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 puts the Democratic House 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, Americans feel protecting the environment should be given priority over economic growth, the largest gap between these viewpoints in nearly two decades.
  • It allows him to focus the energies of his chamber as exclusively as possible on the confirmation of unelected idiologues to lifetime appointments in the judiciary, where they can strike down the will of the people, our will, for decades to come.

Are the bills the House sends over 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.

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–nobody felt the need to put people on the record)
Date: 1/8/19, 387 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed? No
Referred? No
Read? No

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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/8/19, 388 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/9/19, 387 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, 388 days ago–and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/10/2019, 387 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.
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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/10/19, 388 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/11/19, 387 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/10/19, 389 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/11/19, 388 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. broadly bipartisan)
Date: 1/11/19, 389 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/14/19, 386 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, 387 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 386 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/14/19, 388 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 387 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/14/19, 389 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/15/19, 388 days ago–and counting

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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 389 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 388 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 390 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 389 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 391 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 390 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/15/19, 391 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/16/19, 390 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, 391 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/17/19, 390 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, 376 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 375 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/22/19, 377 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 376 days ago–and counting.

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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/22/19, 378 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 377 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, 379 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/23/19, 378 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/28/19, 380 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 379 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 1/29/19, 380 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 380 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, 381 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 381 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, 382 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 382 days ago–and counting.

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, 383 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 383 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, 384 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 384 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, 385 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 1/29/19, 385 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, 376 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 375 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/6/19, 377 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 376 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/6/19, 377 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/7/19, 376 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, 380 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 376 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, 381 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 377 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, 381 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/11/19, 378 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. 24: 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–no one felt the need to put others on the record)
Date: 2/11/19, 379 days ago and counting
Senate Action: None
Discussed: No
Read & referred to a Senate committee? Yes, on 2/12/19, 377 days ago–and counting.

[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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