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Tom RamstackTom RamstackMarch 16, 201821min482

S. 2155: Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

This was a vote to pass S.2155 in the Senate.

This bill would reduce the broad limitations placed on banks by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was enacted in 2010 as a response to the recession that started in 2008. It would raise the threshold for the strictest government oversight to ensure it is directed only at the biggest banks that can withstand the regulatory burden.

The Dodd-Frank Act requires that any bank with assets greater than $50 billion be subjected to strict oversight by U.S. Treasury Department regulators. The measure was an effort to avoid the “too big to fail” problem that arose during the last recession when large bank failures created chaos throughout the economy. The new threshold under S.2155 would mean only banks with assets greater than $250 billion would be targeted for strict regulatory oversight.

The rule revision would affect 25 of the nation’s 38 biggest banks. All Senate Republicans voted for the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. They were joined by 16 Democrats and one Independent. Both of Colorado’s senators voted for it.

Most Democrats opposed the new threshold, saying it would return too much discretion to the banking industry on issues such as granting credit to customers, perhaps launching the nation into another economic collapse. Republicans say S.2155 could save community banks and credit unions that cannot afford the regulatory costs of Dodd-Frank.

Other provisions of the bill would exempt banks with less than $10 billion in assets from a rule that prohibits them from speculative trading. It also exempts small mortgage lenders from extensive reports to bank regulators about their borrowers and their loan status.

Passed.

Yes  D Bennet, Michael CO
Yes  R Gardner, Cory CO

 

H.R. 1116: TAILOR Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1116 in the House.

This is a bill introduced by Colorado U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, to force bank regulators to adapt their regulations and oversight to the unique business plan of each bank, particularly the smaller ones. In other words, regulators are supposed to “tailor” their rules to different banks.

Bankers who testified for the legislation said regulators often fail to consider the different levels of risk and complexity for each bank’s business, instead imposing across-the-board rules that often are unnecessary and cumbersome for low-risk banks.

In addition to the House Financial Services Committee, the bill won support from the American Bankers Association and state bankers’ groups. The American Bankers Association released a statement in support of the bill that said, “While regulation is often a fact of life for financial institutions, the indiscriminate application of many rules to institutions whose business models and risk levels do not warrant it adds little to overall safety and soundness and much to the costs of financial products in this country. At its extreme, such over-regulation threatens the viability of many smaller institutions that provide essential banking services and products to communities across this country.”

Passed.

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. 4909: STOP School Violence Act of 2018

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4909 in the House.

This is a bill to avoid school shootings like the one in Parkland, Fla., last month but without arming teachers.

Instead, it appropriates $50 million a year to be used for teacher training and anonymous tip lines about potential threats.

The House approved it on the same day thousands of students walked out of their schools briefly to protest a lack of action by government to prevent gun violence. The Parkland shooting by a lone gunman armed with an AK-47 killed 17 students and teachers.

Students from Colorado’s Columbine High School joined the protests. All members of Colorado’s delegation to Congress voted for H.R. 4909, also known as the Stop School Violence Act.

The bill authorizes the Justice Department to administer $50 million a year in grants to help schools develop “threat assessment systems.” The systems would follow FBI and Secret Services guidelines to help teachers identify potential killers before they strike.

Another $25 million would be spent on security equipment. The list would include metal detectors, stronger door locks and emergency notification technology to advise school administrators and police of emergencies.

The tiplines the grants fund would collect threat information through mobile telephone applications, telephone hotlines and Internet websites. Some members of Congress warned the bill provides inadequate legal procedures for persons inaccurately accused of threatening schools. The bill still requires approval in the Senate, where it is expected to be revised.

Passed.

Yes  D DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yea  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. 4465: Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4465 in the House.

This bill extends a program until 2023 for protecting four endangered fish species in Colorado but seeks to avoid government-mandated restrictions on water use and electrical generation. The fish are found in the Upper Colorado River and San Juan River basins.

Six members of Colorado’s delegation to Congress co-sponsored the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act. All members of the delegation voted for it. It now requires approval in the Senate.

The Recovery Program started in 1998 to avoid restrictions the Environmental Protection Agency could impose under the Endangered Species Act, which seeks to protect wildlife.

The EPA lists the humpback chub, the bonytail, the Colorado pikeminnow and the razorback sucker as endangered. Federal law allows the EPA to restrict water and power use to some communities to protect endangered species.

The Endangered Fish Recovery Program uses water leases, habitat protection, conservation contracts and other methods to protect the endangered fish. It also authorizes wildlife management workers to remove invasive fish species that could kill the protected fish. The invasive species include bass, channel catfish and northern pike.

Water from the Upper Colorado River and San Juan River supplies cities, industry and hydroelectric power generators throughout the state.

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. 5247: To authorize the use of eligible investigational drugs by eligible patients who have been diagnosed with a stage of a disease or condition in which there is reasonable likelihood that death will occur within a matter of months

This was a vote to pass H.R. 5247 in the House.

This bill was designed to help persons with terminal illnesses gain easier access to experimental drugs.

Its supporters said the experimental drugs would be administered to patients only if there was evidence the benefits were likely to exceed the risks. The bill’s detractors said it would inspire false hopes in desperate people. It also would dangerously remove the Food and Drug Administration from the approval process, the critics said.

The bill’s chief sponsor, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., vowed to try again after the failed vote.

“Tonight a minority of the House of Representatives blocked the two-thirds vote necessary to pass Right to Try via suspension,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “Those facing a terminal diagnosis and fighting for their Right to Try won’t give up and neither can we. This fight resumes first thing tomorrow morning as we send this matter to the Rules Committee and will work to bring Right to Try back to the floor immediately for a simple majority vote, which as was indicated tonight, has the bipartisan majority of votes to pass.”

Failed.

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

 

Sources: Govtrack, media and congressional reports


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Tom RamstackTom RamstackOctober 20, 201710min452

H.Con.Res. 71: Establishing the congressional budget for the U.S. government for fiscal 2018 and setting budget levels for fiscal 2019 through 2027

This was a vote to agree to the  budget proposal in the Senate.

The resolution sets the budget for fiscal 2018 and budget levels for fiscal 2019 through 2027. The resolution sets discretionary spending for fiscal 2018 at $1.132 trillion, which includes $621.5 billion for defense spending and $511 billion in non-defense discretionary spending. The budget is supposed to achieve $6.5 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years and produce a $9 billion surplus in fiscal 2027. Approval of the budget was a major step toward enacting Republican-proposed tax cuts. However, the tax cut is projected to increase the national deficit by $1.5 trillion in the next decade. Senate Republicans originally promised to ensure tax reform would not add to the deficit. They said new revenue from eliminating some deductions would offset the losses to the federal budget caused by tax cuts. They abandoned their pledge of deficit reduction in frustration over being unable to win the clear majority they needed to approve the budget. The Senate budget now moves to a vote in the House.

Passed.

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

 

S.Amdt. 1301 to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This was a vote on Amendment 1301 to the Senate budget.

The Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to ban oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Senate Republican-led budget would allow oil drilling to raise revenue for the federal government. However, most Democrats and environmentalists say the refuge’s habitat and wildlife could be endangered by oil drilling. Polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other animal species live in the refuge. The Senate’s budget directs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to put together legislation that would yield $1 billion in new revenue from the oil drilling in the next decade.

Rejected.

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

 

S.Amdt. 1119: To provide resources to restore cuts to Medicaid, which would be paid by reducing tax breaks for the wealthy

This was a vote on Amendment 1119 to the Senate budget.

This amendment sought to restore cuts to the Medicaid program in the Senate budget by reducing the tax breaks for the wealthy. The additional government revenue from the wealthiest taxpayers then would be put back into Medicaid to help pay for health care of low income persons. The Senate budget proposes broad tax cuts. However, Amendment 1119 would not allow tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of individuals’ incomes. It would have required any congressional bill that seeks to cut taxes for the top 1 percent of individual income earners be subject to the Senate’s 60-vote threshold before it could pass. In other words, passage would have been extremely difficult. The exemption from tax cut eligibility would have applied to anyone earning more than $466,000 in adjusted gross income, which the Internal Revenue Service reports would put them in the top 1 percent.

Rejected.

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

 

S.Amdt. 1146: Tax relief for American families with children

This was a vote on Senate Amendment 1146 to the Senate budget.

This amendment, which won unanimous approval in the Senate, expands the child tax credit. It is intended to help middle-income families pay for child care. The amendment allows a deduction of $2,000 per child from both income reported to the Internal Revenue Service as well as income calculated for Social Security and Medicare, which has the effect of lowering payroll tax deductions. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said after the Senate approved the amendment, “It has become increasingly expensive to raise children in the 21st century and this bipartisan measure ensures that we are on track to invest in our families and future American taxpayers. Tax reform will not pass unless we significantly expand the child tax credit.”

Passed.

Yes  D   Bennet, Michael CO
Yes  R   Gardner, Cory CO

S.Amdt. 1144: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect Medicare and Medicaid

This amendment to the Senate budget authorizes a reserve fund for legislation to strengthen Medicaid and to extend the end date for the Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. However, money for the reserve fund could be set aside only if it does not increase the federal deficit. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has two goals. First, it seeks to protect Medicaid for low-income children, pregnant women, elderly persons and the disabled. Second, it would ensure health benefits for Medicare recipients. Hatch said the amendment was needed because tax cuts in the Senate budget risked a shortfall of funding for Medicaid and Medicare.

Passed.

Yes  D   Bennet, Michael CO
Yes  R   Gardner, Cory CO

 

Source: GovTrack



Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsNovember 9, 201631min434

DENVER - Can you spell T-R-U-M-P? Good morning. Feeling the post-election night hangover? Us too. And we all know it's one hangover that takes zero adult beverages to produce. Pop an Aspirin, look in the mirror and smile or frown — take your pick — but recognize that the country has chosen a very different path for the next four years. But it appears you, Colorado, have chosen to keep things essentially the same. For the winners circle, victory is such a nice remedy for the hangover isn't it? Gov. John Hickenlooper can gaze into that mirror this a.m. and breathe a sigh of relief for the outlook of the remainder of his term. It's a bittersweet morning for Colorado's governor — a letdown that any presumed Washington opportunities are out the window, but certainly a reassurance that a likely divided Legislature in 2017-2018 will keep his popularity — and legacy — above the 50 percent mark. The Senate appears to be headed for continued GOP control, though only 84 percent of District 25 has reported so forgive us for reading the tea leaves a bit.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinNovember 8, 20163min955

More than 2.2 million of Colorado's nearly 3.3 million registered voters had turned in their ballots by Election Day, according to the Colorado Secretary of State's office, with Republican voters slightly ahead of Democratic voters. The Election Day tally showed Republican voters cast 771,745 ballots, Democratic voters cast 753,052 ballots and unaffiliated, or independent, voters cast 656,882 ballots.