Nov 2013 Congressional Votes

Recent Senate Votes
Executive and Judicial Nominations – Cloture – Vote Sustained (52-48)

Senate Democrats succeeded Thursday in deploying the “nuclear option” to make the most fundamental change to floor operations in almost four decades, ending the minority’s ability to kill most presidential nominations by filibuster. The Senate voted, 52-48, to change the rules by rejecting the opinion of the presiding officer that a supermajority is required to limit debate, or invoke cloture, on executive branch nominees and those for seats on federal courts short of the Supreme Court. Three Democrats — Carl Levin of Michigan, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — voted to keep the rules unchanged. The nomination of Patricia Ann Millett to the District of Columbia circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals was the direct cause of this rule change. Senate Republicans, however, had blocked the nominations of two other D.C. Circuit Court judges in recent weeks as well, setting up the parliamentary showdown.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss voted NO
Sen. Johnny Isakson voted NO

Recent House Votes
Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting – Passage – Vote Passed (252-165, 14 Not Voting)

In the last vote of the week, the House passed legislation on Thursday to ensure the timely consideration of all licenses and permits required for construction or operation of any natural gas pipeline projects. The bill, sponsored by Republican Mike Pompeo of Kansas, requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny certificates within one year of receiving a complete permitting application. If other federal agencies, like the EPA, have to approve part of the project, then they would have 90 days to make a decision after the FERC ruling. In a mostly party-line vote, 26 Democrats joined all voting Republicans in support of the bill, and Democrats contributed all 165 dissenting votes.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Nov 18, 2014

Recent Senate Votes

Nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to US Court of Appeals – Cloture – Vote Rejected (56-41, 1 Present, 2 Not Voting)

President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, legal scholar Cornelia “Nina” Pillard, failed to reach the 60-vote threshold to invoke cloture for a final vote. Pillard is currently a professor at Georgetown University and has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in the past. Only two Senate Republicans – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine – voted with Democrats in favor of the Pillard nomination. Republicans have blocked nominations to the Court three times this year, Caitlin J. Halligan in March, Patricia Millett in October and Pillard. Republicans are continuing to argue that the circuit’s workload does not warrant filling any of the three vacant seats. After the vote, Senate Democrats revisited the idea of changing Senate rules to forbid filibusters of executive nominations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., promised to bring the nomination of another potential member of the court, Robert L. Wilkins, to the floor shortly.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss voted NO
Sen. Johnny Isakson voted NO

Recent House Votes

Health Care Reform Implementation Delay – Passage – Vote Passed (261-157, 12 Not Voting)

Amidst the Obama Administration’s struggles to launch the new online federal insurance exchange, 39 Democrats crossed party lines Friday to pass a bill that would allow Americans to keep their current medical plans through 2014. The measure would effectively delay key coverage requirements imposed on health care plans by 2010 reform measures. The bill allows insurers to continue to sell plans to individual consumers that went into effect at the beginning of this calendar year through 2014 outside of the health care exchange established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Beginning in 2014, the law mandates that individuals buy government-approved coverage plans that meet a more rigorous standard of quality than many insurers currently offer. The legislation, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., was a response to the cancellation of a raft of health plans not in compliance with the law’s requirement that policies offer a comprehensive set of benefits. The cancellations prompted an outcry and raised questions about repeated assurances, from Obama and other Democrats, that Americans who liked their health insurance plans would be able to keep them under the new law. The Senate isn’t expected to take up the measure, and the White House on Nov. 14 threatened a veto if it got that far. Democratic Senators, however, are sponsoring similar measures that would allow consumers to retain their current coverage.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted NO

Nov 5, 2014

Recent Senate Votes

Nomination of Patricia Ann Millett to US Court of Appeals – Cloture – Vote Rejected (55-38, 3 Present, 4 Not Voting)

President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Virginia attorney Patricia Ann Millett, failed to reach the 60-vote threshold to invoke cloture for a final vote. The Thursday vote rekindled the argument over changes to Senate filibuster rules. Only one Republican – Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski – voted with chamber Democrats and independents to allow Millett’s nomination to proceed, while three Republicans voted “present.” Millett would fill one of three vacant seats on the circuit bench, which decides most challenges to federal administrative rules and is considered a launching pad to the Supreme Court. Republicans agreed Millett, who has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court, is qualified for the position but argued that the circuit’s workload does not warrant filling its vacancies. After the vote, Senate Democrats revisited the idea of changing Senate rules to forbid filibusters of executive nominations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., promised to bring the nominations of Millett and several other judges back to the floor soon.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss voted Present
Sen. Johnny Isakson voted Present

Recent House Votes

Veterans Disability Claims Backlog – Passage – Vote Passed (404-1, 25 Not Voting)

The House passed a bill on Monday with nearly unanimous support that would establish a panel to study the Veterans Affairs Department’s backlog of disability claims. It would be tasked with finding ways to shorten the appeals process for claims and also prioritize claims for particular groups like those who are elderly or terminally ill. The Veterans Affairs committee in the Senate has received the bill.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Swaps Regulations – Passage – Vote Passed (292-122, 16 Not Voting)

On Wednesday, the House approved a bill that would repeal new restrictions imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law on derivatives trading by banks. The Dodd-Frank law encourages banks to “push out” their swaps desk to affiliates by restricting their access to deposit insurance and discount credit. Republicans argue that the regulation increases costs for companies and derivatives users; Most Democrats counter that a removal of the regulation would allow banks to partake in the risky trading that led to the 2008 financial crisis. 70 Democrats and nearly all Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The House also passed a bill last week to delay regulations that would require broker-dealers advising retirement accounts to have a fiduciary duty to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own. The Senate is unlikely to consider either of these bills, and the White House does not support the current versions of either bill.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Water Resources Bill – Vote Passed (417-3, 10 Not Voting)

With the Senate out all week, the House held its final vote on Wednesday. The House approved with overwhelmingly bipartisan support the bill that would authorize Army Corps of Engineers water resource projects, including flood control and improvements to inland locks and dams. The Senate already passed its version of the bill (S. 601) in the middle of May. The measure would be the first enacted water resources bill since 2007 if soon-to-be-named Senate and House conferees can negotiate a unified bill.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

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