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A Breather for Congress

11 August 2007
Written by

A Breather for Congress

Well, Congress has officially gone on break for the next few weeks. Here is what they were up to before they headed out:

HR 3222 was passed by the House. This is an appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. Look for a summary of this bill on our website by the end of next week. It passed the House 395-13. This bill will next go to the Senate.

The House also passed a couple of bills addressing energy issues. One of the most notable highlights in the press has been the requirement that many utilities produce 15% of their energy from renewable resources by the year 2020. This provision was added to one of the bills via a floor amendment. The amendment passed 220-190. Both of the bills and the amendment will have summaries on our website shortly. Both of the bills will next go to the Senate.

Perhaps the most publicized vote was a vote making changes to provisions regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The President has the power to keep Congress in session and promised to do so until Congress passed a bill that he agreed with regarding surveillance. Congress was set to adjourn on Friday, August 3. This bill, S 1927, passed the Senate on that date by a vote of 60-28. The House passed the bill on Saturday, Aug 4 by a vote of 227-183. Look for a summary of this bill on our website very soon, as well. This bill was signed by the President on Sunday, Aug 5.

Another bill that was passed in the final days before the break was HR 3159. The House passed this bill by a vote of 229-194. It creates mandatory minimum rest periods for troops who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan before they can be redeployed to Iraq. For members of the regular armed forces, the rest period specified in this bill has to be at least the length of the duration of their most recent deployment. For members of the reserves, the rest period must be three times the length of the duration of their previous deployment. This bill will next go to the Senate.

The House passed S 1 by a vote of 411-8, and the Senate concurred in the House changes by a vote of 83-14. This bill establishes certain restrictions on lobbying by former Representatives and Senators. According to this bill, Representatives would not be able to lobby for one year after they are no longer in office. Senators would have to wait for two years. Other provisions requiring disclosure and additional regulations are also in the bill.

The House voted on an amendment to an appropriations bill on August 2. This bill included funds for the FDA, which could be used to enforce the prevention of the importation of prescription drugs from Canada. The amendment the House voted on would have prohibited the funds in the bill from being used in this way. So a vote for the amendment was a vote to prohibit the FDA from using these funds to prevent the importation of the drugs. The amendment failed 146-283. This will also have a summary on our website shortly. The amendment is H Amdt 734 to HR 3161.

As you can see, Congress went out with a bang. These summaries will be popping up on our website as soon as we finish with our extensive checking process to make sure they are as accurate and non-partisan as possible.

Have a great day, Informed Citizen,

-Project Vote Smart

Related tags: blog, Congressional-votes, key-votes

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