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HOUSE

LEGAL STATUS FOR DREAMERS, OTHER IMMIGRANTS:

Voting 237 for and 187 against, the House on June 4 passed a Democratic bill (HR 6) that would grant permanent legal status and a path to citizenship to as many as 2.1 million "dreamers" who were brought illegally to the United States as children and face potential deportation under a Trump administration directive now on hold. The bill would grant relief to undocumented aliens who were younger than 18 when they entered the United States; have been continuously present in the United States for at least four years; have clean law enforcement records and have received a high school or equivalent degree and met other conditions.

In addition, the bill would provide the same deportation protection and citizenship path to a few hundred thousand aliens who have been allowed to remain in the United States in recent decades for humanitarian reasons. They are 3,600 Liberians shielded by "deferred enforced departure status" and 300,000 immigrants from countries including El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti receiving "temporary protected status." Federal courts have stayed administration efforts to designate these individuals for deportation.

President Trump on Sept. 5, 2017, revoked former President Barack Obama's executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA),which temporarily shielded dreamers from potential deportation and gave them the right to work legally. Trump allowed Congress six months to either to write protections into law or stand aside as removals go forward. He said he would work with Democratic lawmakers to enact legislation safeguarding dreamers, but set terms they would not accept. Courts have temporarily blocked Trump's order.

Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said immigrants protected by this bill and their households "contribute around $17.4 billion per year in federal taxes and $9.7 billion per year in state and local taxes. Annually, these households generate over $75 billion in spending power. That money helps to fuel local economies, creating new jobs and bringing new economic prosperity to everyone living and working" with these individuals.

Ken Buck, R-Colo., said: "Republicans are for a compassionate solution to help DACA recipients, but that solution must be paired with commonsense border security, interior enforcement and changes in policy to stem the tide of illegal border crossings, human smuggling and frivolous claims of asylum. Tragically, this bill does nothing to address the crisis at our southern border."

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

ARKANSAS

Voting no: Bruce Westerman, R-4

TEXAS

Voting no: Louie Gohmert, R-1, John Ratcliffe, R-4

 

PROHIBITIONS ON

ALIEN GANG MEMBERS:

Voting 202 for and 221 against, the House on June 4 defeated a Republican motion that sought to make it more difficult for members of criminal gangs to use HR 6 (above) as a subterfuge for unlawfully gaining legal status. Democrats said the bill already has safeguards to prohibit undocumented aliens who are a threat to national security, including gang members, from obtaining green cards and path to citizenship,

Sponsor Ben Cline, R-Va., said members voting against his motion "cannot look their constituents in the eye and honestly say that criminals will not get green cards."

Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said that by reading the bill, Republicans would learn "that gang members are not eligible even if they have not been convicted of a crime."

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Westerman

TEXAS

Voting yes: Gohmert, Ratcliffe

 

$19.1 BILLION

DISASTER AID:

Voting 354 for and 58 against, the House on June 3 approved $19.1 billion in disaster aid to homeowners, farmers, businesses, local governments and other entities in more than 40 states and territories struck by natural disasters such as wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes in recent years. In part, the bill provides $1.4 billion to Puerto Rico, including $600 million in food assistance, along with aid to repair storm damage at military bases and funding to mitigate the impact of future disasters in and near cities such as Houston. A yes vote was to send HR 2157 to President Trump.

Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. said this vote repudiates "the political stunts and grandstanding that have made it difficult to deliver much-needed disaster relief to families and communities across America."

Chip Roy, R-Texas, said it was wrong to "spend $19 billion that is not paid for when we are racking up approximately $100 million an hour in national debt."

A yes vote was to send HR 2157 to President Trump.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Westerman

TEXAS

Voting yes: Gohmert

Voting no: Ratcliffe

 

SENATE

ANDREW SAUL, SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER:

Voting 77 for and 16 against, the Senate on June 4 confirmed Andrew M. Saul, 72, a partner in a New York City-based family investment firm, for a six-year term as commissioner of Social Security. During the George W. Bush administration, Saul was chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees retirement plans for several million active and retired civil servants and military personnel. Saul also served as vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York, and he has been a Republican Party fund-raiser and congressional candidate. He drew Democratic opposition, in part, because of his refusal to take a stand on escalating labor-management disputes that he will encounter at the Social Security Administration.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Saul "has spent decades building a successful career in business and in public administration," including oversight of retirement programs "relied upon by literally millions of Americans" in the federal workforce.

Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said that when asked about "attacks on the rights of Social Security workers, Mr. Saul provided only vague statements that included no commitments to take meaningful action to improve labor practices at Social Security."

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Tom Cotton, R, John Boozman, R

TEXAS

Voting yes: John Cornyn, R, Ted Cruz, R

 

KEY VOTES AHEAD

The House will vote in the week of June 10 on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, while the Senate will consider a measure blocking arms sales to Bahrain and Qatar.

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