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On the Floor
On September 26, 2007, the House passed the Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act, H.R. 2693. This legislation responds to the appearance of a fatal and irreversible disease called bronchiolitis obliterans that appeared among a group of workers in a popcorn plant in 2000. The disease, which has come to be known as 'popcorn lung,' is connected to diacetyl, a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring that the workers were exposed to, according to the National Institute for Occupations Safety and Health (NIOSH). The NIOSH scientists said that diacetyl caused 'astonishingly grotesque' damage to the lungs, and likened exposure to the chemical to 'inhaling acid.'
On October 2, 2007, the Congress sent the President the bipartisan State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), H.R. 976, which provided 10 million American children with health care. The bill had been passed by strong, bipartisan votes of 265 to 159 in the House and 67 to 29 in the Senate. And yet, unfortunately, on October 3, the President vetoed this bill.
On September 18, 2007, the House passed the Expanding Homeownership Act of 2007, H.R. 1852. This bill will revitalize the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which was established to provide a reliable source of affordable mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers. The bill will enable the FHA to serve more subprime borrowers at affordable rates and terms, to attract borrowers that have turned to predatory loans in recent years, and to offer refinancing to homeowners struggling to meet their mortgage payments in the midst of the current turbulent mortgage markets.
On September 20, 2007, the House passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R. 2881. The bill would modernize the nation's aging air traffic control system, dedicating an increase in the aviation fuel taxes to pay for these improvements. President Bush threatened to veto this bill.
On November 16, 2007, the Senate passed the final version of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act (TRIREA), H.R. 2761, and the House passed it on December 18. The President then signed it into law on December 26. This bill reauthorizes the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for 7 years - through 2014. TRIA provides a federal backstop to the insurance industry by providing compensation for a portion of insured losses resulting from acts certified by the government as acts of terrorism.
On September 7, 2007, the House passed the final House-Senate agreement on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, H.R. 2669, which will make the largest single investment in college financial aid since the GI Bill of 1944. On September 18, Speaker Pelosi signed this legislation and sent it to the President, and on September 27 the President signed this bill into law.
On September 7, 2007, the House passed the Patent Reform Act of 2007, H.R. 1908, the most significant patent legislation in 50 years. This legislation will strengthen the patent system and improve patent quality by deterring abusive practices and by creating a more effective system for considering challenges to the validity of patents.
On September 5, 2007, the House passed a resolution honoring the sacrifice and courage of the six missing miners and three rescuers who were killed in the Crandall Canyon mine disaster in Utah, and recognizing the rescue crews for their outstanding efforts in the aftermath of the tragedies.
On September 27, 2008, the House passed the final version of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Reauthorization Act of 2007, H.R. 2786, which reauthorizes the Native American Housing Assistance Self Determination Act of 1996 for five years and amends the law to address housing needs of Native Americans. On October 14, 2008, this bill was signed into law.