Along with roll call votes last week, the Senate also passed a resolution (S. Res. 501), recognizing threats to freedom of the press and expression around the world and reaffirming freedom of the press as a priority in efforts by the U.S. to promote democracy and good governance; a bill (H.R. 5317), to remove the prohibition on certain alcohol manufacturing on Indian lands; and a resolution (S. Res. 709), condemning Russia’s recent actions in the Kerch Strait against the Ukrainian navy.

The House also passed the Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 2422), to improve essential oral health care for low-income and other underserved individuals by breaking down barriers to care; the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act (S. 1768); the Preventing Iranian Destabilization of Iraq Act (H.R. 4591), to impose sanctions on Iranians who threaten the peace or stability of Iraq or Iraq’s government; and the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390).


COUNTRY STABILIZATION EFFORTS: The House has passed the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act (H.R. 5273), sponsored by Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., to improve America’s ability to reduce and address the causes of violence, violent conflict, and social fragility, and institute government pilot programs in 10 different countries aimed at achieving those goals. Engel said the programs would be “an important step in thwarting many of the most devastating crises facing the world right now and preventing new ones from emerging in the future.” The vote, on Nov. 27, was 376 yeas to 16 nays.

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

DEMOCRACY IN CONGO: The House has passed the Democratic Republic of the Congo Democracy and Accountability Act (H.R. 6207), sponsored by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. The bill would direct the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to provide humanitarian assistance to citizens of the Congo through nongovernmental organizations, and direct the ambassador to the United Nations to urge the Congo to lift restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, expression, and association, and conduct free, fair, and democratic elections. Smith said the bill’s initiatives sought to reverse the history of violence and misgovernance in the Congo and repair the “very egregious” repression by its current government. The vote, on Nov. 27, was 374 yeas to 11 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin

FLOOD INSURANCE EXTENSION: The House has passed the National Flood Insurance Program Further Extension Act (H.R. 7187), sponsored by Rep. Thomas MacArthur, R-N.J., to extend the federal government’s flood insurance program by one week, until Dec. 7. A supporter, Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., said the extension would give the Senate the opportunity to finally approve a flood insurance reform bill that passed the House in 2017. An opponent, Rep. Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla., said it would be a mistake to approve another of a series of short-term extensions of flood insurance in the absence of any provision to reform a deeply flawed program. The vote, on Nov. 29, was 350 yeas to 46 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Poliquin


AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT COUNSEL: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Stephen Alexander Vaden to serve as the Agriculture Department’s general counsel. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Vaden “has strong legal credentials, both public and private sector experience, degrees from Vanderbilt and Yale, and he comes with an upbringing in agriculture” that would serve him well at the agency. The vote, on Nov. 27, was 53 yeas to 46 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine

NAYS: Angus King, I-Maine

COMMERCE OFFICIAL: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley to serve as deputy secretary at the Commerce Department. Kelley, currently Commerce’s acting deputy secretary, had previously been an executive in the financial sector, primarily with the Invesco investment firm. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said: “By any metric, Ms. Kelley has the experience and economic acumen to continue a record of outstanding service in that role.” The vote, on Nov. 28, was 62 yeas to 38 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

INTERVENTION IN YEMEN: The Senate has agreed to discharge from committee a resolution (S.J. Res. 54), sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, ID-Vt., to require the removal from Yemen, within 30 days, of U.S. soldiers stationed there, barring congressional authorization of the use of force in Yemen. Sanders said the U.S. has served as Saudi Arabia’s partner in its war against the Houthi rebel faction in Yemen, which has resulted in the starvation of thousands of Yemenis and outbreaks of cholera and other diseases as the country suffers. The vote, on Nov. 28, was 63 yeas to 37 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

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