Other Things the House and Senate Have Been Up To

This is a second update to Congressional Votes in the Trump Administration to Date, dealing with matters other than the nominations.

A couple of other Senate votes during the same time period (January 26 through February 7):

54-45-1 on HJ Res. 38: “This joint resolution nullifies the Stream Protection Rule finalized by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on December 20, 2016. The rule addresses the impacts of surface coal mining operations on surface water, groundwater, and the productivity of mining operation sites.” Durbin and Duckworth are nays. Only Dems voting for it are: Donnelly (D-IN), Heitkamp (D-ND), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO). Sessions (R-AL) did not vote. Previously in the House there were 9 Republican votes against this and 4 Democratic votes for it, as well as 10 who did not vote. My representative (Quigley) voted against, as expected.

52-47-1 on HJ Res. 41: “This joint resolution nullifies the “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers” rule finalized by the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 27, 2016. (The rule, mandated under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requires resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals.)” The person not voting is Markey (D-MA) — what’s the story on that?  Otherwise a straight party line vote with all Dems voting against. For this one, 5 Dem yeas and 4 Republican nays, with 10 not voting. Quigley again was a nay.

The House has so many different resolutions that dealing with the ones that have not made it to the Senate is overwhelming, but one that has gotten some press is HJ Res. 40:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 91702 (December 19, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.”

For clarity, as I know there has been in the past a great deal of misleading coverage of what this rule is–the right-wing media was reporting it as preventing people on Social Security from owning guns, which is on its face ludicrous and anyone who believed that without checking should be ashamed of themselves–the rule is as follows:

“Under these final rules, we will identify, on a prospective basis, individuals who receive Disability Insurance benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (Act) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments under title XVI of the Act and who also meet certain other criteria, including an award of benefits based on a finding that the individual’s mental impairment meets or medically equals the requirements of section 12.00 of the Listing of Impairments (Listings) and receipt of benefits through a representative payee. We will provide pertinent information about these individuals to the Attorney General on not less than a quarterly basis. As required by the NIAA, at the commencement of the adjudication process we will also notify individuals, both orally and in writing, of their possible Federal prohibition on possessing or receiving firearms, the consequences of such prohibition, the criminal penalties for violating the Gun Control Act, and the availability of relief from the prohibition on the receipt or possession of firearms imposed by Federal law. Finally, we also establish a program that permits individuals to request relief from the Federal firearms prohibitions based on our adjudication. These changes will allow us to fulfill responsibilities that we have under the NIAA.”

This passed the House 235-180-17. 229 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted for this.  2 Republicans and 178 Democrats (including Quigley (D-IL5)) voted against. 17 did not vote (8 R, 9 D). I cannot figure out one good reason to vote for this (to disapprove of the rule in question). The Senate will be voting on it soon. Prediction: all the Republicans will vote for it.

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