In addition to roll call votes last week, the House also passed the following measures: the Securing the Cities Act (H.R. 655), to establish the Securing the Cities program; the Cyber Preparedness Act (H.R. 584), to enhance preparedness and response capabilities for cyber attacks; the CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act (H.R. 677), to establish chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear intelligence and information sharing functions at Homeland Security; and the First Responder Identification of Emergency Needs in Disaster Situations Act (H.R. 58), to require a study on the circumstances which may impact the effectiveness and availability of first responders before, during or after a terrorist threat or event.


WEST COAST CRAB FISHING: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 374), sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., to make permanent the authority of the three West Coast states to make laws governing Dungeness crab fisheries in the Pacific Ocean. Beutler said the states have successfully managed the fisheries for two decades, and making the authority permanent would ensure sustainability of the fisheries and save federal government expenses. The vote, on Jan. 30, was unanimous with 388 yeas.

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

RESOURCE COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 41), sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., stating disapproval of a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring fossil fuel, mining, and other resource extraction companies to disclose production-related payments such as taxes they make to foreign governments.

Huizenga said the requirement improperly gave the SEC a foreign policy responsibility, when the agency should concern itself solely with regulating financial markets. A resolution opponent, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said given the long history of extractive industries paying bribes to foreign politicians for extraction rights, the requirement was needed to add transparency. The vote, on Feb. 1, was 235 yeas to 187 nays.


NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

REGULATING COAL MINING AND STREAMS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 38), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, stating disapproval of the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule regulating surface coal mining impacts on waterways and groundwater.

Johnson said canceling the rule, issued in late December, would restore primary responsibility for environmental regulation and coal mining to the state and local governments that best know “how to create a balance between protecting both jobs and the environment.” A resolution opponent, Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal, D-Calif., said keeping the rule would protect hundreds of families living near coal mines from lung cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. The vote, on Feb. 1, was 228 yeas to 194 nays.

NAYS: Pingree, Poliquin

LABOR LAW AND FEDERAL CONTRACTORS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 37), sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., stating disapproval of a NASA, Defense Department, and General Services Administration rule requiring contractors to the federal government to report various violations and alleged violations of labor laws, with data on the violations used to determine whether a contractor is eligible to win future contracts. Foxx said that by presuming contractors to be guilty of labor violations, the rule would wrongly bar many contractors from bidding for contracts, decreasing competition for providing goods and services to the government. A resolution opponent, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said “Americans’ tax dollars should not go to contractors who persistently and willfully violate” labor laws. The vote, on Feb. 2, was 236 yeas to 187 nays.


NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

GUN SALES AND MENTAL DISORDERS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 40), sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, stating disapproval of a Social Security Administration rule adopted in December. The rule would place individuals who receive disability insurance or supplemental security income benefits related to having a mental disorder in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for would-be firearms purchasers.

Johnson said the rule “discriminates against individuals with disabilities and that deprives law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights.” A resolution opponent, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., said the rule was part of a sensible tradition of barring firearms purchases by the mentally impaired, and it applied “only to those individuals who have a very severe, long-term mental disorder.” The vote, on Feb. 2, was 235 yeas to 180 nays.


YEAS: Poliquin



TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Elaine L. Chao to serve as Transportation Secretary. A supporter, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., cited Chao’s experience as Labor Secretary during the George W. Bush administration and past experience in the Transportation Department. Thune cited her experience and thoughtfulness in preparing to lead Transportation and ability to help the agency “transform America’s transportation network by promoting safety and innovation, growing our nation’s freight network,” and improving roads, railroads, and other transport infrastructure. The vote, on Jan. 31, was 93 yeas to 6 nays.

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

STATE SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Rex W. Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State. A supporter, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that Tillerson, in his time as the CEO of ExxonMobil, showed “enormous experience and aptitude and talent,” as well as strength of character, that he would use to serve the State Department. An opponent, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., faulted Tillerson for a lack of foreign policy experience and questioned his devotion to human rights and U.S. diplomatic and security interests. The vote, on Feb. 1, was 56 yeas to 43 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

VOIDING STREAMS RULE: The Senate has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 38), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, voiding the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule regulating surface coal mining impacts on waterways and groundwater. A supporter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, called the rule a heavy-handed Obama administration effort to shut down coal mining in several areas, with resulting economic harm. An opponent, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said preserving the rule would help protect “an outdoor economy that employs a million-plus workers and is a vital part of practically every state’s economy.” The vote, on Feb. 2, was 54 yeas to 45 nays.

NAYS: Collins, King

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