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How your congressional delegates voted

Contact your legislators at the U.S. Capitol
Zip codes: House 20515, Senate 20510
Capitol operator: (202) 224-3121

GOP CHANGES TO SUPERFUND LAW: Voting 225 for and 188 against, the House on Jan. 9 passed a GOP bill (HR 2279) to scale back the federal Superfund law by shifting some of its enforcement authority to states and easing requirements on companies to obtain insurance to pay for cleaning up their own toxic waste. The Superfund was enacted in 1980 to give the government resources for cleansing abandoned industrial landfills and averting such sites in the future. The law has restored more than 300 toxic sites for development, with Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y., one of its most publicized projects. The Environmental Protection Agency has more than 1,000 additional sites on its priority list. This bill also curbs solid-waste provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which is the Superfund’s parent statute and the main federal law for regulating the disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is expected to die.


DEMOCRATIC SUPERFUND MEASURE: Voting 188 for and 225 against, the House on Jan. 9 defeated a Democratic bid to prevent HR 2279 (above) from taking effect if it would result in the long-term exposure of vulnerable populations within five miles of waste sites to substances that contaminate drinking water or cause ailments “such as respiratory disease, cancer or reproductive disorders.”

A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.


HEALTH-CARE WEBSITE SECURITY: Voting 291 for and 122 against, the House on Jan. 10 passed a bill (HR 3811) requiring that the Department of Health and Human Services notify individuals within 48 hours if any of their personal information has been stolen by hackers into the Affordable Care Act enrollment website.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is expected to die.


EXTENDED JOBLESS BENEFITS: Voting 60 for and 37 against, the Senate on Jan. 7 reached a three-fifths majority needed to advance a bill (S 1845) providing three additional months of checks for 1.3 million of the long-term jobless whose eligibility for extended unemployment benefits expired Dec. 28. The Senate then turned to the issue of how to pay the bill’s $6 billion cost without raising the deficit. The bill extends the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, which kicks in after recipients have exhausted 26 weeks of state-funded jobless benefits. EUC benefits can run for up to 47 weeks on top of state allotments. They are available in all states except North Carolina, which was excluded from the program last year because of reductions it made in state-provided jobless benefits.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.


JANET YELLEN CONFIRMATION: The Senate on Jan. 6 confirmed, 56 for and 26 against, Janet L. Yellen, 67, as the 15th chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100-year history. Yellen had been the central bank’s vice chair, and before that she was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton and a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Fed’s main duties are to conduct U.S. monetary policy, provide financial services to depository institutions and the Treasury and regulate financial institutions with an eye to containing risk. Established Dec. 23, 1913, the agency operates independently of Congress and the White House.

A yes vote was to confirm Yellen to a four-year term as Fed chair, starting Feb. 1.



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