WASHINGTON — Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate also passed the Safe Pipes Act (S. 2276), to increase pipeline safety.

The House also passed a bill (H.R. 4583) to promote a 21st-century energy and manufacturing workforce; passed a resolution (H. Res. 148), calling on Iran to fulfill its promises of assistance in the case of Robert Levinson, the longest held United States civilian in the nation’s history; passed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (H.R. 4084), to enable research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies by private and public institutions; and passed the FEMA Disaster Assistance Reform Act (H.R. 1471), to reauthorize the programs and activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


House Vote 1

LEGAL REFERENCES TO MINORITIES: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 4238), sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., to change two 1970s laws organizing the Energy Department and governing local public works projects that described minorities as “Negro” and “Oriental,” to replace those terms with “African American” and “Asian American.” Meng said “the time has come to repeal certain terms from federal law that many in the Asian American community would find offensive.” The vote, on Feb. 29, was unanimous with 376 yeas.

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

House Vote 2

NAMING POST OFFICE AFTER MAYA ANGELOU: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 3735), sponsored by Rep. Alma S. Adams, D-N.C. The bill would designate a U.S. post office in Winston Salem, N.C., as the Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office. Adams called Angelou “one of our country’s greatest writers, inspirational thought leaders, and an overall phenomenal woman.” An opponent, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., said several of Angelou’s political positions, including support for the Castro regime in Cuba, made her unworthy of having a post office named after her. The vote, on March 1, was 371 yeas to 9 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 3

FRAUDULENT MEDICAID PROVIDERS: The House has passed the Ensuring Removal of Terminated Providers from Medicaid and CHIP Act (H.R. 3716), sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind. The bill would prohibit Medicaid payments for nonemergency medical care by health care providers that are not permitted to participate in Medicaid, Medicare, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Bucshon said blocking fraudulent providers from Medicaid worked to discourage harmful and abusive health care for the poor, helping protect Medicaid enrollees and saving millions of dollars for state and federal governments. The vote, on March 2, was unanimous with 406 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 4

POLLUTION RULES AND BRICK MAKING: The House has passed the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act (H.R. 4557), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. The bill would block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing its proposed emissions rule for hazardous air pollutants in the brick and structural clay manufacturing industry until judicial review of the rules has been completed. Johnson said the rule was jeopardizing good-paying across the country for little public health or environmental benefit, and blocking its preliminary implementation would protect the brick industry from having to spend millions of dollars installing pollution controls to comply with a rule that might never take effect. A bill opponent, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said it would encourage the brick industry to file endless challenges to the proposed rule, which Rush said sought to advance “important public health protections” against toxic air pollution. The vote, on March 3, was 238 yeas to 163 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin


Senate Vote 1:

PROSECUTING DRUG TRAFFICKERS: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524). The amendment would make it easier for the Justice Department to prosecute the importation by traffickers of counterfeit drugs and banned chemicals used to make controlled substances regulated by the government. Grassley said changing the prosecutorial standard from establishing that a trafficker knowingly intended to import the banned substances to establishing that the trafficker had reasonable cause to believe that the substances would be imported would improve Justice’s ability “to prosecute cartels who harm our communities from abroad by trafficking heroin, other drugs, and precursor chemicals for ultimate delivery here.” The vote, on March 2, was unanimous with 94 yeas.

YEAS: Collins R-ME, King I-ME

Senate Vote 2

PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524). The amendment would direct the federal government to include prescribed opiate and methadone drugs in its campaigns to educate and publicize the dangers of drug addiction to the public. Manchin said that with an epidemic of prescription drug abuse sweeping the country, the amendment was needed to help public health agencies “on the frontlines of this terrible epidemic provide their communities with the information they need to help stop the spread of opioid addiction and help seek treatment.” The vote, on March 3, was unanimous with 90 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, King