The issues that Congress addressed in recent weeks were No Child Left Behind Overhaul, Veterans Loans, Transportation Funding and California Drought. 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:
No Child Left Behind Overhaul – The Senate voted 81-17 with two not voting to pass the bill that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law that authorizes federal spending on kindergarten through high school. It would let states decide how to judge schools' success and wouldn't require any type of teacher evaluation. It would require states to continue testing students annually, but would leave it up to states to decide what weight those scores have when rating schools. Rubio voted no. Nelson voted not voting.
In the House:
Veterans Loans – The House voted 410-1 with 22 not voting to agree to a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill that would permanently waive the guarantee fee for veterans and their spouses applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) express loans, beginning Oct. 1, 2015. The bill defines eligibility for the waiver based on the veteran status of the loan applicant, rather than whether the business is considered a veteran-owned small business. Graham and Yoho voted yes.
Transportation Funding and California Drought – The House voted 312-119 with two not voting to pass a bill that would reauthorize federal-aid highway and transit programs through Dec. 18, 2015 and would transfer $8.1 billion in funding from the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund to cover projected trust fund shortfalls over that time. The measure completely offsets the cost of the proposed funding transfer by extending for two years the current budgetary treatment of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fees as mandatory savings and through several tax compliance provisions. Graham voted yes. Yoho voted no.
California Drought – The House voted 245-176 with 12 not voting to pass a bill that would require that more water from Northern California be pumped south for agricultural uses in the Central Valley in times of drought, and would require the Interior and Commerce departments to approve any emergency projects or operations that would quickly provide additional water to those users. The bill would also implement a coordinated environmental review process to expedite the environmental review of certain water projects, such as dams and water storage facilities. Graham voted no. Yoho voted yes.
There is one upcoming vote for the Senate and two for the House. Hire More Heroes Act (H.R.22) is a bill that would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of determining the employers to which the employer mandate applies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act (H.R.1557) is a bill that would amend the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 to strengthen Federal antidiscrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and expand accountability within the Federal government, and for other purposes. Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R.1599) is a bill that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism, the labeling of natural foods, and for other purposes.