Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate passed the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act (H.R. 1616), to authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute; the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (S. 692), to provide for integrated water plan permits and promote green infrastructure; and the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (S. 1595), to impose additional sanctions with respect to Hizballah.

The House also passed the Community Reclamation Partnerships Act (H.R. 2937), to authorize partnerships between states and nongovernmental entities for reclaiming and restoring land and water resources adversely affected by historical coal mining activity; the Guides and Outfitters Act (H.R. 289), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to issue permits for recreation services on lands managed by federal agencies; the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act (H.R. 2408), to enhance the transparency, improve the coordination, and intensify the impact of assistance to support access to primary and secondary education for displaced persons, including women and girls; and the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (S. 178), to prevent elder abuse and exploitation and improve the justice system’s response to victims in elder abuse and exploitation cases.


PENALTIES FOR LATE-TERM ABORTIONS: The House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. The bill would make it a federal crime to perform abortions on fetuses age 20 weeks or more, with exceptions provided for pregnancies that endanger the woman’s life or result from rape or incest. An opponent, Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., called the bill “a dangerous and far-reaching attack on a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.” The vote Tuesday was 237 yeas to 189 nays.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

CYBERCRIME AGAINST CHILDREN: The House passed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology To Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act (S.782), sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The bill would reauthorize through fiscal 2022 the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program, which coordinates efforts by law enforcement. A supporter, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., called the task force “absolutely crucial in the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of internet crimes against children.” The vote Tuesday was 417 yeas to 3 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

DEMOCRATIC BUDGET PLAN: The House rejected a substitute amendment sponsored by Rep. John A. Yarmuth, D-Ky., to a bill (H. Con. Res. 71). The amendment would have increased the federal minimum wage, expanded subsidies for education, child care, and family and medical leave, and preserved Obamacare. An opponent, Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said that despite raising taxes by $2.7 trillion, the plan would increase the deficit by $6.2 trillion, making it “an abdication of our fiscal responsibility as a governing body.” The vote Thursday was 156 yeas to 268 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NAYS: Poliquin

2018 BUDGET: The House passed a bill (H. Con. Res. 71), sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., establishing a federal government budget for fiscal 2018 and outlining budget levels for fiscal 2019 through 2027. The budget would include $621.5 billion of military spending in fiscal 2018, replace the Obamacare health care law, and increase state control of Medicaid. An opponent, Rep. John A. Yarmuth, D-Ky., said the budget would increase the debt by $2.4 trillion over 10 years, cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid by $1.5 trillion, and ignored “the needs and priorities of the American people.” The vote Thursday was 219 yeas to 206 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin


FCC CHAIRMAN: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Ajit Varadaraj Pai as chairman of the FCC for a five-year term ending in July 2021. A supporter, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., praised Pai’s support for “rural broadband and the acceleration of next-generation infrastructure deployment,” as well as measures to improve transparency and efficiency at the FCC. An opponent, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said that in his tenure at the FCC, Pai has failed to promote competition and protect consumers, especially by “trying to get rid of net neutrality” and the standard that all Internet content is treated equally by Internet service providers. The vote Monday was 52 yeas to 41 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Eric D. Hargan as deputy secretary at the Health and Human Services Department. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited “Hargan’s expertise in disaster response and public health” as assets that will help the department respond to natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes. An opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Hargan would have an “ideological agenda that included a constant effort to undermine and in my view sabotage the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” The vote Wednesday was 57 yeas to 38 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

FEDERAL RESERVE: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Randal Quarles as a member of the board of governors at the Federal Reserve. A supporter, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Quarles’ long experience in the private sector and in government, including at the Treasury Department and at the Carlyle Group investment firm, showed him to be eminently qualified in financial regulation and oversight of the operations of financial institutions. An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said that at Treasury in the years before the 2008 financial crisis, Quarles had failed to adequately examine the health of banks that later failed. The vote Thursday was 65 yeas to 32 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King