Congress at Work: Vetoes, Resolutions, and Recognition

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The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law. They may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, be delayed, lack sufficient votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses or be vetoed by the president.

Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019 (H.J.Res. 46) – This resolution was an effort to block the national emergency declared by President Trump to redirect funds to build a barrier at the southern border with Mexico. It was introduced on February 22 by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX).  The resolution passed in both the House and Senate but was then vetoed by the president on March 15. An attempt to override the president’s veto failed in the House on March 26.

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress (S.J.Res. 7) – This joint resolution was designed to prevent the United States from fighting in or assisting in Yemen’s civil war, starting 30 days after the legislation passes. The resolution was introduced on January 30 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The bill was passed by both chambers of Congress in identical form. The president vetoed the bill on April 16, and the Senate failed to override the veto on May 2.

A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Safe Digging Month (S.Res. 136)

The Senate passed a resolution in recognition of National Safe Digging Month (April). This refers to the need to call at least 72 hours before digging on personal property for assistance locating underground infrastructure including pipelines, electric, gas, telecommunications, water, sewer, and cable television lines. The resolution was introduced on April 2 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). It was agreed to by the Senate on April 11. Note that a simple resolution is not voted on in the other chamber and is not backed by the force of law. 

Recognizing Achievement in Classified School Employees Act (H.R. 276) – This bill was introduced by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) on January 8. It authorizes the Secretary of Education to establish an award program (Recognizing Inspiring School Employees – RISE) that recognizes the merits of classified K-12 school employees. “Classified” refers to workers who are not required to be licensed or certified to hold their job. The bill was enacted on April 12.

Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019 (H.R. 1839) – This bill authorizes several enhancements to the Medicaid program, including the following:

  • Temporary extension of Medicaid eligibility criteria that protects the spouses of home- and community-based service beneficiaries from living in poverty.
  • Establishment of a state Medicaid option to provide for home health medical assistance for children with medically complex conditions.
  • Requirement that drug manufacturers with Medicaid rebate agreements disclose drug product information or face penalties for knowingly misclassifying drugs.
  • Requirement that drug manufacturers must compensate for rebates that were previously underpaid due to misclassification regardless of whether they knowingly did so.

This legislation was introduced on March 21 by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA). It was passed in the House and the Senate on April 2 and signed into law by the president on April 18.

Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act (H.R. 2030) – In March, the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming presented a plan to Congress for operating their applicable Colorado River System reservoirs. This Act mandates that the Department of the Interior implement the plan. The bill, which was introduced on April 2 by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), passed in both the House and Senate and was signed into law on April 16.