Highlights from the Week
1. On March 1, 2023, the United States Senate passed the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023. Passed by a unanimous vote of 100–0, this bill requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to declassify all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of COVID-19. The legislation then passed on another unanimous vote in the House of Representatives on March 10, by a vote of 419–0. Click here to read the bill text and vote breakdown. Click here to read a statement from Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. Lastly, click here to read a statement from Representative Jime Himes of Connecticut.
2. On March 9, 2023, the United States House of Representatives passed the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act. Passed on a vote of 219–206, this legislation prohibits federal employees from censoring the speech of others while acting in an official capacity. To read more about the bill as well as the vote breakdown, please click here. To read a statement from the bill's sponsor, Representative James Comer of Kentucky, click here. To read a statement from an opponent of the bill, Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota, click here.
3. On March 9, 2023, the United States House of Representatives passed a joint resolution to disapprove of a Department of the Army rule defining the “Waters of the United States.” This resolution, which passed on a vote of 227–198, repeals an Army rule titled “Waters of the United States,” submitted on January 18, 2023 by the Army Corp of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as specified which bodies of water fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. To read more about the bill and the vote breakdown, please click here. To read a statement from the bill's sponsor, Representative and Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Sam Graves of Missouri, click here. To read a statement from the committee’s ranking member, Representative Grace Napolitano of California, click here.
4. On March 10, 2023, the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th-largest bank in the country based in Santa Clara, California, failed. The failure was caused by a loss in over $42
billion dollars in value after several major clients of the bank withdrew their money in what is known as a “bank run.” This precipitated a crisis in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had to intervene by ensuring depositors that stayed would have access to their money, in order to prevent further problems in the financial system. President Joe Biden, on Sunday, assured Americans that no taxpayer money would be used to bailout SVB. To read a statement from President Biden on the government’s response to the crash, click here. To read a statement, in an New York Times op-ed, from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, please click here. To read a statement from Senator Katie Britt of Alabama, click here.
Logo of Silicon Valley Bank
5. On March 13, 2023, former U.S. Representative Pat Schroeder passed away at the age of 82. A member of Vote Smart’s founding board, Schroeder was the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado and served from 1973–1997. She was known for being a trailblazer for women entering politics, and is best known for the 1993 family-leave bill, which provided job protections for those caring for newborns, sick children, or parents. To see more about her time in Congress, you can click here.
Photo of Rep- Pat Schroeder
By the Elections Research team: Nick, Zachary, Seth, and Caleb, and Elections interns: Reid, Hunter, and George
Biographies: Want to learn more about officials who have been sworn in at the federal level? You can see the full list of officials here:
Want to learn more about the leadership in each state legislature? You can see the full leadership rosters here:
Want to learn more about which committees elected officials are a part of? You can see the full list of committees for each state here:
Want to learn more about some special elections happening in 2023? You can see the elections that have been held so far this year here:
By the Officials Research team: Noah, Johanan, Neal, Thomas, and Israel and Officials interns: Brittany, Caroline, and Morgen
Public Statements: 200 statements were added this week. See highlights from the week for notable statements.
States: 29 new votes were added.
Alaska’s House passed HB 51, which seeks to authorize environmentally friendly refrigerants even if they are not specifically allowed by the state building code.
Georgia’s Senate passed SB 145, which seeks to prohibit local ordinances against gas powered leaf blowers.
Montana’s Senate passed SB 208, which seeks to prohibit local governments from banning or limiting energy choices.
U.S. Congress: 2 votes were added.
H J Res 26 - Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Revised Criminal Code Act
Special Interest Groups:
This year to date, the SIGS team has entered 7,983 ratings and 839 endorsements for candidates.