This Week in Congress Plus Wrap-Up of Last Week

The House has adjourned for the August recess, but the Senate remains in session.

The Senate will be working on the budget deal. Campaign for Liberty is supporting Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to pair a short-term extension of the debt ceiling with his “penny plan.” As of this writing, it is not clear if Senator Paul’s amendment will receive a vote.

You can read more about our support for the amendment here.

Yesterday, the Senate failed to override President Trump’s veto of three resolutions blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia. These resolutions passed the House last week and had passed the Senate earlier.

You can see two of the original Senate votes on blocking Saudi arms sales here and here.

Here is Senator Rand Paul’s remarks on the vote.

Here are the Senate Republicans who voted for the bills:

Mike Lee (Utah)

Jerry Moran (Kansas)

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Rand Paul (Kentucky)

Todd Young (IN)

Here, here, and here are the House votes overturning the arm sales. The following four Republicans voted with every Democrat and Independent Justin Amash (MI-01) to overturn the arm sales:


Mike Gallagher (WI-08)

Trey Hollingsworth (IN-08)

Thomas Massie (KY-04)

Alex Mooney (WV-02)

Here, here, and  here are the votes to override the President’s veto. The following four Senators were the only Republicans to join the Democrats in voting to override the veto:


Susan Collins (ME)

Mike Lee (UT)

Jerry Moran (KS)

Todd Young (IN)

Here is the roll-call vote on final House passage of the budget deal. Sixteen Democrats voted against it and 65 Republicans voted for it.

Representative Thomas Massie (KY-04) offered an amendment to change the name of the bill to the “kick the can down the road bill,” in reference to the fact that it doesn’t take any steps to forestall an economic crisis caused by Congress’s spending addiction. Five Democrats joined forty-one Republicans and one independent in voting for the name change.

Here is the vote on Representative Massie’s amendment.


Last week, the Senate passed H.R. 1327, the legislation extending the program providing help to first responders suffering health damage from the September 11 attacks until 2090 and providing unlimited funding for the bill. The vote was 97-2. The two no’s were Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul.

Senator Lee had offered an amendment to put some limits on the bill’s spending. His amendment was defeated by a vote of 32-66.

Senator Paul had offered an amendment to pay for the program by continuing sequestration funding reductions and putting the savings toward relief for 9-11 first responders. Senator Paul’s amendment failed by a vote of 22-77.

You can see the final passage vote here.

You can see the vote on Senator Lee’s amendment here.

You can see the final vote on Senator Paul’s amendment here.

The House also considered the following suspension bills last week (except where noted, all passed by voice vote):


  1. H.R. 3153—Requires the National Science Foundation to support research relating to opioid addiction.


  1. H.Res. 246—Condemns the Boycott, Sanctions, Disinvestment movement against Israel and reaffirms the strength of the US-Israeli relationship. While this is only a sense of Congress, it does strengthen the efforts to stop criminalizing the BDS movement. The bill passed by a vote of 398-17. Representative Thomas Massie was the only Republican no. You can see the vote here.

  1. H.R. 1837—Makes changes to economic and security partnership programs between the US and Israel and renews programs providing military and security aid for Israel.

  1. H.R. 1850—Authorizes sanctions on anyone found to be supporting Palestinian terrorism against Israel.


  1. H.Res. 358—Calls on the government of Cameroon to respect the rights of all citizens and end all violence. Also calls on the US government to hold the government accountable for violating the rights of its citizens.


  1. S. 504—Makes military personnel who served in unrecognized wars or performed military actions not recognized as war by the US Government eligible for membership in the American Legion. Unrecognized wars include US involvement in the Greek Civil War, the Chinese Civil War, the Bay of Pigs, and the Dominican Civil War.


  1. H.R. 3409—Reauthorizes and authorizes appropriations for Coast Guard programs.


  1. HR 1984—Requires the Department of Management and Budget to annually submit a report to Congress on disaster aid provided by the federal government. The report should include disaster response, disaster mitigation, and administrative costs.


  1. HR 3352—Reauthorizes various State Department programs.


  1. HR 2035—Reauthorizes the  Respite Care Program, which provides help to family caregivers at a cost of $200,000,000 over five years. This is a well-meaning program but should be run by the private sector or at least state and local governments.

  2. HR 2507—Reauthorizes the Newborn Surveillance program, which seems like a good thing but is not a role of the federal government and some have raised privacy concerns about the program. For more on that, see here.

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