Along with roll call votes last week, the House also passed the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act (S. 772), to make Indian tribes eligible for AMBER Alert grants; the Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Act (H.R. 767), to establish the SOAR to Health and Wellness Training pilot program to address human trafficking in the health care system; and the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act (H.R. 2410), to reauthorize a sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program and provide for sickle cell disease research, surveillance, prevention, and treatment.

The Senate also passed the Taiwan Travel Act (H.R. 535), to encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels; and a resolution (S.J. Res. 53), honoring the life of William “Billy” F. Graham Jr.


CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE: The House has passed the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1222), sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., to require the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants funding studies of congenital heart disease. Bilirakis said the research studies will work to determine the lifelong health and treatment needs of individuals born with congenital heart defects, improving efforts at prevention and mitigation of the disease. The vote, on Feb. 26, was 394 yeas to 7 nays.

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

FUNDING DENTAL SERVICES: The House has passed the Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 2422), sponsored by Rep. Robin L. Kelly, D-Ill., to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to fund programs at state and local governments to increase dental services and provide dental care to various populations in need of better oral health. Kelly said the federal funding will improve oral health by breaking down barriers to care. The vote, on Feb. 26, was 387 yeas to 13 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

REGULATING BANK RISKS: The House has passed a bill (H.R. 4296), sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., that would require federal regulators to use certain risk-adjusted metrics when establishing operational-risk capital requirements for banks. Luetkemeyer said the new metrics would help banks “leverage their capital to grow their local economies” by giving regulators more flexible tools in determining acceptable levels of bank lending risk. A bill opponent, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said the metrics, by precluding regulators from looking at a given bank’s historic losses as an indicator of potential future losses, would weaken their ability to prevent another financial crisis. The vote, on Feb. 27, was 245 yeas to 169 nays.

NAYS: Pingree

YEAS: Poliquin

MONITORING ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865). The amendment would subject websites that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking to penalties under criminal and civil sex trafficking laws. Walters said the penalties will help prosecutors stop websites from assisting sex trafficking, without violating the rights of sites that responsibly publish third-party content. An opponent, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said that by making site owners liable when they attempt but fail to uncover all discussion of sex trafficking on their sites, it would discourage site owners from making any attempt to monitor site users. The vote, on Feb. 27, was 308 yeas to 107 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

ONLINE SEX TRAFFICKING: The House has passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865), sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo. The bill would state that federal law does not bar federal and state law agencies from enforcing sex trafficking and child pornography laws against websites. Wagner called the bill necessary to override court rulings finding that federal law did not allow enforcement of state criminal laws against online sex trafficking, empowering the 50 states “to bring justice to the websites that sell our children.” The vote, on Feb. 27, was 388 yeas to 25 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin


APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Elizabeth L. Branch to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh District. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited Branch’s six years of experience as a judge on the Georgia appeals court and previously at Homeland Security. The vote, on Feb. 27, was 73 yeas to 23 nays.

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

BUDGET OFFICIAL: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Russell Vought to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. A supporter, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, called Vought “eminently qualified” for the post given Vought’s lengthy experience as a budget and policy staffer in Congress. An opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Vought had “a clear, documented record of disrespecting and demonizing those who think differently than he does,” including Muslims. The vote, on Feb. 28, was 50 yeas to 49 nays, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the 50th yea vote.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: King

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr., to serve as a judge on the U.S. court for the district of South Carolina. Quattlebaum is currently a partner at a South Carolina law firm, focusing on business litigation. No supporters spoke on the Senate floor. An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the nomination of Quattlebaum, a white man, replaced two Obama administration nominees for the post who were African American, and added: “It is long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents.” The vote, on March 1, was 69 yeas to 28 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King