Dec 2015 US Congressional Votes

December 21

Recent Senate Votes

Tax Extenders and Omnibus Appropriations — Passage – Vote Agreed to (65-33, 2 Not Voting)

The Senate cleared legislation that retroactively renews for the current 2015 tax year most of the expired provisions and further extends them for varying periods, including by making more than a dozen permanent and extending most others for two years (2015 and 2016). Those made permanent include taxpayers being able to deduct state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes, the research and development tax credit, Section 179 capital expensing for businesses, and expanded versions of the child tax credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses. It also includes a two-year moratorium on the medical device tax created by the 2010 health care overhaul law. The chamber adopted an amendment that funds government operations through September 30, 2016, at about $1.149 trillion in discretionary spending. It also ends the U.S. ban on crude oil exports; reauthorizes the 9/11 first-responder health care and victim compensation programs; reauthorizes U.S. intelligence programs and provides for a voluntary cybersecurity information-sharing process between the government and the private sector; requires individuals who have been in certain nations, such as Syria and Iraq, to get regular visas that involve in-person interviews with U.S. officials in order to enter the United States. It also includes several other tax provisions, including delaying for two years the health care law’s tax on certain high-value employer-sponsored health insurance plans and phaseouts of wind and solar energy tax credits.

Sen. Johnny Isakson voted YES
Sen. David Perdue voted YES

Recent House Votes

Tax Extenders — Adoption – Vote Passed (318-109, 6 Not Voting)

The House adopted an amendment that retroactively renews for the current 2015 tax year most of the expired provisions and further extends them for varying periods, including by making more than a dozen permanent and extending most others for two years (2015 and 2016). Those made permanent include taxpayers being able to deduct state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes, the research and development tax credit, Section 179 capital expensing for businesses, and expanded versions of the child tax credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expenses. It also includes a two-year moratorium on the medical device tax created by the 2010 health care overhaul law.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Omnibus Appropriations — Adoption – Vote Passed (316-113, 5 Not Voting)

The chamber adopted an amendment that funds government operations through September 30, 2016, at about $1.149 trillion in discretionary spending, with $1.067 trillion subject to discretionary spending caps, $73.7 billion designated as Overseas Contingency Operations funds, $7.1 billion designated as disaster spending, $698 million designated as emergency spending and $1.5 billion designated as program integrity initiatives. It also ends the U.S. ban on crude oil exports; reauthorizes the 9/11 first-responder health care and victim compensation programs; reauthorizes U.S. intelligence programs and provides for a voluntary cybersecurity information-sharing process between the government and the private sector; requires individuals who have been in certain nations, such as Syria and Iraq, to get regular visas that involve in-person interviews with U.S. officials in order to enter the United States; and reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It also includes several other tax provisions, including delaying for two years the health care law’s tax on certain high-value employer-sponsored health insurance plans and phaseouts of wind and solar energy tax credits.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

December 14

Recent Senate Votes

K-12 Education Reauthorization — Passage – Vote Agreed to (85-12, 3 Not Voting)

The Senate cleared the conference report on the bill that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 for four years, through fiscal 2020, and modifies programs and policies throughout the law with the overall goal of giving states, school districts, schools, teachers and parents greater control over all aspects of elementary and secondary education. It maintains some federal oversight of state programs through the Education Department’s ability to approve state plans for the use of federal funds, but it places strong restrictions on department actions and control.

Sen. Johnny Isakson voted YES
Sen. David Perdue voted YES

Recent House Votes

Visa Waiver Program — Passage – Vote Passed (407-19, 7 Not Voting)

The chamber passed legislation that prohibits individuals who have been to specified nations such as Syria and Iraq from entering the United States unless they are interviewed by U.S. officials and get a regular visa, even if they are from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Red River Private Property — Passage – Vote Passed (253-177, 3 Not Voting)

The House passed a bill that requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell to current and adjacent landowners the roughly 30,000 acres of federal land along the Red River, which forms part of the border between Texas and Oklahoma.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted NO

Trade Enforcement — Passage – Vote Passed (256-158, 19 Not Voting)

The House agreed to the conference report on the bill that includes numerous provisions to facilitate trade and improve U.S. trade enforcement, including formally establishing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and enhancing its authority, including authorizing an automated system for the agency to process imports and exports. It also makes permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and phases out the taxes imposed in seven states in which they were grandfathered.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted NO

December 7

Recent Senate Votes

Budget Reconciliation – Passage – Vote Passed (52-47, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate passed the bill that repeals large portions of the 2010 health care overhaul law and cuts off federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year. Specifically, it zeroes-out the law’s penalties for noncompliance with the law’s requirements for most individuals to obtain health coverage and employers to offer health insurance. It scraps the law’s Medicaid expansion in 2018, as well as subsidies to help individuals buy coverage through the insurance exchanges. It also eliminates certain taxes included in the law, including the tax on certain high-value employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

Sen. Johnny Isakson voted YES
Sen. David Perdue voted YES

Surface Transportation Reauthorization– Passage – Vote Agreed to (83-16, 1 Not Voting)

The Senate cleared the conference report on the bill that reauthorizes federal highway and transit programs for five years, through fiscal 2020, at increased funding levels to begin addressing the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. It transfers more than $70 billion from Treasury’s general fund and other funds to cover projected shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund over that time and fully fund the measure’s estimated $305 billion cost. The measure also reauthorizes Amtrak and restructures its funding to reflect its major lines of business, renews the charter for the Export-Import Bank and rolls back a reduction in the crop insurance program.

Sen. Johnny Isakson voted YES
Sen. David Perdue voted NO

Recent House Votes

Fiscal 2016 Intelligence Authorization — Passage – Vote Passed (364-58, 11 Not Voting)

The chamber passed a bill that authorizes classified amounts in fiscal 2016 for 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and intelligence-related activities of the U.S. government, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as foreign intelligence activities of the Defense Department, FBI, State Department, Homeland Security Department and other agencies.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

EPA Existing Power Plant Rule Disapproval — Passage – Vote Passed (242-180, 11 Not Voting)

The House agreed to a joint resolution expressing disapproval of the rule submitted by the EPA concerning carbon emissions at existing power plants.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

EPA New and Retrofitted Power Plant Rule Disapproval — Passage – Vote Passed (235-188, 10 Not Voting)

The House agreed to a joint resolution expressing disapproval of the rule submitted by the EPA concerning carbon emissions at new and retrofitted power plants.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

K-12 Education Reauthorization — Passage – Vote Passed (359-64, 10 Not Voting)

The chamber agreed to the conference report on the bill that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 for four years, through fiscal 2020, and modifies programs and policies throughout the law with the overall goal of giving states, school districts, schools, teachers and parents greater control over all aspects of elementary and secondary education. It maintains some federal oversight of state programs through the Education Department’s ability to approve state plans for the use of federal funds, but it places strong restrictions on department actions and control.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

Energy Security and Infrastructure Overhaul — Passage – Vote Passed (249-174, 10 Not Voting)

The House passed legislation which promotes the accelerated development and construction of natural gas pipelines and hydropower projects by increasing the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and requiring the agency to set hard deadlines for environmental reviews and permitting, and by requiring the designation of at least 10 corridors across federal lands in the Eastern U.S. where pipelines could be built. It also includes numerous provisions intended to increase the security and reliability of the nation’s electrical power grid; revises national energy efficiency standards and requires the Energy Department to expedite decisions on applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted NO

Surface Transportation Reauthorization– Passage – Vote Passed (359-65, 9 Not Voting)

The House adopted the conference report on the bill that reauthorizes federal highway and transit programs for five years, through fiscal 2020, at increased funding levels to begin addressing the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. It transfers more than $70 billion from Treasury’s general fund and other funds to cover projected shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund over that time and fully fund the measure’s estimated $305 billion cost. The measure also reauthorizes Amtrak and restructures its funding to reflect its major lines of business, renews the charter for the Export-Import Bank and rolls back a reduction in the crop insurance program.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES

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