Throughout 2019, the House of Representatives has tackled many issues. It ended the year with the impeachment of President Trump, but leading up to that Speaker Pelosi had advanced numerous bills that her Democratic caucus had long supported.
Here are a few of the notable bills that the House of Representatives passed this year:
U.S. House Bill 582: Raise the minimum wage
Passed 230 to 200 in the U.S. House
To increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, phased in over 5 years. The measure would also extend the wage mandate to nonprofit organizations that under current law may employ individuals with disabilities at a lower wage, and to newly-hired and tipped workers (whose total wage with tips must still meet the minimum under current law).
U.S. House Bill 3: Authorize price controls on Medicare drug coverage
Passed 230 to 192 in the U.S. House
To cap the amount the government will pay for drugs covered by the Medicare health care program for the aged. The prices paid for specific drugs could not exceed 120% of their average price in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, or 85% of the average manufacturers' price in the U.S. These price controls would also apply to private insurance coverage unless the private insurer opted out.
U.S. House Bill 4: Mandate federal approval before some states can change voting practices
Passed 228 to 187 in the U.S. House
To mandate that states or local governments must get approval of the federal government before they make changes to voting practices in certain circumstances. This mandate for federal "pre-clearance" would apply to any state that has had 15 or more voting rights act violations in the past 25 years. The mandate would apply to local governments that have had at least 3 voting rights act violations in the past 25 years.
U.S. House Bill 4617: Expand restrictions on online campaign ads, regulate foreign involvement in elections
Passed 227 to 181 in the U.S. House
To expand federal regulations and restrictions on online political communications, mandate that social media companies keep detailed records on individuals and organizations sponsoring political ads, require political campaigns to report offers of foreign assistance, prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to ballot initiative and referendum campaigns, increase restrictions on U.S. political campaigns soliciting support from foreign entities, and make it a federal crime to mislead voters about the time and place for voting and qualifications to vote.
U.S. House Bill 1595: Allow banks to conduct business with some marijuana-related businesses
Passed 321 to 103 in the U.S. House
To prohibit federal regulators from penalizing banks that deal with marijuana-related businesses in states that have legalized the use or possession of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. To avoid penalties, these banks may only deal with businesses in compliance with state laws.
U.S. House Bill 1423: Ban binding arbitration contract requirements, bar limits on class action lawsuits
Passed 225 to 186 in the U.S. House
To make unenforceable any provisions in contracts that require the parties to pursue arbitration before filing a lawsuit on disputes over employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights issues. The bill also prohibits agreements that limit class action lawsuits.
U.S. House Bill 205: Ban offshore drilling in areas of the Gulf of Mexico
Passed 248 to 180 in the U.S. House
To permanently ban oil and natural gas leasing in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico and within 125 miles of the Florida coastline.
U.S. House Bill 1941: Ban offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts
Passed 238 to 189 in the U.S. House
To prohibit the federal government from leasing any areas of the Outer Continental Shelf in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans for oil and natural gas exploration or production.
U.S. House Bill 1146: Prohibit oil and gas leasing in Arctic wildlife refuge
Passed 225 to 193 in the U.S. House
To prohibit oil and natural gas leasing in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
U.S. House Bill 397: Lend federal dollars to failing union pension plans
Passed 264 to 169 in the U.S. House
To authorize government "loans" that would be "forgivable" to massively underfunded and insolvent multi-employer pension funds, which are usually managed by labor unions.
U.S. House Bill 2500: Prohibit Defense Department spending at Trump properties
Passed 222 to 205 in the U.S. House
To prohibit spending Defense Department funds at properties owned by the president or that bear his name, unless the president reimburses the amount.
The Senate has not considered any of these bills, and is unlikely to do so in 2020. Tomorrow we will take a look at some important Senate votes of this past year.