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H.R. 644: Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

May 14, 2015 at 12:28 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the Senate.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 644 (114th) in the Senate.

It was not the final Senate vote on the bill. See the history of H.R. 644 (114th) 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.


All Votes R D I
Yea 80%
Nay 20%
Not Voting

Bill Passed. 3/5 Required. Source:

The Yea votes represented 74% of the country’s population by apportioning each state’s population to its voting senators.

Ideology Vote Chart

Republican - Yea Democrat - Yea Republican - Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.

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Vote Details

Notes: *Senate Majority Whip’s Vote “Aye” or “Yea”?
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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.

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Study Guide

How well do you understand this vote? Use this study guide to find out.

You can find answers to most of the questions below here on the vote page. For a guide to understanding the bill this vote was about, see here.

What was the procedure for this vote?

  1. What was this vote on?
  2. Not all votes are meant to pass legislation. In the Senate some votes are not about legislation at all, since the Senate must vote to confirm presidential nominations to certain federal positions.

    This vote is related to a bill. However, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what it is about. Congress makes many decisions in the process of passing legislation, such as on the procedures for debating the bill, whether to change the bill before voting on passage, and even whether to vote on passage at all.

    You can learn more about the various motions used in Congress at If you aren’t sure what the Senate was voting on, try seeing if it’s on this list.

  3. What is the next step after this vote?
  4. Take a look at where this bill is in the legislative process. What might come next? Keep in mind what this specific vote was on, and the context of the bill. Will there be amendments? Will the other chamber of Congress vote on it, or let it die?

    For this question it may help to briefly examine the bill itself.

What is your analysis of this vote?

  1. What trends do you see in this vote?
  2. Members of Congress side together for many reasons beside being in the same political party, especially so for less prominent legislation or legislation specific to a certain region. What might have determined how the roll call came out in this case? Does it look like Members of Congress voted based on party, geography, or some other reason?

  3. How did your senators vote?
  4. There are two votes here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your senators, which are meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your senators voted? Why do you think they voted the way they did?

    If you don’t already know who your Members of Congress are you can find them by entering your address here.

  5. How much of the United States population is represented by the yeas?
  6. GovTrack displays the percentage of the United States population represented by the yeas on some Senate votes just under the vote totals. We do this to highlight how the people of the United States are represented in the Senate. Since each state has two senators, but state populations vary significantly, the individuals living in each state have different Senate representation. For example, California’s population of near 40 million is given the same number of senators as Wyoming’s population of about 600,000.

    Do the senators who voted yea represent a majority of the people of the United States? Does it matter?

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