Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 21, 201819min342

H.J.Res. 99: Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2017, and for other purposes

This was a vote to pass H.J. Res. 99 in the House.

The House passed a resolution Thursday night to continue federal spending at last year’s levels while Congress wrangles over a new budget. The only other alternative was a government shutdown. However, the bill faces a tougher struggle in the Senate, where several senators have said continuing resolutions are not the best way to fund the government. Health care, such as funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program for low-income families, and immigration disputes are among the top issues that have deadlocked Congress on approving a new budget. A breakthrough on passing the continuing resolution came Thursday after an appeal by President Trump to the House Freedom Caucus, which consists of about 40 conservative Republicans. Their agreement to vote for the stopgap resolution might have averted a government shutdown.

Passed.

No  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

S. 139: FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass S. 139 in the Senate.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Reauthorization Act is a controversial government surveillance law that allows U.S. intelligence agencies to collect information on foreign targets. The bill also authorizes the FBI to gather information from a database on Americans living abroad. However, investigators must get a warrant based on probable cause before they can view the content of the computerized information. “It enables our intelligence community to collect communications from foreign terrorists on foreign soil who threaten America and our allies,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement after the bill won Senate approval. The Act “does not allow the targeting of American citizens,” he said. “Nor does it permit the targeting of anyone – no matter their nationality — who is known to be located here in the U.S.” The House passed the companion bill last week.

Passed.

No  D   Bennet, Michael CO
No  R   Gardner, Cory CO

H.R. 4279: Expanding Investment Opportunities Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4279 in the House.

The Expanding Investment Opportunities Act seeks to simplify the registration process for closed-end mutual funds. Closed-end funds (CEF) or closed-ended funds use collective investments based on a fixed number of shares that are not redeemable from the fund. Unlike open-end funds, managers of new shares in a closed-end fund do not seek to meet demand from investors. Instead, the shares can be purchased and sold only in the stock market, similar to a mutual fund. Some financial advisors have complained regulatory burdens and lack of public information about closed-end funds have impeded their public acceptance. “Notwithstanding the benefits these funds provide to investors and the capital markets, the last several years have seen a steady decline in the number of closed-end funds and new closed-end fund offerings,” said Paul Schott Stevens, president of the Investment Company Institute, a public policy organization. “By simplifying the closed-end fund offering process and liberalizing existing restrictions on communications with investors before and during an offering, the legislation would reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens that raise costs for investors.” H.R. 4279 directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to amend its rules to reclassify closed-end funds that meet certain requirements to be considered “well-known seasoned issuers” (WKSIs). The SEC also would be required to make the filing and offering regulations for closed-end funds the same as for traditional operating companies.

Passed.

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

H.R. 3326: World Bank Accountability Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 3326 in the House.

The World Bank Accountability Act of 2017 reauthorizes U.S. participation in the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, but with new conditions. The bill funds the association at the level requested by the Trump administration but only if the World Bank adopts reforms to prevent corruption. One set of conditions would allow the U.S. government to withhold 15 percent of its annual contribution if the World Bank fails to reform its staff incentives, gender-based violence and accountability for trust funds. Current staff incentives are based on volume of lending. H.R. 3326 conditions full U.S. funding on targeting loans to reduce poverty and encourage development among poor countries. Gender-based violence refers to avoiding a repeat of loans that contributed to the sexual abuse of teenage girls during the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project. Other aid conditions require tougher standards for World Bank projects, such as by supporting human rights, minimizing corruption, auditing work and denying support to terrorists. The bill instructs the U.S. executive director at the World Bank to oppose assistance to countries that refuse to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

Passed.

No  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
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 4258: Family Self-Sufficiency Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4258 in the House.

The Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Act permanently reauthorizes the FSS program, combines it with the Housing Choice Voucher program and public housing and expands eligibility to include families in privately-owned properties subsidized with Housing and Urban Development project-based rental assistance. The program also offers new services for financial literacy and education. “Growing up in public housing, I am well aware of how important it is that we provide residents with opportunities to become independent and self-sufficient,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a sponsor of the bill. “A program like FSS helps participants access essential supportive services, putting them on a path towards success. The program has strong support nationally and has been successful in improving outcomes in my own congressional district.” Since its establishment, the FSS program has enabled families living in public or project-based assisted housing or using Housing Choice Vouchers to access workforce training and other resources to pursue higher-paying employment. Families enrolled in the FSS program receive an interest-bearing escrow account to help them save money and apply the savings to work-related purchases. The House bill mirrored the Senate bill introduced last year by Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote letters to Congress supporting the Family Self-Sufficiency Act.

Passed.

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, Congress.gov, media reports and congressional statements


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 19, 20182min740
Amidst a broken deal on immigration, which some Democrats blame on the President Trump, Colorado’s congressional Democrats have joined in a resolution asking for a censure of the president. The resolution, HRes. 700 was introduced Thursday. It calls on Congress to censure the president over his reported remarks on Jan. 11 in which he called […]

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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandJanuary 7, 20184min916
Next Wednesday, ads supporting the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will start airing on metro Denver TV, and those ads will encourage viewers to thank U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman for his votes on the law. According to the Washington Post, the ads are coming from American Action Network and will air in 23 congressional […]

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Kara MasonKara MasonJanuary 4, 20182min392

The last days of 2017 were hectic for one Arapahoe County agency, as President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

By the end of last week, the Arapahoe County Treasurer’s Office had collected around $20 million more in early property tax payments than it had the year prior. With Trump’s signing of the GOP tax plan, a number of residents were about to lose some of their federal deduction for local taxes paid in the new year, so they rushed in to prepay them before Jan. 1.

Under the revamped tax code, state and local tax deductions are now capped on federal tax returns at $10,000.

Lines to pay property taxes stretched out the door, a news release from the Arapahoe Treasurer’s Office said. Treasurer Sue Sandstrom said it was an “extraordinary effort,” as the bulk of those payments poured in over just four days, from Dec. 26 through Dec. 29.

“The Treasurer’s Office was pleased to provide the additional services to the many taxpayers who chose to prepay their property taxes,” Treasurer Sue Sandstrom said in a statement. “With extraordinary effort and team work by the treasurer’s staff, all taxpayers who came into the office, called in on the phone, or contacted us by email, had received the services they requested. This is a perfect example of how Arapahoe County takes seriously our pledge of First in Service.”

Other places across the state and country experienced a similar turnout last week. By last Wednesday, the Denver Post reported, 900 taxpayers had dropped by the county courthouse to pay property taxes. Washington, D.C., collected more than $50 million in property taxes from 7,500 taxpayers, according to The Hill newspaper.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandDecember 30, 20175min801
President Donald Trump Friday morning sent a message to Congressional Democrats: don’t even think about asking for federal authorization of DACA unless you’re also willing to pay for the border wall and a host of other immigration changes. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was initially authorized by a 2012 executive order from then-President […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 26, 20176min514

For years now there has been a heated debate on energy in Colorado, with one side stating we need to rid our state of fossil fuels and the other stating we need to rid our state of renewable energy. Neither side has been willing to give an inch. The folks wanting to rid our state of the evil renewable sources of energy and their policies state that it is costing jobs in coal, gas and oil. The other side? Well, they will give you numbers on how fossil fuels will kill our planet (or already have), are dangerous all the way around, and are dinosaurs (no pun intended) in the world of energy.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoySeptember 29, 20173min712

Denver hasn’t been shy about its resistance to the White House’s bellicose stance on immigration — i.e. a travel ban; President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, and the promise to end a program, unless Congress acts, that provides protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

In late August, the Denver City Council and Mayor Michael Hancock agreed on a new policy which prohibits city employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities and provides other protections for undocumented immigrants in Denver, Colorado Public Radio reports.

During a signing of the policy, Hancock urged the president to “leave our DACA children alone,” Westword reports, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program started under President Barack Obama. It shielded children brought to the U.S. illegally from deportation for two years and allowed them to legally work. Hancock also noted the 17,000 Coloradans protected under DACA.

Though the future of DACA is uncertain, over the fall, Denver will reach out to immigrants with a series of clinics to help DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants.

The clinics will educate interested parties on renewing their DACA status, answer legal questions and provide legal services and offer information on immigration and citizenship.

The city said the clinics are sponsored by local immigrant advocacy organizations including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Latino Forum, and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association. Prominent Denver law firms will provide council at the meetings on citizenship and immigration. No registration is required and all of the meetings will be held at a local Denver Public Library.

Find a full list of meetings here and here.