bill of the day

We already know there are actually a lot of issues huge majorities agree on. Well, don’t let them tell you that’s not true of Congress, even if it might take a whole new way of doing business to find out…

“Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer…”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

The Campaign

We first began Bill of the Day in 2020 in response to efforts by Donald Trump and the Republican Party to run against a “do nothing” Congress, like Give’em Hell Harry Truman did in 1948, when in reality, at the time we began the campaign, the Democratic-controlled House, at least, had passed over 400 pieces of legislation, which put that body on a pace to be the most productive of the decade.

The problem, of course, was that the vast majority of these bills had not only not gotten through the Senate in any form, they’d literally never been given a hearing at all, never been spoken of or debated, even for a minute, at any level, on its floor or in its halls.  For then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, smothering these bills under lock and key was a threefer, feeding the narrative that the only thing the House wanted to do is investigate and impeach Trump, enabling him to protect his vulnerable members from having to vote against measures that were–and still are–overwhelmingly popular with the American public, and allowing him to focus the energies of his chamber as exclusively as possible on the confirmation of as many unelected idiologues as possible to lifetime appointments in the judiciary, where they’d be poised to strike down the will of the people, our will, for decades to come.

As both McConnell and Stalin knew, 400+ bills are nothing but a statistic, especially if the American public never sees hide nor hair of them because they’ve been completely buried, and especially-squared when none of us have time or stomach to seek out consumption of what, it was only reasonable to suspect, was a lot of Congressional sausage. So we decided that every day until the election, we’d publish a short summary of one of the hundreds of bills the House had passed that McConnell’s Senate had never taken up, not even for discussion.  And because McConnell’s official excuse for his inactions was that everything the House was sending over was “phony” “partisan” legislation it knew could never pass, we decided to include, with every bill, information about the party affiliation of its sponsors and co-sponsors (i.e. the representatives who wrote and advocated for it), as well as the extent to which the vote for it was bipartisan or not.

Much to our surprise, what started out as a response to breathtaking cynicism became a source of profound hope for us, and for the many friends, fellow travelers (literally–BOTD was particularly popular among the Americans Abroad diaspora), and members of our community who dutifully redistributed every bill.  Because as it turned out, there were–hopefully still are–dozens of issues where there’s actually broad agreement among Americans, even among the hyper-partisans we’ve put in office to represent us, issues you/we may not have ever thought of or about, readily accompanied by creative solutions to same, or at least measures that get us closer, and as all of us who aren’t idiologues know, “closer” is really the best we can hope for; progress, not perfection.

The media, perpetually invested in titanic WWE grudge matches between the parties, doesn’t cover this kind of legislation, and even when they do, treat it as the bastard offspring of Bill Clinton’s call for school uniforms, political “small ball,” they sneer, but ask any child–or parent–whether school uniforms, whether pro or con, would have had little or no impact on our lives.  Certainly they would’ve had more than the gigantic partisan wish lists regularly put forward by the parties that either never pass or get cut down to size with every change in political fortunes.

Donald Trump no longer occupies the White House, Mitch McConnell is no longer Senate Majority Leader, but if anything, in a nation increasingly oscillating, like a fibrillating heart, between the paralysis of hopelessness and paroxysms of rage, there are moral victories, and none of them are small.  So we’ve decided to start up Bill of the Day once again, this time for keeps, to help keep hope aloft, and in our own hope that it may cause our fellow citizens to demand a new way of governing, by iteration and synthesis, not wish list, that already powers our economy and dominates the procession of real work done by Congress; the work, that is, that actually gets results.

The Enchilada

Note: Only bills that have received bipartisan support via sponsors, votes, or abstentions are included below

Aug. 15: H.R. 5085  The Emergency Repatriation Assistance for Returning Americans Act
This bill would amend the Social Security Act to provide authority for increased payments for temporary assistance to United States citizens returned from foreign countries (like Afghanistan)
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 1 Democratic co-sponsor
Vote: Passed by voice vote (which means broadly bipartisan and without opposition–nobody felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: August 24, 2021

Aug. 16: H.R. 4300  The Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act
This bill would make the America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass available, without charge, to members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and Gold Star Families, covering all entrance and standard amenity recreation fees.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), 151 co-sponsors (125 of them Republican)
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 420-0, i.e. a ridiculously bipartisan basis
Date: July 29, 2021

Aug. 17: H.R. 3985  The Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs Act
This bill would increase the number of special immigrant visas available to Afghans who helped us by 8,000 (note: eligible spouses and children don’t count against this number).  It would also relax the qualifications for these visas in several ways, including:

  • Allowing applicants to qualify based on a credible concern about threats against them as a result of their work for or with us (currently they have to have actually experienced the threat and, presumably, still be alive afterwards).
  • Eliminating a requirement that each applicant submit a credible sworn statement describing that threat (only 43 percent of Afghans are literate)
  • Eliminating a requirement that their work for us must have been “sensitive and trusted” in order to qualify
  • Allowing spouses and children to remain eligible if the applicant is killed before the family is able to escape (currently family members remain eligible only if the victim’s application was approved before he/she died…smh)

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 140 co-sponsors (37 of them Republican)
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 407-16, i.e. a widely bipartisan basis
Date: July 22, 2021

Aug. 18: H.R. 3841  The Tribal Health Data Improvement Act 
This bill would require the Department of Health & Human Services in general, and the CDC in particular, to take a number of steps to improve Native Americans’ access to health data and monitoring, requiring these agencies to:

  • Establish a strategy for providing all tribes and their epidemiology centers access to health data
  • Make available any and all data related to health care or monitoring that they request
  • Provide grants to and enter into contracts with the tribes for data collection and related activities
  • Develop guidelines for state and local health authorities to improve the accuracy and completeness of Native Americans’ birth and death records
  • Enter into cooperative agreements with the tribes and their affiliates to address recurring inaccuracies in Native Americans’ health records
  • Encourage states to enter into data-sharing agreements with the tribes to further improve the quality and accuracy of public health data

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), 1 Democratic co-sponsor
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: June 23, 2021

Aug. 19: H.R. 3752  The Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act
This bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to provide information about deaths and injuries from consumer products during the pandemic, in the form of a report made publicly available every three months until the pandemic is declared over. It would also require the Department of Commerce, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to study and report on the impacts of the pandemic on the travel and tourism industry.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 3 co-sponsors, two of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: June 23, 2021

Aug. 20: H.R. 3723  The Consumer Safety Technology Act
This bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to develop AI-based pilot programs in at least one of the following areas:

  • Tracking trends in injuries involving consumer products
  • Identifying consumer product hazards
  • Monitoring the sale of recalled consumer products
  • Identifying consumer products that don’t meet importation requirements related to product safety

The bill would also require the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others, to study the potential applications of blockchain technology, including its potential use to address fraud and other unfair or deceptive practices. And require the FTC to report on its efforts to address unfair or deceptive trade practices related to digital tokens.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 5 co-sponsors, four of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: June 23, 2021

Aug. 21: H.R. 3642  The Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act
This bill would award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the Harlem Hellfighters, in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during World War I

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 311 co-sponsors, 104 of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: June 15, 2021

Aug. 22: H.R. 3593  The Department of Energy Science for the Future Act
This bill would establish a number of new initiatives within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, including:

  • A basic energy sciences research and development program;
  • A biological systems science, climate, and environmental science research and development program;
  • An earth and environmental systems science research program;
  • A coastal zone research initiative;
  • A Quantum User Expansion for Science and Technology (QUEST) which expands public private partnerships for quantum resource use;
  • A collaborative research and development program for fusion energy technologies;
  • A research program on the fundamental constituents of matter and energy and the nature of space and time;
  • A high-energy physics research program;
  • Research activities on the nature of the primary contents of the universe, including the nature of dark energy and dark matter;
  • A research program to discover and understand various forms of nuclear matter; and
  • A high-intensity laser research initiative

The bill would also require the Office of Science to continue to leverage its involvement with the Large Hadron Collider, while expanding international partnerships and investments in the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment that will be housed within it.  And require the Department of Energy to increase the diversity of high-end STEM professionals employed by the department.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 39 co-sponsors, fourteen of them Republicans
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 351-68, with 134 Republicans voting in favor of it
Date: June 28, 2021

Aug. 23: H.R. 3385  The Honoring Our Promises through Expedition for Afghan SIVs Act
This bill would waive, for qualifying Afghans with special immigrant status, the requirement that they get a medical exam before entering the United States (in a country with 1 doctor for every 3,600 people–there’s 1 for every 300 here), giving them, instead, up to 30 days after arrival to do so.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 94 co-sponsors, 29 of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: June 29, 2021

Aug. 24: H.R. 3325  The Congressional Gold Medals To US Capitol & Metro Police Act
This bill would award Congressional Gold Medals to the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia in recognition for their protection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author)
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 406-21, with 188 Republicans voting in favor of it, though (shamefully/hypocritically) 21 in the self-proclaimed law and order party did not
Date: June 15, 2021

Aug. 25: H.R. 4346  The Act Funding The Legislative Branch
This bill would provide FY2022 appropriations for the legislative branch, including the House of Representatives and joint items such as

  • the Joint Economic Committee,
  • the Joint Committee on Taxation,
  • the Office of the Attending Physician, and
  • the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services.

In addition, it would provide FY2022 appropriations for

  • the Capitol Police;
  • the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights;
  • the Congressional Budget Office;
  • the Architect of the Capitol;
  • the Library of Congress, including the Congressional Research Service and the Copyright Office;
  • the Government Publishing Office;
  • the Government Accountability Office;
  • the Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund; and
  • the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development.

And it sets forth requirements and restrictions for using the funds it provides.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author)
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 215-207, with one Republican voting in favor (gotta start somewhere), and eight others not voting
Date: July 28, 2021

Aug. 26: H.R. 3264  The Domains Critical to Homeland Security Act
This bill would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to conduct research & development activities to determine the critical domains for our economic and homeland security and evaluate the extent to which disruption, corruption, exploitation, or dysfunction of any such domain poses a substantial threat to our security.

FYI, “critical domains” are not available on GoDaddy (hey, that’s what we thought the bill was about when we saw what it was called); they are “the critical infrastructure and other associated industries, technologies, and intellectual property, or any combination thereof, that are essential to U.S. economic security.”

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), eight co-sponsors, six of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it, and probably a lot more than that
Date: July 20, 2021

Aug. 27: H.R. 3263  The DHS Medical Countermeasures Act
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a medical countermeasures program to facilitate personnel readiness and protection for DHS employees (and animals) in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives attack, naturally occurring disease outbreak, or pandemic, and to support DHS mission continuity..

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), three co-sponsors, all of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 77 Democrats and at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it; probably a lot more than that, in both cases
Date: July 20, 2021

Aug. 28: H.R. 3261  The Repeal Authorization For Use Of Force Against Iraq Act
This bill would repeal the January 14, 1991, resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), 35 co-sponsors, 10 of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 77 Democrats and at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it; probably a lot more than that, in both cases
Date: June 29, 2021

Aug. 29: H.R. 3237  The Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act
This bill would provide $1.9 billion in FY2021 emergency supplemental appropriations for the legislative branch and federal agencies to respond to the attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex that occurred on January 6, 2021, for purposes such as

  • security-related upgrades,
  • repairs to facilities damaged by the attack,
  • reimbursements for the costs of responding to the attack,
  • support for prosecutions,
  • the establishment of a quick reaction force within the District of Columbia National Guard to assist the Capitol Police, and
  • legislative branch expenses related to COVID-19

The bill would also provide appropriations for

  • the Department of Justice,
  • the National Guard,
  • the judiciary,
  • the District of Columbia,
  • the General Services Administration,
  • the U.S. Secret Service, and
  • the National Park Service.

And would require Capitol Police officers who interact with the public to use body-worn cameras

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), no co-sponsors
Vote: Ultimately passed by roll call vote, 416 – 11, i.e. a widely bipartisan basis. (Note: when it first passed the House, it did so strictly on party lines, with all Republicans and three Democrats voting against it; however, when it achieved a filibusterproof majority in the Senate, passed there, and was sent back to the House, it passed by the margin above)
Date: July 29, 2021

Aug. 30: H.R. 3233  The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act
This bill would establish a National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex.

The commission would be required to:

  • Conduct, with subpoena powers, an investigation of the relevant facts and circumstances relating to the attack on the Capitol
  • Identify, review, and evaluate the causes of and the lessons learned from this attack
  • Submit specified reports containing findings, conclusions, and recommendations to improve the detection, prevention, preparedness for, and response to targeted violence and domestic terrorism and improve the security posture of the U.S. Capitol Complex.
  • Hold public hearings and meetings, to the extent that’s appropriate, and release public versions of its reports.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), one co-sponsor, a Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 252 – 175, with 35 Republicans voting in favor
Date: May 19, 2021

Aug. 31: H.R. 3223  The CISA Cyber Exercise Act
This bill would establish a National Cyber Exercise Program to evaluate the National Cyber Incident Response Plan and related plans and strategies to see if they really work.  Specifically, the program would be designed to:

  • Simulate partial or complete incapacitation of a government or critical infrastructure network resulting from a cyber incident
  • Provide for the systematic evaluation of cyber readiness
  • Enhance operational understanding of the cyber incident response system, including any information-sharing agreements in place
  • Develop after-action reports and plans that can incorporate lessons learned into future operations

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), six co-sponsors, three of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 77 Democrats and at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it; probably a lot more than that, in both cases
Date: July 20, 2021

Sept. 1: H.R. 3182  The Safe Sleep for Babies Act
This bill would make it unlawful to manufacture, sell, or distribute crib bumpers (padded materials inserted around the inside of a crib intended to prevent babies from becoming trapped in the crib’s openings) or inclined sleepers for infants (sleepers designed for an infant up to one year old that have an inclined sleep surface of greater than 10 degrees).  (FYI, crib bumpers and inclined sleepers have both been found to be unsafe by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), two co-sponsors, both Democrats
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 77 Democrats and at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it; probably a lot more than that, in both cases
Date: June 23, 2021

Sept. 2: H.R. 3146  The Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies Act
This bill would authorize the President to make payments to manufacturers to increase supply-chain security if doing so is important to the national defense. It would also require the President to submit a strategy to Congress that includes:

  • A plan to use the Defense Production Act of 1950 to ensure the supply of medical materials essential to the national defense.
  • Plans to diversify, and address vulnerabilities in, supply chains for these materials
  • Submitting annual progress reports through FY2025 evaluating the implementation of the strategy

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), and one co-sponsor, a Democrat
Vote: Passed by voice vote (which means broadly bipartisan and without opposition–nobody felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: May 18, 2021

Sept. 3: H.R. 3138  The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act
This bill would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to establish a grant program to address cybersecurity risks and threats to the information systems of state, local, or tribal organizations.  Eligible applicants would be required to submit a cybersecurity plan, approved by CISA, describing how the funds would be used to address cybersecurity risks and threats to their information systems, and be dedicated to this purpose.

CISA would also be required to

  • Establish a State and Local Cybersecurity Resilience Committee to provide the agency with state, local, and tribal stakeholder expertise, situational awareness, and recommendations on how to address cybersecurity risks and threats.
  • Develop and maintain a resource guide for state, local, tribal, and territorial government officials to assist with identifying, preparing for, detecting, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity risks, threats, and incidents.
  • Develop and make publicly available a Homeland Security Strategy to Improve the Cybersecurity of State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments.
  • Assess the feasibility of implementing a short-term rotational program to bring approved state, local, tribal, and territorial government employees to CISA in cyber workforce positions.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Democratic sponsor (i.e. the author), and seven co-sponsors, three of them Republicans
Vote: Passed under suspension of the rules, which means at least 77 Democrats and at least 67 Republicans were in favor of it; probably a lot more than that, in both cases
Date: July 20, 2021

Note: If you see any inaccuracies or misleading information in this document, please let us know in comments below.  Only bills that received bipartisan support via sponsors, votes, or abstentions are eligible for Bill of the Day status.

 

A much more appropriate place to do nothing. Maybe some members of Congress should start spending time here in 2021–thoughts? For more of the most beautiful beaches in the world, click the pic…

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