Vote Notes on Legislation
H.R. 5303 - Water Resources Development Act: YES. On the plus side, out of a total of $10.5 billion for projects across the nation, this bill authorizes $1.6 billion for flood control projects in the Sacramento Delta. (Of course, this would have been unnecessary if the Auburn Dam had been completed, but at the moment that’s, um, water under the bridge).
S. 2040 Override of President’s Veto – JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act): YES. If a foreign government pays terrorists on U.S. soil to attack the United States, victims can sue for damages. If that SAME government pays those SAME terrorists on foreign soil to attack the United States, those SAME victims CANNOT sue. This measure closes that loophole.
House Amendment 1 to HR 2029 – Omnibus Spending Act: NO. This is the 2,000-plus page $1.15 trillion spending act to fund the government through September 30, 2016. A bill of this complexity always has good and bad provisions, and the question comes down to whether in balance it moves the government in the right direction.
House Amendment 2 to HR 2029 – Tax Extenders Act: YES. Called the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act” this 233-page bill provides a complex list of changes to the tax code. Once again, there is both good and bad.
H.R. 22 – TEA 21 “The Highway Bill”: No. The Highway Trust Fund – accent on the “Trust” – was a promise made to highway users that the gas taxes they paid at the pump would be used for highways. Period. That promise was broken long ago and now shattered by this act.
S. 1177 - Every Student Succeeds Act (or the Bill Formerly Known as No Child Left Behind): YES. George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” has been a disaster. Its stated goal was to bring every child to grade-level proficiency by 2014. Instead, for the first time in 25 years student achievement is declining with just 33 percent of 8th graders proficient in math and 34 percent in reading.
H.R. 4038 – American SAFE Act: Yes. This bill requires that refugee applicants from Iraq and Syria not be admitted to the United States until and unless the FBI Director, Homeland Security Secretary and Director of National Intelligence all certify that the applicant is not a security threat.