bill of the day

The “do-nothing” House has passed more than 400 pieces of legislation that have not been taken up by the Senate. Mitch McConnell says they’re “partisan” and “phony”–who’s telling the truth? You decide, day by day–and hopefully share between now and Election Day…

“Compromise is the best and cheapest lawyer…”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

The Campaign

It’s clear that Donald Trump fancies himself not only the 21st century Andrew Jackson, but the Truman of our times as well, gearing up to run for re-election–as Give’em Hell, Harry did in 1948–against a “do-nothing Congress.”  So it might surprise you, and if not you, then at least some of your friends, to learn that since the Democrats took over the House of Representatives, that body has passed over 400 pieces of legislation, which put the Democratic House, pre-COVID at least, on a pace to be the most productive of the decade.

The problem?  The vast majority of these bills have not only not gotten through the Senate in any form, they haven’t merely been unable to make it out of any Senate committee, they’ve literally never been given a hearing at all, never introduced, never spoken of or debated, even for a minute, at any level.  As part of their “do-nothing” mantra, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans blame the House for this.  They claim the House has failed to “legislate in a bipartisan manner” and that part of Democrats’ failure to attend to we, the people’s “real concerns” is sending bill after bill to the Senate that’s “dead on arrival,” diabolically pretending to legislate but in reality not doing so in good faith, just so as to fool the public and make the GOP look bad.

What’s the truth?  From our perspective, every analytic tool from common sense to cui bono to Occam’s razor looks like they all point in one direction, at one man.  For Senator McConnell, smothering these bills under lock and key is a three-fer:

  • It feeds the narrative that the only thing the House wants to do is investigate and impeach Trump–and the public never sees otherwise, at least not in the Senate.  It’s his singular contribution to the “do nothing” mantra.
  • It allows him to protect his vulnerable members from having to vote against measures that are overwhelmingly popular with the American public (but not his party’s donors).  Nearly 90% of Americans, including overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Trump supporters, support Net neutrality for example; ditto universal background checks for gun sales (even a majority of NRA members support this).  By more than a 2:1 margin, pre-COVID, Americans felt protecting the environment should be given priority over economic growth, the largest gap between these viewpoints in nearly two decades (and COVID, despite the economic devastation it’s wrought, might, in the end, only increase the disconnect between Republican positions and public opinion in this area, depending on how this enforced era of increased reflection and awareness plays out).
  • Most importantly, from his perspective (and potentially ultimately ours), it allows 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 can strike down the will of the people, our will, for decades to come.

Have the bills the House has sent over been liberal? Sure, but that’s not the point (not the whole truth, either, by a long shot).  The House is supposed to send over left-of-center bills; that’s what it was elected to do.  Such legislative sallies are intended to be classic starting points for negotiation, at least they were for the first 240 years of our country’s history.  No, if you want to take up the gauntlet for the GOP, you have to believe and argue there’s nothing in these bills even worth discussing.  

And starting today, as a public service we’re going to help you to decide that for yourself, because let’s face it, very few of us have time to actually read Congressional sausage.  Every day for at least the next 300+, we’ll be providing you with a short summary of a bill that passed the House that the Senate hasn’t taken up, even for discussion.

We’ll be bending over backwards to be fair in our descriptions, which won’t be hard, given that one of our founders favors small government, lower taxes, less regulation, federalism (aka states rights), local control of schools, 2nd amendment rights, Citizens United (provided there’s also Net neutrality), and policies on immigration, trade, and the environment that until recently would have been considered mainstream in the Republican Party. We’ll be focused plainly on intent, not making a sales pitch.  It will be up to you to decide what part of the government is really “do nothing.”

And when you do, we hope you’ll share this page widely (it’ll be updated every day wherever it resides).  Because apparently, to paraphrase old Papa Joe, one party is making a so-far successful bet that “one bill rejected out of hand is a tragedy, 400+ is a statistic,” while the other is, well, mostly too incompetent politically to do anything about it.

P.S. COVID

In light of COVID-19, it might seem like the original rationale for this exercise has been rendered moot.  We’ll agree that the virus merited a respectful pause, for sure, but now we think this campaign is actually more important than ever. The coronavirus was no excuse for longstanding inaction on these bills, many of them untouched for more than a year, and as of May 5th, with the Senate back in full session–to start confirming more far-right judges, of course–it won’t be an excuse going forward, especially not after the government has shown it’s still perfectly capable of moving quickly when it wants to.  95%+++ of the peoples’ business doesn’t involve going through all the steps required to confirm a judge, and all of it, in the current environment, is far more urgent than making lifetime appointments–when lifetime itself is at stake.

Moreover, at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult not to believe that some have decided to destroy government as we’ve known it for their own purposes, it’s important to remind ourselves daily what real normal is, what government was and could be again–creative, thoughtful, and bipartisan–which we believe Bill of the Day, in its own small way, contributes to–consider it our “re-opening.”  It’s also important to let our legislators know it’s time for them to get back on the proverbial horse, and to remind them of their good works; none of the problems that motivated these bills have gone away, and our enemies, foreign and domestic, aren’t resting while we reel or recline in shock and steadily growing depression.

Finally, as we head into what really is the most important election of our lifetimes, it’s important to have reminders every day, in a world where tomorrow is guaranteed to no man or government, of the costs of self-indulgent political dysfunction.  When things get as serious as they are today, blame is no longer just a game.  None of these bills would have stopped the coronavirus from wreaking all the havoc it has.  But could these pieces of legislation, individually and collectively, have reduced or mitigated at least some of the damage?  Could they still? You be the judge.

The Enchilada

 

Jan. 30: H.R. 128 The Small Business Advocacy Improvements Act of 2019
This bill would expand the Small Business Administration’s responsibilities to include (1) examining the role of small businesses in the international economy, and (2) representing the views and interests of small businesses before foreign governments and international entities to contribute to regulatory and trade initiatives that may affect small businesses
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: 1 Republican sponsor (i.e. the author), 2 Democratic co-sponsors
Vote: Passed by voice vote (which means broadly bipartisan and without opposition–nobody felt the need to put people on the record)
Date: 1/8/19, 579 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/9/19, 578 days ago–and counting

Jan 31: H.R. 227  The Incentivizing Fairness in Subcontracting Act
This bill would allow prime government contractors (the big boys) with multiple government contracts to claim credit for subcontracting to small businesses only if those subcontractors are first tier, meaning working directly with the prime contractor.  Since first tier contracts are, almost by definition, larger than those awarded further down the food chain, the act essentially incentivizes prime contractors to throw more work in their contracts to small businesses.  The bill also requires all agencies to collect and review data on all subcontracting plans (this wasn’t already happening?) and establishes a dispute resolution process for sub-contractors who aren’t getting paid by primes.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, two co-sponsors, one Democrat and one Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/8/19, 579 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/9/19, 578 days ago–and counting

Feb 1: H.R. 226 The Clarity on Small Business Participation in Category Management Act
This bill would require the Small Business Administration to expand its reporting on contracts the government makes to buy goods and services from private companies to include how much is being spent on what have been determined to be best in class solutions (an official designation), as well as on small businesses in underutilized (read: left behind) parts of the country, owned and controlled by women, owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, and/or owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  In other words, the sponsors of the bill want to know how much of your tax dollars are being spent in the best ways known for the purpose of the spending, and to what extent government spending is being used to serve the dual purpose of leveling the competitive playing field for groups typically shut out of economic opportunities.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, three co-sponsors, two Democrats and one Republican
Vote: Passed on a roll call vote, 414-11, i.e. a broadly bipartisan basis
Date: 1/9/2019, 578 days ago–and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/10/2019, 577 days ago and counting

Feb 2: H.R. 115 The Protecting Diplomats from Surveillance Through Consumer Devices Act
This bill would direct the State Department to develop a policy regarding the use of location-tracking devices by employees at diplomatic and consular facilities, and report the details of the policy to Congress.  It would also require the State Department to give security briefings to inform new and existing employees of the policy.  Note: as you read bills on our list like this one, you may start thinking that a lot of them seem to be the legislative branch telling the executive branch what to do, micromanaging or overstepping its bounds.  Not true: the clear intent of the founders was that Congress, as representatives of the people, is supposed to be making these decisions, while the president and his administration are only supposed to be executing (hence “executive”) the people’s will as expressed by Congress, not making policy decisions on their own. 
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, four co-sponsors, two Democrats and two Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/10/19, 577 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/11/19, 576 days ago–and counting

Feb 3: H.R. 192 The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act
This bill would provide statutory (legal, authority of law) authority for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, an interagency program launched in 2005 to partner with countries in the Sahel and Maghreb regions of Africa to counter terrorism and violent extremism.  It would require the State Department, in consultation with Defense and US AID, to formally establish the partnership, which would coordinate all U.S. programs in North and West Africa related to various counterterrorism activities, e.g. building foreign-military capacity, enhancing border security, promoting youth employment, and supporting independent media to counter terrorist propaganda.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, five co-sponsors, two Democrats and three Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/10/19, 577 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/11/19, 576 days ago–and counting

Feb. 4: H.R. 221 The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act
This bill would establish the existing position of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism as an ambassador-rank official, appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to lead the Office to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism within the Department of State. (Under current law, the special envoy is just appointed by the Secretary of State–we assume the proposed change amounts to an elevation.) The President would be expected to choose his/her nominee from among State Department officers and employees, and the individual would need be someone of recognized distinction in the areas of religious freedom, law enforcement, or combatting anti-Semitism. He/she would be the primary advisor in the government relating to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism in foreign countries.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, 87 co-sponsors, including 29 Republicans
Vote: Passed by a roll call vote of 411-1 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 1/11/19, 576 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/14/19, 573 days ago–and counting

Feb. 5: H.R. 116 The Investing in Main Street Act of 2019
This bill would amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to permit certain banking entities, subject to the approval of the appropriate federal banking agency, to invest up to 15% of their capital and surplus in one or more small business investment companies (SBICs), or in any entity established to invest solely in SBICs.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, two Democratic co-sponsors, one Republican
Vote: Passed by a roll call vote of 403-2 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/14/19, 573 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 572 days ago–and counting

Feb. 6: H.R. 206 The Encouraging Small Business Innovation Act
This bill expands eligibility for one of the most successful (we know, because we did a fair amount of the research that proves it) programs in all of government, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) initiatives, which help researchers turn their findings into products for practical business and personal use.  Specifically, the bill would allow small business investment companies (SBICs) to be considered for these grants, with their investments in SBIR and STTR initiatives excluded from the limits on leverage (debt) required, encourage participation in the Small Business Administration (SBA) mentor-protege program by past participants in these programs, and increase participation in states that have historically received a low percentage of the grants awarded.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, one Democratic co-sponsor
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/14/19, 573 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 572 days ago–and counting

Feb. 7: H.R.246 The Stimulating Innovation through Procurement Act
Another bill to build on the highly (even ridiculously) successful Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) initiatives that help researchers–both basic and applied–turn their finding into products for business and consumer use.  In this case, the bill would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to coordinate with senior procurement officers of federal agencies to help small businesses participating in the program to commercialize their research before getting government contracts,  as well as require the SBA to help these companies research RFPs for federal contracts, and help them submit bids, especially small businesses from parts of the country that have been left behind and/or are woman or veteran-owned and operated.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, two co-sponsors, one Democrat, one Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/14/19, 573 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 572 days ago–and counting
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t, in the strong opinion of the founders

Feb. 8: H.R.113 The All-American Flag Act
This bill would prohibit all federal agencies from using tax dollars to purchase American flags that have not been manufactured in the United States from materials that have been U.S. grown, produced, or manufactured, unless flags of sufficient quality and quantity cannot be procured in the quantities needed at market prices.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, 21 co-sponsors, including three Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 572 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 571 days ago–and counting

Feb. 9: H.R.136 The Federal Intern Protection Act
This bill would provide federal interns with many of the same protections against discrimination that federal employees have.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, three co-sponsors, including one Republican (Mark Meadows)
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 572 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 571 days ago–and counting

Feb. 10: H.R.202 The Inspector General Access Act
This bill would transfer responsibility for investigations of Department of Justice lawyers’ abuse of their powers from the Office Of Professional Responsibility to the Office of The Inspector General, which conducts all other investigations of Department of Justice misconduct, so as to put more (non-partisan) weight, power, and resources behind investigations of this type.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, three co-sponsors, including one Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 572 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 571 days ago–and counting

Feb. 11: H.R.247 The Federal CIO Authorization Act 
This bill is designed to streamline IT (information technology) and reporting processes for the federal CIO (the nation’s chief information officer) and CISO (chief information security officer), elevating the role of the CIO as the overseer of the government’s digital infrastructure by making him/her a presidential appointee reporting directly to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), making the CISO a presidential appointee, and directing the CIO to submit a proposal to Congress for consolidating and streamlining IT across all federal agencies.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, three co-sponsors, including one Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 572 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 571 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 11: H.R.190 The Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act
One of the ways government tries to support small and up-and-coming businesses is through sole source contracts, contracts awarded without competitive bidding.  Putting together government bids requires many hours of labor and expense that small businesses can’t afford or risk putting in unless they’re fairly certain they’ll win the business, so sole source contracts are the only way many can get government business at all.  At the same time, because the government is always supposed to be getting the most value for the least amount of money, and because sole source contracting can be corruptly abused, there are limits on the size of a contract that can be sole sourced.

Unfortunately, over time, the number of contracts that are under this limit has shrunk, particularly as more contracts include “option years,” meaning additional years the contract can be renewed without having to be rebid again, which currently count as part of the size of the contract, on the assumption that most of the time government will stick with who they know and exercise their options to renew. So there are fewer and few contracts small businesses can win.  This bill starts dealing with this issue by eliminating option years from the size of the contracts for some types of small businesses that most need the assistance, including those that are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans, economically disadvantaged women, owned by women in substantially underrepresented industries, or based in parts of the country that have generally been left behind.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, two Democratic co-sponsors
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 415-6 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/16/19, 571 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/17/19, 570 days ago–and counting.  In fairness, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced a bill by the same name on 3/6/19, but that was referred to a committee too, and hasn’t been seen since.

Feb. 12: H.R.328 The Hack Your State Department Act
This bill would require the State Department to develop a publicly available vulnerability disclosure process to improve cybersecurity, which would include identifying the information technology (IT) to be included, a readily available means of reporting security vulnerabilities, determining an office that actually has the responsibility to address the problems found, and creation of a bounty program to incent finding and reporting previously unknown vulnerabilites in its Internet-facing IT.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, two co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 377-3 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/22/19, 565 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 564 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 13: H.R.353 The Taiwan World Health Organization Act
This bill would require the State Department to develop a strategy to regain Taiwan’s status as an observer at the World Health Organization (China has opposed this because it claims Taiwan belongs to them) and report annually on steps it has taken to make this happen.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, six co-sponsors, four of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/22/19, 565 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 564 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t, in the strong opinion of the founders

Feb. 14: H.R.498 The Clean Up The Code Act
This bill would get rid of elements of the criminal code that make federal crimes out of actions such as fraudulent use of the 4-H symbol, unauthorized use of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl, and the transport of water chestnuts, water hyacinths or alligator grass across state lines.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, one Democratic co-sponsor
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/22/19, 565 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 564 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 14: H.R.676 The NATO Support Act
This bill would prohibit the appropriation or use of federal funds to withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, 19 co-sponsors, including eight Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 357-22 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/22/19, 565 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 564 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 15: H.R.56 The Financial Technology Protection Act
This bill would establish an Independent Financial Technology Task Force to Combat Terrorism and Illicit Financing, required to research illicit uses of new financial technologies (such as digital currencies) and issue associated annual reports, provide rewards for people who provide information leading to the conviction of anyone involved with terrorist use of digital currencies, and establish a program to support the development of tools and programs to detect terrorist and illicit use of these currencies.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and four co-sponsors, including two Republicans.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/28/19, 559 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 16: H.R.424 The Department of Homeland Security Clearance Management and Administration Act
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to review the clearance levels (which determine access to information) of all national security positions every five years, make appropriate adjustments, and report on these adjustments to Congress. It would also require DHS to report annually on all denials, suspensions, revocations, and appeals of individuals’ eligibility for access to classified information, as well as develop and execute a plan to achieve greater uniformity and consistency in decisions about the levels of access applicants qualify for.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and a Democratic co-sponsor.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 17: H.R.428 The Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Virtual Currencies Act
You’d think we were already doing this, but this bill would require the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis to assess the threat posed by individuals using virtual currencies to support terrorism, and share this assessment with state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and three co-sponsors, two of them Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 422-3 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 17: H.R.449 The Pathways to Improving Homeland Security at the Local Level Act
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to produce and disseminate an annual catalog of training opportunities, programs, and services that are available to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and one co-sponsor, a Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 412-12 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t, according to the strong opinion of the founders

Feb. 18: H.R.502 The FIND Trafficking Act
This bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the use of virtual currencies and online marketplaces in sex and drug trafficking, including how illicit proceeds are being transferred into our banking system, what state and non-state actors are participating in this, the preventative measures being taken by federal and state agencies, and the extent to which the unique characteristics of digital currencies are contributing.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and three co-sponsors, two of them Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 412-3 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 19: H.R.624 The Promoting Transparent Standards for Corporate Insiders Act
This bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to study, report on, and implement revisions to current regulations that allow corporate executives to sell stock in their companies without violating insider trading laws by specifying (well) in advance the the number of shares they plan to sell on specific dates (there have been reports indicating some execs have found ways to game this system so as to continue trading on inside information).
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, one of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 413-3 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 20: H.R.769 The Counterterrorism Advisory Board Act 
This bill would establish, in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a board to coordinate and integrate DHS’s intelligence, activities, and policy related to its counterterrorism mission and functions, focused on the current threat environment and aligning counterterrorism activities under the Secretary’s guidance.  You’d think this was already happening, given that this was the entire purpose for creating DHS in the first place, but apparently we should never underestimate the powers of government fiefdoms and silos to re-establish themselves, particularly if the senior leadership of the department is in constant flux, with many top positions vacant.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and five co-sponsors, two of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 414-12 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/29/19, 558 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 558 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 20: H.R.66 (of course) The Route 66 Centennial Commission Act
This bill would establish a commission to determine how to honor Route 66 on the 100th anniversary of its opening and directs the Department of Transportation to develop a plan for the preservation of the historic highway.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and thirteen co-sponsors, five of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 399-22 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 2/6/19, 550 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 549 days ago–and counting.
Addendum: It should be noted, in fairness and bipartisan optimism, that the bill passed just before this one, H.R. 790, which proposed raising the pay of federal workers by 2.6% (after years of increases of 1.5% or less and a freeze after the mid-term elections) and  supported by 29 Republicans in the subsequent roll call vote, while not taken up by the Senate per se, was eventually agreed to and became law late last year, though the White House is now proposing cutting it because of “serious economy conditions affecting the general welfare.”

Feb. 21: H.R.543 The Railroad Safety Awarness & Accountability Act
Full disclosure: the actual name of this bill is much longer, to the point of Pythonesque silliness, but its import is not: it would require the Federal Railroad Commission, whenever it does a safety assessment on an inter-city or commuter rail provider, to report the results of that assessment to the members of Congress who represent the states where that provider does business.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two Democratic co-sponsors.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/6/19, 550 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 549 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 21: H.R.876 The Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness Act
This bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase and install an earthquake early warning system along the 684 mile Cascadian fault, and require the creation of a task force that, in partnership with the National Academy of Sciences, would develop a comprehensive strategy and recommendations on how the nation should prepare and plan for, mitigate against, respond to, recover from, and more successfully adapt to an earthquake, tsunami, or both in this area.  To understand why this isn’t just a bridge to nowhere but actually fairly important, read this.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two Democratic co-sponsors.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/6/19, 550 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 549 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 22: H.R.450 The Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act 
This bill establishes a new criminal offense for knowingly executing, or attempting to execute, a scheme to defraud an individual of veterans’ benefits. A violator is subject to criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to five years, or both.  Presumably this is on top of and in addition to charges of fraud these perpetrators already face, so it makes those who prey on veterans subject to especially harsh punishment, hopefully deterring this unpatriotic behavior.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 23 co-sponsors, twelve of them Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 417-0 (i.e. it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 2/7/19, 549 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 545 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 23: H.R.507 The Put Trafficking Victims First Act
This bill would require the Department of Justice, working with other federal entities and stakeholders, to (i) establish a working group to improve the collection and analysis of data on the incidence of human trafficking (ii) report on efforts to develop methodologies to determine the prevalence of these crimes (iii) survey survivors to further estimate the prevalence of human trafficking and improve services for victims (this probably means overriding the Reduction in Paperwork Act (which severely limits the government’s capability to conduct surveys) (iv) report on efforts to increase restitution to victims of trafficking.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and seven co-sponsors, three of them Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 414-1 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 2/7/19, 549 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 545 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 24: H.R.840 The Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act
This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide child care assistance to veterans receiving covered health care services at a VA hospitals and other health facilities.  Too often, veterans fail to get essential care because they can’t find anyone to take care of their kids while they’re being seen at their appointments, so they cancel them or just don’t go.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 22 co-sponsors, amazingly none of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 400-9 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 2/8/19, 548 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 545 days ago–and counting.
Addendum: the bill passed just before this one, HR 752, the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, drafted by Doug Collins (R-GA) and passed by voice vote did end up becoming law (woo hoo) when the Senate folded it into another measure they passed. The bill will require to prepare a report each year on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded by federal courts to nonfederal entities when they prevail in a case against the United States.

Feb. 25: H.R.1063 The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act
This bill would require all presidential library fundraising organizations to submit quarterly reports to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on every contributor who gave the organization a contribution/contributions (whether monetary or in-kind) totaling $200 or more for the quarterly period, and make it unlawful for individuals or organizations to file false or incomplete information about these contributions.  NARA would be required to publish these reports on its website within 30 days after the quarter ends.  Note: this is an example of what politicians call “draining the swamp.”
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, the late Elijah Cummings, and two co-sponsors, both Republicans (one of them Mark Meadows)
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/11/19, 545 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/12/19, 544 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 26: H.R.1064 The Whistleblower Protection Expansion Act
Currently, federal whistleblowers are protected from retaliation if they disclose wrongdoing in their agency to the Inspector General of their agency or the Office of the Special Counsel.  This bill would also protect them from retaliation if they tell a supervisor in their direct chain of command.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, both Republicans (one of them Mark Meadows)
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/11/19, 545 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/12/19, 544 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 26: H.R.1065 The Social Media Use in Clearance Investigations Act
This bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to report on how social media activity is being used (or not) in security clearance investigations.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, both Republicans 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 377-3 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 2/11/19, 545 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/12/19, 544 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 27: H.R.995 The Settlement Agreement Information Database Act 
This bill would require that every time a federal agency settles a lawsuit against it, said agency must publish information about the settlement in a publicly available database for all citizens and organizations to see.  If the agency claims information about the settlement is confidential, it must publish the reason(s) why.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and one co-sponsor, also Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 418-0 (i.e. it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 2/13/19, 543 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/14/19, 542 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 28: H.R.425 The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act
This bill would direct the National Science Foundation (NSF) to: (1) encourage veterans to study and pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and computer science in coordination with other federal agencies that serve them, (2) submit a plan to Congress for enhancing veterans outreach, (3) include relevant data on veterans in science and engineering careers or education programs in its annual report on the state of science and engineering, (4) provide outreach to and include vets in: (i) the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to recruit and train mathematics and science teachers, (ii) NSF fellowships and masters fellowships for mathematics and science teachers, (iii) computer and network security capacity building grants, and (iv) traineeship grants leading to  doctorate degrees in computer and network security research. It would also require the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish an interagency working group to coordinate federal programs and policies for transitioning and training veterans and military spouses for STEM careers.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and six co-sponsors, four of them Republicans 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/25/19, 531 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/26/19, 530 days ago–and counting.

Feb. 29: H.R.501 The Poison Center Network Enhancement Act
This bill would reauthorize the Poison Center network and supports enhancements to its national toll-free phone number functionality, such as texting capabilities; expand its public awareness campaign to include education about drug misuse; and authorize poison control centers and professional organizations to use grant funds for preventing and treating the misuse of opioids and other drugs.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and four co-sponsors, three of them Republicans 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/25/19, 531 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/26/19, 530 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 1: H.R.525 The Strengthening the Health Care Fraud Prevention Task Force Act 
This bill would establish statutory authority and requirements for a partnership between health insurance plans, government agencies, law enforcement, and health care organizations in order to detect and prevent health care waste, fraud, and abuse. The partnership would be required to (1) promote data sharing between partners, (2) analyze data to identify fraudulent practices, (3) refer potential criminal cases to law enforcement, and (4) conduct education and outreach, and be jointly administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and three co-sponsors, one of them also Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 377-3 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 2/25/19, 531 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/26/19, 530 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t, according to the strong opinion of the founders

Mar. 2: H.R.539 The Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act
This bill would expand eligibility for participation in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program (one of us has participated in it–it’s excellent) to allow grantees of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program (also excellent–here’s proof) and other entities to participate in I-Corps courses, essentially concentrating the power of some of the government’s best programs by bringing them together. It also provides for a number of ways participation in these courses would be funded, requires NSF to develop an I-Corps course specifically for SBIR grantees with products ready for commercialization, and requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the impact of I-Corps on the commercialization of federally funded R&D, higher education, regional economies, and the economy as a whole.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, both Republicans 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 385-18 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 2/25/19, 531 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/26/19, 530 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

Mar. 3: H.R.1235 The MSPB Temporary Term Extension Act
This bill would have extended for one year the term of office of the only current member of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which was created to protect federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management.  The MSPB was down to one member (a Republican) because the Trump administration had not gotten nominations in to fill the three board seats in a timely fashion.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the late Elijah Cummings, and four co-sponsors, one of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/25/19, 531 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/26/19, 530 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 3: H.R.8 The Bipartisan Background Checks Act
This bill would establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties (i.e., unlicensed individuals), prohibiting a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check (closing the so-called “gunshow loophole” in existing background check laws).  There would be some limited exceptions to it, such as a gift between spouses in good faith.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 232 co-sponsors, five of them Republicans 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 240-190 (making it by far the most “partisan” bill passed on our list so far; even so eight Republicans voted for it, and if you want to defend the Senate’s complete lack of action on it, you have to explain why it’s not even worth discussing)
Date: 2/27/19, 529 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/4/19, 523 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 4: H.R.1112 The Enhanced Background Checks Act
This bill would lengthen the background check waiting period for the purchase of a firearm from three days to ten (days).  It would also replace references to persons “adjudicated as a mental defective” (and therefore ineligible to buy guns) with persons “adjudicated with mental illness, severe developmental disability, or severe emotional instability.”
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 15 co-sponsors, one of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 228-198 (making it even more “partisan” than H.R. 8; even so three Republicans voted for it, eight Democrats voted against it, and again, if you want to defend the Senate’s complete lack of action on it, you have to explain why it’s not even worth discussing)
Date: 2/28/19, 528 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/05/19, 522 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 5: H.R.1271 The Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals Act
This bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to start a pilot program that provides clinical observation experience to medical students at VA hospitals, presumably to encourage more prospective physicians to become VA doctors or, failing that, at least expose more clinicians to the unique health challenges faced by military vets.  Note: as you’ve been reading bills on our list like this one, you may have started thinking that a lot of them seem to be the legislative branch telling the executive branch what to do, micromanaging or overstepping its bounds.  Not true: the clear intent of the founders was that Congress, as representatives of the people, is supposed to be making these decisions, while the president and his administration are only supposed to be executing (hence “executive”) the people’s will as expressed by Congress, not making policy decisions on their own. 
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and six co-sponsors, two of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/5/19, 522 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/06/19, 521 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 5: H.R.1381 The Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act
The burn pit registry is a database set up by the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow servicemen & women to document their exposures to toxic chemicals and fumes caused by open burn pits (areas used for burning solid waste in open air) and their related health concerns.  Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have dealt with this hazard and its consequences and contributed to the registry.  H.R. 1112 would allow designees of veterans in the database or their immediate family members to update the registry with their cause of death, so all concerned can better understand the ultimate price that may have been paid as a result of these exposures and take more effective preventative action before or after exposures in future.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and eight co-sponsors, three of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 416-0 (i.e. it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 3/05/19, 522 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/06/19, 521 days ago–and counting.

Mar. 6: H.R.758 The Cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies and Watch Act
This bill would limit financial institutions’ liability for maintaining customer accounts or transactions in compliance with written requests by law enforcement at any level, and prohibit federal and state agencies from taking adverse supervisory actions against institutions for maintaining such accounts or transactions.  They say there’s a story behind every rule, and the tale of the tape behind this one seems like it must be a proverbial doozy–you’d think we wouldn’t need a bill at all for this purpose otherwise.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, one of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 404-7 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 3/11/19, 516 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/12/19, 515 days ago–and counting.

Mar 7: H.R.974 The Federal Reserve Supervision Testimony Clarification Act
A bill that definitely has a story behind it, H.R. 974 would require the Vice Chairman of Supervision for the Federal Reserve Board to testify before Congress about the board’s efforts to supervise the financial institutions it has authority over and require another designated member of the board to testify if there’s no one currently occupying that position.  Apparently, by keeping this position vacant, the Federal Reserve recently enjoyed seven years without having to appear before Congress to answer questions from the peoples’ representatives about how it’s carrying out this key responsibility it has for the nation’s economy.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and two co-sponsors, one of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/11/19, 516 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/12/19, 515 days ago–and counting.  Given everything that’s happened in the economy, especially recently, it sure seems like it would have been useful to have the benefit of this legislation even before it was passed by the House.

Mar 8: H.R.1122 The Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act
This bill would authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer a rental assistance voucher program that would encourage low-income families to move to lower poverty areas and/or into opportunity zones (distressed areas of the country that private investors are being given tax breaks to develop and build up).
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and one co-sponsor, a Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 387-22 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 3/11/19, 514 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/12/19, 513 days ago–and counting.  Given that one significant cause of coronavirus deaths is overcrowding and poor facilities in poverty-stricken parts of the country (e.g. those who can’t wash their hands because they have no running water), wouldn’t it have been better if this bill had been passed a year ago so this transition could at least have begun to happen?  Given that we don’t know how long this pandemic will last, or whether another would follow, wouldn’t it be a good idea to pass it now?

Mar 9: H.R.974 The Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act
This bill would prohibit any federal agency from taking any action or extending any assistance that recognizes or implies recognition of Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea (which Russia unlawfully seized from Ukraine), its airspace, or its territorial waters, albeit while allowing the President to waive these prohibitions on a case-by-case basis if it’s vital to U.S. national security interests to do so.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 25 co-sponsors, 11 of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 427-1 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/13/19, 512 days ago–and counting.

May 28: H.R.1404 The Vladimir Putin Transparency Act
This bill would require the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report to Congress about Russian President Vladimir Putin, including his estimated net worth and known sources of income, the intermediaries, including shell companies, that he uses, and the identities of the most significant Russian senior officials and oligarchs who facilitate his corrupt acts.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and three co-sponsors, two of them Republican 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/13/19, 512 days ago–and counting.

May 29: H.R.1582 The Electronic Message Preservation Act
This bill would require all federal agencies to preserve all its e-mails and other electronic messages electronically–currently 30% of government emails and other messages are being printed out and filed as hard copies, which (not coincidentally?) increases the chances they will be “lost” and makes them harder to retrieve in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the press, other outside organizations, and citizens. It would also require the National Archives to establish standards for the management of electronic presidential records during a President’s term of office; certify annually whether a President’s electronic records management controls meet the requirements of the Presidential Records Act; and report after the conclusion of a President’s term of office on electronic records deposited into the presidential archival depository.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, the late Elijah Cummings, and a Republican co-sponsor. 
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/13/19, 512 days ago–and counting.

May 30: H.R.1608 The Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments
This bill would require all federal agencies to make available to the general public information about the experts that are advising them (e.g. on advisory committees) and how they were chosen, and require all advisory committee and sub-committee members to comply with federal ethics laws and conflict-of-interest rules in carrying out their advisory obligations.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, only
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/13/19, 512 days ago–and counting.

May 31: H.R.1 The For The People Act
The first completely “partisan” bill passed by the House, after more than fifty bills with bipartisan support, none of them taken up by the Senate more than a year later, all but two of them extremely or completely bipartisan.

And even so, take a look at the provisions of H.R. 1 below; see if you agree that, in the United States of America as we know it and have known it, every one of these provisions is “partisan” and none are worth even discussing, because that’s what you have to believe to justify the Senate not even taking it up for debate, let alone passing it in some form, to be negotiated and reconciled with the House, as has happened for the last 200+ years.  The legislation would:

  • Automatically register voters based on their participation in any number of government programs that require them to be citizens or allow them to register online, rather than requiring them to go to a DMV or only automatically registering people with driver’s licenses, which discriminates against voters who don’t own cars and therefore don’t have licenses (sorry, we can’t be “neutral” about this–have to tell it like it is)
  • Encourage same-day voter registration
  • Make Election Day a federal holiday to give all citizens an equal opportunity to vote, not only those who can afford to take time off
  • Stop gerrymandering by either party by requiring that all Congressional district lines be drawn by non-partisan election commissions instead of by partisan hacks in control of the state’s government at the time (who then make some peoples’ votes count more than others for the next 10 years, unless you live in Texas)
  • Limit voter purges, a practice allegedly used to “clean up voter rolls;” in practice used to disproportionately unregister the poor and minorities, often mistakenly, with no notification until they show up to vote and find they’re no longer registered.  You don’t get purged from church for not showing up to services for a while; you shouldn’t be purged from our country’s most sacred rite for that either.  No amount of bulls**t can justify this, but you’re welcome to try in comments below, Republican friends–friendly warning: don’t be offended when you get your a** kicked.
  • Restore voting rights to all felons who have served their sentences
  • Match small donors’ ($200 or less) campaign contributions at a 6:1 ratio for candidates who agree not to take high-dollar contributions, a provision that would be paid for out of the pool of fines collected from corporations for breaking various laws
  • Require PACs and other non-profits participating in the election process to disclose the identities of donors who have contributed $10,000 or more (shedding light on dark money contributions), and prevent political operatives from using shell companies and the like to hide the identity of contributors
  • Prohibit domestic corporations with significant foreign control, ownership, or direction from spending money in U.S. elections
  • Support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that gave corporations, unions, and other organizations the right to spend without limit in elections
  • Reform the Federal Election Commission that regulates elections by reducing the number of members from six to five while allowing no more than two members to be from the same party (currently the FEC is limited in its ability to police unethical campaign tactics because there are three members from each party so every attempt to rein in a new dirty trick results in a tie vote, and therefore inaction), and establish an advisory committee consisting of retired Federal judges, former law enforcement officials, or individuals with experience in election law to recommend commissioners going forward.
  • Require all candidates for president and vice president to disclose their last ten years of tax returns in order to be eligible for office
  • Require all presidential inaugural committees to disclose and account for its expenditures and a full list of contributors
  • Eliminate the use of taxpayer money by politicians to settle sexual harrassment suits
  • Require the Judicial Conference to create a code of ethics that would be binding on the Supreme Court
  • Grant statehood to the District of Columbia, which has a population greater than two others (VT & WY) and close to seven others that also have fewer than 1 million residents (but nevertheless have two Senators each, while LA County shares two Senators with the rest of California, even though it has more residents than 42 of our 50 states; any Republican who wants to claim this was part of the “wisdom of the Founders” is, again, welcome to try–you will get your a** handed to you by people who know a lot more about the history of this country than you do, though of course if you have TDS, you likely won’t know, so it won’t hurt at all).  Frankly, Puerto Rico should get statehood too, before another “president” treats it like a foreign country.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and 236 co-sponsors, all Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 234-193, along strictly partisan lines, though four Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote against it.
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/13/19, 512 days ago–and counting, and don’t hold your breath on this one–Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority leader has specifically vowed it will never come to a vote as long as his party controls the Senate, a classic case of his not wanting vulnerable members of his party to have to vote against measures that large majorities of Americans support.  Think it would have been a good idea to iron out differences on this before coronavirus hit (so we can focus on recovery without worrying about a disputed election and civil war)?

June 1: H.R.1617 The KREMLIN Act
This bill would require the Director of National Intelligence to produce three intelligence assessments on the political intentions of Vladimir Putin’s regime in the wake of its interference in elections around the world, including potential military action against NATO members, potential responses to an enlarged United States or NATO presence in eastern Europe, and potential areas where the Russian government could exploit weaknesses and divisions amongst the governments of its Western adversaries.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and three co-sponsors, two of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/12/19, 513 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/14/19, 511 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 2: H.R.854 The Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act
This bill would direct the State Department to develop and report to Congress on a long term strategy for coordinating the provision of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans, both in Venezuela and in other parts of the Western Hemisphere, and authorizes the President to provide humanitarian aid to such individuals. It would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress on the impact of U.S. assistance for Venezuelans throughout.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and fourteen co-sponsors, surprisingly none of them Republican, given the importance of this issue to the administration.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/25/19, 503 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/26/19, 502 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 3: H.R.920 The Venezuela Arms Restriction Act
This bill would prohibit the export of weapons and related services to security forces controlled by any Venezuelan government not recognized by the United States (i.e. Maduro’s, the one in power, which stole the last election), and require the State Department to report on any arms or support provided by foreign entities to an illegitimate government like this.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and fourteen co-sponsors, four of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/25/19, 503 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/26/19, 502 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 4: H.R.1477 The Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act
This bill would require the State Department to provide an assessment of Russia and Venezuela’s security cooperation and the threat it poses in our hemisphere, and require the President to provide an assessment of the national security risks posed by a potential Russian acquisition of CITGO’s U.S. energy infrastructure holdings (CITGO is owned by Venezuela, and a Russian company has provided it loans–if it defaults, the company could become Russian-owned).  It would also bar aliens who have worked on behalf of Russia to support Venezuelan security forces from entering the U.S.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, i.e. the author, and eight co-sponsors, three of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/25/19, 503 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/26/19, 502 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 5: H.R.1616 The European Energy Security and Diversification Act
This bill would require the State Department to prioritize providing assistance for developing energy infrastructure in Europe and Eurasia, including funding, political, and diplomatic support for natural gas, electricity transmission, and renewable energy sources.  Preference would be given to projects that improve the capacity to transfer gas and electricity within and between regional countries, have been identified by the European Commission as integral for regional energy security, are expected to enhance energy market integration and transparency, can attract other sources of funding, and can potentially use U.S. goods and services (ultimately the goal is to reduce the leverage Russia has over these countries as a supplier).

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, and nine co-sponsors, five of them Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 391-24 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 3/25/19, 503 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/26/19, 502 days ago–and counting.  The Senate wrote and introduced its “own” bill, identical to the House’s, and it was officially introduced on the same day that the House introduced theirs, then nothing until 12/17/19, when their version was also referred to committee, and nothing has happened with it since.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch is getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 6: H.R.297 The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act
This bill would extend federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, which would make members of the tribe eligible for the same services and benefits provided to other federally recognized tribes and their members, provided the tribe submits and maintains a membership roll.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, i.e. the author, no consponsors.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 403-21 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 3/26/19, 502 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/28/19, 500 days ago–and counting.  The Senate wrote and introduced its “ownbill on the same day (1/8/19) as the House’s, referred theirs to a committee too, where it passed a year later (01/06/20) and was “placed on the Senate calendar” (aka “your business is very important to us”), but it hasn’t been brought to the floor by McConnell for discussion, and it still hasn’t been passed yet.

June 7: H.R.1433 The DHS MORALE Act
This bill would extend the duties of the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to address morale, including via leader development and employee engagement, maintainance of a catalogue of available employee development opportunities, and issuing a DHS-wide employee engagement action plan.  It would also require DHS to establish an employee engagement steering committee, bless establishment of an annual employee award program, and require DHS to report on the human resources impacts of the six week government shutdown on the department.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; five co-sponsors, all Democrats as well.
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 4/1/19, 496 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/2/19, 495 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch is getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 8: H.R.1593 The CLASS Act of 2019
This bill would establish a council within Homeland Security in charge of coordinating activities, plans, and policies to enhance the security of schools and preschools against acts of terrorism.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; two co-sponsors, both Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 384-18 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 4/1/19, 496 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/2/19, 495 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch is getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 9: H.R.7 The Paycheck Fairness Act
This bill would endeavor to address wage discrimination on the basis of gender in a number of ways, including:

  • Restricting the reasons that can be legally used as rationales for paying men and women unequally
  • Enhancing protections against retaliation for employees who report this type of discrimination
  • Making it unlawful to compel employees to sign contracts that prohibit them from disclosing their wages
  • Increasing penalties for violations of equal pay provisions in existing law
  • Training all Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) employees and other affected parties about wage discrimination and how to deal with it
  • Awarding grants for negotiation skills training programs to address wage disparities, including outreach programs to girls
  • Conducting studies on how to eliminate pay disparities between men and women
  • Making information on wage discrimination widely available to the public so more understand the problem and how to address it
  • Establishing an award to be given annually by the Secretary of Labor to an employer who has made substantial efforts to address this issue
  • Requiring the EEOC to collect compensation and other data from employers based on sex, race, and national origin of employees for use in enforcing laws prohibiting pay discrimination

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 239 co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 242-187 (with seven Republicans supporting it)
Date: 3/27/19, 501 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/3/19, 494 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch is getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t.  To justify the Senate’s inaction, you have to believe that nothing in this bill is even worth discussing.

June 10: H.R.1331 The Local Water Protection Act
This bill would reauthorize, through 2024, grants to states for programs that manage and control pollution added from nonpoint sources, i.e. cases where precipitation picks up pollution as it moves across the ground to navigable waters, and groundwater protection activities to help states implement these types of programs.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; two co-sponsors, both Republicans.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 329-56 (i.e. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 4/8/19, 489 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/9/19, 488 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch is getting out of its lane or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 11: H.R.1433 The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 1993 during the Clinton administration with Joe Biden as lead sponsor, provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. It also also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Justice Department.  The VAWA was passed with broad bipartisan support and easily reauthorized in 2000 and 2005.

The 2012 reauthorization was opposed by conservative Republicans because it extended the VAWA’s protections to same-sex couples and provided temporary visas to battered, but undocumented, women. It passed in 2013, but expired during the 2019 government shutdown.   The 2019 reauthorization passed by the House provides the VAMA’s protections to transgender victims and bars those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 167 co-sponsors, including one Republican.
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 263-158 (with 33 Republicans voting in favor of it)
Date: 4/4/19, 493 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/10/19, 487 days ago–and counting. Six Senate bills related to this one have been proposed, all have been referred to committee, the most recent one on 11/13/19, 133 days ago and counting.  This is an act that was originally passed by big bipartisan majorities, and over the course of the next 25 years, re-authorized twice by broad bipartisan majorities, and re-authorized again by a narrower bipartisan majority.  It is in no way a “partisan” bill, Mitch.

June 12: H.R.1644 The Save The Internet Act
This bill, focused on restoring Net neutrality (i.e. the principle that since the Internet was created with taxpayer dollars, all Americans should have equal access to it, and that equal Net access is vital to both entrepreneurship and democracy) would:

  • Enact specific rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization
  • Enhance transparency protections
  • Empower the FCC to investigate consumer and business complaints, and, when necessary, fine Internet service providers for violations
  • Empower the FCC to stop Internet service providers from undermining net neutrality principles through new and harmful mechanisms
  • Stop Internet service providers from exploiting choke points online, such as interconnection points
  • Revive authorities the FCC used to fund rural broadband as part of the Connect America Fund
  • Restore authorities the FCC used starting in 2016 to fund broadband for low-income Americans, including veterans, seniors, students, and disabled Americans
  • Stop the FCC from applying more than 700 regulations under the Communications Act that are unnecessary to protecting an open Internet such as rate setting

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 197 co-sponsors, all Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 232-190 (one Republican voted for it, 6 abstained. It should be noted, however, that 80-90% of Americans support Net neutrality, including more than 70% of Republicans, so it can hardly be dismissed as a “partisan” issue)
Date: 4/10/19, 487 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now, especially when it comes to an issue like this; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/29/19, 468 days ago–and counting.

June 13: H.R.91 The Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act
This bill would authorize the Bureau of Indian Affairs to assess sanitation and safety conditions on land set aside to provide Columbia River Treaty tribes access to traditional fishing grounds, enter into contracts with tribes or tribal organizations to improve sanitation, safety conditions, and access to electricity, sewer, and water infrastructure on this land, and require the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to report on whether conditions have improved as a result of these contracts.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, also a Democrat
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 396-18 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 4/29/19, 468 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 4/30/19, 467 days ago–and counting.

June 14: H.R.1876 The National Senior Investor Security Act
This bill would establish a Senior Investor Taskforce within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which would be required to report on topics relating to investors over the age of 65 and make recommendations for legislative or regulatory actions to address these issues.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to report on the financial exploitation of senior citizens as well.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; six co-sponsors, half of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 392-20 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 4/30/19, 467 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/1/19, 466 days ago–and counting.  Some senators did propose a similar bill thereafter, but it too was just referred to committeee, on 6/11/19, where it, too, has remained untouched.

June 15: H.R.9 The Climate Action Now Act
This bill covers what its title implies.  It would:

  • Require the president to develop and update annually a plan for us to meet our goals under the Paris Agreement, including descriptions of steps to:
    • Cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025
    • Confirm that other parties to the agreement with major economies are fulfilling their announced contributions to solving the problem.
  • Require the president to seek and publish comments from the public when submitting and updating the plan.
  • Prohibit the use of federal funds to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
  • Report on the effect of Paris on clean energy job development in rural communities (w/in six months of the bill’s passage)
  • Contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to report on the potential impacts withdrawing from the agreement would have on the global economic competitiveness of the our economy and on U.S. workers
  • Require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report on the impact of the plan on U.S. territories (w/in one year of passage)

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 224 co-sponsors, all Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 231-190 (including three Republicans voting in support of it; it should also be noted that most recent polls show more than 70% of Americans believe climate change is either a “crisis” or a “major problem,” and even 60% of Republicans now believe human activity is the cause, with a majority of younger Republicans going so far as to say the government is doing too little to address it, so to dismiss this bill as not even worth discussing because action on climate change is “partisan” does not reflect public opinion, Mitch)
Date: 5/2/19, 465 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now, especially not on an issue like this with a direct relationship to the problem; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/7/19, 460 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 16: H.R.1704 The Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act
This bill, aimed at improving the prospects and fair treatment of US businesses in overseas markets, would:

  • Establish an an Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Matters, who would be responsible for matters relating to international economics and business in foreign policy
  • Make promotion of U.S. economic and commercial interests a principal duty of all US embassies.
  • Require the State Department to make economic and commercial diplomacy a part of standard training for the Foreign Service/diplomatic corps, with a particular focus on market access, commercial advocacy, and increasing awareness of government assistance available to businesses.
  • Require the president to initiate negotiations with all countries to establish international standards for government-supported infrastructure investment overseas, including requirements related to sovereignty, corruption, and environmental protection.
  • Require the State Department to report on each embassy’s activities to promote U.S. economic and business interests
  • Require the State and Commerce Departments to report on commercial relations with foreign countries, including information on each country or region’s political and investment climate.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; seven co-sponsors, including four Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 400-16 (i.e. highly bipartisan)
Date: 5/7/19, 460 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/8/19, 459 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 17: H.R.2002 The Taiwan Assurance Act
This bill, intended to reinforce our support of Taiwan in the face of Chinese efforts to corrupt and corrode that relationship, would:

  • Require the State Department to review its guidance on U.S.-Taiwan relations and reissue it to relevant executive branch departments and agencies
  • Direct the State Department to report to Congress on the results of this review, and on the implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act (which dictates that it’s US policy to support engagement between U.S. and Taiwanese officials).
  • Reaffirm that Taiwan is an important part of U.S. strategy in the region and urge the US to conduct regular transfers of defense articles to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; 24 co-sponsors, twenty of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/7/19, 460 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/8/19, 459 days ago–and counting.  Some senators proposed a similar bill thereafter, but it too was just referred to committeee, on 3/26/19, where it, too, has remained untouched.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 18: H.R.1876 The ACCESS Broadband Act
This bill aims to move the country closer to universal broadband Internet access.  It would:

  • Establish an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).”
  • Direct this office to simplify access for small businesses and local communities, including via small business workshops and other support resources.
  • Streamline the process for small businesses & local governments to apply for federal broadband assistance
  • Improve coordination in this domain across government and the private sector

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 25 co-sponsors, eleven of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/7/19, 460 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/8/19, 459 days ago–and counting.  To its credit, the Senate has at least come up with its own version of the bill, also stuck in committee, which on 3/11/20 it was “ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably,” whatever that means.  Then the economy collapsed; too bad it didn’t become law a year ago when the House passed it–a year of towns and businesses getting better broadband access before all this happened could have been helpful on any number of fronts now.  Without it, millions of children who lack Internet access have been without education since schools were forced to close; that’s developmental time that can never be made up.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 19: H.R.1503 The Orange Book Transparency Act
Every year, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) publishes a document called the “Orange Book” (because it’s orange, because it was first created around Halloween).  The Orange Book contains all the drugs the FDA has approved and, more importantly, what others can be substituted for them; it’s therefore the gold standard doctors, pharmacists, and insurers rely on to determine when and where less expensive generics can be used in place of more expensive patented brand-name medications.  This bill would require:

  • Drug companies to promptly notify the FDA whenever one of their patents has been invalidated by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) (which would allow for more generic substitutions). Many drug companies try to keep their patents going for years after when they were due to expire–and keep generics out–by creating slightly different versions of their original drugs and patenting them as “new.”  Generic manufacturers challenge these with the USPTO and they often get thrown out.
  • The FDA to promptly remove invalidated patents from the Orange Book (and presumably, as a result, include more generic substitutions for health care providers to consider)
  • The FDA to solicit public comments regarding the types of patent information that should be listed in the Orange Book and, within a year, provide an evaluation of these comments to Congress
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the extent to which various patent types included in the book have slowed the entry of generics into the market

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 13 co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 422-0 (it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 5/8/19, 459 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/9/19, 458 days ago–and counting.  Anything that reduces health care costs would have been useful in the midst of a pandemic, no?
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 20: H.R.1520 The Purple Book Continuity Act
The Purple Book is similar to the Orange Book above except that instead of covering pharamceuticals, i.e. manufactured chemicals with a specific molecular structure, the Purple Book covers “biologics,” i.e. substances or even organisms with therapeutical or medicinal value that emerge from natural/organic processes.  Like the Orange Book, for every FDA-approved biologic, the Purple Book tells health care providers what other biologics are considered biosimilar enough to be considered valid substitutes.  It also indicates whether an evaluation has been done to determine the extent to which the biologic is exclusive of others (if a biologic is found to be exclusive, no biosimilars can be legally marketed until 12 years after the date of this finding). This bill would require:

  • The FDA to solicit public comments regarding the type of information that should be contained in the Purple Book and transmit a report on this to the Congress within three years
  • The FDA to do an evaluation for exclusivity in the case of every biologic in the Purple Book (currently this is only done when necessary for regulatory reasons or if the applicant for FDA approval requests it because it’s an expensive, time-consuming process).  This would presumably make it clearer to all parties what products can/cannot legally be produced by other companies
  • Biologic-creating companies to provide the FDA with information on any patents it holds on its products in the cases where those patents are shared with companies making biosimilar products, which presumably would help determine, for each biologic, the biosimilars that are legally free and clear, helping with the tasks above

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; twelve co-sponsors, two of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 421-0 (it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 5/8/19, 459 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/9/19, 458 days ago–and counting.  Given all the kinds of treatments being considered in the pandemic, wouldn’t it have been useful to have this clarified a year ago?  Are any of the right-wing judges that were confirmed instead of getting legislation like this passed going to have any positive effect on dealing with COVID? Please don’t say nobody knew this was coming.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 21: H.R.389 The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act
This bill would establish a Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program within the Treasury Department, which would provide rewards to individuals furnishing information leading to the restraining, seizure, forfeiture, or repatriation of stolen assets linked to foreign government corruption.  The rewards would be paid, to the fullest extent possible, out of proceeds from recovered assets (not taxpayer dollars).
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; four co-sponsors, half of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 22: H.R.986 The Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act
This bill would reverse the Trump administration’s regulatory guidance to the participating states.  Specifically, the administration has told state governments that:

  • Health care plans no longer need to include all the benefits defined as essential under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), making availability as valid a criterion as comprehensiveness
  • Qualifying health care plans can be short-term rather than ongoing, or association-based (which, on the plus side, allow people with common interests to band together, lowering costs, but on the flip side, can be sold across state lines, which could potentially destabilize the state health insurance exchanges set up under the ACA)
  • Assessments of whether plans are delivering on the benefits promised can be deferred or periodic rather than conducted yearly

In other words, stopping the administration from using the bureaucracy to significantly weaken the protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions provided by the ACA.

It would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess the number of people who would have lost health care coverage under the Trump guidelines if the bill hadn’t struck them down, as well as the impact on mental health treatment that would have occured.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 19 co-sponsors, all Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 230-184 (with four Republicans voting for it, one voting present, and nine not voting, presumably because they didn’t want to be on the record against it)
Date: 5/9/19, 458 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.  Some Senators proposed a similar bill, but it, too, was referred to committee, where nothing has been done with it
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 23: H.R.1037 The Banking Transparency for Sanctioned Persons Act
This bill would require the Treasury Department to report semi-annually on financial services provided by specific institutions to benefit a state sponsor of terrorism or sanctioned individuals.  Institutions could be excluded from this disclosure if they credibly assured Treasury that they would no longer do business with these entities, or if it were deemed in the national interest to keep the existence of (or our awareness of) these transactions secret.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; one Democratic co-sponsor
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 24: H.R.1060 The BUILD Act
This bill would allow non-profits offering mortgage loans for charitable purposes to use truth-in-lending (TIL), good faith estimate (GFE), or HUD-1 forms for disclosures, rather than the more complex forms that would otherwise be required
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; two Democratic co-sponsors
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting. Some senators proposed a similar bill, but it was also dumped into committee, where nothing has happened to it since.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 25: H.R.1313 The Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act
This bill would amend the existing transit security grant program (which funds projects related to improving the security of our transportation systems) to guarantee all grant recipients have the funds they were allocated available to them for at least 36 months (55 months, in the case of large initiatives), removing uncertainty and capriciousness from the funding process for this work, and expand what grant funds can be used for to include security training for individuals who are deployed as backfills when security incidents occur.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; one Democratic sponsor
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 26: H.R.1437 The Securing Department of Homeland Security Firearms Act
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop and disseminate a directive for achieving adequate security over DHS firearms and other DHS sensitive assets (w/in 120 days), as well as disseminate a revised version of the personal property management manual given to DHS employees to incorporate the directive.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; three co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 27: H.R.1594 The First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act
This bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to implement a uniform process for reviewing anti-terrorism grant applications it receives from state, local, and tribal governments, in particular grant applications requesting money to buy first responder equipment/systems that don’t meet current voluntary, but consensus standards.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; three co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 28: H.R.1912 The DHS Acquisition Documentation Integrity Act 
This bill would impose new standards on all Department of Homeland Security acquisitions of $300M or higher, including:

  • Greater documentation before purchase, including validation of the operational requirements involved
  • Cost estimates and schedules in line with best practices put forward by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • Inclusion in a new annual comprehensive report on the status of all DHS acquisitions

In a nutshell, do a better job of making sure DHS acquisition money is being well-spent and managed, that it’s not just a slush fund for crony capitalism

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, a Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/14/19, 453 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/15/19, 452 days ago–and counting.  Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to have these protections in place before massive new monies needed to be spent on various forms of security as a result of the pandemic?  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to get them in place now?
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 29: H.R.375 The Interior Native American Protection Affirmation Act
This isn’t the bill’s real name–that name was too long and odd.  But basically what the law would do is overrule a recent Supreme Court decision by allowing the Department of the Interior to hold land in trust for Native American tribes retroactively.  The Court had ruled Interior couldn’t protect these lands for tribes unless the tribes had already received federal recognition as tribes when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed in 1934, which many have done since then, as the Native American community has researched and rallied itself to preserve its culture and rights in the decades since.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; three co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/15/19, 452 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/16/19, 451 days ago–and counting.  To be blunt, if any Native Americans have lost their lives in this pandemic because these protections didn’t become law, that blood is on the Senate’s hands.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

June 30: H.R.1892 The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Technical Corrections Act
This bill would make a number of changes to the comprehensive review of security that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducts every four years.  For example, it would require DHS to:

  • Document the review process it goes through so that the process doesn’t have to re-invented every time and is repeatable for comparison’s sake
  • Consult (more) with more stakeholders in conducting the review, e.g. state/local governments and academic institutions.
  • Conduct (and document) a risk analysis as part of the process (you’d think this was already being done, but…)

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, a Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 415-0 (it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 5/15/19, 452 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/16/19, 451 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 1: H.R.5 The Equality Act
This bill would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas, including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. It would also:

  • Expand the definition of “public accommodations” to include places/establishments that provide “exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays;” “goods, services, or programs;” and “transportation services”
  • Allow the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the federal courts
  • Prohibit discrimination based on someone’s association with someone of a particular race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, and prohibit discrimination in any of these areas if it’s based on belief that turns out to be mistaken
  • Block the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 from being used as a defense against or basis for challenging these protections.
  • Prohibit individuals from being denied access to shared facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms that are in accordance with their gender identity

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 240 co-sponsors, including three Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 236-173, with eight Republicans voting in favor, and another 16 unable to bring themselves to vote against it
Date: 5/17/19, 450 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate is resuming business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/20/19, 447 days ago–and counting.  A Senate version of the bill was also dumped into committee, where it remains, untouched.

July 2: H.R.312 The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act
This bill would reaffirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reservation in Massachusetts as protected trust land and require all legal actions to the contrary about this land to be dismissed by the courts involved. The irony of the term “Indian giver” is reaffirmed as well.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 35 co-sponsors, including six Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 275-146, with 47 Republicans voting in favor, and an additional six not voting against
Date: 5/15/19, 452 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/20/19, 447 days ago–and counting.

July 3: H.R.987 The Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act
This bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct outreach and educational activities regarding the health insurance exchanges that are established and operated within states by HHS, which the Trump administration stopped doing so as to undermine the Affordable Care Act. The outrach and activities would be required to inform potential enrollees of the availability of coverage and related financial assistance under the exchanges, in culturally and linguistically appropriate formats.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 25 co-sponsors, all Democrats as well
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 234-183, with five Republicans voting in favor, and an additional nine not voting against
Date: 5/16/19, 451 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/20/19, 447 days ago–and counting.  Given the role lack of health insurance has played in the spread of the coronavirus, the Senate has, to put it bluntly, blood on its hands for not having even discussed this legislation.

July 4: H.R.615 The Refugee Sanitation Facility Safety Act
This bill would direct the State Department, when providing overseas assistance for refugees, to ensure the provision of safe and secure access to sanitation facilities, with a special emphasis on women, girls, and vulnerable populations (you’d think we already do this, but…)
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 42 co-sponsors, including one Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/16/19, 451 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/20/19, 447 days ago–and counting.  Given the reality that COVID has spread like proverbial wildfire in unsanitary conditions, the Senate’s failure to even discuss this legislation has likely resulted in unnecessary death and suffering for Americans.  It would still be better late than never now.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 5: H.R.753 The Global Electoral Exchange Act
This bill would authorize the State Department to establish a Global Electoral Exchange Program to promote sound election-administration practices around the world.  The department would be further authorized to award grants to qualified non-profit U.S.-based organizations that have expertise and experience in relevant topics, and to design and implement programs to bring relevant individuals, such as election administrators and poll workers, together to study and discuss election procedures.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; five co-sponsors, two of them Republicans (one of them Mark Meadows)
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/20/19, 447 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/21/19, 446 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 6: H.R.1359 The Digital GAP Act
This bill would direct the State Department to promote public and private investments in secure Internet infrastructure and increased Internet access around the world.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID) and the Peace Corps would also be required to be involved in this effort, and the president would be required to report to Congress on efforts to implement the policy, including efforts to provide technical and regulatory assistance to developing countries and close the gender gap in Internet access.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; six co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/20/19, 447 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/21/19, 446 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 7: H.R.1952 The Intercountry Adoption Information Act
This bill would direct the State Department to include additional information in its annual report to Congress about intercountry adoptions, including:

  • A list of countries that have laws that prevent or prohibit adoptions by American parents
  • More detailed information related to such prohibitions, and
  • What steps the State Department has taken to help such countries reopen intercountry adoptions

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author  (Doug Collins); six co-sponsors, three of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 397-0 (it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 5/20/19, 447 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/21/19, 446 days ago–and counting. Some Senators introduced an identical bill; it, too, was referred to committee where nothing has been done with it since.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 8: H.R.2116 The Global Fragility Act
This bill would direct the State Department to establish an interagency Global Fragility Initiative to stabilize conflict-affected areas and prevent violence globally, establishing funds to support such efforts. In particular, it would require State to:

  • Devise a plan for the initiative, including its organizational structure and goals, with State taking the lead in foreign policy, diplomatic, and political efforts, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) leding development, humanitarian, and non-security policies, and other departments/agencies (e.g. Defense) providing support as necessary.
  • Select priority countries and regions that are particularly at risk, and report to Congress 10-year plans for each, including descriptions of goals, plans for reaching such goals, and benchmarks for measuring progress.
  • Report to Congress every two years about the initiative’s progress, with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) consulting Congress every two years about opportunities to assess the initiative and recommend improvements.

In addition, the bill would create the Stabilization and Prevention Fund to support efforts to stabilize conflict-affected areas, including areas at risk from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations, and the Complex Crises Fund to support programs to address emerging, unforeseen, or complex challenges abroad.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; twenty co-sponsors, six of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/20/19, 447 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/21/19, 446 days ago–and counting.  Given the well-proven role of conflict in the spread of disease, wouldn’t it have been useful to have the benefit of a year’s work on this by now?  Wouldn’t it still?
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 9: H.R.2480 The Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
This bill would seek to strengthen existing programs aimed at reducing child abuse.  Specifically it would:

  • Shift focus toward prevention by helping states to build networks of cost-effective and locally-driven services that prevent child abuse and strengthen families;
  • Build the capacity of child protective services agencies that are overburdened with increased caseloads due to the opioid epidemic;
  • Improve the sharing and quality of data to better understand the scope of child abuse and neglect and ensure victims do not fall through the cracks; and
  • Support evidence-based strategies to treat and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 49 co-sponsors, nineteen of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/20/19, 447 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/21/19, 446 days ago–and counting.  The ‘pro-life’ party decided it couldn’t even spare a minute of time spent confirming unelected judicial overlords for the next three decades to save innocent children’s lives today.  Instead, hundreds of thousands of abused American children are now locked down in quarantine with their abusers.

July 10: H.R.1812 The Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act
This bill would authorize the Veterans’ Administration to provide mental health counseling to members of the National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard who participated in a drug interdiction, or who served in response to a national emergency or major disaster or civil disorder declared by the President or chief executive of a state.  Believe it or not, these national heroes aren’t currently eligible to receive this kind of assistance from the agency that best knows how to deal with what they’ve gone through, despite the fact that many are victims of PTSD, even taking their own lives.
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; two co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 11: H.R.1947 The Veterans Research & Education Expansion Act
This bill would allow other federal agencies to transfer as much money as they want to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of funding research and education by non-profits at VA medical centers (without bumping up against general limitations on fiscal year spending).
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, a Democrat
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 12: H.R.2045 The Veterans Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration
This bill would create, within the VA, a new administration dedicated to helping returning veterans transition and to opening up economic opportunities for them.  As such it would take on the VA’s existing programs that provide readjustment benefits (such as employment programs, education assistance, and vocational rehabilitation benefits); home-loan guarantees; and small business programs so as to provide better, closer focus on these areas (currently part of–and arguably lost within–the sprawling Veterans Benefits Administration).
Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; three co-sponsors, two of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 13: H.R.2326 The Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Bill” Mulder (Ret.) Transition Improvement Act 
Named in honor of a decorated veteran who committed suicide shortly after retiring from the armed forces, this bill would require the Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make improvements to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) that serves members of the Armed Forces who separate, retire, or are discharged from service. Specifically it would:

  • Extend by five years an existing pilot program for providing off-base transition training for veterans and their spouses, requiring Labor to implement it in no fewer than 50 locations, at least 20 of which must be states with high rates of veteran unemployment
  • Require the VA to make grants to eligible organizations for the provision of transition assistance
  • Require the VA to enter an agreement with an independent entity with experience in adult education to report on the efficacy of TAP, and conduct a five-year longitudinal study of TAP on three separate cohorts
  • Give the VA and Labor access to information reported by employers to states’ new hire directories in order to better track veteran employment

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; eleven co-sponsors, six of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now; in fact, in current circumstances, everything and anything is more urgent than what the Senate has resumed business to discuss, namely more lifetime judicial appointments.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 14: H.R. 2340 The FIGHT Veteran Suicides Act 
This bill would serve to improve communication between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Congress by mandating that the VA inform Congress of any suicide attempt (successful or unsuccessful) that occurs at a VA facility. By making these events more transparent, the Bill is intended help reduce suicide in the veterans’ community.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author (a veteran); twelve co-sponsors, three of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now–veterans who have served our country have been dying every day for more than a year without our legislators having any better handle on who, where, or why, information that could have been used to create programs to save their lives.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.

July 15: H.R. 2359  The Whole Veteran Act 
This bill would require the Department of Veteran Affairs to report on its implementation of a “whole health” (holistic) approach to health care for our veterans, including an analysis of the accessibility and availability of a wide variety of services, including accupuncture and hypnosis.  Holistic health care differs from traditional approaches in that it looks at all areas of life that can affect health so as to create health plans suited to each individual serviceman and woman rather than ‘one size fits all.’

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author (and a veteran); two co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now–our veterans should always be prioritized over confirming more unelected partisan judges to lifetime appointments at a record pace.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 16: H.R. 2372  The Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act 
This bill would require the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to report on all deals related to veteran suicide prevention and veterans’ mental health made between the VA and non-VA entities. Given that veterans’ mental health issues have spiraled out of control, the belief behind the bill is that some of the entities the VA has contracted with aren’t delivering on what they promised or aren’t worth what they’re being paid.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author, and one co-sponsor, also a Democratic (and a veteran)
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 5/21/19, 446 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now–our veterans should always be prioritized over confirming more unelected partisan judges to lifetime appointments at a record pace, especially if/when they’re dying in droves due to substandard care.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/22/19, 445 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 17: H.R. 1500  The Consumers First Act 
This bill would reverse the Trump administration’s unconstitutional efforts to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  We’re trying in general to be “even-handed” and “objective” in these descriptions, even if the facts are all on one side, but in case any Trump supporters are reading this, or you know any, some basic civic education is in order in describing this bill.  Contrary to what some believe, the job of the Executive Branch is not to make law, it is to execute (hence the name) laws passed by the peoples’ representatives, the Congress, which is clearly the body the founders intended to be the seat of power, especially the House.  The CFPB was created by a duly elected Congress to perform a number of duties, no Congress since has passed laws changing those duties; it is not up to the Executive to decide whether it performs those duties or not, not constitutionally.  Period.  There is no “unitary executive” hiding out in the Constitution, no matter what sophistry the Federalist Society believes.

With that in mind, this bill would:

  • Require specified units, offices, and boards of the CFPB perform their assigned duties and not be renamed or reorganized
  • Establish requirements for staffing levels, political appointees, and the publication of consumer complaints
  • Reinstate specified agreements between the CFPB and the Department of Education regarding the sharing of information and oversight related to federal student loans.
  • Reinstate the CFPB rule that made it illegal for financial services companies to use arbitration agreements to prevent consumers from joining together in class actions and required these companies to provide the CFPB information about arbitrations.
  • Codify the duties of the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (rather than leaving that up to the CFPB Director, because the Director appointed by Trump decided not to have the office do anything meaningful at all), incuding the duty to implement enforcement and supervisory authority regarding fair lending laws
  • Establish an Office of Students and Young Consumers
  • Revise the requirements to be a member of the CFPB Consumer Advisory Board, including requiring that service members and veterans be included, and require that the board’s meetings take place in person
  • Lower the cap on surplus funds of Federal Reserve banks (to compel them to make investments, rather than just cash in on charging overdraft fees, collecting on floats, and the like)
  • Require all financial institutions to make publicly available disclosures about their financing and practices, not just those that originate more than 500 mortgages and lines of credit (you can probably guess how this exception has been getting abused)
  • Limit other exemptions from making public disclosures of practices and prohibit the CFPB from modifying or discontinuing mortgage reporting tools
  • Require the CFPB to report monthly on fair lending investigations and enforcement actions, and quarterly on debt collection complaints and enforcement actions, as well as on payday loan and car title loan investigations and enforcement actions
  • Require the agency to report annually on complaints by senior consumers and provide recommendations to improve protections for these consumers
  • Provide for free annual consumer credit scores

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author, and twenty nine co-sponsors, all Democrats
Vote: Passed by roll call vote 231-191, with six Republicans unable to bring themselves to vote against it.  Even so, to justify not even discussing it, not making any effort to come to an agreement on any of the provisions above–as the House and Senate did previous to the McConnell era for 220+ years–you have to believe that none of the proposed changes are even worth discussing. Well, do you?  Believe that?
Date: 5/22/19, 445 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–and the coronavirus is no excuse for the year of inaction before it nor inaction now–if anything, the coronavirus’ economic impacts have laid bare a number of the inequities this legislation was intended to correct.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 5/23/19, 444 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 18: H.R. 1261  The National Landslide Preparedness Act
This bill would require the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program to identify and understand landslide hazards and risks, reduce losses from landslides, protect communities at risk of landslide hazards, and help improve communication and emergency preparedness in an era in which a variety of extreme weather events & patterns are likely to increase the number and severity of landslide events. Specifically, USGS would be required to:

  • Develop and publish a national strategy for landslide hazards, risk reduction, and response
  • Develop and maintain a publicly accessible national landslide hazard and risk inventory database;
  • Expand the early warning system for debris flow; and
  • Establish emergency response procedures for the rapid deployment of federal scientists, equipment, and services

Both the USGS and the National Science Foundation would also be authorized to make grants related to landslide research.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; five co-sponsors, all Democrats as well
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/3/19, 433 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–it did get put on the Senate’s legislative calendar on 12/05/19, but nothing has happened since–guess there were too many far-right unelected judges to get confirmed and in position to block the people’s will for the next 30 years to take care of a problem that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year and costs at least one of us our lives for every judge appointed.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/4/19, 432 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 19: H.R. 6  The American Dream and Promise Act
This bill, which would basically put DACA into law, along with further steps towards comprehensive immigration reform, would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and, in some cases, the Department of Justice to:

  • Cancel removal proceedings against undocumented individuals who entered the country as minors and grant them permanent residence status for ten years instead, provided they remain continuously in the U.S. and enroll in or have completed qualifying educational programs.
  • Remove all conditions on their permanent residence status, provided they complete qualifying educational programs or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years and are honorably discharged.
  • Cancel removal proceedings against individuals with Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure status (ie. they come from countries they can’t safely return to because of ongoing conflicts in those nations) and give them permanent resident status, provided they pass required background checks.
  • Prohibit DHS from using information gathered from applicants to these and other programs (e.g. DACA) for immigration enforcement purposes
  • Require DHS to establish a grant program for non-profits who help immigrants with qualifying immigration issues

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 232 co-sponsors, all Democrats as well
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 237-187, with seven Republicans voting for it, and an additional four unwilling to vote against it. 
Date: 6/4/19, 432 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–it did get put on the Senate’s legislative calendar on 6/10/19, but nothing has happened since.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? No, just put on the Senate legislative calendar on 6/10/19, 426 days ago and counting, where apparently it still resides.

July 20: H.R. 988  The National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act
This bill would require the National Academies of Science to conduct a study that:

  • Examines the science of ocean acidification (which is occuring as a result of climate change).
  • Examines the challenges to studying ocean acidification and its interactions with other environmental stressors
  • Provides recommendations for improving ocean acidification research
  • Identifies ways to apply science to manage and mitigate the problem itself

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; seven co-sponsors, three of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/5/19, 431 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None–it did get put on the Senate’s legislative calendar on 6/10/19, but nothing has happened since.  At a time when the climate clock is ticking ever faster and our opportunities to avert disaster are shrinking, it’s apparently more important to confirm more unelected right-wing judges to preside, for the next thirty years, over a country McConnell will find unrecognizable if he lives long enough to see it.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/10/19, 426 days ago–and counting
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 21: H.R. 1237  The COAST Research Act OF 2019
This bill would expand the Ocean Acidification Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ocean acidification grant program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the ocean acidification activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to better research and monitor coastal acidification in particular.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 48 co-sponsors, seven of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/5/19, 431 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/10/19, 426 days ago–and counting. We’ve now lost yet another year to climate inaction, each one more costly.

July 22: H.R. 1716  The Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act
This bill would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct ocean acidification coastal community vulnerability assessment every seven years (if not more frequently), identifying the communities most dependent on coastal and ocean resources that may be impacted, the nature of those communities’ vulnerabilities, including the economic impact, and key knowledge gaps where research could help us better understand the possible ocean acidification impacts and possible adaptation strategies.  In doing this assessment, NOAA would be required to collaborate with state, U.S. territory, local, and tribal government entities who have done or are doing these kinds of assessments.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 18 co-sponsors, six of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/5/19, 431 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/10/19, 426 days ago–and counting
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 23: H.R. 1921  The Ocean Acidification Innovation Act
This bill would allow a federal agency that’s part of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification to create a competition that awards prizes for for innovative efforts to research or respond to ocean acidification, with priority given to supporting programs that address communities, environments, or industries in distress.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; eight co-sponsors, five of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 395-22 (i.e. on a highly bipartisan basis)
Date: 6/5/19, 431 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/10/19, 426 days ago–and counting

The next four pieces of legislation are out of order–more recent–just to show that the pandemic notwithstanding, not much has changed from last year to this and to delve a little more deeply into how problematic and questionable this is in this little bill by bill sample–one house of government that continues to do its job, come h** or high water, while the other…

July 24: H.R. 7036 The Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act
This bill would create incentives for antitrust violators to cooperate with private and governmental litigators, specifically by removing the sunset provision from the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; five co-sponsors, two of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/25/20, 45 days ago and counting.  That’s not long ago, but it gives the lie to the excuse for the last four months of Senate inaction, that the pandemic has been preventing Congress from doing the peoples’ business. If any branch of government should have been stopped in its tracks by this, it would be the House, with 435 members from literally all over the country, a logistical nightmare, and yet…
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/29/20, 41 days ago–and counting; it might as well be 541 days ago for all the Senate has not done

July 25: H.R. 620 The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
This bill seeks to increase accountability in law enforcement by lowering the criminal intent standard, meaning that,in order to federally prosecute a law enforcement officer, the government would need only prove recklessness on the officer’s part rather than willfull misconduct. It would also:

  • Limit the qualified immunity officers have in private civil cases, and authorize the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas to police departments when looking for patterns and practices of discrimination
  • Create a national database compiling data on officers’ records of misconduct.
  • Require law enforcement officers and agencies to report data on use-of-force, to wear body cameras, and to receive training on implicit and racial bias.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 230 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats as well
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 236-181, with three Republicans voting in favor and another fourteen unwilling to vote against
Date: 7/20/20, only 20 days ago, but based on past history, does that matter?  Mitch McConnell may consider this bill “partisan,” but a super-majority of Americans support at least some of these measures, which should be a basis for negotiation, but won’t be.  Instead, while tens of thousands of Americans continue to risk their lives and police & little green men beatdowns every day, the Senate’s response, as the peoples’ representatives, is to do nothing.  Except push forward more lifetime appointments for legal bureaucrats no one voted for…
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No, but it was “placed on the legislative calendar” (scroll up to see how meaningful that is)
Read & referred to a Senate committee? No

July 26: H.R. 6020 The Minor League Baseball Assessment Act
This bill is a great example of legislation that appears silly until you know the context and history. It would require Comptroller General of the United States to evaluate the social, economic, and historic contributions that Minor League Baseball has made to American life and culture. The ultimate goal: to head off Major League Baseball’s plans to make major cuts in the number of minor league franchises, at a time when civic comity and morale in “forgotten America” is at a premium, by firing a shot across the bow of a league that’s currently Congressionally protected from competition by an antitrust exemption. And wouldn’t we all love to go to a minor league baseball game and take in what’s truly our “heritage” right about now?

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 24 co-sponsors, including 11 Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 3/10/20, 152 days ago and counting–how hard is it to agree to support something that’s literally as American as apple pie?  Oh, we forgot–not a second can be spent doing anything but putting unelected judges in charge of the country for the next thirty years.
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No.
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 3/11/20, 131 days and counting, during which time the House has passed how many major pieces of legislation with bipartisan support?

July 27: H.R. 5687 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief and Puerto Rico Disaster Tax Relief Act
This bill would provide 4.89 billion dollars in FY2020 supplemental appropriations to programs addressing issues affecting Puerto Rico and other U.S. terrorities as a result of recent natural disasters (e.g. Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017) such as:

  • Cybersecurity, energy security, and emergency response
  • The electric grid
  • The educational needs of those impacted by natural disasters
  • Repairs to roads affected by natural disasters and emergencies
  • Community development
  • Disaster nutrition assistance

It would also expand tax credits that affect Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories (and modifies related requirements), including:

  • The child tax credit
  • The earned income tax credit
  • The new markets tax credit
  • The amount of alcohol excise taxes paid to the treasuries of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and
  • The employee retention tax credit

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; no co-sponsors
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 237-161, with eleven Republicans voting in favor and another 20 unable to bring themselves to vote against
Date: 2/7/20, 184 days ago and counting.  Seems rather petty, doesn’t it, that there was and apparently continues to be so much resistance to allocating $4 billion for this purpose now that we’ve allocated trillions of dollars to help other Americans? And for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, when it rains it pours, both literally and figuratively–on top of everything else there have been more than 13,000 cases of COVID in these territories and nearly 200 deaths, though this is still only a fraction of the number who lost their lives in the hurricanes.
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No, though “placed on the Senate legislative calendar” on 2/11/20, 179 days ago and counting–scroll up through the bills to see how much that means.  As a very much related aside, there were six Congressional investigation of Benghazi, in a foreign war zone an ocean and continent away, of a response that occurred within 24 hours, after four Americans, all professionals who knew the risk they were taking, perished.  There have been no investigations of the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory 100 miles off our coast, a response that took a week during which time 3,000+ Americans, all civilians died.
Read & referred to a Senate committee? No.

July 28: H.R. 951  The United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act
This bill would direct the State Department to develop a strategy to improve bilateral tourism between the United States and Mexico and third-party tourism to the two countries (and report to Congress on it). The strategy would need to include involve dialogue and cooperation between the two governments (hmm, wonder why they thought it was necessary to include this), and prioritize hospitality, retail, and cultural education.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; five co-sponsors, two of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/10/19, 425 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/11/19, 424 days ago–and counting. How prescient of Mitch to realize that soon there would be no tourism in either country, let alone between them.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

July 29: H.R. 2083  The Homeland Procurement Reform Act
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that specified requirements are met for body armour and protective gear, and that they are, in some part, manufactured by small businesses. DHS would also be required to study the equitability of compensation for workers in said businesses.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; three co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/10/19, 425 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/11/19, 424 days ago–and counting.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

In the spirit of fairness and bipartisanship, we must note that the bill before this one, H.R.2140, with a Republican sponsor did pass the Senate and become law.  Somehow Mitch graciously allowed a few minutes of the time he was spending creating a far-right judicial dictatorship for the next 30 years to pass a bill prohibiting the rape and forced marriage of children in UN-sponsored refugee camps. Who says chivalry is dead?

July 30: H.R. 2539  The Strengthening Local Transportation Security Capabilities Act 
This bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assign more intelligence analysts from the Transportation Security Administration Office (TSA) to locations with a higher presence of public surface-transportation vehicles (i.e. trains and buses) and encourage information-sharing between state, local, and regional officials about terrorist and other types of threats to public transit systems.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; no co-sponsors
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 384-13 (i.e. on a highly bipartisan basis)
Date: 6/10/19, 425 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/11/19, 424 days ago–and counting. Really Mitch? You couldn’t spare a moment from appointing right-wing judicial bureaucrats to rule over us for the next 30 years to help prevent terrorism on public transportation systems?
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’

July 31: H.R. 2609  The DHS Acquisition Review Board Act of 2019
This bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish an Acquisition Review Board to:

  • Strengthen accountability and uniformity within the DHS acquisition review process
  • Review major acquisition programs (>$300 million), and
  • Review the use of best practices.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, a Democrat
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 419-0 (it don’t get more bipartisan than that)
Date: 6/11/19, 424 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/12/19, 423 days ago–in fairness, we already knew fiscal responsibility hasn’t been a Republican priority since, as Dick Cheney observed, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

Aug 1:  H.R. 2109  The BRAVE Act
The Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment Act (BRAVE) would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to award contracts for goods and services based on the percentage of the bidder’s employees who are veterans, so as to encourage the employment of more veterans across the country.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; six co-sponsors, three of them Republicans
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 6/24/19, 411 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/25/19, 410 days ago, because supporting our veterans is always a Republican priority

Aug 2: H.R. 2722 The SAFE Act
The Securing America’s Federal Elections Act would require voting systems that:

  • Use individual paper ballots
  • Ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and independence in voting
  • Are manufactured in the United States
  • Are safe from cyber-attack

The bill would also direct the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide grants for the research of safe elections and the Election Assistance Commission to provide grants to states to ensure safe elections.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 12 co-sponsors, all Democrats as well
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 225-184, with one Republican voting for it and 13 unable to bring themselves to vote against
Date: 6/27/19, 408 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 6/28/19, 407 days ago. Did you ever think you’d live in a democratic republic or representative democracy (this is what the Founders called us, not just a republic) where one of the two major parties didn’t think foreign governments or domestic cheaters should be prevented from changing the results of our elections or that Americans with disabilities should have the equal access to the ballot box?

Aug 3: H.R. 2162 The Housing Financial Literacy Act of 2019
If you’ve ever taken out a mortgage on a home with less than 20% down, you probably know that because you couldn’t come up with the standard % of scratch, you’re considered a riskier borrower and required to pay mortgage insurance premiums on top of your mortgage payments.  Based on research showing that borrowers who have taken a financial literacy course are 1/3 less likely to default on their loans, this bill would give first-time homeowners who complete a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified financial counseling course of this type a 0.25% discount on those premiums, assuming their loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), so as to incent more new buyers to learn how to keep their financial house in order while making monthly payments a little lower, which should further lower defaults.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; two co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 7/9/19, 396 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/10/19, 395 days ago. So simple, so logical, so ignored–with so many families struggling to pay their bills now, wouldn’t have been better to have this law in place?

Aug 4: H.R. 2409  The Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act
This bill seeks to begin resolving the issue of under-banking in rural communities. It would require the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation within the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to study challenges encountered by rural-area small businesses, so as to be better prepared to serve these communities.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; seven co-sponsors, four of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 413-7 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 7/9/19, 396 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/10/19, 395 days ago. Looks like Mitch forgot forgotten America–isn’t he a senator from there, up for re-election?
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

Aug 5: H.R. 2515 The Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2019
This bill would extend protections against retaliation to employees who:

  • Make disclosures to certain individuals at their place of employment about violations of laws under the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) jurisdiction
  • Assist in an SEC investigation of these violations
  • Make disclosures that they are required to make under SEC jurisdiction

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; eight co-sponsors, two of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 410-12 (i.e. extremely bipartisan)
Date: 7/9/19, 396 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/10/19, 395 days ago. In fairness, maybe Senators Burr (R-NC), Loeffler (R-GA), and Imhofe (R-OK) threatened to filibuster this one…

Aug 6: H.R. 2919  The Improving Investment Research for Small and Emerging Issuers Act
This bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate and report on the quality and quantity of investment research available about “small issuers (e.g. emerging growth companies and companies considering initial public offerings–IPOs), including the availability of such research and potential conflicts of interest relating to its production and distribution, as well as make recommendations on how to increase the breadth and depth of this type of research so investors can make better-informed decisions about whether to invest in these companies or not.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; one co-sponsor, a Democrat
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 7/9/19, 396 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/10/19, 395 days ago.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

Aug 7: H.R. 3050 The Expanding Investment in Small Businesses Act of 2019
This bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate current limitations on how many shares of any individual company mutual funds and other diversified investment companies can own and the impact this has on companies’ ability to raise investment capital, especially small companies, which understandably have a hard time even getting on the radar of mutual fund managers.

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Republican sponsor, the author; two co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by roll call vote, 417-2 (i.e. ridiculoiusly bipartisan). The two who voted against: Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY–what is it about legislators from Kentucky?) and Rep. Sean Kasten (D-IL)
Date: 7/9/19, 396 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/10/19, 395 days ago.

Aug 8: H.R. 677 The 21st Century President Act
This bill would update the language of criminal laws making it illegal to threaten to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm on a former president’s “wife” or “widow” to account for the possibility that it’s at least theoretically possible that a woman or gender non-conforming individual might someday become president and then become a former president. “Wife” would be replaced by “spouse;” widow by “surviving spouse.”

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 41 co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record, even though it appears it would be fun to make individual Republicans say yay or nay to it)
Date: 7/10/19, 395 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/11/19, 394 days ago.  How long would it have taken to pass this one, Mitch, as many as five seconds?

Aug 9: H.R. 677 The 21st Century President Act
This bill would update the language of criminal laws making it illegal to threaten to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm on a former president’s “wife” or “widow” to account for the possibility that it’s at least theoretically possible that a woman or gender non-conforming individual might someday become president and then become a former president. “Wife” would be replaced by “spouse;” widow by “surviving spouse.”

Sponsors/Co-Sponsors: One Democratic sponsor, the author; 41 co-sponsors, one of them Republican
Vote: Passed by voice vote (i.e. broadly bipartisan and without opposition–no one felt the need to put others on the record, even though it appears it would be fun to make individual Republicans say yay or nay to it)
Date: 7/10/19, 395 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None.
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 7/11/19, 394 days ago.
Note: Does this bill sound like the legislative branch getting out of its lane and/or micromanaging the executive? It isn’t

 

[We will add at least one new bill to this list every day until Election Day]

 

Note: If you see any inaccuracies or misleading information in this document (e.g. a bill that looks like nothing’s happened with was folded into another or superceded, or action has been taken since we posted that we’ve missed), please let us know in comments below; again, the intent is to be scrupulously fair, otherwise this exercise is pointless.

 

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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