would impose sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program and Iranian backing of terrorist groups and human rights violators. The vote was 98 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King