WASHINGTON — Along with roll call votes, the Senate also passed the following measures. It passed the DHS Social Media Improvement Act (H.R. 623), to authorize the Homeland Security Department to establish a working group on social media; and passed the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act (S. 32), to give the Justice Department more tools to target extraterritorial drug trafficking activity. The House also passed the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act (H.R. 3102), to reform Transportation Security Administration programs and streamline transportation security regulations; passed the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy Act (H.R. 3510), to require the adoption of a cybersecurity strategy for Homeland Security; and passed the Adoptive Family Relief Act (S. 1300), to provide relief from immigrant visa fees for adoptive families in certain situations.


House Vote 1

MORTGAGE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT: The House has passed the Homebuyers Assistance Act (H.R. 3192), sponsored by Rep. J. French Hill, R-Ark. The bill would provide an exemption, through January 2016, from federal regulations governing banks’ disclosure of terms for mortgage loans. Hill said the exemption would give the mortgage industry time needed to comply with a complex rule, and thereby avoid “costly market disruptions and delays for American homebuyers.” A bill opponent, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said it was unnecessary because the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has already given the mortgage industry significant relief on the disclosure rule. The vote, on Oct. 7, was 303 yeas to 121 nays.

YEAS: Pingree D-Maine (1st), Poliquin R-Maine (2nd)

House Vote 2

ENERGY PRODUCTION ON INDIAN LANDS: The House has passed the Native American Energy Act (H.R. 538), sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. The bill would require the Interior Department to streamline its oversight of oil, natural gas, coal, and renewable energy production on tribal lands, increase tribal control over energy production on their lands. Young said the bill was backed by a broad array of Indian tribes, and offered the prospect of creating high-paying energy jobs on Indian reservations with high poverty levels. A bill opponent, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, R-Ariz., called it an effort to attack the environmental and judicial review process for energy development, removing “environmental protections that will ensure future generations of Native Americans that they, too, can enjoy the benefits of that economic development.” The vote, on Oct. 8, was 254 yeas to 173 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 3

INVESTIGATING ABORTION PROVIDERS: The House has agreed to a resolution (H. Res. 461), sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., to establish a select investigative panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to study the practices of abortion providers, including the procurement of fetal tissue and second and third trimester abortions. Foxx said evidence that Planned Parenthood has sold tissue from aborted fetuses highlighted the need for a full investigation of abortion practices to ensure that abortion providers are not violating laws aimed at protecting viable fetuses. An opponent of the investigative panel, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., called it a move by House Republicans “to establish yet another new select panel to ramp up their baseless and politically motivated attacks against Planned Parenthood.” The vote, on Oct. 7, was 242 yeas to 184 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin


Senate Vote 1

CALIFORNIA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Dale A. Drozd to serve as U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of California. A supporter, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., cited Drozd’s 18 years of experience as a magistrate judge in the court, and said Drozd would fill a three-year vacancy that has left the court in urgent need of more judges to oversee cases. The vote, on Oct. 5, was 69 yeas to 21 nays.

YEAS: Collins R-Maine, King I-Maine

Senate Vote 2

2016 MILITARY SPENDING: The Senate has passed the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1735), sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tex. The bill would authorize fiscal 2016 spending at the Defense Department, as well as military construction programs and the Energy Department’s defense programs. A bill supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it “attacks bureaucratic waste, authorizes pay raises, and improves quality-of-life programs for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. It will strengthen sexual assault prevention and response.” An opponent, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., criticized the shifting of $38 billion from the base military budget to the account funding overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, which Reed said would weaken the budgeting process and deprive non-military agencies of funding to help keep the U.S. secure. The vote, on Oct. 7, was 70 yeas to 27 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

Senate Vote 3

FUNDING ENERGY, WATER PROGRAMS: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2028), sponsored by Rep. Michael D. Simpson, R-Idaho. The bill would provide $35.4 billion for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and other energy and water government agencies in fiscal 2016. A supporter, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said the bill’s investments in supercomputers, government energy laboratories, and improving waterways and harbors to accommodate large ships would improve the economy. An opponent, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., said the bill “is short on infrastructure and it is short on research funding” for improving the nation’s energy technologies. The vote, on Oct. 8, was 49 yeas to 47 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to end debate.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King