05/17/2022 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference

Thursday, June 2, 5-7, Merrillville library
Come out for an in person Indivisible NWI public meeting!
Come out to hear about how you can be active! Learn about Get Out the Vote opportunities! Hear speakers from Congressman Mrvan’s office and others, learn about protecting women’s rights, & much more!

Indivisible NWI has endorsed Congressman Frank J Mrvan for another term as our first district representative.
As Indivisible, we don’t always endorse. We are here to put out information and education on issues and candidates. But we know how important he is to the first district and how important it is to our nation that we re-elect a good democratic congressional representative in the US House of Representatives! We will provide many opportunities for all of us to work hard to re-elect Frank. He is facing stiff republican opposition. For the first time in nearly a century District 1 is in danger of losing its democratic seat to a far right pro-Trump republican who has national republican backing—and dollars. Frank has worked hard to represent our district and to bring Federal dollars back to NWI and now it’s our turn to work hard for him. Attend our meeting on June 2 and watch our Facebook and Twitter pages and emails to learn what we can do.

Enacted, signed into law by the President

S. 3522: Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022

S. 270: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Expansion Act

S. 497: American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act

S. 812: A bill to direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization, and for other purposes.

S. 3059: Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act

H.R. 3182: Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021


“Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.) today made a criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) outlining evidence of a likely criminal quid pro quo between Trump administration officials, including former U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt, and real estate developer Mike Ingram…This is the first time the Committee on Natural Resources has sent a criminal referral to DOJ.” (Natural Resources Committee)

Passed the House and Senate, goes to the President next

S. 2201: Supply Chain Security Training Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 1097: Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 4119: RECA Extension Act of 2022
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.

S. 66: South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2021
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 412 – 7. All Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 4426: Homeland Security for Children Act
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.


“The Senate voted 51-50 on Wednesday to confirm Alvaro Bedoya as a member of the Federal Trade Commission, adding a progressive privacy advocate to the agency and restoring a Democratic majority at a time when the FTC is poised to take on corporate giants in industries such as tech. Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote for the Georgetown University law professor.” (Politico)

“The Senate confirmed economist Lisa Cook on Tuesday to serve on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, making her the first Black woman to do so in the institution’s 108-year history. Her approval was on a narrow, party-line vote of 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the decisive vote.” (NPR)

Failed cloture

S. 4132: Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “Cloture on the motion to proceed to the measure not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 49 – 51.
This bill is provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture on May 11, 2022. Cloture is required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster and takes a 3/5ths vote. In practice, most bills must pass cloture to move forward in the Senate.”

Passed the Senate, House next

S. 4160: Supreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022
Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.


Failed under Suspension of the Rules, which requires 2/3 vote to pass. It may or may not get another vote.

H.R. 6531: Targeting Resources to Communities in Need Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “This bill addresses funding for areas of persistent poverty.” The vote was 262-156. Indiana reps Mrvan and Carson voted yea; all others vote nay. View the vote.

Passed the House, Senate next

H.R. 5129: Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “This bill reauthorizes the Community Services Block Grant program through FY2031 and makes other changes to the program, including with respect to administration and leadership; performance measurement; and minimum and maximum allotments to states, territories, and tribes.” Passed 246-169 with Indiana reps Mrvan and Carson voting yea and all others voting nay. View the vote.

H.R. 2499: Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “This bill provides federal workers’ compensation to firefighters who contract certain illnesses as a result of their service.” Passed 236-131. Indiana reps Walorski, Spartz, Baird and Pence voted nay. All other Indiana reps voted yea. View the vote.

H.R. 847: Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the National Science Foundation to support merit-reviewed and competitively awarded research on privacy enhancing technologies.” Passed 401-19 with all Indiana reps voting yea. View the vote.

H.R. 5324: NWR Modernization Act of 2021
GovTrack.us: “This bill provides for the expansion of, and upgrades to, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards network (NWR).” The vote was 397-20 with all Indiana reps voting yea except Pence who voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 1437: PRECIP Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to take actions regarding precipitation estimation.” Passed 333-81 with all Indiana reps voting yea except Banks, Pence and Hollingsworth. View the vote.

H.R. 5911: Fair Hiring in Banking Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill creates exceptions to the restriction on hiring persons convicted of certain criminal offenses involving dishonesty or a breach of trust to a position with an insured depository institution or an insured credit union. Currently, a waiver must be obtained from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration to allow the employment of such a person.” Passed 329-88 with all Indiana reps voting yea except Pence, Banks and Hollingsworth who all voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 5914: Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill reauthorizes through FY2028 and otherwise revises the Senior Investor Protection Grant Program. The bill moves the program from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the Securities and Exchange Commission, establishes a task force to oversee the program, and eliminates certain grant eligibility requirements.” The vote was 371-48 with all Indiana reps voting yea except Pence and Banks who voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 935: Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2021
Passed unanimously

H.R. 7066: Russia and Belarus Financial Sanctions Act of 2022
On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 418 – 2. View the vote.

H.R. 7081: Ukraine Comprehensive Debt Payment Relief Act of 2022
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires the Department of the Treasury to make efforts to secure debt relief for Ukraine.” Passed 362-56. All Indiana reps voted yea except Banks and Pence who voted nay. View the vote.

H.R. 6891: Isolate Russian Government Officials Act of 2022
Passed 416-2.

H.R. 6899: Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act of 2022
Passed 417-2.

To find and contact your Members of Congress:  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials 

In other news

“American parents have been struggling for weeks with a nationwide baby formula shortage. The shortage stems from an enormous February recall of tainted formula by Abbott Nutrition, one of the two major U.S. formula manufacturers, and the ensuing closure of the plant responsible for the contamination. It has been exacerbated further by existing supply-chain kinks. On Thursday, the White House unveiled a plan to ease the shortage, which may include invoking the Defense Production Act to require manufacturers to increase domestic output. 
 The Republican plan for the shortage, by contrast, is to take formula away from migrant babies in U.S. custody. “While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves…the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) said Thursday. The “starve babies in U.S. custody” caucus has since grown to include “Ultra MAGA” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).” (What a Day, Crooked Media
“How did a baby formula crisis spring up in one of the world’s richest countries? Experts say a recall by one of the industry’s largest manufacturers, persistent supply-chain issues, and a market dominated by only a few players have combined to form what one consumer goods expert calls a “perfect storm” affecting the supply of essential formula to millions of babies across the U.S.” The White House announced plans to reduce red tape and to import formula. (Yahoo Finance)
Baby formula manufacturer Abbott Nutrition on Monday, May 16, said it has reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a path to restart operations at its Sturgis, Mich., plant. (The Hill)

If you know anyone that needs formula, pass on this helpful fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services.: 

“The White House said Monday 20 internet service providers have agreed to offer $30 high-speed internet plans to low-income families, effectively giving free service to households that qualify for a federal subsidy…Cost is a key factor in the digital divide between those who have internet service and those who do not. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a $30 monthly discount on internet service from participating providers for low-income households, such as those that receive federal assistance through SNAP or Medicaid.” (Axios)

Absent federal action, somewhere between five- and 14-million people will likely lose their Medicaid coverage when the government stops deeming COVID-19 a public-health emergency, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. At the outset of the pandemic, Congress established a continuous-enrollment requirement, which prohibited states from removing people from their Medicaid rolls, and financed the increased costs to those states by increasing federal matching funds for Medicaid by a significantly larger amount than states incurred due to their larger enrollments. As of now, the government plans to end the public-health emergency in mid July, after which both the continuous-enrollment requirement and the enhanced matching funds would quickly disappear.” (What a Day Crooked Media)

An online portal designed to help very low-income people get the expanded Child Tax Credit reopened Wednesday, according to the nonprofit group that designed it in cooperation with the Biden administration. The group, Code for America, said it also would collaborate with state benefits agencies to reach families that may not be aware they are eligible for the federal program…Even though filing season has ended and the CTC expansion expired at the end of 2021, people who qualified can still get what they are owed. But they have to file a simplified tax return, which may be difficult for many who typically earn too little to file an annual return — less than $25,100 for married couples and $12,550 for single filers. The relaunched GetCTC portal is meant to help recipients navigate the process with a return that requires only the information needed to tap the child credits. Recipients can also apply for any money they are owed from economic stimulus payments approved by Congress at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Politico)

“More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting another tragic record in the nation’s escalating overdose epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Wednesday.” (Associated Press)

The courts
“A trial over whether a lawyer with ties to the Democratic Party lied to the FBI in 2016 is set to begin on Monday in what could be the first major test for John Durham, the special counsel appointed during the Trump administration to investigate the former president’s allegations of a conspiracy to undermine his campaign.” (The Hill

“A U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 is unconstitutional.” (NewsNation)

“On Wednesday, without a word of explanation, the nation’s most radical appeals court reinstated a Texas law that imposes sweeping censorship on social media companies. The statute—which Republicans passed in retaliation against the perceived liberal bias of “Big Tech”—forces these companies to disseminate hateful expression, dangerous misinformation, and foreign propaganda, among other objectionable speech. It empowers aggrieved users to file an unending stream of lawsuits to combat content moderation while creating a slew of onerous regulations that are literally impossible to comply with. Texas’ statute is, in short, an egregious affront to corporations’ First Amendment rights.” (Slate)

 Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, was asked to discuss the U.S. reaching one million deaths from COVID 19. He blamed nearly 1/3 of those deaths on anti-science aggression. “For me, the big reckoning was the fact that we’ve not really come to a real national dialogue about what happened after May 1, 2021. That was the day the White House announced that there are so many Covid vaccines that any American who wants to get vaccinated can get vaccinated. Yet we lost another 200,000-300,000 Americans after that date. Those who were defiant to vaccines were overwhelmingly in red states, and the redder the county as measured by Trump voters in the 2020 election, the higher the vaccine refusal and the greater the loss of life. It wasn’t by accident. It was a deliberate effort by members of the House Freedom Caucus, in the House, some U.S. senators, amplified nightly on Fox News. I don’t even call it misinformation or disinformation anymore. I call it anti-science aggression, to convince millions of Americans not to take a Covid vaccine. And at least 200,000 Americans between May 1 and the end of 2021 died needlessly from Covid because of it. And everyone’s afraid to talk about it because it’s very unpleasant to have to point out that these deaths occurred along such a strict partisan divide. Even the White House won’t talk about it in that way.” (Politico Nightly)

The Consumer Price Index was released this week, showing inflation at 8.3 percent, year over year. The number is not especially surprising, just a tad better than March. We have probably passed the month of ‘peak’ inflation for this cycle  (Michael Hicks, Ball State University)

Election 2022
“America’s crucial midterm election is about 180 days away, but already some important dynamics are emerging. This preliminary analysis can provide us with some direction about what issues, voter groups and national winds may determine victory or defeat on Election Day.” 

  • On a generic ballot Democrats poll much higher than President Biden.
  • In addition, Donald Trump’s net unfavorability may be as important as Biden’s. That’s key to winning over independents.
  • “Among the group of voters who dislike both Trump and Biden heading into the 2022 midterms, each party has advantages on distinct issues. The GOP has a significant advantage on inflation and the economy, with only a small lead on dealing with immigration and the border. Democrats have a large advantage on voting rights, abortion rights, education and protecting the rights of citizens based on sex or race. The GOP will want to try to keep the focus on the economy, while Democrats — if they want to win key races — will need to broaden their talking points to include rights, freedom and democracy.”
  • The GOP is spending way too much time delving into cultural issues that Democrats lead on. Meanwhile, Democrats are spending too much time worrying and talking about inflation and the economy and not enough time raising the stakes of this election and making a broader argument based on fundamental rights and American democracy.
  • Democrats can still succeed in this midterm cycle, especially at the state level, if they consistently, clearly and overwhelmingly talk about the issues that favor them — and the ongoing threat posed by Trump. The leaked draft opinion on abortion and the coming public hearings by the Jan. 6 committee give them a major opportunity to make that case.” (MSNBC)

Gun violence
“Ten people were killed in a racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday afternoon.” (CNN) “A manifesto allegedly written and posted by the suspect…laid out specific plans to attack Black people and repeatedly cited the “great replacement” theory, the false idea that a cabal is attempting to replace white Americans with nonwhite people through immigration, interracial marriage and, eventually, violence.” (NBC News)
“The white gunman accused of massacring 10 Black people in a racist rampage at a Buffalo supermarket planned to keep killing if he had escaped the scene, the police commissioner said …The commissioner’s account was similar to portions of a racist 180-page document, purportedly written by Payton Gendron, that said the assault was intended to terrorize all nonwhite, non-Christian people and get them to leave the country…
Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield Jr., who lost his 86-year-old mother, Ruth Whitfield, in the shooting, asked how the country could allow its history of racist killings to repeat itself. “We’re not just hurting. We’re angry. We’re mad. This shouldn’t have happened. We do our best to be good citizens, to be good people. We believe in God. We trust Him. We treat people with decency, and we love even our enemies,” Whitfield said at a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others. “And you expect us to keep doing this over and over and over again — over again, forgive and forget,” he continued. “While people we elect and trust in offices around this country do their best not to protect us, not to consider us equal.”” (Associated Press)

A mass shooting occurred in the Southern California city of Laguna Woods was also likely racially motivated. (CNN

McConnell “predicted that the $40 billion Ukraine aid package will pass the Senate with overwhelming support this week. There’s a cloture vote on the legislation today. If cloture is invoked as expected, that would set up a final vote on Wednesday…McConnell played down the GOP opposition to the aid package. Former President Donald Trump – echoing a line taken by a number of Republicans – said on Friday that “the Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children.” Fifty-seven House Republicans voted against the bill last week, and several GOP Senate candidates – Adam Laxalt in Nevada, J.D. Vance in Ohio and Kathy Barnette in Pennsylvania – have come out against the funding.” (Punchbowl News)

“President Joe Biden on Wednesday outlined efforts to help U.S. farmers ramp up crop production to offset reduced global food exports caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Right now, America is fighting on two fronts,” Biden said. “At home, it’s inflation and rising prices. Abroad, it’s helping Ukrainians defend their democracy, and feeding those who are left hungry.” Biden said the administration plans to increase the number of counties eligible for insurance for double cropping and investment more in domestic fertilizers.” (CNBC)

“Finland and Sweden are poised to end decades of neutrality by joining NATO, a dramatic evolution in European security and geopolitics sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” (CNN)


Indiana is being sued over allegations it’s letting people who need mental health treatment sit in jail rather than get court-ordered services (Indiana Public Media)
A federal jury ordered two Indianapolis police officers to pay a total of $1.2 million to the estate of a man fatally shot by police in November 2018. (Indianapolis Recorder)

The Indiana Department of Education has named 15 schools (including Bailly STEM Academy, Gary Community School Corp) throughout the state as STEM Certified Schools. The certification is awarded to schools that are “focused on a commitment to teaching STEM disciplines beyond the classroom.”  (Inside Indiana Business)

Indiana collected nearly $1 billion more in taxes last month than the state budget projected. (WFIU)

Democrats at the Indiana Capitol want the governor to suspend the state’s gas tax. (WIBC)

Indiana is set to receive $506 million over the next two decades from a settlement with opioid manufacturers.  (WFIU)

To find and contact your Indiana legislators: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/