Report for week ending February 2, 2018.
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
$659 Billion For U.S. Military: Voting 250 for and 166 against, the House on Jan. 30 passed a $659.2 billion military appropriations bill for fiscal 2018 that would provide $75.1 billion for fighting wars overseas; fund a 3,500-troop buildup in Afghanistan; support a 2.4 percent pay raise for those in uniform; fund programs for military victims of sexual assault and provide more than $50 billion for active-duty, family and retiree health care. Opponents called for delaying the bill until after Congress abandons stopgap spending and agrees on a permanent budget for the fiscal year that began in October.
Lynn Cheney, R-Wyo., said: “This is an up-or-down vote on the one issue that matters more than any other — providing for the common defense of (the) republic.”
Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said: “The notion that (Republicans) can present legislation on the House floor in this kind of my-way-or-the-highway approach and expect Democrats to vote for it is ludicrous.”
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Floor Debate on Dreamers Bill: Voting 232 for and 187 against, the House on Jan. 30 blocked a Democratic bid for floor consideration of a bill (HR 3440) that would grant permanent legal status to the so-called “dreamers” who were brought illegally to the United States as children and face potential deportation starting March 5 under a Trump administration directive. This vote occurred during debate on H Res 714.
Lynn Cheney, R-Wyo., said it was “despicable” that Democrats “are holding hostage funding for our troops over the issue of illegal immigration. There is no other way to describe it.”
Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said: “The Republican leadership is so pathetically terrified of a narrow, xenophobic, bigoted element of their base that they cannot bring themselves to allow us to even consider such a bill….”
A yes vote was in opposition to moving the bill from committee to the House floor.
UNITED STATES SENATE
Stricter Abortion Limits: Voting 51 for and 46 against, the Senate on Jan. 29 turned back a House-passed bill (HR 36) that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of fertilization on the belief that the fetus can feel pain by then. Supporters needed 60 votes to overcome a Democratic-led filibuster against the measure. The bill allows exemptions to save the mother’s life and in cases of rape or incest but not to protect the mother’s health. Rape victims must receive counseling and medical care at least 48 hours before the procedure to be exempted. Doctors who violate the law could be criminally prosecuted. The bill repudiates the medical standard in Roe v. Wade that abortion is legal up to when the fetus reaches viability — usually after 24-to-28 weeks of pregnancy — and after viability if it is necessary to protect the health or life of the mother. Under Roe, viability occurs when the fetus can potentially survive outside the womb with or without artificial aid.
Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said “we have laws that treat animals more humanely than unborn children. This vote gives the Senate an opportunity to send a message showing who we are as leaders and as a society as a whole — one that protects the weak and the voiceless, instead of one that permits their destruction.”
Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said “women don’t get abortions to prove a political point. Reproductive rights are about health. They are about safety. And this particular vote about banning abortions at 20 weeks is about a bunch of politicians intruding on one of the most wrenching decisions that a woman will ever make.”:
A yes vote was to advance the bill.