Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act (H.R. 4675), to provide for a low-dose radiation basic research program; and the Nuclear Energy Research Infrastructure Act (H.R. 4378), to direct the Secretary of Energy to carry out the construction of a versatile reactor-based fast neutron source.

The Senate also passed the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act (H.R. 3122), to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to put on its website a warning regarding dishonest, predatory, or otherwise unlawful practices targeting individuals who are eligible for increased pension payments from the VA.

HOUSE VOTES

HAMAS AND HUMAN SHIELDS: The House has passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (H.R. 3542), sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., to condemn Hamas, the Palestinian political group, for its use of civilians as human shields against Israeli military action, and advocate for a United Nations resolution to impose multilateral sanctions against Hamas tied to its use of human shields. Wilson said Hamas has consistently violated human rights and international law by using innocent civilians as human shields, and sanctions against this practice would help protect the citizens of Gaza. The vote, on Feb. 14, was unanimous with 415 yeas.

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

INVESTIGATING POWS AND MIAS: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 129), sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, calling on the Defense Department and rest of the federal government, as well as foreign governments, to work to identify and account for the status of U.S. prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. Johnson said the fate of the tens of thousands of American servicemembers missing in action from past wars needed to be learned so that faithful soldiers can be properly honored, and closure can be provided for the families. The vote, on Feb. 14, was unanimous with 411 yeas.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

MORTGAGE TITLE CHARGES: The House has passed the TRID Improvement Act (H.R. 3978), sponsored by Rep. J. French Hill, R-Ark. The bill would change federal requirements for mortgage loan disclosures by stating that charges for a given title insurance premium shall be equal to the charges for title insurance policy. Hill said the change, by replacing a current rule that results in complicated determinations of title insurance charges, makes it easier for both lenders and homeowners to work out the details of a given mortgage. An opponent, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., criticized other legislation inserted into the bill by House Republicans, which Waters said would weaken transparency and fairness on the country’s stock exchanges. The vote, on Feb. 14, was 271 yeas to 145 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

INTEREST RATES FOR CONSUMER LOANS: The House has passed the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act (H.R. 3299), sponsored by Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C. The bill would modify federal law by stating that loans issued at a given interest rate can retain that rate if the loan is later assumed by another company. McHenry said the bill was necessary to end the harm to credit availability done by a federal appeals court when it found that high interest loans assumed by so-called fintech firms were not legally protected. An opponent, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said the bill would clear the way for the fintech firms to avoid state caps on interest rates and charge up to 400 percent interest on loans that consumers cannot financially manage. The vote, on Feb. 14, was 245 yeas to 171 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

ACCESS FOR THE DISABLED: The House has passed the Americans with Disabilities Act Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620), sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. The bill would require the Justice Department to promote strategies to increase access to public accommodations for the disabled, and establish limits on the basis for civil lawsuits that assert a failure to improve access for the disabled. Poe said that by giving businesses six months after a lawsuit has been filed to remedy an alleged failure to provide adequate accommodation for the disabled, the bill would discourage frivolous and costly litigation for small businesses that now have no choice but to pay to settle the suits. A bill opponent, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., called it “an attack on the civil rights of Americans with disabilities” because it would hamper their ability to end discrimination. The vote, on Feb. 15, was 225 yeas to 192 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

SENATE VOTES

IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SECURITY: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Christopher A. Coons, D-Del., to a bill (H.R. 2579) that would have established a process for granting citizenship to the so-called DREAMers without citizenship who arrived in the U.S. as children, and provided increased funding for border security and for the federal government’s immigration courts. Coons called the amendment a bipartisan effort to “give legal certainty to 1.8 million Dreamers who are American in every way but the paperwork” while also helping secure the border. The vote, on Feb. 15, was 52 yeas to 47 nays, with a three-fifths majority needed to end debate.

NAYS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

YEAS: Angus King, I-Maine

IMMIGRATION AND BORDER WALL: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on an amendment sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to a bill (H.R. 2579) that would have provided $25 billion to fund a wall and other efforts to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as provided a process for some illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens over the next decade. Schumer said the Senate owed “Dreamers” a measure that resolves their uncertain residency status and recognizes their effort “to make a successful life in this country, which they love.” The vote, on Feb. 15, was 54 yeas to 45 nays, with a three-fifths majority needed to end debate.

YEAS: Collins, King