News

How Colorado’s congressional delegation voted this week

Author: Tom Ramstack - April 12, 2018 - Updated: April 23, 2018

AP18025082115727.jpg
State of the UnionLights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington, D.C., in 2018. (Photo by J. David Ake/The Associated Press)

H.J.Res. 2: Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States

This was a vote to agree to H.J. Res. 2 in the House.

H.J.Res. 2 would amend the U.S. Constitution to require three-fifths of both the U.S. House and Senate to approve spending that exceeds government revenue or to raise the debt limit. It would require the president to submit a proposed budget to Congress each year in which total spending does not exceed total receipts.

Congress could waive the requirements for any fiscal year the United States is engaged in military conflict that causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security. The threat would be declared by a joint resolution of the House and Senate.

The resolution won the strongest support from Republicans outraged over a national debt of more than $21 trillion. Despite warnings from economists about long-term indebtedness, the debt has grown each year.

In one example, the tax reform bill Congress approved late last year with support from the Trump administration is expected to increase the debt by $2 trillion.

Some popular opinion polls show a majority of Americans want a balanced budget amendment. However, some Democrats warn the amendment would result in important programs running short of funding, perhaps cascading through society and the economy as a disaster that includes high unemployment.

Supporters of a balanced budget amendment include Colorado U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs. “Families and businesses all over Colorado balance their budgets every day and the federal government shouldn’t be the exception,” Lamborn said. “By preventing Congress from spending money it doesn’t have, the amendment would require the government to live within its means.”

After the vote failed, Lamborn pledged to try again.

Failed. How they voted:

No  D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
No Vote  R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
No Vote  R Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 4293: Stress Test Improvement Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4293 in the House.

The Stress Test Improvement Act of 2017 is intended to enhance the testing process of financial institutions’ viability by relieving part of their regulatory burden. It allows bank holding companies to conduct the stress tests annually instead of semi-annually.

The bill reduces the number of supervisory scenarios required by Federal Reserve regulators from three to two. They include the baseline and severely adverse scenarios. The Federal Reserve also would be prohibited from objecting to bank holding companies’ capital plans based on qualitative deficiencies.

Stress tests are financial analyses done internally by financial institutions or externally by regulators to assess whether banks can withstand tough economic conditions. They help banks to survive a contracting economy or other economic disasters, like the recession that started in 2008. The Federal Reserve’s ultimate goal is to protect bank customers and the financial system.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee who sponsored H.R. 4293, said the bill “bridges the gap between the Federal Reserve and financial institutions, lifting the shroud of secrecy, conducting stress tests based on real world information and safeguarding affordable and reliable access to capital for the American people.”

Passed. How they voted:

No  D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 4061: Financial Stability Oversight Council Improvement Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4061 in the House.

This bill would revamp the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s method of designating financial institutions as “too big to fail.”

The “too big to fail” designation gives the federal government authority to more tightly regulate or revise business activities of non-bank financial businesses. At various times, the businesses have included New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc., New York-based American International Group Inc. and Norwalk, Connecticut-based General Electric Capital Corp.

H.R. 4061 would give the businesses greater opportunity to present arguments to the Financial Stability Oversight Council about why they should not be designated as “too big to fail.” They also are called “systemically important financial institutions (SIFI).”

H.R. 4061 would allow businesses to modify their business plans, structure or operations before the agency gives them the SIFI designation.

The House Financial Services Committee explained its motives for proposing the bill in a statement that said it would “enhance the transparency and procedural fairness of the non-bank systemically important financial institutions designation process and address bipartisan concerns regarding the [Financial Stability Oversight Council’s] articulated approaches previously used to designate or consider the designation of nonbanks.”

Passed. How they voted:

No  D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 4203: Combat Online Predators Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4203 in the House.

H.R. 4203 would crack down on stalkers who target children with stiffer criminal penalties. It seeks to amend the federal criminal code to increase the maximum prison term for a stalking offense by five additional years if the victims are under 18 years old. It also requires the Justice Department to review best practices for preventing stalking and to share the information with law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Criminal laws define stalking as repeated and unwanted pursuit or contact with other persons that threatens their safety or privacy. Most stalkers are known to their victims, sometimes as intimate partners. Typically, stalking gets worse and can become violent as it persists.

Common examples include sending unwanted or threatening emails, text messages or instant messages, harassment or threats by telephone and on social media and following the victims into private places, sometimes using global positioning satellite devices.

Although traditional stalking is outlawed in many states, the Combat Online Predators Act extends the criminal penalties to cyberstalking.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bill without opposition. It passed this week in the House with only two votes against it. No one has yet sponsored companion legislation in the Senate.

Passed. How they voted:

Yes  D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

 

Sources: Govtrack, media and congressional reports

Tom Ramstack

Tom Ramstack