Colorado D.C. Roundup: Votes On Fire Prevention, Health Care; Study On 'Quiet Zones'
Fire prevention and repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act were on the table this week in the U.S. House, while Colorado’s senators backed the appointment of Allison Eid to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Here’s a look at what the Colorado congressional delegation was up to this week.
Votes of the week
CHAMPION Act – Passed, moving forward to the Senate
What it does: Extends funding for various health programs and centers, including the National Health Service Corps and the Youth Empowerment Program. Bill passed mostly along party lines. Democrats expressed concerns on how the bill would be funded.
Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act – Passed, moving forward to the Senate
What it does: Repeals parts of the Affordable Care Act that allow for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which develops proposals to reduce Medicare spending. Almost all of Colorado’s representatives (excluding Democrats Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter) are cosponsors on the bill.
Resilient Federal Forests Act – Passed, moving forward to the Senate
What it does: Makes it easier to harvest timber burned in forest fires and reduce some of the need for “fire borrowing” from fire prevention budgets by sharing timber revenues. As OPB reports, the bill relaxes some environmental rules to ease timber harvests, which many Democrats oppose. Democrats also say the bill should include specific funding for prevention. Republicans consider the bill the first step in improving management of fire-prone lands.
The following votes happened with full support of the Colorado delegations or with some abstaining:
- Encouraging Public Offerings Act – will allow more investors to participate in private stock offerings and initial public offerings.
- South Carolina Peanut Parity Act – adds South Carolina as a peanut producing region so it can appoint members to the Peanut Standards Board.
- Allison H. Eid confirmation vote – Confirmed Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid to the seat on the 10th Circuit Court vacated by Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Perlmutter on quiet zone study
Perlmutter praised the release of a report by the Government Accountability Office on an issue familiar to anyone who has lived or worked near train tracks: railroad quiet zones.
“Today’s report confirms what communities in my district have been telling me for years,” said Perlmutter in a statement. “Establishing quiet zones are costly, burdensome and lack clear guidance from the Federal Railroad Administration to standardize and simplify the process.”
The study came about as part of an amendment penned by Perlmutter on the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, signed into law in December 2015. The amendment required a study on the FRA’s 2005 rule on the use of horns at railroad crossings.
Perlmutter hopes that the study will prompt swift action from the FRA.
“I hope the FRA takes this report to heart and works quickly to reopen the 2005 train horn rule to find ways to improve coordination between the FRA and local communities and simplify the quiet zone process,” he said.