Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate passed the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act (H.R. 228), to facilitate the ability of Indian tribes to integrate the employment, training, and related services from diverse federal sources; the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act (S. 254), to provide flexibility and reauthorization to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages; the John P. Smith Act (S. 302), to enhance tribal road safety; and the RESPECT Act (S. 343), to repeal certain obsolete laws relating to Indians.

The House also passed the 21st Century Respect Act (H.R. 995), to direct the secretary of Agriculture and the secretary of the Interior to amend regulations for racial appropriateness; and a bill (H. Res. 630), requiring each member, officer, and employee of the House to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress.

HOUSE VOTES

MINNESOTA LAND EXCHANGE: The House passed the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act (H.R. 3115), sponsored by Rep. Richard M. Nolan, D-Minn. The bill would exchange about 6,550 acres of the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota for a slightly larger amount of nearby land held by PolyMet Mining, with the exchanged land to be used to open a sulfide-ore copper and nickel mine. Nolan said the exchange would result in the federal government having more land for the public to enjoy, and the mine would boost Minnesota’s economy without posing undue environmental risks. An opponent, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said the exchange would facilitate construction of a mine that posed “a threat to our water quality, public lands, and outdoor recreation.” The vote Tuesday was 309 yeas to 99 nays.

NAYS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

YEAS: Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District

MINNESOTA MINING LEASES: The House passed the Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act (H.R. 3905), sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn. The bill would authorize the issuance and renewal of leases to mine mineral deposits in federal forest lands in Minnesota. Emmer said the bill, by reversing an Obama administration move to withdraw mining leases on the forest lands, would reopen the lands for supplying “strategically important metals and minerals which are used by Americans every day.” An opponent, Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., said automatically granting the leases would deprive Minnesota’s national forests of the environmental protections that forests in every other state have. The vote Thursday was 216 yeas to 204 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

FEDERAL EMPLOYEE STATUS: The House passed the Ensuring a Qualified Civil Service Act (H.R. 4182), sponsored by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. The bill would change the probationary period for new employees in the federal government’s Civil Service from one year to two years. Comer said the longer wait for new employees to achieve full, permanent employment status would give supervisors “ample time to evaluate new hires.” A bill opponent, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said a two-year period would discourage people from joining the Civil Service. The vote Thursday was 213 yeas to 204 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

BROWNFIELDS REDEVELOPMENT: The House passed the Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3017), sponsored by Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va. The bill would reauthorize through 2021 and modify the Environmental Protection Agency’s grants program for rehabilitating and redeveloping brownfield industrial sites. McKinley said the bill would help get more contaminated brownfield sites cleaned up and promote infrastructure development and job creation by making it easier to return the sites to productive use. The vote Thursday was 409 yeas to 8 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

D.C. DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Dabney Langhorne Friedrich to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited Friedrich as having a commitment to the law, shown by her “wealth of experience” as an assistant U.S. attorney in Virginia and California, and as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The vote Monday was 97 yeas to 3 nays.

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

APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Gregory G. Katsas to serve as a judge on the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Katsas had extensive experience with appeals litigation, both as a private practice lawyer and as a Justice Department official, and substantial praise from his colleagues. An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Katsas’s service in the Trump administration and work on some of its most legally dubious executive orders cast doubt on his independence if he were to serve on the appeals court. The vote Tuesday was 50 yeas to 48 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

JOBS TAX CREDIT: The Senate rejected a motion sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, that would have recommitted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions for the committee to add language to provide a tax credit for companies that create domestic jobs that meet standards for pay and benefits. The voteThursday was 48 yeas to 52 nays.

NAYS: Collins

YEAS: King

CORPORATE TAX RATE: The Senate rejected a motion sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., that would have recommitted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions for the committee to add language to reestablish a 35-percent corporate tax rate in 2020 if real average household wages have not increased by at least $4,000 from current levels. Stabenow said the motion “simply makes sure the American people get the raise the Trump administration is promising them” by passing a tax reform bill. The vote Thursday was 45 yeas to 55 nays.

NAYS: Collins

YEAS: King