skip to main content

S. 612: A bill to designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 1300 Victoria Street in Laredo, Texas, as the “George P. Kazen Federal Building and United States Courthouse”.

Dec 8, 2016 at 2:19 p.m. ET. On Passage of the Bill in the House.

This was a vote to pass S. 612 (114th) in the House.

The WIIN (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation) Act was a 277-page bill dealing with federal water policies, particularly for drought-stricken areas. It’s so complex and difficult to encapsulate that the Congressional Research Service’s official summary ran more than 15,000 words — and that was just the summary. (The bill itself ran about 107,000 words.)

Supporters argued the bill helped states going through severe droughts and water crises at the time, particularly America’s most populous state: California.

“I’m pleased the Senate swiftly passed historic federal water policy legislation that will deliver much-needed relief to drought-stricken communities across the West. This bill also delivers positive outcomes for Native Americans on a range of important water resources development projects and approval of long-standing water rights settlement agreements,” House Natural Resources Committee then-Chair Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT1) said in a press release at the time. “This is a good bill built on a foundation of stakeholder input and bipartisan collaboration to help people and the environment.”

Opponents included one of the bill’s main original sponsors, of all people.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA23) helped insert a controversial rider to the legislation at the last minute. Ostensibly meant to provide more water to California during its drought, the rider permitted the incoming Trump administration to increase pumping from the state’s rivers by overruling determinations to protect certain animals under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is an earmark. This is wrong. This is painful. This violates the Endangered Species Act. This is going to lead to the courthouse door,” then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said on the Senate floor. “It is really painful for me to have to filibuster my own bill.”

Introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the bill passed the House by 360–61, then the Senate two days later by 78–21, and it was one of the last laws President Barack Obama ever signed.

Totals

All Votes R D
Aye 86%
 
 
360
222
 
138
 
No 14%
 
 
61
17
 
44
 
Not Voting
 
 
12
7
 
5
 

Passed. Simple Majority Required. Source: house.gov.

Ideology Vote Chart

Key:
Republican - Aye Democrat - Aye Republican - No Democrat - No
Seat position based on our ideology score.

Cartogram Map

Each hexagon represents one congressional district. Solid hexes are Aye votes.

What you can do

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
Download as CSV

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.

All Votes

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 EveryCRSReport.com. If you aren’t sure what the House 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?

    One tool that will be helpful in answering this question is the cartogram at the top of the page. A cartogram is a stylized map of the United States that shows each district as an identical hexagon. This view allows you to see the how the representatives from each district voted arranged by their geography and colored by their political party. What trends can you see in the cartogram for this vote?

  3. How did your representative vote?
  4. There is one vote here that should be more important to you than all the others. These are the votes cast by your representative, which is meant to represent you and your community. Do you agree with how your representative 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.

Each vote’s study guide is a little different — we automatically choose which questions to include based on the information we have available about the vote. Study guides are a new feature to GovTrack. You can help us improve them by filling out this survey or by sending your feedback to hello@govtrack.us.