Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate also passed a bill (S. Res. 211), condemning the violence and persecution in Chechnya; and passed a bill (S. Res. 245), calling on Iran to release unjustly detained United States citizens and legal permanent resident aliens.

The House also passed the National Forest System Vegetation Management Pilot Program Act (H.R. 2921), to establish a vegetation management pilot program on National Forest System land to better protect utility infrastructure from wildfires; passed the Helium Extraction Act (H.R. 3279), to provide that extraction of helium from gas produced under a federal mineral lease shall maintain the lease as if the helium were oil and gas; and passed the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Passport Revocation Act (H.R. 425), to authorize the revocation or denial of passports to individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations.

HOUSE VOTES

PEANUT STANDARDS: The House has passed the South Carolina Peanut Parity Act (H.R. 2521), sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., which would add a South Carolina representative to the Peanut Standards Board. The board advises the Agriculture Department on quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts. Wilson said South Carolina has become a prominent source of peanuts in the 15 years since the board was created, and it needed representation to give it more input for the board’s actions. The vote, on Oct. 31, was 394 yeas to 1 nay.

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

NEW MEXICO FORESTS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Stevan Pearce, R-N.M., to the Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 2936). The amendment would authorize an Agriculture Department pilot project in forests in New Mexico aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of methods to thin trees to improve forest health and improve watersheds. Pearce said the project, by reducing timber density and associated fire hazards, promised to return the forests to a more resilient status. An opponent, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said exempting the project from environmental review requirements would endanger the forests. The vote, on Nov. 1, was 236 yeas to 184 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

MANAGING FEDERAL FOREST LANDS: The House has passed the Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 2936), sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. The bill would change federal forest management policies to allow more logging of dead trees and diseased stands of timber. Westerman said the bill would lead to “sound, scientifically-based forestry practices” being used to decrease the danger of fires in federal forests, improving environmental quality and recreational and logging opportunities on the lands. An opponent, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the bill failed to adequately fund forest management programs, and exempted too much forestland from environmental analysis prior to wide-scale logging. The vote, on Nov. 1, was 232 yeas to 188 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

PUBLIC STOCK OFFERINGS: The House has passed the Encouraging Public Offerings Act (H.R. 3903), sponsored by Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., which would allow companies preparing to make an initial public offering of stock to the public to talk with potential shareholders to gauge interest in the IPO. Budd said the changes, by making it easier for private companies to list on public stock exchanges, would improve effective capital allocation in the U.S. economy. The vote, on Nov. 1, was unanimous with 419 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

MEDICARE SPENDING BOARD: The House has passed the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 849), sponsored by Rep. David P. Roe, R-Tenn. The bill would end the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which advises Medicare on methods to reduce Medicare’s rate of spending on program enrollees. Roe said maintaining the board would have left the “15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats” on it with the authority to arbitrarily cut health care availability for Medicare enrollees, a decision that needs to be made by elected representatives. A bill opponent, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, called the board “an important safeguard that will help reduce the rate of Medicare cost growth responsibly while protecting Medicare beneficiaries.” The vote, on Nov. 2, was 307 yeas to 111 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

D.C. DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Trevor N. McFadden to serve as a judge on the Washington, D.C., District Court. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that McFadden, a former police officer and current Justice Department official, “will bring a wealth of law enforcement experience to the bench.” The vote, on Oct. 30, was 84 yeas to 10 nays.

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

APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to serve as a judge on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A supporter, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., cited Barrett’s experience as a Notre Dame law professor and leading legal scholar as meeting the high standard for circuit court judges, who hear very difficult constitutional cases. An opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Barrett had no judicial experience and little experience litigating cases, and questioned whether she would follow judicial precedent as a judge on the appeals court. The vote, on Oct. 31, was 55 yeas to 43 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

SECOND APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Joan Louise Larsen to serve as a judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Majority Leader McConnell cited Larsen’s several years as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, previous work as a University of Michigan law professor, and her reputation as a “smart, well-qualified, and impartial” nominee who would apply the law fairly. An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Larsen held “deeply troubling” views on issues such as sexual assault, criminal justice, and corporate interests. The vote, on Nov. 1, was 60 yeas to 38 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

THIRD APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Allison H. Eid to serve as a judge on the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. A supporter, Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., praised Eid, currently a judge on the Colorado Supreme Court, as a nominee who will “make sure that she rules based on the law, not on personal opinion or preferences but how the law dictates.” The vote, on Nov. 2, was 56 yeas to 41 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

FOURTH APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Stephanos Bibas to serve as a judge on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Bibas, currently a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has served as an assistant U.S. attorney and judicial clerk, and worked as a private practice lawyer. Majority Leader McConnell praised Bibas as a judge who would “uphold the law as it is written” and apply it fairly and evenhandedly to all litigants. The vote, on Nov. 2, was 53 yeas to 43 nays.

YEAS: Collin

NAYS: King