HOUSE

New rules for green card allocations: The House on July 10 voted, 365-65, to start allocating “green cards” granting permanent legal status on a first-come, first-served basis to skilled immigrants who are in the United States on H1-B employment visas. This approach would replace per-country caps that disadvantage H1-B holders from populous countries. A yes vote was to send HR 1044 to the Senate.

Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd: YES

Andy Kim, D-3rd: YES

Tracking U.S. military properties overseas: The House on July 11 voted, 219-210, to require the Pentagon to provide Congress with an inventory, including costs and national-security justifications, of U.S. military bases and other properties overseas. The department reportedly owns several hundred permanent bases and contingency facilities abroad, and the first-ever audit of Pentagon operations, released last November, was unable to locate many of them. A yes vote was to add the amendment to the fiscal 2020 military policy bill (HR 2500).

Van Drew: NO

Kim: YES

Prohibition of presidential contracts: The House on July 11 voted, 243-186, to prohibit presidents, vice presidents and Cabinet members from holding contracts with federal agencies just as members of Congress are barred by federal law from doing. The rationale of the ban is that high federal officials, as insiders, could exert undue influence over the terms of the contract. A yes vote was to add the prohibition to HR 2500.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: YES

Protecting U.S. personnel agency: Voting 247-182, the House on July 11 amended HR 2500 to kill an administration plan to merge the Office of Personnel Management, which administers programs ranging from health insurance to retirement accounts for active and retired civil servants, with the General Services Administration, which is the federal property manager. A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: YES

9/11 victims’ compensation: The House on July 12 voted, 402-12, to reauthorize the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund for the next 70 years. The bill would ensure full payment of adjudicated damages to 9/11 first responders and cleanup personnel and their survivors for sacrifices at locations including the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A yes vote was to send HR 1327 to the Senate.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: YES

$733 billion for military in 2020: The House on July 12 approved, 220-197, a $733 billion U.S. military budget for fiscal 2020. The bill would require advance congressional approval of any use of force against Iran; set a 3.1 percent pay raise for uniformed personnel; address global warming as a national-security threat; establish 12 weeks’ paid family and medical leave for the federal workforce, require steps to counter Russian interference in U.S. elections and allow military personnel who are victims of sexual assaults to receive emergency contraception at base clinics. A yes vote was to send HR 2500 to conference with the Senate.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: YES

Developing low-yield nuclear weapons: The House on July 12 defeated, 201-221, a GOP bid to include funds in HR 2500 (above) for developing low-yield, or tactical, nuclear weapons for use on specific battlefields. They are different from long-range, or strategic, nuclear weapons, which use broader targeting at longer distances. Advocates say the United States needs these weapons to counter Russia’s low-yield nuclear arsenal. Critics say they heighten the risk of Armageddon because it is folly to think nuclear war can be waged on a limited basis. A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: NO

Budget increase for combat readiness, pay raise: Voting 204-212, the House on July 12 defeated a Republican motion that sought to add nearly $3 billion to HR 2500 (above) for purposes such as expanding combat accounts and increasing the bill’s pay raise for uniformed personnel from the 3.1 percent level requested by President Trump to 4 percent. A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

Van Drew: YES

Kim: YES

SENATE

John Pallasch, assistant labor secretary: Voting 54-39, the Senate on July 10 confirmed John P. Pallasch as assistant secretary of labor in charge of the Employment and Training Administration. Pallasch previously directed Kentucky’s employment and training programs. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Robert Menendez, D: NO

Cory Booker, D: Not voting

Robert King confirmation: Voting 56-37, the Senate on July 11 confirmed Robert L. King as assistant secretary of post-secondary education. He had been director of post-secondary education programs for the state of Kentucky. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Menendez: NO

Booker: Not voting

Source: Voterama in Congress

Editorial Clerk

I interned with a small magazine in Wildwood before starting at The Press in 2013. I currently handle our Hometown and At The Shore calendar of events submissions and enjoy interacting with the local community.

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