Here’s a look at votes in Congress voted last week:
DEFINING VIOLENT CRIMES: The House has passed the Community Safety and Security Act (H.R. 6691), sponsored by Rep. Karen C. Handel, R-Ga., to establish a standard in the United States legal code for defining a crime of violence. Handel said the new standard “provides essential legal clarity to ensure that crimes like human trafficking and others in the bill are deemed legally as crimes of violence.” A bill opponent, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the new “crime of violence” definition was overly broad, with resulting excessive punishments for those convicted under it, and had been hastily devised by Congress. The vote, on Sept. 7, was 247 yeas to 152 nays.
CHILDREN AND PUBLIC LANDS: The House has passed the Every Kid Outdoors Act (H.R. 3186), sponsored by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., to establish the Every Kids Outdoors in the federal government, to provide fourth graders and their families free access to national parks and other federal lands and waters that are open for public access. Tsongas said the free access “will encourage a new and more diverse generation to learn about our country’s national and historic treasures and fall in love with our public lands and great outdoors” with no new cost to the government. The vote, on Sept. 12, was 383 yeas to 2 nays.
ANTI-SEMITISM AND DIPLOMACY: The House has passed the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act (H.R. 1911), sponsored by Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., to establish a special envoy at the State Department, with ambassador rank, for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism in foreign countries. Smith said growing anti-Israel sentiments in Europe and countries such as Iran with militant Islamic populations meant the U.S. needed to elevate the status of State’s anti-Semitism envoy to the ambassador level, giving the envoy additional gravitas. The vote, on Sept. 13, was 393 yeas to 2 nays.
VA, ENERGY, AND WATER SPENDING: The House has agreed to the conference report with the Senate for resolving differences between the two chambers’ versions of the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 5895). The bill provides fiscal 2019 funding for the Energy Department, federal water and energy agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction programs, and the government’s legislative branch. The vote, on Sept. 13, was 377 yeas to 20 nays.
Along with roll call votes, the House also passed the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act (H.R. 6720); the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act (H.R. 6198), to establish the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office; the Fighting Fraud to Protect Care for Seniors Act (H.R. 6690), to establish a smart card pilot program to combat fraud, waste, and abuse and to protect beneficiary identity under the Medicare program; and the Rural Broadband Permitting Efficiency Act (H.R. 4824), to allow certain state permitting authority to encourage expansion of broadband service to rural communities.
IRS COMMISSIONER: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Charles P. Rettig to serve as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Rettig has been a tax attorney at the Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez law firm in Southern California for the past 35 years. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Rettig would help the IRS implement the 2017 tax reform law, modernizing the agency and helping make sure “all Americans get a fair shake from the agency that oversees the tax code.” An opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Rettig had shown no opposition to what Wyden called the serious problem created by a new Trump administration IRS rule that ended disclosure requirements for so-called dark money donors who contribute to political campaigns. The vote, on Sept. 12, was 64 yeas to 33 nays.
YEAS: Johnson R-WI
NAYS: Baldwin D-WI
VA, ENERGY, AND WATER SPENDING: The Senate has agreed to the conference report with the House for resolving differences between the two chambers’ versions of the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 5895). The bill provides fiscal 2019 funding for the Energy Department, federal water and energy agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs, military construction programs, and the government’s legislative branch. A supporter, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., pointed to the bill’s nearly $1.5 billion increase in funding for mental healthcare programs and suicide prevention, and opioid treatment and prevention programs for veterans. The vote, on Sept. 12, was 92 yeas to 5 nays.
YEAS: Johnson R-WI, Baldwin D-WI