Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Federal Savings Association Charter Flexibility Act (H.R. 1426), to amend the Home Owners’ Loan Act to allow federal savings associations to elect to operate as national banks; the Housing Opportunities Made Easier Act (H.R. 2255), to clarify that nonprofit organizations may accept donated mortgage appraisals; and the Small Business Access to Capital After a Natural Disaster Act (H.R. 4792), to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to expand access to capital for small businesses affected by hurricanes or other natural disasters.

The Senate also agreed to the House amendment to the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act (S. 534).


SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG ATHLETES: The House has passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act (S. 534), sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The bill would require coaches and other adults who oversee minor or amateur athletes in organized sports to report suspected sexual abuse of the athletes to law enforcement promptly, and establish the United States Center for Safe Sport, a group charged with preventing abuse of athletes. The vote, on Jan. 29, was 406 yeas to 3 nays.

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

OPENING BANKING ACCOUNTS ONLINE: The House has passed the Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy Act (H.R. 1457), sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo. The bill would authorize banks and other financial firms to use digital images of driver’s licenses or personal identification cards to open accounts for individuals via online systems. Tipton said the bill, by establishing a nationwide standard for creating bank accounts online, “provides consumers easier access to the highly regulated financial services industry by simplifying their ability to open an account.” The vote, on Jan. 29, was 397 yeas to 8 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

2018 MILITARY BUDGET: The House has concurred in the Senate amendments to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 695), sponsored by Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif. The amendments would fund the military with $659 billion in fiscal 2018. The vote, on Jan. 30, was 250 yeas to 166 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

LIVING WILLS FOR BANKS: The House has passed the Financial Institution Living Will Improvement Act (H.R. 4292), sponsored by Rep. Lee M. Zeldin, R-N.Y., to modify requirements for large banks and other financial firms to report to regulators on their strategies for being wound down should they fail or go into substantial financial problems. The vote, on Jan. 30, was unanimous with 414 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin


LATE-TERM ABORTIONS: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 2311), sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The bill would make it a crime, punishable by a fine or up to five years imprisonment, to perform abortions on fetuses older than 20 weeks, with exceptions provided for pregnancies from rape or incest or abortions required to save the mother’s life. Graham said “excruciating pain is felt by an unborn child in the fifth month, and America does not want to be in the club of seven countries that allow abortion on demand.” The vote, on Jan. 29, was 51 yeas to 46 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to end debate.

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

APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of David Ryan Stras to serve as a judge on the U.S. Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. Stras had served as a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court and worked as a law professor at various law schools, including the University of Minnesota. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited Stras’s “well-known reputation for thoughtfulness, fairness, and intellectual excellence.” The vote, on Jan. 30, was 56 yeas to 42 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King