Following is an overview of more than 90 key bills that the Democratic-led House has passed in the first session of the 111th Congress. The House has passed more than 90 key measures this year - with more than 70 percent passing with significant bipartisan support.
However, on the most prominent pieces of legislation this year, House Republicans have sided with big financial institutions opposing Wall Street reform over consumers; have sided with the private insurance industry opposing health reform over American families; have sided with big polluters opposing the clean energy initiative over our children and grandchildren; and have sided with big banks opposing student loan reform over college students struggling to pay their loans. Instead of standing up for everyday Americans, Republicans have sided with special interests on each of these major initiatives.
Examples of key bills signed into law this year where there was significant bipartisan support include the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights; Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act (extending UI benefits and the homebuyer tax credit); Helping Families Save Their Homes Act; Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Expansion Act; Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (cracking down on financial fraud); Defense Procurement Reform (cracking down on billions in Pentagon waste and cost overruns); and the Cash for Clunkers Appropriations Bill.
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Passed the conference report on H.R. 1, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is designed to begin to strengthen our economy; create and save 3.5 million jobs; give 95% of American workers a tax cut; invest in roads, bridges, mass transit, energy efficient buildings, flood control, clean water projects, and other infrastructure projects; and make key investments in science and innovation, by a vote of 246-183. The President signed the bill on February 17, 2009 (PL 111-5).
- Cash for Clunkers. Passed H.R. 3435, Supplemental Appropriations for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program, which provided $2 billion in appropriations (on top of $1 billion provided in June) for the Cash for Clunkers program, which provided consumers with up to $4,500 to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency - with the resulting $3 billion spurring the sale of 700,000 vehicles, by a bipartisan vote of 316-109, with 77 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on August 7, 2009 (PL 111-47).
- Extending Unemployment Benefits and Homebuyer Tax Credit. Passed the final version of H.R. 3548, Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act, which provides 14 additional weeks of extended unemployment benefits nationwide, with an extra 6 weeks for those in high unemployment states; extends the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers through April 30, 2010; and creates a new $6,500 tax credit for homebuyers who have been in their current residence for five or more consecutive years out of the last eight; by a bipartisan vote of 403-12, with 156 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on November 6, 2009 (PL 111-92).
- Helping Families Save Their Homes. Passed the final version of S. 896, Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, which provides additional tools and incentives to lenders, servicers, and homeowners to modify mortgage loans in order to prevent foreclosures; protects the bank deposits and savings of consumers with a four-year extension of the increase in FDIC deposit insurance to $250,000; and increases the borrowing authority of the FDIC to reduce the financial burden on small community banks; by a bipartisan vote of 367-54, with 123 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on May 20, 2009 (PL 111-22).
- Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act. Passed H.R. 1728, Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, which is designed to stop the kinds of predatory and irresponsible mortgage loan practices that played a major role in the recent financial crisis and require the mortgage industry to follow basic principles of sound lending, responsibility, and consumer protection, by a bipartisan vote of 300-114, with 60 Republicans voting YEA.
- Travel Promotion Act. Passed H.Res. 896, attaching the Travel Promotion Act to H.R. 1299, U.S. Capitol Police Technical Corrections Act; the Travel Promotion Act is a major economic development initiative, creating a public-private partnership to promote, for the first time, the United States as a premier international travel destination and providing for travel promotion to be paid for by private sector contributions and a $10 fee on foreign travelers who enter the United States under the auspices of the visa waiver program, by voice vote.
- Tax Extenders. Passed H.R. 4213, Tax Extenders Act, which extends key expiring tax provisions for a year, thereby, for example, strengthening job creation by American businesses with the R&D tax credit, providing up to 30 million homeowners with property tax relief, benefiting 12 million families through the state and local tax deduction, and helping 4.5 million families better afford college with the tuition deduction, by a vote of 241-181.
- Permanent Estate Tax Relief. Passed H.R. 4154, Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers and Small Businesses, which permanently extends estate tax relief at the current level - a current estate tax exemption of $7 million per couple and a current estate tax rate of 45 percent - thereby ensuring that 99.8 percent of estates in America never pay a dime of taxes (without the bill, the estate tax would be eliminated in 2010 and then would be reinstated at a higher rate and covering more estates in 2011), by a vote of 225-200.
- Expanding and Improving SBA Loan Programs. Passed H.R. 3854, Small Business Financing and Investment Act, which marks the first major overhaul in a decade of SBA loan programs - expanding and improving these programs to make it easier and more affordable for small businesses to get loans and access capital - in order to support $44 billion in affordable lending and investment for small firms every year, saving or creating 1.3 million jobs annually, by a bipartisan vote of 389-32, with 139 Republicans voting YEA.
- Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act. Passed H.R. 2352, Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act, which marks the first major overhaul in a decade of SBA's entrepreneurial development programs - such as Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women's Business Centers (WBCs), and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) - representing a major new effort to give entrepreneurial start-ups the tools and resources they need to thrive, create jobs and drive economic growth, by a bipartisan vote of 406-15, with 159 Republicans voting YEA.
- Small Business Innovation and Research. Passed H.R. 2965, Enhancing Small Business Innovation and Research Act, which modernizes and reauthorizes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs - putting a greater emphasis on commercialization so that new technologies can reach the marketplace quicker, by a bipartisan vote of 386-41, with 149 Republicans voting YEA.
- Filling Projected Shortfall in Highway Trust Fund, Preventing Loss of 240,000 Jobs. Passed H.R. 3357, Highway Trust Fund Restoration Act, which fills the projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, by restoring $7 billion from the General Treasury, thereby preventing the loss of 240,000 jobs, by a bipartisan vote of 363-68, with 109 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on August 7, 2009 (PL 111-46).
- Modernizing Federal Aviation Administration/Airline Passenger Consumer Protections. Passed H.R. 915, FAA Reauthorization, which modernizes the aging air traffic control system and strengthens airport infrastructure to reduce delays and improve safety; increases the number of safety inspectors; includes environmental protections to reduce global warming; and ensures consumer protections by requiring airlines and airports to develop plans to take care of passengers involved in long flight and tarmac delays, by a vote of 277-136, with 37 Republicans voting YEA.
- Increased Training for Commercial Pilots. Passed H.R. 3371, Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act, which significantly increases the number of training hours needed for pilots to fly commercial airlines to 1,500 hours from 250 and also requires pilots flying commercial airlines to possess an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, the highest grade of pilot certification, by a bipartisan vote of 409-11, with 163 Republicans voting YEA.
- Ensuring Women and Other Workers Fair Pay. Passed S. 181, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which rectified the 2007 Supreme Court decision of Ledbetter v. Goodyear, which had made it much more difficult for women and other workers to pursue pay discrimination claims, thereby restoring the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, by a vote of 250-177. The President signed the bill on January 29, 2009 (PL 111-2).
- Strengthening the Equal Pay Act. Passed H.R. 12, Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, by providing more effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work, prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information, and closing the loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay, by a vote of 256-163.
- Largest Expansion of Student Aid in History. Passed H.R. 3221, Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which reforms the system of federal student loans to save taxpayers $87 billion - and then invests $77 billion back into expanded student aid and into early learning and uses the remaining $10 billion for deficit reduction; increases the maximum Pell Grant from $5,350 to $5,550 in 2010 and $6,900 in 2019; and keeps interest rates low on subsidized federal student loans, by a vote of 253-171.
- Stopping Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens. Passed H.R. 911, Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act, which keeps teens safe with new national standards for residential programs serving teens with behavioral, emotional, mental health, or substance abuse problems, and increases transparency to help parents make safer choices for their children, by a bipartisan vote of 295-102, with 64 Republicans voting YEA.
- Green School Construction. Passed H.R. 2187, 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, which authorizes $6.4 billion in FY 2010 for green school construction projects, including modernization, renovation and repair projects that improve the teaching and learning climate, health and safety, and energy efficiency of school buildings, by a vote of 275-155, with 24 Republicans voting YEA.
- Campus Safety. Passed H.R. 748, Campus Safety Act, which establishes the National Center for Campus Public Safety within the Department of Justice, which is designed to enable our colleges and universities to easily obtain the best information available on how to keep their campuses safe and how to respond in the event of a campus emergency, by voice vote.
- Protecting Students on School-Sponsored Overnight Trips. Passed H.R. 729, Phylicia's Law (named after an 18-year-old high school student who died on a school-sponsored trip), which requires school districts to develop written school safety plans for school-sponsored overnight trips and also calls upon the Education Department to develop model school safety plans and to disseminate those best practices to school districts, by a bipartisan vote of 319-60, with 92 Republicans voting YEA.
- Health Insurance Reform. Passed H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act, an historic piece of legislation, which provides more stability and security for Americans who currently have insurance, ensuring peace of mind that coverage can't be delayed or denied; expands access to affordable insurance for those who don't currently have insurance (with CBO estimating that the bill achieves coverage of 96 percent of Americans); reins in the cost of health care for families, businesses and government; preserves and provides choice of doctors and health plans; and reduces the deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years, by a vote of 220-215.
- Providing Health Coverage for 11 Million Children. Passed the final version of H.R. 2, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act, which renews and improves the Children's Health Insurance Program, providing coverage for 7 million children currently covered by CHIP and extending coverage to 4 million uninsured children, by a vote of 290-135, with 40 Republicans voting YEA. The bill also improves CHIP benefits - ensuring dental coverage and mental health parity. The President signed the bill on February 4, 2009 (PL 111-3).
- FDA Regulation of Tobacco. Passed the final version of H.R. 1256, Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which grants the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the advertising, marketing, and manufacturing of tobacco products and includes several provisions to reduce underage smoking, including banning all outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and restricting vending machines to adult-only facilities, by a bipartisan vote of 307-97, with 70 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on June 22, 2009 (PL 111-31).
- Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Expansion Act. Passed the final version of S. 1793, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act, which reauthorizes the Ryan White program (which provides care, treatment, and support services to nearly 500,000 people with AIDS and HIV each year, most of whom are low-income) for four years, raising the authorization level gradually from $2.35 billion in FY 2010 to $2.7 billion in FY 2013, by a bipartisan vote of 408-9, with 162 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on October 30, 2009 (PL 111-87).
- Food Safety. Passed H.R. 2749, Food Safety Enhancement Act, which will fundamentally change the way we protect the safety of our food supply - closing gaps that have been exposed by recent food-borne illness outbreaks and providing FDA with new authorities including more frequent inspection of food processing facilities and the development of a food track-back system to pinpoint the source of food-borne illnesses, by a bipartisan vote of 283-142, with 54 Republicans voting YEA.
- Medicare Premium Fairness Act. Passed H.R. 3631, Medicare Premium Fairness Act, to ensure that all Medicare enrollees (not just the 73 percent of enrollees currently protected) are protected from an increase in the Medicare Part B premium larger than the Social Security COLA, so that the 2010 Part B premiums will remain at $96.40 and no seniors will see a cut in their Social Security checks, by a bipartisan vote of 406-18, with 161 Republicans voting YEA.
- Medicare Physician Payment Reform. Passed H.R. 3961, Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, which will protect Medicare beneficiaries' access to physicians by blocking the 21 percent fee reduction scheduled for January 2010 and permanently replacing the broken Medicare physician payment system with a stable, fair, sustainable system, by a vote of 243-183.
- Early Hearing Detection and Intervention. Passed H.R. 1246, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act, which reauthorizes through FY 2015 the critical Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program, which is intended to identify and help infants with hearing loss, and expands it to provide intervention and screening services for young children (the program is currently limited to newborns and infants), by voice vote.
- Emergency Medical Services for Children. Passed H.R. 479, Wakefield Act, which reauthorizes through FY 2014 and improves the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program, which is designed to improve emergency medical services for children needing trauma or critical care, by a bipartisan vote of 390-6, with 155 Republicans voting YEA.
- Vision Care for Kids. Passed H.R. 577, Vision Care for Kids Act, which creates a grant program to provide comprehensive eye exams for uninsured children with vision disorders, as well as vision correction services, by a bipartisan vote of 404-17, with 155 Republicans voting YEA.
- Postpartum Depression. Passed H.R. 20, Melanie Blocker Stokes Mom's Opportunity to Access Health, Education, Research, and Support for Postpartum Depression, which authorizes funding for HHS to expand and intensify research on postpartum depression and also directs HHS to make grants to help with coordinating the effective delivery of essential services to individuals with postpartum depression, by a bipartisan vote of 391-8, with 153 Republicans voting YEA.
- “Cough Syrup” Bill. Passed H.R. 1259, Dextromethorphan Distribution Act, which cracks down on the bulk sale of dextromethorphan (DXM), an ingredient of cough syrup that kids are abusing to get high, and makes it illegal to distribute unfinished DXM to a person or company not previously registered with the FDA or approved under federal or state law, by a bipartisan vote of 407-8, with 164 Republicans voting YEA.
- American Clean Energy and Security Act. Passed H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act, which will create millions of clean energy jobs; promote all forms of American clean energy, including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass; increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, cutting our use of foreign oil by more than 5 million barrels a day in 2030; reduce pollution that causes climate change by limiting emissions from electric utilities, oil refineries, and other major sources; keep consumer costs low; and not increase the budget deficit, by a vote of 219-212.
- FY 2010 Energy-Water Appropriations. Passed the conference report on H.R. 3183, FY 2010 Energy-Water Appropriations, which provides a 16 percent increase in investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including solar energy and biofuels; invests in a smarter, more reliable, and more efficient national energy grid; and invests in scientific research to spur American innovation in energy technologies, by a bipartisan vote of 308-114, with 70 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on October 28, 2009 (PL 111-85).
- Green Energy Education Act. Passed H.R. 957, Green Energy Education Act, which authorizes the Department of Energy to partner with the National Science Foundation to provide grants to institutions of higher education for education and training for the next generation of engineers and architects in clean energy and high-performance building design, by a bipartisan vote of 411-6, with 165 Republicans voting YEA.
- Improving Fuel Efficiency Through Advanced Vehicle Technologies. Passed H.R. 3246, Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, which invests in a diverse range of near-term and long-term vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency, support domestic research and manufacturing, and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies and fuels, by a bipartisan vote of 312-114, with 62 Republicans voting YEA.
- Strengthening American Solar Technology. Passed H.R. 3585, Solar Technology Roadmap Act, which strengthens the American solar technology industry by requiring the development, with experts from the private sector, of a long-term roadmap to guide solar energy research and by authorizing $2 billion for new research partnerships and demonstration projects, by a bipartisan vote of 310-106, with 63 Republicans voting YEA.
- Banning Importing of Low-Level Radioactive Waste into United States. Passed H.R. 515, Radioactive Import Deterrence Act, which allows the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to block the importing of low-level radioactive waste into the United States, by a bipartisan vote of 309-112, with 62 Republicans voting YEA.
Protecting Consumers and Taxpayers/Accountability
- Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Passed H.R. 4137, Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the most comprehensive financial reforms since the Great Depression to help restore common sense to Wall Street, which ends taxpayer-funded bailouts and “too big to fail” institutions, protects consumers from predatory lending and our retirement and college savings from unnecessary risks, injects transparency and new accountability into a financial system run amok, and stops pay practices that encourage executives to take excessive risk at the expense of their companies and shareholders, by a vote of 223-202.
- Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights. Passed the final version of H.R. 627, Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which provides tough new protections for consumers - banning unfair rate increases and forbidding abusive fees and penalties by credit card companies, including prohibiting retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing (charging interest twice for balances paid on time), and due-date gimmicks, by a bipartisan vote of 361-64, with 113 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on May 22, 2009 (PL 111-24).
- Speeding Up Effective Date of Credit Card Reforms. Passed H.R. 3639, Expedited CARD Reform for Consumers Act, which - in response to credit card companies dramatically raising rates before reforms begin -- makes effective immediately nearly all of the credit card reforms in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (PL 111-24), which under the Act would become effective in February 2010, by a bipartisan vote of 331-92, with 83 Republicans voting YEA.
- Cracking Down on Financial Fraud. Passed the final version of S. 386, Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, which provides new tools to prosecute mortgage scams and corporate fraud that contributed to the financial crisis; protects taxpayers by giving the Justice Department enhanced authorities to fight fraud in the use of TARP and Recovery Act funds; and creates a Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, to examine the causes and factors leading up to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, by a bipartisan vote of 338-52, with 114 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on May 20, 2009 (PL 111-21).
- Defense Procurement Reform. Passed the final version of S.454, Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which cracks down on Pentagon waste and cost overruns, which GAO says amount to $296 billion just for the 96 largest weapons systems, dramatically beefing up oversight of weapons acquisition, promoting greater use of competition, and curbing conflicts of interest, by a bipartisan vote of 411-0, with 165 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on May 22, 2009 (PL 111-23).
- Strengthening Oversight of TARP. Passed the final version of S. 383, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Act, which strengthens oversight of TARP by expanding the authority of the Special Inspector General (SIG) to ensure the efficient and effective use of taxpayers' funds, including allowing the SIG to audit or investigate any action taken under the financial rescue law and giving the SIG authority to hire more auditors and investigators quickly, by a bipartisan vote of 423-0, with 174 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on April 24, 2009 (PL 111-15).
- Further Strengthening Oversight of TARP. Passed H.R. 1242, TARP Accountability and Disclosure Act, which is designed to provide for additional monitoring and accountability of the TARP program and requires the Treasury Department to establish and maintain an electronic database tracking the status of funds distributed under TARP, by a bipartisan vote of 421-0, with 173 Republicans voting YEA.
- Provides a Media Shield. Passed H.R. 985, Free Flow of Information Act, which provides a qualified privilege for journalists protecting confidential sources, while also protecting national security and effective law enforcement, by voice vote.
- Executive Compensation Reform. Passed H.R. 3269, Executive Compensation Reform, which is designed to put an end to compensation practices that encourage executives in large financial firms to take excessive risk at the expense of their companies, shareholders, and employees - risks that contributed to the recent financial collapse, by a vote of 237-185.
- Pay for Performance Act. Passed H.R. 1664, Pay for Performance Act, which prohibits payment of unreasonable or excessive compensation and non-performance-based bonuses for companies while direct capital investments from TARP are still outstanding, by a vote of 247-171.
- Disclosure of Presidential Records. Passed H.R. 35, Presidential Records Act Amendments, which restores public access to former presidents' official papers, nullifying a 2001 executive order that gave current and former presidents (and their heirs) broad authority to withhold official presidential documents, by a bipartisan vote of 359-58, with 114 Republicans voting YEA.
- Disclosure of Donors to Presidential Libraries. Passed H.R. 36, Presidential Library Donation Reform Act, which requires the disclosure of donors who contribute over $200 to presidential libraries during a president's term and for a minimum of four years after the president's term ends, by a bipartisan vote of 388-31, with 141 Republicans voting YEA.
- FY 2010 Fiscally Responsible Budget. Passed the conference report on S.Con.Res. 13, FY 2010 Budget Resolution, which provides a blueprint for an economy recovery, creating jobs with targeted investments in affordable health care, clean energy, and education - while at the same time slashing the deficit by nearly two-thirds in four years and reinvigorating efforts to eliminate wasteful spending and improve government efficiency, by a vote of 233-193. Action completed; no presidential signature required.
- Statutory Pay-As-You-Go. Passed H.R. 2920, Statutory Pay-As-You Go Act, which restores the 1990s law that turned record deficits into record surpluses, by forcing tough choices - requiring Congress to offset new policies that reduce revenues or expand entitlement spending or face across-the-board cuts in certain mandatory programs, by a vote of 265-166, with 24 Republicans voting YEA.
- Ensuring Timely and Reliable Funding for Veterans Health Care. Passed final version of H.R. 1016, Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which authorizes Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance to ensure reliable and timely funding and prevent politics from ever delaying VA health care funding, by voice vote. The President signed the bill on October 22, 2009 (PL 111-81).
- Veterans' COLA, Effective December 2009. Passed S. 407, Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, which increases, effective December 1, 2009, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the dependency and indemnity benefits for families of disabled veterans, by a bipartisan vote of 403-0, with 167 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on June 30, 2009 (PL 111-37).
- Taking Another Step in Ending Disabled Veterans Tax. Passed H.R. 2990, Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act, which takes another significant step in ending the Disabled Veterans Tax, by authorizing a significant number of disabled military retirees to receive full concurrent receipt of military retired pay from DOD and disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, by a bipartisan vote of 404-0, with 165 Republicans voting YEA.
- Providing Support to Caregivers of Disabled, Ill, or Injured Veterans. Passed H.R. 3155, Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act, which creates a new caregiver program to help family and non-family members who provide care for disabled, ill or injured veterans, including providing respite care for these caregivers and making counseling and mental health services available to them, by voice vote.
- Job Training for Veterans. Passed H.R. 1168, Veterans Retraining Act, which authorizes the Labor Department to pay a monthly training allowance of about $1,400 for each month a veteran is enrolled in an employment training program that teaches a skill in demand; also authorizes the payment of a stipend for moving expenses so veterans can move to an area where there is a demand for their newly acquired skills, by a bipartisan vote of 356-0, with 150 Republicans voting YEA.
- Improving Health Care for Women Veterans. Passed H.R. 1211, Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act, which includes numerous provisions to expand and improve VA health care services for the 1.8 million women veterans, including requiring an assessment of current VA women's health care programs, medical care for newborn children of women veterans, and enhancement of PTSD treatment for women, by a bipartisan vote of 408-0, with 166 Republicans voting YEA.
- Providing Employment Assistance to Homeless Veterans. Passed H.R. 1171, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization, which reauthorizes the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for five years, which provides job training, counseling, placement services, and child care services to support the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force, by voice vote.
- Veterans' Emergency Care Reimbursement Act. Passed H.R. 1377, Veterans' Emergency Care Reimbursement Act, which requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to reimburse veterans receiving emergency treatment in non-Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, if a third party is not responsible for paying for the full cost of care, by voice vote.
- Veterans' Small Business Assistance. Passed H.R. 3949, Veterans' Small Business Assistance and Servicemembers Protection Act, which ensures fairness to veteran-owned small businesses by requiring VA to ensure that veterans-based small business preferences in the awarding of federal contracts are targeted toward veterans; and protects troops and their families against actions, such as evictions or foreclosure, while they are deployed, by a bipartisan vote of 382-2, with 160 Republicans voting YEA.
- FY 2009 Supplemental. Passed the conference report on H.R. 2346, FY 2009 Supplemental Appropriations, which provided our troops with everything they needed in FY 2009 to implement the President's strategy to wind down the Iraq war and change strategy in Afghanistan; required a progress report from the Administration; and made retroactive payments to more than 185,000 service members whose enlistments were involuntarily extended since 9/11, by a vote of 226-202. The President signed the bill on June 24, 2009 (PL 111-32).
- FY 2010 Defense Authorization. Passed the conference report on H.R. 2647, FY 2010 Defense Authorization, which provides a 3.4% pay raise for our troops, higher than the President's request; strengthens military readiness; provides additional equipment to protect our troops in harm's way; expands support for military families; and provides for continuing to responsibly redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focusing our strategy in Afghanistan, by a vote of 281-146, with 40 Republicans voting YEA. (The measure also included the Hate Crimes Prevention Act - see under Law Enforcement/Judiciary.) The President signed the bill on October 28, 2009 (PL 111-84).
- Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. Passed S. 475, Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which gives military spouses the ability to keep or change residency when they move from station to station, as is done for service members - eliminating the need to change vehicle and voter registrations and to file tax returns from multiple states with each move, by voice vote. The President signed the bill on November 11, 2009 (PL 111-97).
- Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act. First passed H.R. 3590, Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act, which extends the deadline for taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit for service members overseas for 1 year; and ensures that payments made to assist military personnel selling a home that has declined in value are exempt from tax, by a bipartisan vote of 416-0, with 173 Republicans voting YEA. Incorporated into H.R. 3548, Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act, which the President signed on November 6, 2009 (PL 111-92).
- FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations. Passed the conference report on H.R. 2892, FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations, which funds the full costs of 20,163 Border Patrol Agents in FY 2010 - an increase of 7,814 agents, or 63 percent, since 2006; provides first responders with the equipment and training they need, and provides for tougher aviation and port security, by a bipartisan vote of 307-114, with 63 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on October 28, 2009 (PL 111-83).
- Enhancing Transportation Security. Passed H.R. 2200, Transportation Security Administration Authorization, which is designed to enhance both aviation security and surface transportation security, including improving security for the over 10 billion American mass transit trips each year - tripling resources for transit security, by a bipartisan vote of 397-25, with 157 Republicans voting YEA.
- Coast Guard Authorization. Passed H.R. 3619, Coast Guard Authorization, which provides resources to enhance the Coast Guard's ability to carry out its homeland security missions, including authorizing additional maritime security response teams, giving the Coast Guard a rapid force capability; and provides resources to enhance its ability to carry out its marine safety mission, ensuring its personnel have the marine safety training needed to protect the public, by a bipartisan vote of 385-11, with 151 Republicans voting YEA.
- Strengthening Firefighter Programs. Passed H.R. 3791, Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes and strengthens two popular, critically important firefighter assistance programs - the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program; with additional resources provided to help firefighters handle their additional responsibilities since 9/11 as key first responders, by a bipartisan vote of 395-31, with 143 Republicans voting YEA.
- Chemical and Water Security Act. Passed H.R. 2868, Chemical and Water Security Act, which is designed to increase the security and safety of the nation's thousands of chemical plants and water facilities vulnerable to terrorist attacks and the millions of Americans that live nearby, by a vote of 230-193.
- Hate Crimes Prevention Act. First passed H.R. 1913, Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which gives state and local law enforcement the tools and resources they need to prevent and prosecute hate crimes and closes the gaps in current federal hate crimes law to ensure prosecution of hate crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, by a vote of 249-175. Incorporated into H.R. 2647, FY 2010 Defense Authorization, which the President signed on October 28, 2009 (PL 111-84).
- Putting 50,000 Cops on the Beat. Passed H.R. 1139, COPS Improvement Act, which calls for putting 50,000 additional police officers on the street over the next five years - authorizing $1.25 billion a year for COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) hiring grants; and also authorizes $350 million a year for COPS technology grants, and $200 million a year for hiring community prosecutors, by a bipartisan vote of 342-78, with 94 Republicans voting YEA.
- FY 2010 Interior-Environment Appropriations. Passed H.R. 2996, FY 2010 Interior-Environment Appropriations, which makes key investments in better ensuring our water is clean and safe, providing increases in key Clean Water programs to help them catch up from the years of severe underfunding under the Bush Administration; in improving our national parks, which currently have many unmet infrastructure and operations needs; in cleaning up toxic waste sites with the Superfund program; and in climate change research, by a vote of 247-178. The President signed the bill on October 30, 2009 (PL 111-88).
- Investing in Clean Water and Water Quality. Passed H.R. 1262, Water Quality Investment Act, which renews the Federal Government's commitment to clean water by authorizing $19.8 billion over the next five years for wastewater infrastructure and other efforts to improve water quality; and creates about 680,000 jobs over the next five years if the authorizations are fully appropriated, by a bipartisan vote of 317-101, with 73 Republicans voting YEA.
- Omnibus Public Land Management Act. Passed H.R. 146, Omnibus Public Land Management Act, the most significant conservation bill in 15 years, boosting the economy and tourism at 160 mostly rural sites; with 2 million new acres of wilderness; 3 national park units; 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers; 1 National Monument; and 3 National Conservation Areas, by a vote of 285-140, with 38 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on March 30, 2009 (PL 111-11).
- Emergency Wildfire Suppression. First passed H.R. 1404, Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act, which creates a federal FLAME fund for catastrophic, emergency wildland fire suppression activities to be used when annually appropriated funds run out, and also requires the development of a cohesive wildland fire management strategy, by a bipartisan vote of 412-3, with 169 Republicans voting YEA. Incorporated into H.R. 2996, FY 2010 Interior-Environment Appropriations, which the President signed on October 30, 2009 (PL 111-88).
- Recycling of Discarded Electronic Devices. Passed H.R. 1580, Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act, which authorizes EPA - in light of the 1.8 million tons of discarded electronic devices being disposed of in landfills each year -- to award grants to reduce the environmental impact of these discarded electronic devices and promote the recycling of these devices through research, development and demonstration projects, by voice vote.
- National R&D Initiative on Managing and Enhancing Water Supplies. Passed H.R. 1145, National Water Research and Development Initiative Act, which - in light of a number of recent water shortages and emerging conflicts across the country over water supplies -- coordinates national research and development efforts on ensuring adequate water supplies for generations to come, including supporting technological development designed to increase water supplies and reduce water pollution, by a bipartisan vote of 413-10, with 162 Republicans voting YEA.
- Wind Energy R&D. Passed H.R. 3165, Wind Energy Research and Development Act, which authorizes $200 million a year for the next five years for the Department of Energy to carry out R&D to improve the energy efficiency, reliability, and capacity of wind turbines; and to optimize the design and adaptability of wind energy systems to the broadest range of atmospheric conditions, by voice vote.
- Heavy-Duty Hybrid Truck R&D. Passed H.R. 445, Heavy Duty Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act, which authorizes additional funding to accelerate the Department of Energy's research program in heavy-duty hybrid trucks - in recognition that the heavy truck sector accounts for approximately one-fourth of the nation's fuel use and the majority of transportation-based emissions, by voice vote.
- Energy and Water Research Integration. Passed H.R. 3598, Energy and Water Research Integration Act, which recognizes that demands for both energy and water resources are stressing the environment and our economy and requires the Department of Energy to better integrate research on how to use water most efficiently as it conducts its energy technology research programs, by voice vote.
- Aid to Pakistan. Passed the final version of S. 1707, Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, which triples non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year for five years, with a focus on strengthening democratic institutions, promoting economic development, and improving the public education system; also authorizes security assistance to help Pakistan disrupt and defeat al-Qaeda and relevant insurgent elements, by voice vote. The President signed the bill on October 15, 2009 (PL 111-73).
- FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill. Passed the conference report on H.R. 3288, FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, which contains 6 of the 12 FY 2010 appropriations bills; to strengthen our economy and create jobs, makes key investments, including $41.8 billion in highway infrastructure, creating 1.5 million jobs; increased resources for worker training and placement initiatives; a 6 percent increase in investments in science, technology, and innovation; and new investments to improve K-12 education and make college more affordable, by a vote of 221-202. The President signed the bill on December 16, 2009.
- FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations. Passed the conference report on H.R. 2997, FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations, which makes key investments to improve food safety, beefing up the ability of FDA to ensure the safety of domestic and imported food and medical products, including beefing up inspections of poultry imported from China; to provide increased resources for nutrition assistance programs for low-income Americans; and to enhance the economic development of rural America through investments in housing, water projects, and rural businesses, by a vote of 263-162, with 23 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on October 21, 2009 (PL 111-80).
- Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. Passed the final version of H.R. 1388, Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an historic bill, which more than triples the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, up from 75,000; creates four new service corps for education, health care, energy, and veterans; provides incentives for middle and high school students to engage in service; and expands service opportunities for older Americans, by a vote of 275-149, with 26 Republicans voting YEA. The President signed the bill on April 21, 2009 (PL 111-13).
- Safety and Security on Cruise Ships. Passed H.R. 3360, Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which requires cruise ships with at least 250 passengers to meet certain safety regulations within 18 months, such as rails along the ships' decks and video surveillance systems, and also requires these cruise ships to report crimes that occur on board to federal officials, by a bipartisan vote of 416-4, with 167 Republicans voting YEA.
- Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act. Passed H.R. 3570, Satellite Home Viewer Reauthorization Act, which, among its provisions, ensures all 210 local television markets across the nation are uplinked by satellite for retransmission back into the markets in which the local TV signals originate - ensuring that satellite TV subscribers everywhere will be able to receive both national programming and the local TV stations that serve their area, by a bipartisan vote of 394-11, with 156 Republicans voting YEA.
- Helping Airline Crews Care for Family Members. Passed S. 1422, Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, which closes a loophole that has prevented many airline flight crew from taking advantage of Family and Medical Leave Act benefits in order to care for a sick child, parent or spouse (a loophole that had resulted from a situation unique to flight crews; that their non-flying hours are not counted toward their actual hours of service), by voice vote.
- Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software. Passed H.R. 1319, Informed P2P User Act, which imposes requirements on commercial entities that develop or distribute peer-to-peer or P2P file-sharing software - such as requiring them to provide computer users and owners with certain notice and consent prior to the installation of the software, by voice vote.
- Data Accountability and Trust Act. Passed H.R. 2221, Data Accountability and Trust Act, which requires parties that electronically collect consumers' personal information to take steps to keep the data secure and authorizes $6 million over six years for the Federal Trade Commission to enforce these requirements on data security, by voice vote.