Along with last week’s roll call votes, the Senate also passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S. 2661), to designate 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for the purpose of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system operating through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and through the Veterans Crisis Line; and passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S. 3744), to condemn gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, and calling for an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.

There were no key votes in the House this week.


HOUSING DEPUTY SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Brian D. Montgomery to serve as Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Montgomery has been Federal Housing Commissioner since May 2018, and served in the same role from 2005 to 2009; he had been assigned some of the duties of the Deputy Secretary in January 2019. An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said that in the past two years Montgomery “has helped advance policies that will have devastating effects for millions of families,” including increasing the cost of Federal Housing Administration mortgage loans and cutting funding for critical housing and community development programs. The vote, on May 12, was 61 yeas to 32 nays.
YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

HOMELAND SECURITY FINANCES: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Troy D. Edgar to serve as the Homeland Security Department’s chief financial officer. Edgar has been a Homeland Security official since January; previously, he was founder and CEO of Global Conductor, a management consultancy, the mayor of the California city of Los Alamitos, and a Boeing executive. The vote, on May 12, was 62 yeas to 31 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

FISA INVESTIGATIONS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), that would have removed Internet browsing activity from the list of investigative authorities granted for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigations. Wyden said that without the amendment, agencies would be able to do warrantless surveillance of an individual’s most personal activities online. The vote, on May 13, was 59 yeas to 37 nays, with a 60-vote majority required for approval.
NAYS: Collins
YEAS: King

FISA COURT: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), that would increase the ability of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to seek amici (friends of the court) participation in surveillance cases. Lee said the amendment was needed to prevent abuses of power by the FBI and other intelligence agencies seeking to investigate U.S. citizens. The vote, on May 13, was 77 yeas to 19 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

USE OF FISA INFORMATION: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), that would have prohibited the surveillance of American citizens and prohibited the use, in legal and administrative proceedings, of information obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Paul said the amendment “restores the Constitution for all Americans and forbids the secret FISA Court from ever again meddling in our political process.” The vote, on May 14, was 11 yeas to 85 nays.
NAYS: Collins, King

GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE: The Senate has passed the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. The bill would reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and change various government surveillance activities, including ending the National Security Agency’s call detail records program and increasing disclosure of rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court. A supporter, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said it combines extensions of vital anti-terrorism tools “with new accountability measures that will ensure that law enforcement is held to the highest standards when pursuing surveillance of suspected terrorists and foreign agents.” An opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the FISA court was unconstitutional because it allowed searches of vast amounts of Americans’ private information without probable cause. The vote, on May 14, was 80 yeas to 16 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

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