Last Week in Congress

The House is in recess this week. Here is what happened last week.

The House passed H.Res. 296, legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide committed by the Turks. The vote was 405-11. Some members voted for it because they felt it was important to call attention to the genocide of Armenian Christians even though they disagreed with the clear intent of House leadership, which was to embarrass the Trump administration by bringing this resolution to the floor at this time.

This resolution was scheduled to be voted on once before—back in 2000—and was pulled from the House schedule after the State Department said that it would harm US relations with Turkey.

There is some speculation that other factors played a role in that decision.

Here is a link to the roll-call vote.

The House also passed H.R. 4695, which applied new sanctions to Turkey, by a vote of 403-16.

Here is a link to the roll-call vote.

Congress also considered the following suspension bills last week (unless otherwise noted they passed by voice vote):

  1. HR 3942—Applies current federal law restricting the sale of tobacco cigarettes online to e-cigarettes.

  2. HR 2440—The Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act authorizes $10 billion in spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that is exempted from the fund’s spending limits. The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is financed by a tax on imports and domestic cargo, as well as on cruise ship passengers. The fund is used for maintenance on harbors and ports. Under current law, the funds collected by the tax are appropriated by Congress, and the remaining goes to a trust fund, which currently has $9.4 billion in it. By “adjusting” the fund, HR 2440 allows the trust fund to be temporarily emptied and breaks the (already too high) spending caps agreed to in the year’s budget deal. The bill passed by a vote of 296-109. Seventy-nine Republicans voted for the bill, one Democrat — Ben McAdams (UT-04) -- voted against it.

  1. HR 4334—Reauthorizes and make changes to various programs of the Older Americans Act.

  2. HR 4842—Authorizes funding for the US to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai.

  3. HR 728—Reauthorizes Nursing Workforce Programs at a cost of approximately $310,340,000 over four years.

  4. HR 2781—Reauthorizes various programs providing grants for health professional education programs at a cost of approximately $930,476,000 over four years.

  5. HR 2423—Issues a commemorative coin honoring women’s suffrage.

  6. HR 1865—Issues a commemorative coin honoring the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

  7. HR 2514—Amends the Bank Secrecy Act to provide support for the International Monetary Fund’s anti-money laundering activities, creates a civil liberties and privacy officer and a civil liberties and privacy council (because that will protect our liberties), increases international cooperation, authorizes a study on Chinese money laundering, authorizes another study on how the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FICEN) can use emerging technologies, and makes various updates and changes to FINCEN programs under the law.

  8. HR 4860--Gives the Securities and Exchange Commission jurisdiction over crowdfunding.

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