U.S. HOUSE

Renewal of Fisheries Law: Voting 222-193, the House on July 11 passed a GOP-drafted bill (HR 200) that would extend through fiscal 2022 the main law for regulating commercial and recreational fishing in federal coastal waters ranging from three to 200   miles offshore. The 1976 Magnuson-Stevens law is designed to conserve stocks and prevent overfishing while protecting declining species and fragile habitats and providing economic and recreational opportunities. A yes vote was to pass a bill (HR 200) designed to increase yields by steps such as easing catch limits and conservation rules.

Voting yes: Walter Jones, R, David Rouzer, R 

Taking Aim at Citizens United: Voting 228-184, the House on July 11 blocked a Democratic bid for floor debate on a proposed constitutional amendment (HJ Res 31) that would restore broad congressional and state powers to regulate money in politics. This would nullify the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, which equated political spending with free speech in a way that allows corporations, unions, super PACs and other groups to anonymously spend unlimited, undisclosed sums to advocate the election or defeat of specific candidates. A yes vote was in opposition to calling the measure up for debate.

Voting yes: Jones, Rouzer 

Campaign-Finance Disclosures: Voting 225-186, the House on July 11 blocked a Democratic bid for floor debate on a bill (HR 6239) that would require corporations, unions, super PACs and other entities to publicly disclose their funding of political activity and identify their large contributors. A sponsoring organization's top-ranking official would have to publicly certify campaign advertisements, just as candidates must for their campaign spots. A yes vote was in opposition to calling the bill up for debate.

Voting yes: Rouzer

Voting no: Jones 

2018-19 Intelligence Budget: The House on July 12 approved, 363-54, a two-year budget of $170 billion-plus for the 16 U.S. civilian and military intelligence agencies. A yes vote was to pass a bill (HR 6237) that would boost measures against ongoing Russian attacks on U.S. electoral processes.

Voting yes: Rouzer

Voting no: Jones 

Expansion of `Unfunded Mandates' Law: The House on July 13 voted, 230-168, to double the scope of a 1995 "unfunded mandates" law requiring the government to monitor compliance costs that rules and laws impose on businesses, states and other entities. The bill adds 15 independent agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, to the list of departments and agencies required to submit proposed new rules with compliance costs above $100 million to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance. A yes vote was to pass HR 50.

Voting yes: Rouzer

Not voting: Jones 

Sale of Federal Water Units: The House on July 12 voted, 233-184, to make it easier for private water companies to acquire public property from the Bureau of Reclamation, which owns and operates hundreds of dams, reservoirs, canals and other facilities in the West. Present law requires Congress to approve these transactions in advance. Under this bill, the bureau could act on its own to clear sales that would take effect after 90 days unless both houses of Congress vote to kill the deal. A yes vote was to pass HR 3281.

Voting yes: Rouzer

Voting no: Jones

U.S. SENATE

Defense of NATO Against Trump Barbs: Voting 97-2, the Senate on July 10 adopted a measure intended to bolster the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against President Trump's verbal assaults on the 69-year-old Western alliance. Trump has charged that member countries fail to pay their fair share of the cost defending Europe, among other criticisms. The motion was offered in relation to a military spending bill (HR 5515) for fiscal 2019. A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

Voting yes: Richard Burr, R; Thom Tillis, R

Brian Benczkowski Confirmation: The Senate on July 11 confirmed, 51-48, Brian A. Benczkowski, 48, a former congressional staff member, as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's criminal division. In recent work at a Washington law firm, Benczkowski represented Russia's Alfa Bank in a dispute over its server sharing data with a Trump Organization server during the 2016 presidential campaign. All parties were cleared of wrongdoing. Backers said the nominee is qualified to manage the department's criminal probes, while critics noted he has never tried a case or worked in criminal law yet will oversee hundreds of federal prosecutors. A yes vote was to confirm Benczkowski.

Voting yes: Burr, Tillis

Congressional Say in Trade Policy: The Senate July 11 voted, 88-11, to assert Congress "should have a role" in President Trump's policy of using national security to justify U.S. tariffs on trading partners including China and Canada. A yes vote backed the non-binding measure during debate on HR 5895.

Voting yes: Burr, Tillis