Another US government shutdown was averted when the Senate approved the budget bill on Saturday, Dec. 13. Voices were raised on both sides calling for No votes: Ted Cruz wanted the bill to do something about President Obama’s allegedly unconstitutional executive order on immigration enforcement, and Democratic progressives such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders denounced the bill’s loosening of regulations on big banks. In the end, the bill passed 56 to 40. There’s a rundown on provisions of the bill at the Washington Post.
I wanted to know how my two senators voted, and had a bit of trouble locating that information. If you have the same question, there’s the official roll call here.
On that page, don’t be confused by the title of the bill, as I was. This really is the “omnibus spending bill” title:
H.R. 83: To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy …… needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes.
GovTrack explains it,
This bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 [pdf], which was approved by the House on December 11, 2014 and by the Senate on December 13, 2014.
The bill was originally introduced on January 3, 2013 by Delegate Donna Christensen regarding clean energy in insular areas. It passed in the House on September 15, 2014 and the Senate on September 18, 2014, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House.
The House subsequently replaced the entire text of the bill with the appropriations act and passed the bill in that form on December 11, 2014 (House vote), sending it back to the Senate for a final vote, which occurred on December 13, 2014 (Senate vote).
The text of the original [energy-related] bill was put into a new bill, H.R.5803, which passed the House (again, in a sense).
And, if you are wondering about the reference to the “Freely Associated States” in that misleading title, they are the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau. They were part of a trust territory administered by the US after World War II, and left that status after choosing to become chose to become “ sovereign nations in free association with the United States”.
Anyway, we have a federal budget…until the next showdown: it expires Sept. 30, 2015. And poor Homeland Security only gets funding through Feb. 27, 2015. Why? Because it runs most of the immigration-related stuff, so this allows for a whole new drama then, about the President’s Executive Order. Makes me tired just figuring it all out.
Oh, and my senators? Both Oregon senators voted Nay, because of the banking regulation issue which relaxes rules concerning the sorts of transactions that led to the Great Recession of 2008. I emailed them my approval. We need a budget, but we need financial-system reform too.