Tag: CongressionalWatch

Alabama House Members Voted for $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill, Even Though They Didn’t Like All of It

Voterama in Congress
The House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill during the legislative week ending March 27. Congress debated no other substantive measures during the week. Alabama’s House of Representatives members supported the bill, although not always happily.

Emergency Coronavirus Funding Approved, More Relief to Be Debated Next Week



Congress will take up its third coronavirus relief package in the week of March 23, a measure that could promptly send at least $500 billion in direct payments to individuals and households and provide bailouts to industries including the airlines.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday, March 18, passed a $100 billion safety-net and economic stimulus package to help families, individuals and small and medium-size businesses cope with the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, and the president signed it the same day.

The Senate vote was near to a sweep with 90 for and eight against. Both Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, and Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, voted for the measure. Read more.

House Passes Coronavirus Relief Funds; Alabama’s Byrne Is in the Minority Opposing the Spending

Voterama in Congress
WASHINGTON — The House overwhelmingly approved a coronavirus relief and economic stimulus coronavirus-related spending bill Saturday that would spend tens of billions of dollars in stimulus and safety-net spending to cushion the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., was among the minority voting against the bill, which passed 363-40. He said in a statement that representatives were given a 110-page bill and asked to vote on it 26 minutes later.

“Although I agree with many of the provisions in this legislation, this is no way to govern. We should be sending a message of calm and steady leadership in the face of this crisis, not forcing through bills in the dead of night,” he said in the statement. Read more.

House, Senate and President Agree Across Party Lines to Adopt Coronavirus Funding Bill

Voterama in Congress

WASHINGTON — All of Alabama’s representatives in Washington last week voted in favor of a bill to appropriate $8.3 billion for public-health initiatives to counter the spread of the coronavirus in the United States while helping the U.S. diplomatic community cope with the epidemic overseas.

The vote cut across party lines, being passed by the House and the Senate and signed by the president in just days. Read more.

U.S. House Votes to Extend ERA Ratification Period Indefinitely. Alabama Had Sued to Block Ratification.

Voterama in Congress

WASHINGTON – Voting 232 for and 183 against, the House on Feb. 13 adopted a measure (HJ Res 79) that would advance the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution by replacing a long-expired deadline for states to vote on ratification with an open-ended deadline.

The ERA states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Alabama, joined by two other states, filed suit in December to block ratification of the amendment, saying the time for ratification had long since passed. Read more.

U.S. House Condemns Move to Switch Portion of Medicaid Funds to State-Regulated Block Grant


The House will take up bills to protect wilderness during the week of Feb. 10, while the Senate will vote on asserting congressional authority over any U.S. military strikes against Iran.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House voted last week to condemn a Trump administration plan to scale back Medicaid’s traditional status as an entitlement program, in which everyone who meets income or disability criteria are guaranteed set minimum benefits. Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed to allow states to shift some of their Medicaid offerings to a block-grant program. In a block-grant program, states would set their own rules for what is covered and cap the amount that Medicaid would pay for patient care in a given year. Read more.

Party-Line Votes Set Up Trump Acquittal Vote This Week

WASHINGTON — Senate votes to block witnesses from being called in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump have set up a Wednesday afternoon session in which the Republican-majority body intends to acquit the president of both charges.

But before that, the trial is set to resume Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time to allow House managers and the president’s legal team to make closing arguments. Each side has two hours to present its case. Senators can set up speeches explaining their votes before the official vote is held Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Alabama senators voted along party lines, as expected, on whether to allow witnesses to be called in the trial. Read more.

Congress OKs Military Budget That Includes Jones’ Repeal of Widow’s Tax, Sends It to Senate

The House will vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump this week and may take up a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact. The Senate will consider the 2020 military budget and judicial nominations.

UPDATED WITH SENATE VOTE:WASHINGTON – The House last week approved a $738 billion military policy budget (S 1790) for fiscal 2020 that included a repeal of the so-called “widow’s tax,” sponsored by Sen. Doug Jones, R-Ala.

The “widow’s tax” affects spouses of military men and women who were killed or disabled on active duty or during training. It prevents them from collecting the full amount for which they are eligible under a death benefit and a retirement program, even when retired service members elected to pay into that program.

The rules affect an estimated 67,000 surviving military spouses, 2,000 of them in Alabama, Jones stated in a press release.
Jones scheduled a press conference for Monday morning at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to celebrate approval of the repeal. The Senate still has to take up the conference report on the military budget this week, but it is expected to pass the Senate in a bipartisan vote. Read more.