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H.R. 695: Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019

Dec 20, 2018 at 7:56 p.m. ET. Concurring in the Senate Amendment in the House.

This was a vote to pass H.R. 695 (115th) in the House. The federal budget process occurs in two stages: appropriations and authorizations. This is an appropriations bill, which sets overall spending limits by agency or program, typically for a single fiscal year (October 1 through September 30 of the next year).

This bill is the vehicle for passage for government funding to avert a partial government shutdown on Friday, December 21, 2018. On December 19, the Senate passed this bill with provisions to fund the government through February 8, 2019. Subsequently, on December 20, the House added $5 billion in funding for a border wall, sending the bill back to the Senate.

Although most government agencies were already funded for fiscal year 2019, this bill would fund the remaining agencies for about seven weeks. According to the Senate appropriations committee, the bill would fund for that time:

  • USDA, FDA
  • Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, Environment, State, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development
  • Programs related to science, financial services, and other agencies
  • The National Flood Insurance Program
  • The Violence Against Women Act
  • The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Immigration extensions (EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30 program for international medical school graduates, Special Immigrant Religious Workers program, and H2B returning worker authority for DHS)
  • The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act
  • Two expiring provisions of the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act
  • Medicaid Money-Follows-the-Person and Spousal Impoverishment, through March 31

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018

This bill has had a complex history. Prior to the Senate's December 19, 2018 vote, this bill was the vehicle for passage of a different government funding bill, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018, which would have funded the military through the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2018. The bill was not enacted in this form, however, and the military was given short-term funding through other legislation.

However, H.R. 695 began as a bill on an unrelated matter. It became the defense spending bill when the House voted on Jan. 30, 2018 to replace the bill's text with the defense spending bill.

Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017

This bill was originally the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017. Our original summary, which was the Republican Policy Committee summary of the original bill, follows

H.R. 695 directs the Department of Justice to establish a program to allow organizations that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled to obtain information from criminal background checks in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint database. Specifically, the legislation ensures these organizations have access to the FBI’s fingerprint searches in a timely and effective manner and protects privacy rights by ensuring that specific information of a criminal record is not disclosed without the explicit consent of the volunteer or employee.

Under current law, organizations in certain states that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled have limited access to information from national criminal background checks. Currently, many organizations only have access to request state-level background check systems.

This legislation builds on the success of the PROTECT Act’s Child Safety Pilot which ran from 2003 until 2011. The pilot provided access to FBI fingerprint background checks for a variety of child-serving non-profits. The pilot conducted over 105,000 background checks and 6.2% of potential volunteers were found to have criminal records of concern – over 6,500 individuals. In addition, over 40% of individuals with criminal records of concern had crimes in states other than where they were applying to volunteer – meaning that only a nationwide check would have flagged these individuals’ criminal records. The criminal offenses among some of these applicants included convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a child, child endangerment, and manslaughter.

Totals

All Votes R D
Yea 54%
 
 
217
217
 
0
 
Nay 46%
 
 
185
8
 
177
 
Not Voting
 
 
31
11
 
20
 

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

Ideology Vote Chart

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Republican - Yea Republican - Nay Democrat - Nay
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Cartogram Map

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Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
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Study Guide

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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?
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