Congresswoman Jennifer T. Wexton (D-VA-10) marked off 100 days since she took the oath of office in the House of Representatives on April 12.
According to the House of Representatives’ bill tracking, in that time Wexton has personally introduced three bills and an amendment to a bill, of which two passed the House, one failed, and one is awaiting action.
Her amendment to the Save the Internet Act of 2019, of which she is among 197 co-sponsors, seeks more information about gaps in rural broadband. The bill seeks restore some principles of net neutrality, and has passed the House of Representatives with Wexton’s amendment.
Another, the FinCEN Improvement Act of 2019, updates the duties of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN. FinCEN would be required work with tribal law enforcement agencies, protect against terrorism regardless of origin, and coordinate internationally on matters involving emerging technology and virtual currency. The bill is now in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Wexton’s H.R. 2290, the Shutdown Guidance for Financial Institutions Act, would require federal regulators to issue guidance encouraging financial institutions to work with customers and businesses affected by the government shutdown—such as federal employees whose credit ratings may be affected by missing paychecks, she said. That bill is in the House Committee on Financial Services.
One has been voted down in the House of Representatives, a resolution “expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Government shutdowns are detrimental to the Nation and should not occur.”
In total, Wexton has sponsored or co-sponsored 82 pieces of legislation. Of those, including the FinCEN Improvement Act and the amendment to the Save the Internet Act, 12 have passed the House of Representatives.
Those also include the For the People Act of 2019, which among other provisions would expand voting access, make Election Day a federal holiday, and establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions, and address campaign finance; a resolution opposing Trump’s ban on transgender members of the armed forces; a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994; The Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019, which would give federal civilian employees a 2.6 percent pay raise; the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which requires background checks for all firearms purchases; the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to eliminate pay discrepancies between men and women; and a resolution urging the Department of Justice to stop trying to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in court.
But Wexton serves in a divided Congress, and even bills that pass easily in the House of Representatives often stop dead at the doors to the Senate. Only two bills bearing her name have passed the Senate.
One, introduced by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5) and co-sponsored by Wexton and seven other legislators, authorizes the use of the capitol grounds for the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby.
The other, introduced by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20)—with Wexton as one of the 225 original co-sponsors—sought to terminate the national emergency related to the county’s southern border declared by President Donald Trump on Feb. 15. That passed both the House and Senate before being vetoed by the president. Legislators were unable to muster to votes to overrule that veto.
Wexton pointed to legislation that enjoys broad approval among Americans, such as universal background checks for firearms purchases and net neutrality.
“To have one person blocking votes on these pieces of legislation is, of course, very frustrating, but we have to do what we’re going to do in the House to represent the people who sent us here,” Wexton said. “And if Mitch McConnell wants to let everything languish on his desk, he does so at his peril.”
Going forward, she said she plans to push more for federal workers, including paid family and medical leave, and credit protections against the impacts of government shutdowns. In a press release marking the date, she said she would also be working to address the county’s infrastructure needs and to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
“Being a part of this historic class of women and being a part of the freshman class is really amazing and remarkable, and seeing the energy and excitement that young people have about these elections and about coming and visiting and advocating has also been really inspiring for me,” Wexton said.