The House and Senate are scheduled to be in recess next week.


HOUSE REMOTE VOTING: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 965), sponsored by Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., authorizing the use of remote proxy voting by House members and remote proceedings by House committees during the coronavirus public health emergency. McGovern said that because House members come into contact with an unusually high number of potential coronavirus carriers, the measure was needed because “convening Congress must not turn into a superspreader event.” An opponent, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the resolution gave too much power over House voting procedures to the House speaker, and warned that it could serve as a precedent for future permanent changes toward remote activity in the House. The vote, on May 15, was 217 yeas to 189 nays.
YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District; Jared Golden, D-2nd District

FURTHER CORONAVIRUS SPENDING: The House has passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (H.R. 6800), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The bill would provide about $3 trillion for spending on various federal, state, and local government programs responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Measures include extending unemployment benefits until January, forgiveness of private student loans, funding coronavirus testing, quarantine, and treatment, and a $1,200 direct payment to each individual American. Lowey called the spending a way to “ensure our nation meets the challenge of the pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.” A bill opponent, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said it was “loaded with provisions unrelated to the crisis that we face,” and that much of the funding had no safeguards to protect against irresponsible spending by state and local governments. The vote, on May 15, was 208 yeas to 199 nays.
YEAS: Pingree
NAYS: Golden


ARIZONA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Scott H. Rash to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for Arizona. Rash has been a superior court judge in Pima County, which includes Tucson, since 2010, and previously was a private practice lawyer in Tucson and assistant attorney general for Arizona. The vote, on May 19, was 74 yeas to 20 nays.
YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

OVERSEEING ELECTIONS: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of James E. Trainor III to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission for a term ending in April 2023. Trainor has been a lawyer in Austin, Texas, specializing in election law and campaign finance. An opponent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Trainor “has consistently worked to dismantle the rules that keep corruption out of our political system. He has spent his career arguing that people should not have to disclose political spending and has worked to stack the deck against voters by gerrymandering districts in Texas to dilute minority voting power.” The vote, on May 19, was 49 yeas to 43 nays.
YEAS: Collins
NAYS: King

ALABAMA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Anne M. Manasco to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the northern district of Alabama. Manasco, a private practice trial and appeals lawyer in Birmingham for the past decade, clerked for a U.S. appeals court judge after receiving her law degree. The vote, on May 20, was 71 yeas to 21 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

OKLAHOMA DISTRICTS JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of John F. Heil III to serve as a judge on the U.S. district courts for the northern, eastern, and western districts of Oklahoma. Heil has been a private practice attorney in Tulsa since 2000, specializing in various aspects of commercial law. A supporter, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., cited Heil’s bipartisan support and experience as an exceptional attorney in Oklahoma. The vote, on May 20, was 75 yeas to 17 nays.
YEAS: Collins, King

INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES DIRECTOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of John L. Ratcliffe to serve as Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe has been a House member from Texas since 2015, and previously was a U.S. attorney in Texas and, for eight years, mayor of the Texas city of Heath. A supporter, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed hopes that Ratcliffe would take measures to improve the intelligence community’s accountability to the public and to Congress. An opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that in the hearings for Ratcliffe’s nomination, he “made a number of extremely disturbing statements that make it clear that he has and will misrepresent and politicize intelligence without a moment’s hesitation.” The vote, on May 21, was 49 yeas to 44 nays.
YEAS: Collins
NAYS: King

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