H.R. 644: Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015
This was a vote to pass H.R. 644 in the Senate.
It was not the final Senate vote on the bill. See the history of H.R. 644 for further details.
This bill became the vehicle for the passage of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which includes a variety of requirements on trade protection and general trade policy. It would authorize and fund United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. CBP regulates trade of foreign products entering the United States. The funding for CBP would be used to improve the Automated Commercial Environment that the CBP uses to track imported and exported goods. The bill would expand requirements on imports to ensure health, safety, and the protection of intellectual property rights. It includes provisions to prevent “dumping,” a method of predatory pricing used by foreign companies to undercut local markets and drive away competition, and to protect the United States from currency manipulation. Finally the bill includes a wide variety of miscellaneous provisions on trade policy, a few notable of which were summarized by the House Republicans website:
Prohibiting the import of products made using forced or indentured labor. Currently a “consumptive demand” exception allows importing such products if they are scarce.
Expansions on the requirements for the United States Trade Representative to report to Congress set in the (pending) Trade Act of 2015.
Prohibition of trade agreements from affecting United States immigration or global climate change policies.
Establishment of United States objectives for trade with Israel, including discouraging nations from sanctioning or boycotting Israel.
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act was originally introduced in the House on April 21, 2015 as H.R. 1907. A different version was later introduced in the Senate as S. 1269, which at 240 pages was 52 pages longer than the original. This bill, H.R. 644, has the same provisions as S. 1269 and was passed the Senate on May 14 with strong Democratic support. The House then passed the bill with further changes, with a vote of 240-190. The vote followed party lines with only 12 Democrats voting aye and 17 Republicans voting no. The next step is for the Senate to approve of those changes and send the bill to the President.
This bill was originally introduced regarding an unrelated matter. When the Senate voted on the bill on May 14, the Senate replaced the contents of the bill with the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.
- On Passage of the Bill in the Senate
- Bill Passed
Sen. John Cornyn (R), the Majority Whip, voted Nay against his party.
Somtimes a party leader will vote on the winning side, even if it is against his or her position, to have the right to call for a new vote under a motion to reconsider. For more, see this explanation from The Washington Post.
We do not know the rationale behind any vote, however.
“Aye” and “Yea” mean the same thing, and so do “No” and “Nay”. Congress uses different words in different sorts of votes.
The U.S. Constitution says that bills should be decided on by the “yeas and nays” (Article I, Section 7). Congress takes this literally and uses “yea” and “nay” when voting on the final passage of bills.
All Senate votes use these words. But the House of Representatives uses “Aye” and “No” in other sorts of votes.
|R||Cornyn, John *||TX||0.896813483158|
Statistically Notable Votes
Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.