WASHINGTON — In addition to roll call votes last week, the House also passed a bill (H.R. 2589), to require the Federal Communications Commission to publish on its website changes to FCC rules not later than 24 hours after adoption; passed a bill (H.R. 2460), to improve the provision of adult day health care services for veterans; passed the Final Farewell Act (H.R. 3715), to permit interments, funerals, and other ceremonies of deceased veterans at national cemeteries during certain weekends if requested for religious reasons; and passed the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act (H.R. 3956), to require the VA to develop and implement a plan to hire directors of VA medical centers.

The Senate also passed the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act (S. 1402), to allow the transfer of acceleration certificates awarded under the Patents for Humanity Program.


House Vote 1

USING PHONE LOCATION DATA IN EMERGENCIES: The House has rejected the Kelsey Smith Act (H.R. 4889), sponsored by Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan. The bill would have required that telecommunications providers give information about the call location of a telecommunications user to a police offer in an emergency situation or in order to respond to the user’s request for emergency services. Yoder said a federal rule requiring the delivery of location data to the police would speed responses to life and death emergencies, without endangering the privacy of consumers. A bill opponent, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, D-Md., said it did not adequately uphold Fourth Amendment rights because it did not require law enforcement to obtain retroactive court orders approving of emergency requests for location data. The vote, on May 23, was 229 yeas to 158 nays, with a two-thirds majority required for approval.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

House Vote 2

RULES FOR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS: The House has passed the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act (H.R. 3998), sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J. The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to begin consideration of rules for mobile phone service providers to operate during emergencies that cause mobile service outages, for providing mobile 911 services during emergencies, and for enabling emergency communications between public safety agencies and telecommunications service providers. Pallone said the FCC rules will save lives by making sure “that if one network goes down, its customers can access another network that is still operational” in an emergency. The vote, on May 23, was 389 yeas to 2 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 3

AUTHORIZING INTELLIGENCE SPENDING: The House has passed the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 5077), sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to authorize fiscal 2017 spending on the CIA, FBI, and other intelligence and intelligence-related programs of the federal government. Nunes called the funding necessary to provide intelligence programs with the resources needed to preserve U.S. security at a time of heightened terrorism threats from Islamic State in particular. The vote, on May 24, was 371 yeas to 35 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 4

ZIKA AND PESTICIDE USE: The House has passed the Zika Vector Control Act (H.R. 897), sponsored by Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio. The bill would block the Environmental Protection Agency and state governments from requiring a Clean Water Act permit for most discharges of authorized pesticides into navigable waterways. Gibbs said a recently imposed permitting requirement for pesticide use by hundreds of thousands of Americans meant “time and money that should be spent on eradicating mosquitos will be spent on bureaucratic paperwork instead,” with no associated environmental benefit and an increased danger of the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. A bill opponent, Rep. Janet Napolitano, D-Calif., said the permit rule worked to improve the monitoring and control of pesticide applications that could endanger drinking water supplies. The vote, on May 24, was 258 yeas to 156 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 5

REGULATING CHEMICALS: The House has passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576), sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. The bill would change processes for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate chemicals, including tools for testing information on chemicals, attempting to improve the use of science in regulation, and updating the system of industry fees that funds EPA chemicals regulation. Shimkus said with its reforms to a regulatory system dating back to 1976, the bill would be “good for consumers, good for jobs, and good for the environment,” improving consumer safety while adopting more predictable and even-handed regulations. The vote, on May 24, was 403 yeas to 12 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 6

CONTROL OF WASHINGTON, D.C., BUDGET: The House has passed the Clarifying Congressional Intent in Providing for DC Home Rule Act (H.R. 5233), sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. The bill would repeal a 2012 Washington, D.C., law giving the D.C. government autonomy over its own budget, and restore that budgeting authority to Congress. Meadows said the 2012 law was “illegal and, therefore, null and void” due to its attempt to usurp budgeting powers over D.C. assigned to Congress by the Constitution. An opponent, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., said the 2012 law has been upheld in court, and called the bill a profoundly undemocratic move by Congress to reject efforts by D.C. residents to responsibly manage their own local government. The vote, on May 25, was 240 yeas to 179 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 7

ENERGY POLICY BILL: The House has passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012), sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The bill would direct the Energy Department to conduct various electricity storage and vehicle technology research programs, adopt new energy efficiency standards, increase cybersecurity requirements for the electricity grid, and require speedy reviews of applications to export liquefied natural gas. A supporter, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said the bill’s provisions will help keep energy affordable, improve energy security by protecting against various threats to energy infrastructure, and improve energy efficiency and the development of new energy technologies. An opponent, Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., said the bill was a step backward in energy policy with its failure to “incentivize the development and the deployment of clean energy” and “loopholes to help industry avoid accountability and to avoid further regulation” that would improve public safety and the environment. The vote, on May 25, was 241 yeas to 178 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 8

NORTH CAROLINA AND PUBLIC BATHROOMS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5055). The amendment would bar the bill from funding efforts to revoke federal funding previously awarded to North Carolina through energy and water agencies. Pittenger called the amendment a needed measure to stop the Obama administration from coercing North Carolina and other states that oppose administration legal beliefs concerning transsexuals and public bathrooms into falling in line with the administration. An amendment opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said it would prevent federal agencies from conducting responsible oversight of federal funds distributed to North Carolina because the agencies would no longer have the money needed to monitor use of the funds. The vote, on May 25, was 227 yeas to 192 nays.

NAYS: Pingree, Poliquin

House Vote 9

ESTIMATING HARM FROM CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul A. Gosar, R-Ariz., to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5055). The amendment would block funding for efforts to develop regulations or regulatory guidance related to the federal government’s social cost of carbon dioxide emissions estimate. Gosar said the Obama administration has attempted to use the estimate as the basis for unilateral and unauthorized efforts “to deceive the American people and to enact job-killing regulations” with the justification of preventing climate change. An amendment opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said “unchecked climate change would have a catastrophic economic and human impact here and across the world,” and the social cost of carbon estimate was a reasonable response to that danger. The vote, on May 25, was 230 yeas to 188 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 10

BUYING IRANIAN HEAVY WATER: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5055). The amendment would bar funding for federal agencies to buy heavy water from Iran for use in nuclear energy facilities. DeSantis said “continuing purchases of Iranian heavy water would subsidize Iran’s nuclear program and allow them to maintain the threshold capacity” needed to potentially develop a nuclear bomb. An amendment opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said the purchases of Iranian heavy water give industrial users a critical product and ensure that neither Iran nor other countries can use the heavy water to develop nuclear weapons. The vote, on May 25, was 251 yeas to 168 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 11

ENERGY, WATER SPENDING BILL: The House has rejected the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 5055), sponsored by Rep. Michael K. Simpson, R-Idaho. The bill would have provided $37.4 billion of fiscal 2017 funding for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and various energy and water agencies. Simpson said it made balanced investments to back all kinds of energy development, including nuclear, fossil fuels, and renewable energy, and “takes a strong stand against the regulatory overreach and extreme application of laws that have been the hallmark of this administration.” A bill opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, criticized its $248 million cut in funding for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The vote, on May 26, was 112 yeas to 305 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

House Vote 12

RECONCILING VERSIONS OF HUD, TRANSPORTATION SPENDING BILLS: The House has passed a resolution to go to conference with the Senate to reconcile the two chambers’ versions of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2577), including emergency supplemental funding for Health and Human Services Department measures to contain the Zika virus and treat Zika victims. A resolution supporter, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the House version of the bill “acts responsibly by using existing funds designated for Ebola and other infectious diseases to pay for our response to the looming Zika threat.” A resolution opponent, Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., criticized the House version for inadequately funding the response to Zika, which he called a “potentially devastating crisis.” The vote to go to conference, on May 26, was 233 yeas to 180 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin


Senate Vote 1

MONITORING SEX OFFENDERS: The Senate has passed the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act (S. 2613), sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The bill would reauthorize through fiscal 2018 the federal government’s Sex Offender Management Assistance Program and Jessica Lunsford Address Verification Grant Program, and funding for the U.S. Marshals Service to apprehend sex offenders who do not register with local authorities. Grassley said reauthorizing the efforts will work to protect children from sexual predators and other violent criminals by keeping track of the location of registered sex offenders. The vote, on May 23, was unanimous with 89 yeas.

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

Senate Vote 2

MANAGING RETIREMENT FUNDS: The Senate has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 88), sponsored by Rep. David P. Roe, R-Tenn., disapproving of a proposed Labor Department rule defining the term “fiduciary” as it applies to financial advisers managing the retirement funds of their clients. A resolution supporter, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said the rule was too complicated and too burdensome, especially for small businesses and their employees, who unlike large companies will have no chance of being exempted from its impositions. An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the fiduciary rule will protect those saving for retirement from losing billions of dollars a year because their financial advisers have steered them into complicated investments with hidden fees and adviser commissions. The vote, on May 24, was 56 yeas to 41 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

Senate Vote 3

REGULATING CATFISH IMPORTS: The Senate has passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 28), sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to cancel an Agriculture Department rule creating a special office for inspecting catfish imported from Vietnam and other countries. McCain said the rule, which took effect in March, wasted millions of dollars with no benefits for public health, and violated free trade rules by singling out Vietnamese exporters to pay high regulatory compliance costs that U.S. catfish farmers do not pay. A resolution opponent, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said the rule only applied an inspections regime for catfish imports that is similar to the inspections regime for domestic catfish, and that inspections of Vietnamese catfish have frequently found them to have contaminated substances, some of them cancer-causing. The vote, on May 25, was 55 yeas to 43 nays.

NAYS: Collins

YEAS: King

Senate Vote 4

CONFIRMING NUCLEAR ENERGY DIPLOMAT: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Laura S. H. Holgate to serve as U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency. A supporter, Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., said Holgate had extensive experience in the Energy Department and Defense Department, with 14 years serving in senior positions “building and leading global coalitions to prevent states and terrorists from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.” The vote, on May 26, was 67 yeas to 29 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King