ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Contact your legislators at the U.S. Capitol
Zip codes: House 20515, Senate 20510
Capitol operator: (202) 224-3121
$1.1 TRILLION SPENDING BILL: Voting 359 for and 67 against, the House on Jan. 15 sent the Senate a bill (HR 3547) that would appropriate $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending this fiscal year, with $572.6 billion allocated to the Department of Defense and the remainder spent on domestic and foreign-affairs programs. Backed by 72 percent of Republicans who voted and 99 percent of Democrats casting votes, the bill returns Congress to a stable appropriations process through Sept. 30 following four years of crisis-driven, stopgap budgeting that culminated in a 16-day partial government shutdown last October.
Among nondefense agencies and programs receiving budget increases in the 1,582-page bill are the Army Corps of Engineers, Border Patrol; Coast Guard, Customs enforcement, Federal Aviation Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Head Start; mental health; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Institutes of Health; nuclear-weapons maintenance; transportation infrastructure; renewable energy; veterans’ health care; and the Women’s, Infants, Children (WIC) nutrition program.
Agencies whose budgets are cut or frozen by the bill are the Agency for International Development, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Fish and Wildlife Service, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission and Transportation Security Agency.
The bill retains Saturday mail deliveries and prevents closures of rural post offices; funds a 1 percent pay raise for federal workers; prevents most scheduled premium increases for federal flood insurance; exempts disabled veterans and surviving spouses from scheduled curbs in COLA increases for veterans under 62; funds a panel to examine the extent to which 9/11 Commission recommendations have been implemented and authorizes an active-duty military force of 1.36 million troops, down slightly from 2013.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
YES: LUJAN GRISHAM, LUJÃN NO: PEARCE
EXTENDED JOBLESS BENEFITS: On a procedural vote of 228 for and 195 against, the House on Jan. 15 blocked a bid by Democrats for a direct vote on their bill to provide three more months of unemployment checks for more than 1.3 million of the long-term jobless whose allotments of extended benefits began to expire Dec. 28. Democrats forced this vote during debate on HR 3547 (above) after the Republican leadership quashed their bill.
A yes vote was to block the Democratic bill.
YES: PEARCE NO: LUJAN GRISHAM, LUJÃN
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT REPORTS: Voting 259 for and 154 against, the House on Jan. 16 passed a Republican bill (HR 3362) that would require the administration to publish weekly reports on consumer contacts with the Affordable Care Act website and help center as well as information about the administration’s use of insurance agents, brokers and navigators to help consumers obtain ACA coverage. Backers called the bill an accountability step, while critics saw it as harassment of ACA officials. On its own, the administration has begun publishing monthly reports showing the number ACA enrollees in federal and state marketplaces and their demographic information.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is expected to die.
YES: LUJAN GRISHAM, PEARCE NO: LUJÃN
REPORTS ON HEALTH-LAW PLUSES: The House on Jan. 16 defeated, 186 for and 226 against, a bid by Democrats to broaden HR 3362 (above) so that its required weekly reports on the Affordable Care Act also show the number of Americans receiving tax credits for buying insurance under the law or who no longer face coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions or annual or lifetime limits on claims payments by their carrier.
YES: LUJAN GRISHAM, LUJÃN NO: Pearce