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Congressional Report: June 18-June 22, 2018

Notes: Six proposals to end the separation of families crossing the border illegally are before Congress (4 Republican, 2 Democrat).  The Republican majority does not have the votes to pass their proposals, and voting has been postponed.


Representative Turner

Major Votes: 

Turner voted yea on the SOUND Disposal and Packaging Act-H.R. 5687 directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with manufacturers to establish programs for efficient return or destruction of unused Schedule II or III opioids. These methods could include mail-back pouches to secure facilities for incineration, or methods to inactivate immediately or render unattractive unused drugs. The measure passed overwhelmingly.

Turner voted yeah on the H.R. 5676: SENIOR Communities Protection Act – allows Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans to suspend payments to a provider or supplier pending an investigation of a credible allegation of fraud against the provider or supplier. The measure passed overwhelmingly.

Turner voted yea on H.R. 5797: Individuals in Medicaid Deserve Care that is Appropriate and Responsible in its Execution Act. H.R. 5797 allows state Medicaid programs to remove the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for Medicaid beneficiaries aged 21 to 64 with an opioid use disorder for fiscal years 2019 to 2023. By removing the exclusion, Medicaid would pay for up to 30 total days of care in an IMD during a 12-month period for eligible individuals. Passed.

Turner voted nay on  H.R. 6082, which amends the Public Health Service Act to permit substance use disorder (SUD) records to be shared among covered entities and Part 2 programs in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), for the purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. Failed.

Other Activity

6/20: issued a statement regarding Trump’s executive order on separation of families:

“Today at the White House, I met with the President and other Members of Congress. We urged the President to end the separation of families at the border. I supported his announcement and subsequent signing of an executive order to that effect. I strongly support the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, the immigration bill, that will be on the House floor tomorrow that keeps families together, strengthens border security, implements a merit-based immigration system, and allows DACA recipients stay in the U.S. Immigration is the heart of our country. Our system has been broken for too long, and I strongly support the changes in this bill to improve our laws.”

6/21: after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a report examining the health effects of exposure to Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA): “Today, the draft report of the study has been released to the public. As I said to both Administrator Pruitt and Secretary Azar, this is a matter of public health and safety. Based on this information, I encourage federal, state, and local environmental regulators to examine whether they are appropriately communicating the risks presented by and adequately addressing the presence of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. We must ensure agencies at all levels are using the most reliable data and best available science to ensure our drinking water remains safe…”

Senator Portman

Major Votes: 

Voted yea to approve amendment 2943 to H.R. 5895: To increase funds for a nuclear demonstration program. Passed.

Voted yea to approve amendment  2985 (Tammy Baldwin) to H.R. 5895.  Purpose: to set aside funds for cooperative agreements and laboratory support to accelerate the domestic production of Molybdenum-99. Passed.

Voted yea on the national defense Authorization Act of F/Y 2019, which notably reinstates the ZTE sales ban and trade sanctions. Many experts view the Chinese telecom giant as a security threat.

Voted yea on a vote related to a bill titled H.R. 3: Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. Rejected.

Other Activity

6/20: Portman joined a group of senators in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling on him to stop the practice of separating families who have illegally crossed the US-Mexico border. The letter urges the administration to stop the family separations while Congress works on a legislation solution.

6/20: Portman urged the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to use different measures than Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to enforce trade infractions from foreign countries like China. Section 232 is a measure used in conditions of national security, and Portman stressed the fact that misuse could result in trade wars with America’s top trade allies.  Instead he urged the administration to use the tools at their disposal, such as the Leveling the Playing Field Act and the ENFORCE Actwhich are working to crack down on foreign competitors that launder products through other countries to try to get around our trade laws.

Senator Brown

Major Votes: 

Voted yea on the national defense Authorization Act of F/Y 2019, which notably reinstates the ZTE sales ban and trade sanctions. Many experts view the Chinese telecom giant as a security threat.

Other Activity

6/18:  Brown  announced that his bipartisan measure to strengthen the tools the U.S. uses to block national security threats posed by investments from China and other countries has passed the Senate as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). He said, “No country has been more aggressive than China in going after American technology in sectors like aviation, robotics, new energy vehicles, and others where the U.S. has established ourselves as a global leader.”  He added, “Our bipartisan bill will give CFIUS and our export control agencies the tools they need to ensure that these types of investments don’t slip through the cracks.”

6/20:  Senators Brown and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee which has oversight jurisdiction over federal elections, introduced the SAVE VOTERS Act to protect the constitutional rights of Americans from voter “purges.” The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Ohio’s voter purge, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, last week said states are allowed to remove registered voters from voting rolls for a failure to vote in multiple federal elections and a failure to return a mailed address confirmation form. The SAVE VOTERS Act would amend the National Voter Registration Act to clarify that a state may not use someone’s failure to vote or respond to a State notice as reason to target them for removal from active voter rolls, protecting American voters from voter “purges” that pose serious consequences to those who may be serving overseas, sick, traveling, homeless or otherwise unable to vote on Election Day.

6/20:  Brown demanded answers from the Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) following media reports that staff at border detention facilities may be prohibited from comforting traumatized children who’ve been ripped from their parents. While urging the Administration to immediately end its policy of separating children from their families at the border, Brown is also asking these agencies to outline what policies are in place to care for the mental, physical and emotional well-being of severely traumatized children in their custody.

6/21: Brown and Portman helped secure the release this week of a draft federal study regarding the levels of certain toxic chemicals that are safe for exposure. According to recent news reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been blocking the Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) from releasing the study on Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances or PFAS chemicals, which are used in manufacturing and have been linked to a variety of serious health conditions.

6/22:  Brown released the following statement in response to news reports that General Motors plans to build the new Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico. Brown is criticizing the move by GM to send jobs to Mexico as the second shift at the GM facility in Lordstown ends today. “GM’s timing on this outrageous decision could not have been worse,” said Brown. “On the same day GM is laying off workers in Youngstown, the company is bypassing American workers and sending more jobs to Mexico. GM should reverse this irresponsible decision, and use its tax windfall to invest in American workers.”  In April, following the announced layoffs in Lordstown, Brown wrote a letter to CEO Marry Barra, condemning the announced layoffs and urged GM to reverse their decisions, and use the tax windfall the company got from recent tax cuts to invest in its facility and the workers in Lordstown.


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