In addition to roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Fort Frederica National Monument Boundary Expansion Act (H.R. 494) to expand the boundary of Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia; and the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) to update the privacy protections for electronic communications information that is stored by third-party service providers in order to protect consumer privacy interests while meeting law enforcement needs.


FLARING METHANE FROM FEDERAL OIL WELLS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res 36), sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, stating disapproval of a Bureau of Land Management rule restricting the venting and flaring of methane from natural gas and oil wells on federal lands. Bishop said the rule, which took effect on Jan. 17, was designed to stop hydrocarbon production on the lands, with a resulting increase in energy costs and loss of revenue to fund essential government services. A resolution opponent, Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal, D-Calif., said it “would waste resources, waste money, pollute our air, and worsen the impacts of climate change.” The vote on Feb. 3 was 221 yeas to 191 nays.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

RULE FOR USE OF BLM LANDS: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 44), sponsored by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., stating disapproval of an Interior Department rule regarding plans to use land under the Bureau of Land Management’s control. Cheney said the rule, known as BLM Planning 2.0, would have a devastating impact on Western communities by degrading their ability to help determine the use of federal lands their economies rely on. A resolution opponent, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the rule merely sought “to make public land management more transparent and efficient by enhancing opportunities for public input and utilizing actual science.” The vote on Feb. 7 was 234 yeas to 186 nays.


NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

EDUCATION OVERSIGHT: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 57), sponsored by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., stating disapproval of an Education Department rule setting out accountability requirements for state education plans. Rokita said the rule gave the federal government excessive control over primary education. A resolution opponent, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said the rule upheld the core principle of civil rights and the ability of all children to receive a good education. The vote, on Feb. 7 was 234 yeas to 190 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin

OVERSIGHT OF TEACHER PREPARATION: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 58), sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., stating disapproval of an Education Department rule that tied agency grants to evaluations of the adequacy of a state’s teacher preparation program. Guthrie said the rule sought to unilaterally impose a “federal mandate for teacher evaluations that Congress explicitly rejected with the Every Student Succeeds Act” it passed in 2016. A resolution opponent, Rep. Susan A. Davis, D-Calif., said it “undoes years of hard work on both sides of the aisle to develop vital safeguards that ensure transparency and quality in teacher preparation programs.” The vote on Feb. 7 was 240 yeas to 181 nays.

NAYS: Pingree / YEAS: Poliquin



RESOURCE COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS: The Senate has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 41), sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., voiding 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. A resolution supporter, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, questioned claims that payment disclosures would reduce government corruption, and said complying with the disclosure requirement would cost U.S. resources companies up to $590 million annually. A resolution opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called payments transparency “essential to combating waste, fraud, corruption, and mismanagement.” The vote on Feb. 3 was 52 yeas to 47 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

EDUCATION SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Elisabeth Prince DeVos to serve as education secretary. A supporter, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said DeVos, given her experience in advancing public charter schools and other education reforms, would help make sure “that every single ZIP Code in America has a quality choice for education.” An opponent, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., cited his belief that DeVos had “a lack of total commitment to public education.” The vote on Feb. 7 was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with a 51st decisive yea vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence.

NAYS: Collins, King

SUSPENDING SPEAKING PRIVILEGES: The Senate suspended the floor speaking privileges of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for violating a Senate rule against impugning the motives and conduct of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in debating Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General. A supporter of the suspension, Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said “the rules are very clear that you don’t impugn another senator,” either in your own words or by quoting another person. An opponent of the suspension, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it “another example of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle escalating the partisanship and further decreasing comity in the Senate.” The vote to sustain the suspension on Feb. 7 was 49 yeas to 43 nays.


YEAS: Collins / NAYS: King

ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Jeff Sessions, formerly a Republican senator from Alabama, as attorney general. A supporter, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called Sessions “a man steeped in the law” from his time as a federal attorney and Alabama’s attorney general, and he predicted that Sessions would appropriately treat foreign terrorists under the law of war, not domestic criminal law. An opponent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., claimed that Sessions “has displayed open hostility to the rights of all Americans.” The vote on Feb. 8 was 52 yeas to 47 nays.

YEAS: Collins / NAYS: King

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Dr. Tom Price, formerly a Republican representative from Georgia, to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited Price’s experience as a physician, state legislator and member of the House, as giving him wide-ranging expertise. An opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., criticized Price for proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher program and lacking a commitment to the basic goals of Medicare and Medicaid. The vote on Feb. 9 was 52 yeas to 47 nays.

YEAS: Collins / NAYS:: King

DEBATING TREASURY NOMINEE: The Senate has approved a cloture motion to end debate on the nomination of Steven T. Mnuchin to serve as Treasury Secretary. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Mnuchin was “has impressive private sector experience” to apply toward shaping more effective regulations. An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Mnuchin had “outright lied” in committee hearings examining his nomination, and, in his time as CEO of the OneWest bank, had approved erroneous foreclosures of many homeowners in Ohio and elsewhere. The vote on Feb. 9 was 53 yeas to 46 nays.

YEAS: Collins / NAYS: King

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