In addition to roll call votes this week, the House also passed the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act (H.R. 1684), to direct the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide technical assistance to common interest communities regarding eligibility for disaster assistance. The Senate and House are in recess this week for their Fourth of July break.

HOUSE VOTES

SOLDIERS AND COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSES: The House passed the Active Duty Voluntary Acquisition of Necessary Credentials for Employment Act (H.R. 2258), sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif. The bill would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to exempt both veterans and active duty soldiers from certain requirements for obtaining commercial driver’s licenses if they obtained qualifying experience while in the military. Aguilar said extending the exemption to current soldiers would make it easier for thousands of service members “to find work in their communities by simplifying how they translate the driving skills they learned in the military to American jobs across this country.” The vote was unanimous with 409 yeas.

NOT VOTING: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

NATO AND COLLECTIVE DEFENSE: The House passed a resolution (H. Res. 397), sponsored by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the principle of collective defense by member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A supporter, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said it would send a message to Russia and Iran that those countries will suffer consequences for aggression against NATO and the interests of NATO members. The vote was 423 yeas to 4 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: The House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., to the Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215) that would not allow physician apologies to patients to be admitted as evidence in court, require patients to notify their physicians of their intent to file a lawsuit, and establish licensing requirements for expert witnesses testifying in lawsuits. Hudson said a majority of states had already adopted such provisions for malpractice suits, and making them federal law “will lead to lower costs and better care for patients” by discouraging frivolous lawsuits. An opponent, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., called the bill an extreme intrusion on states’ rights and the ability of injured plaintiffs to seek redress for bad medical care they have received. The vote was 222 yeas to 197 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

HEALTH CARE LAWSUITS: The House passed the Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215), sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. The bill would limit noneconomic damages in lawsuits for injury or wrongful death from health care that was covered or provided by the federal government and establish a three-year statute of limitations for a lawsuit to be filed. King called the measures common sense reforms “necessary to preserve fiscal sanity in federal healthcare policy” by reducing excessive litigation costs and medical overtreatment prompted by litigation fears. A bill opponent, Rep. David N. Ciciline, D-R.I., said it “will do nothing to strengthen patient protections and will make careless healthcare providers less accountable.” The vote was 218 yeas to 210 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

HONORING ROBERT EMMET: The House passed the Robert Emmet Park Act (H.R. 1500), sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., to redesignate a park in Washington, D.C., as Robert Emmet Park. Crowley praised Emmet’s efforts to win independence for Ireland in 1803, including the inspiring Speech from the Dock Emmet gave shortly before being executed by the British government on a charge of treason. The vote was unanimous with 423 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

SANCTUARY CITY POLICIES: The House passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003), sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. The bill would bar state or local governments from restricting the ability of government personnel to enforce immigration laws. Goodlatte said that such sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants adopted by various local governments around the country have made it harder for the federal government to protect Americans and deport criminal aliens. A bill opponent, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., called it “dangerous, mean-spirited, and constitutionally suspect.” The vote was 228 yeas to 195 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

PENALIZING RE-ENTRY OF CRIMINAL ALIENS: The House passed Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004), sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., which would set out punishments for illegal immigrants convicted of crimes who try to illegally re-enter the U.S. Goodlatte said increasing the penalties “will offer a deterrent against future criminal aliens who seek to illegally re-enter the United States.” A bill opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., claimed it would lead to “the mass incarceration of immigrants, even for those with minor offenses and those who simply seek refuge in our country.” The vote was 257 yeas to 167 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

REGULATING NUCLEAR POWER: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Kristine L. Svinicki to serve a five-year term as a commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Svinicki is currently serving her second term on the commission, which she now chairs. A supporter, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., praised Svinicki for helping “maintain a high level of safety and excellence in our nation’s nuclear facilities.” The vote was 88 yeas to 9 nays.

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

REGULATORY AGENCIES: The Senate has approved a cloture motion to end debate on the nomination of Neomi Rao to serve as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. Rao, currently a law professor at George Mason University and expert on the administrative state, had served as a counsel in the George W. Bush administration, as a Senate committee counsel, and as a clerk to federal judges. The vote to end debate was 59 yeas to 36 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King