The issue that Congress addressed in recent weeks was Fiscal 2016 Defense Authorization, Elementary and Second Education Act Overhaul, National Forest Management and Medical Funding and Authorization. Following are the corresponding votes from Senators Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and House Representative Gwen Graham, of the 2nd Congressional District, and Congressman Ted Yoho, of the 3rd Congressional District.
In the Senate:
Fiscal 2016 Defense Authorization – The Senate voted 81-14 with four not voting to agree to a motion to invoke cloture on a motion to insist upon the Senate amendment and agree to the request by the House for a conference on the measure that would authorize funding for defense programs in fiscal 2016. The motion also would authorize the presiding officer to appoint conferees. Nelson voted yes. Rubio voted not voting.
In the House:
Elementary and Second Education Act Overhaul – The House voted 218-213 with three not voting to pass a bill, as amended, that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) and would make fundamental changes to many of its programs through Fiscal 2019. The bill would allow Title I funding to follow individual students to other schools, and eliminates more than 65 elementary and secondary education programs and merges their funding. In addition, the new Title I block grant would give states greater flexibility in how funds are used. Yoho and Graham voted no.
National Forest Management – The House voted 262-167 with four not voting to pass a bill, as amended, that modify federal forest management practices to increase timber production on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands as a means of promoting greater forest health and reducing wildfires, and it seeks to end the "borrowing" of fire prevention funding for fire suppression efforts by providing funding to fight certain catastrophic wildfires from FEMA's disaster relief fund. The bill would also provide for expedited actions by federal agencies by expanding the types of forestry activities that can occur without environmental impact statements and by accelerating environmental reviews for salvage operations and reforestation activities after catastrophic events. Yoho and Graham voted yes.
Medical Funding and Authorization – The House voted 344-77 with 12 not voting to pass a bill that would modify current federal processes involving medical research, developing drugs and other treatments, and testing and approving those drugs and treatments in an effort to accelerate the development and delivery of cures to diseases and medical conditions. It would also reauthorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three years and includes numerous initiatives to promote medical research and attract young scientists, and it reauthorizes Food and Drug Administration (FDA) activities for five years and modifies elements of FDA's drug and medical device review and approval process to accelerate the approval and distribution of new drugs and medical devices for diseases and conditions that don't currently have treatments. Yoho and Graham voted yes.
There is one upcoming vote for the Senate and two for the House. No Child Left Behind Act Overhaul (S1177) is a bill that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves. Superstorm Sandy Relief Act of 2015 (H.R.208) is a bill that would require the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to establish a program to make loans to certain businesses, homeowners, and renters affected by Superstorm Sandy. Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 2898) is a bill that would provide drought relief in the State of California, and for other purposes.