What the 115th Congress Has Done So Far
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The 115th Congress is flying by, and it can be hard enough to keep track of what Congress did last week, let alone two months ago. To make things easier, we've compiled links to each week's schedule and an overview of what happened for you below.
June 25, 2018: The House passed bills providing $675 billiion in defense spending for FY19, and letting Pacific Northwest states kill 100 more sea lions to protect endangered salmon, in addition to a resolution insisting the DOJ turn over subpoenaed documents. A bill that'd provide legal status to Dreamers, provide $23 billion in border security funding, and address family separation at the border failed. The Senate passed its versions of the Farm Bill and the "minibus" bill providing FY19 funding for military construction & veterans affairs, energy & water programs, and Congress.
June 18, 2018: The House passed numerous bills to address various aspects of the opioid epidemic, including a bill that specifically focused on substance abuse programs in Medicaid and Medicare. It also passed the Farm Bill after failing to advance a bill that'd give DACA recipients legal status, authorize border security funding, overhaul the legal immigration system to be merit-based, and eliminate the diversity visa lottery. The Senate passed the FY19 defense authorization and began debate on the "minibus" bill providing FY19 funding for military construction & veterans affairs, energy & water programs, and Congress. An attempt to force consideration of the bill to rescind nearly $15 billion in unused funding from prior fiscal years failed.
June 11, 2018: The House passed more than two dozen bills addressing various aspects of the opioid epidemic, including a bill to create a new category of controlled substance for synthetic drugs. The Senate spent the week debating the FY19 defense authorization.
June 4, 2018: The House passed bills to rescind about $15 billion in unused funding from past fiscal years, reauthorize water resources programs for two years, and establish a grant program for anti-gang efforts. It also passed a "minibus" bill providing FY19 funding for military construction & veterans affairs, energy & water programs, and Congress. The Senate confirmed three district court judges and an assistant secretary for education, in addition to starting debate on the FY19 defense authorization.
May 20, 2018: The House passed a bill to give terminally ill patients the "right to try" experimental treatments, a bill reforming regulations for community banks, and the FY19 defense authorization. The Senate passed a bill to establish a community care program for veterans and modernize VA infrastructure, in addition to confirming several nominees to executive branch agencies including the chairperson of the FDIC.
May 13, 2018: The Senate voted to stop the FCC's rollback of net neutrality and confirmed four circuit court judges. The House passed a bill to establish a community care program for veterans and modernize VA infrastructure, in addition to a bill establishing federal penalties for attacking a law enforcement officer. A vote on the Farm Bill, which would reauthorize USDA food & agriculture programs through 2023 while reforming the SNAP food stamps program, failed.
May 6, 2018: The House passed bills to move the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository forward and to require state and local governments to disclose information about participants in their pretrial release programs. The Senate confirmed two circuit court judges and started debate on the nominations of two other circuit court judges.
April 23, 2018: The House passed bills to reauthorize the FAA and reform disaster relief, keep the Columbia River dams operating into 2022, and modernize music copyright law. It also passed bills prohibiting U.S. assistance from rebuilding parts of Syria controlled by Assad, sanction Iran for its hostage-taking, and express support for the unified U.S., Canada, and Mexico bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and Richard Grenell as Ambassador to Germany, in addition to a circuit court judge on the Fifth Circuit.
April 16, 2018: The House passed bills to modernize and reform the Internal Revenue Service with the aim of providing better service to taxpayers. The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine as NASA Administrator and considered a bill to reform labor laws on tribal lands which failed to get the votes needed to limit debate.
April 9, 2018: The House passed bills revising financial regulations related to "too big to fail" designations, stress tests, and the application of the Volcker Rule. It also considered a proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution failed to get the 2/3 majority required to pass. The Senate confirmed a member of the National Labor Relations Board, deputies at the Labor Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, and three district court judges.
March 19, 2018: Both chambers of Congress passed legislation providing appropriations to fund the government for fiscal year 2018. The House also passed a "right to try" bill that lets terminally ill patients access experimental drugs. It also passed a bill to exempt investment firms from Dodd-Frank's stress tests. The Senate confirmed the new commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, passed a bill to make it a federal crime for websites to promote sex trafficking or prostitution, and tabled a resolution to withdraw U.S. troops from the conflict in Yemen.
March 12, 2018: The House passed bills to increase grants for school safety and revise financial regulatory exams, SEC registration for startups, and tailoring rules to limit the burden on community banks. The Senate passed a bill to relieve the regulatory burden on community banks.
March 5, 2018: The House passed bills to ease emissions regulations on coal waste power plants, brick manufacturers, and new home heating devices. It also passed a bill to make financial regulators review current rules more frequently to ensure they're not outdated. The Senate confirmed three district court judges, and started debate on a bill to ease regulations on community banks and expand consumer credit protections.
February 26, 2018: The House passed a bill making it a federal crime for websites to promote prostitution or sex trafficking and a bill related to capital requirements for banks. It then adjourned on Tuesday to allow Rev. Billy Graham to lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. The Senate confirmed one circuit court judge, one district court judge, and the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. It also started debate on the nominations of three district court judges.
February 12, 2018: The Senate debated but failed to advance several immigration reform proposals. The House passed legislation reforming the process for filing lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also passed bills sanctioning Hamas for its use of human shields and reversing a court ruling so that loans retain their interest rates if sold or transferred across state lines by the lender.
February 5, 2018: Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act in the early hours of Friday morning to end a 5+ hour government shutdown. The House passed bills to change how "points and fees" are calculated for qualified mortgages, and to lift the regulatory threshold for a small bank from $1 billion to $3 billion. The Senate confirmed Andrei Iancu to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
January 29, 2018: The House passed bills to reform the process used by banks to create "living wills" to protect markets against their failure and fund the Dept. of Defense for the rest of fiscal year 2018. It also voted to send a bill to prevent the sexual abuse of minors at U.S. Olympic Committee-affiliated organizations to President Trump's desk. The Senate failed in a procedural vote to bring up a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy under most circumstances, and confirmed David Stras to be a Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit. Congress adjourned after President Trump's State of the Union Address on Tuesday so that Republicans could hold their annual policy retreat.
January 22, 2018: Congress reached a deal Monday to end the government shutdown. The House then adjourned for the week. The Senate confirmed Jerome Powell as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alex Azar as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Sam Brownback as Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom.
January 15, 2018: The House passed a stopgap funding bill to keep the government open for four weeks and reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. It also passed legislation punishing healthcare providers who don't try to save infants born alive after an attempted abortion, fund the World Bank unless corruption continues, and modify mortgage regulations. The Senate passed a reauthorization of surveillance powers under FISA Section 702. It then considered the stopgap funding bill which was blocked on a procedural vote, prompting a government shutdown. Both chambers remained in session over the weekend but no votes on legislation were held.
January 8, 2018: The House voted to condemn the Iranian regime's crackdown on legitimate protests, reform labor laws for businesses on tribal lands, and reauthorize the government's surveillance powers under FISA Section 702. The Senate confirmed four district court judges and took a procedural vote to set up debate on the House-passed surveillance bill for next week.
January 3, 2018: The Senate swore in two new senators and confirmed John Rood to be Under Secretary of Defense for Policy before canceling votes for the rest of the week because of an incoming winter storm. The House was not in session.
December 18, 2017: Both chambers of Congress passed the tax reform legislation produced by the conference committee and legislation funding the government through January 19, 2018. The House also approved $81 billion in disaster relief, and a bill requiring that more factors than just size be considered when designating a bank as systemically important. The Senate confirmed nominees to be the HUD general counsel, legal adviser to the State Dept., and assistant secretary of defense.
December 4, 2017: The House passed legislation to let people with concealed carry permits carry their gun in other states if they follow the state's laws and improving federal crime reporting to gun background check databases. It also passed bills strengthening the penalty for female genital mutilation, cutting off foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops paying rewards to terrorists, and condemning the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma, among other bills. The Senate confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security and an assistant secretary of the interior. Both chambers passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for two more weeks through December 22, and underwent procedures needed to form a conference committee on the GOP tax reform legislation.
November 27, 2017: The House voted to require that all members and employees undergo sexual harassment training each year. It also passed bills making federal probationary periods for new hires two years, reauthorizing the EPA's Brownfields Program, reinstating mining leases in Minnesota, and revising loan regulations for manufactured homes. The Senate passed its version of GOP tax reform legislation, and confirmed one district court judge and one circuit court judge.
November 13, 2017: The House passed the GOP tax reform bill, a five-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, and a resolution regarding the conflict in Yemen. The Senate confirmed a five nominees to posts in the Trump plus a judge to the D.C. District Court. Both chambers passed the conference report for the $700 billion defense authorization for fiscal year 2018.
October 30, 2017: The House passed a bill to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years, along with other public health programs for two years. It also passed bills repealing Obamacare's IPAB which suggests Medicare cuts, allowing the active management of national forests to prevent wildfires, revoking passports belonging to members of foreign terror groups, and allowing South Carolina to be represented on the Peanut Standards Board. The Senate confirmed four judges to U.S. Circuit Courts, and one district court judge.
October 23, 2017: The House passed the version of the GOP budget resolution for fiscal year 2018 approved by the Senate the week prior, clearing the way for tax reform legislation under the reconciliation process. It also approved bills sanctioning Iran for its ballistic missile program, preventing mandatory donations to outside groups as a part of corporate legal settlements with the federal government, and limiting the use of consent decrees to circumvent the normal rulemaking process. The Senate sent a $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to President Donald Trump's desk, along with legislation repealing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ban on arbitration agreements. Additionally, it confirmed one U.S. district court judge and began debate on the nomination of another.
October 16, 2017: The Senate passed an amended version of the GOP budget resolution for fiscal year 2018 that removes the requirement that tax reform legislation considered under reconciliation be deficit neutral. It also confirmed Callista Gingrich as Ambassador to the Vatican. The House was on a district work week.
October 9, 2017: The House passed legislation enhancing protections for whistleblowers at the VA and other agencies, in addition to $36.5 billion in disaster relief for areas damaged by hurricanes and wildfires. The Senate was on a district work week.
October 2, 2017: The House passed legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, in addition to the budget resolution for fiscal year 2018 that allows reconciliation to be used for tax reform. The Senate re-confirmed Ajit Pai to the Federal Communications Commission, along with Lee Cissna as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Randal Quarles as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Eric Hargan as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.
September 25, 2017: The House passed a bill providing tax relief to victims of hurricanes that also reauthorized the FAA and allowed for private flood insurance. It also approved bills cutting off Social Security benefits to fugitives wanted for felonies, calling for a strategic partnership with the Association of South East Asian Nations, and reauthorized the federal home visiting program for pregnant women and families. The Senate confirmed a member of the National Labor Relations Board, a circuit court judge, an assistant attorney general, and an assistant secretary of the treasury.
September 18, 2017: The Senate passed the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2018 and confirmed Noel Francisco as Solicitor General. The House wasn't in session, as lawmakers had a district work week.
Week of September 11, 2017: The House passed an appropriations package containing eight of the annual spending bills that was then combined with the package containing the other four bills. It also passed legislation to deport gang members in the country illegally, create a voluntary cancer registry for firefighters, study the use of virtual currency by terror groups, and notify local law enforcement about the release of terrorism convicts. The Senate confirmed the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, a deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and debated amendments to the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2018.
Week of September 5, 2017: The House approved bills providing disaster relief, limiting the use of civil asset forfeiture, and clarifying the role of the federal government in regulating self-driving cars. It also considered amendments to an appropriations package. The Senate passed the disaster relief bill so President Donald Trump could sign it into law, and also confirmed a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Columbia.
Week of July 31, 2017: The Senate passed a reauthorization of the FDA's drug user fee programs, and confirmed Christopher Wray as FBI Director, a circuit court judge, a member of the National Labor Relations Board, a deputy secretary of energy, and numerous diplomatic nominees. The House was on recess, and the Senate began its August recess on Friday.
Week of July 24, 2017: The House passed the intelligence budget for fiscal year 2018; a "minibus" appropriations package for defense, veterans, energy & water, and the legislative branch; and a bill imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The Senate also passed that sanctions bill, confirmed a nominee to be deputy secretary of the interior, and debated but failed to advance a Republican healthcare bill.
Week of July 17, 2017: The House passed a pair of energy infrastructure bills, legislation giving states more time to implement the EPA's new ozone standards, and swapping land in a wildlife refuge with the state of Alaska so an emergency road can be built through the refuge. The Senate confirmed a nominee to serve as deputy secretary of state, and a U.S. circuit court judge.
Week of July 10, 2017: The House passed a bill authorizing defense spending for fiscal year 2018, along with a bill that increases water deliveries to California's Central Valley while reforming the permitting process for water storage projects. The Senate confirmed an information and regulatory administrator to the Office of Management and Budget, a U.S. district court judge in Idaho, and the ambassador to Japan.
Week of June 26, 2017: The House passed bills reaffirming America's commitment to NATO's collective defense and reforming medical malpractice lawsuits involving federally subsidized care. It also passed Kate's Law to enhance sentences for unauthorized immigrants that repeatedly enter the country illegally, and a bill to cut federal law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities. The Senate confirmed a nominee to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Week of June 19, 2017: The House passed bills to make it easier for utility companies to maintain trees near power lines on federal land, make the Bureau of Reclamation the lead agency on water storage projects, and allow states to test a wage subsidy program aimed at helping people on welfare find long-term jobs. The Senate confirmed the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with a nominee to the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission, and a nominee to a post in the Treasury Dept. that looks to cut off financing for terrorism.
Week of June 12, 2017: The House passed bills related to tax credits for health insurance premiums, including bills to verify the eligibility of recipients, to let veterans use the credits on non-VA insurance, and ensure that those on COBRA continuation coverage can access the tax credits. It also sent a VA accountability to the president's desk. The Senate passed a bill to expand sanctions on Iran and Russia for their destabilizing activities.
Week of June 5, 2017: The House passed an overhaul of financial industry regulations that repeals and reforms parts of the Dodd-Frank Act, along with a bill to let certain law enforcement officers and veterans bypass polygraph tests for Customs and Border Protection. The Senate passed a bill to increase accountability at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and protect whistleblowers who report misconduct.
Week of May 22, 2017: The House passed a number of bills aimed at improving the services of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and preventing the sexual abuse of children. The Senate confirmed former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be Ambassador to China, Anul Thapar to be a judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and John Sullivan to be Deputy Secretary of State.
Week of May 15, 2017: The House passed legislation aimed at preventing attacks against law enforcement by making the murder or attempted murder of first responders an aggravating factor in federal death penalty cases. It also passed new sanctions on supporters of the Assad regime in Syria. The Senate confirmed nominees to be deputy secretary of transportation and associate attorney general.
Week of May 8, 2017: The Senate was the sole chamber of Congress in session, as the House was on a recess. It confirmed several nominees to positions in the executive branch, including Robert Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, Scott Gottlieb as FDA Commissioner, and Heather Wilson as Secretary of the Air Force.
Week of May 1, 2017: Congress passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package to fund the federal government through the end of September. The House also passed its bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, and a new package of sanctions on North Korea.
Week of April 24, 2017: Congress returned from a two week recess to pass a seven-day continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. The Senate confirmed the last two members of President Trump's Cabinet, Sonny Perdue and Alexander Acost, the secretaries of agriculture and labor, respectively.
Week of April 3, 2017: The Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court after deploying the "nuclear option." The House passed bills to brand North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, reform bankruptcy law for big financial firms, and protect small businesses' ability to self-insure their workforce.
Week of March 27, 2017: Congress sent bills repealing an internet privacy rule and blocking family planning grants from going to abortion providers to President Trump's desk. The House passed bills requiring the EPA to only use public science in its rulemaking and reforming the agency's science advisory board.
Week of March 20, 2017: The House cancelled a planned vote on the American Health Care Act but passed bills to apply federal anti-trust law to the health insurance industry and let small businesses pool together to buy their employees health insurance. The Senate debated the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and approved bills repealing regulations related to hunting predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges, workplace safety recordkeeping, and internet data privacy.
Week of March 13, 2017: The Senate confirmed two Trump nominees — Seema Verma to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence — and voted to let states determine whether recipients of unemployment benefits should be drug tested. The House worked a shortened week because of a snowstorm, but approved bills reforming personnel practices as the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Week of March 6, 2017: The House passed a defense spending package for fiscal year 2017 in addition to several lawsuit reform bills. The Senate sent bills blocking rules related to teacher preparation, state accountability plans for education, and Bureau of Land Management planning to President Trump's desk.
Week of February 27, 2017: The Senate gave final approval to President Trump's nominees to lead the Depts. of Commerce, the Interior, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Energy. The House passed bills to make more information about pending regulations public and require that high-cost regulations to be reviewed by an independent commission.
Week of February 13, 2017: The House passed bills aimed at improving claims processing at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) before passing five bills repealing various Obama-era regulations. The Senate confirmed President Trump's picks to lead the VA, the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Week of February 6, 2017: The House passed an email privacy bill along with legislation blocking Obama era regulations on state education accountability plans, teacher preparation, and a Bureau of Land Management planning rule. The Senate confirmed three of Trump's cabinet nominees — Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as Attorney General.
Week of January 30, 2017: The Senate confirmed Trump's pick to lead the Dept. of Transporation, Elaine Chao, and Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State, in addition to passing a bill to block the Obama era "Stream Protection Rule." The House had passed that bill and other regulatory disapproval bills earlier in the week, including a rule that blocked people considered "mental defectives" by Social Security from buying guns.
Week of January 23, 2017: The House passed legislation that would make the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding from being used to fund abortions except in extreme situations, into a permanent law and several communications-related bills. The Senate confirmed Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) as the Trump administration's CIA Director and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Week of January 17, 2017: President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday shortened this congressional work week, as the House wasn't in session and the Senate focused on holding confirmation hearings for Trump's nominees.
Week of January 9, 2017: The House and Senate both approved a budget resolution that starts the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) through the process of reconciliation. Congress also passed legislation to grant a waiver to retired Marine Corps General Jim Mattis so that he could serve as Secretary of Defense. Aside from that, the House focused on regulatory reform bills while the Senate held hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees.
Week of January 3, 2017: The 115th Congress officially convenes! The House re-elected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House, adopted its rules and passed regulatory reform bills and a condemnation of a U.N. Security Council Resolution related to Israeli settlements in the contested West Bank. The Senate took care of its own administrative tasks, and spent Friday formally counting the votes of the Electoral College.
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— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Speaker of the House / Public Domain)
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