Last week in Congress - The Buffalo News
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Last week in Congress

WASHINGTON – Here are the votes of Western New York’s three members of the House of Representatives and the state’s two U.S. senators on recent major legislation in Congress. A “Y” means the member voted for the measure; an “N” means the member voted against the measure; an “A” means the member did not vote.


FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN THE U.S.: The House has passed the Global Investment in American Jobs Act sponsored by Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb. The bill would require the commerce secretary to coordinate with other agencies a review and report on strategies for attracting more direct investment from foreign countries into the U.S.

Terry said the review and report would guide the government in creating an environment to encourage foreign companies to move operations to the U.S. and thereby promote a stronger domestic economy.

The vote, on Sept. 9, was 379 yeas to 32 nays.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Y; Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Y; Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Y.

COMMUNICATIONS MARKETPLACE REPORTS: The House has passed the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. The bill would streamline requirements for the Federal Communications Commission to produce reports on competition between communications providers and require the FCC to produce a Communications Marketplace Report every two years.

Scalise said the revised requirements “would allow businesses to focus their time and resources on growing our economy and creating jobs instead of complying with outdated and burdensome mandates.”

The vote, on Sept. 9, was unanimous with 415 yeas.

Collins, Y; Higgins, Y; Reed, Y.

INSURANCE REGULATION: The House has passed the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act sponsored by Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas. The bill would establish as a private nonprofit the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers, which oversees the licensing and continuing education of insurance agents who operate in multiple states. Neugebauer said the measure would reform the insurance market by increasing competition, while also “enabling insurance producers to more quickly and responsively serve the needs of their consumers.”

The vote, on Sept. 10, was 397 yeas to 6 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, Y; Reed, Y.

WORKER WAGE CLAIMS: The House has passed the Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich. Under the bill, the Labor Department would take over responsibility from the Government Accountability Office for processing claims by employees of government contractors that they have been underpaid.

Walberg said having the Labor Department oversee wage claims would “ensure workers receive their pay in a timelier manner while providing greater efficiency” and less expense in processing claims.

The vote, on Sept. 10, was 396 yeas to 10 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, Y; Reed, Y.

ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE SUBSIDIES: The House has passed the No Subsidies Without Verification Act sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to certify the development of a program to effectively check the qualifications of individuals to receive tax credits that offset the cost of health insurance premiums before the tax credits can be issued.

Black said the requirement would prevent the issuance of up to $50 billion of wasteful subsidies for health insurance by ensuring that only qualified individuals receive subsidies.

An opponent, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said Health and Human Services already has an effective verification system and the bill would establish “a duplicative, unworkable process.”

The vote, on Sept. 12, was 235 yeas to 191 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, N; Reed, Y.


NEW YORK DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Valerie E. Caproni to serve as a U.S. District judge for the Southern District of New York.

A supporter, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., cited Caproni’s experience as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and as general counsel of the FBI from 2003 to 2011. Gillibrand called Caproni “a woman with impeccable credentials, incredible intellect, and the kind of fair-minded judgment we need on the Federal bench.”

An opponent, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Caproni had failed to respond adequately to his concerns about the FBI’s potential abuse of its national security letters program while she was at the FBI.

The vote, on Sept. 9, was 73 yeas to 24 nays.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D, Y; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D, Y.

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