How your congressional delegates voted

How your congressional delegates voted

  • August 6, 2019
  • News

HOW YOUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATES VOTED

For the week ending July 26

By Voterama in Congress © 2019

Thomas Reports Inc. via the Albuquerque Journal

SHORING UP MULTIEMPLOYER PENSIONS: Voting 264 for and 169 against, the House on July 24 passed a bill (HR 397) that would set up a new lending unit in the Treasury Department to help up to 160 financially troubled multiemployer pension plans covering more than a million union workers. The new Pension Rehabilitation Administration would make 30-year loans at low interest rates to help those plans keep their promises to retirees. In multiemployer plans, companies fund pension plans covering multiple union locals. The employers pool risk and achieve economies of scale for holding down administrative and medical costs. But the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that insures private sector retirement benefits, has warned that it lacks resources to adequately cover benefits at risk in failing multiemployer plans. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the program would cost taxpayers $48.5 billion over its first 10 years.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

BOYCOTTS, DIVESTITURE, SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL:

The House on July 23 voted 398 for and 17 against to condemn the anti-Israel “BDS” movement, which is a global campaign that encourages businesses, governments and other entities to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel and firms owned by Israelis. The nonbinding measure (HR 246) also reaffirms U.S. support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the measure stops short of binding provisions approved by the Senate in February that give a federal green light to anti-BDS laws enacted by state and local governments in the United States. Those laws deny contracts and other benefits to companies or individuals supporting the BDS movement.

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

HOUSE: Deb Haaland (D) Ben Ray Luján (D) Xochitl Torres Small (D)

SENATE: Martin Heinrich (D) Tom Udall (D)

YES: Deb Haaland, D-1, Xochitl Torres Small, D-2, Ben Ray Luján, D-3

SECOND VOTE ON ‘BDS’ MOVEMENT:

Voting 200 for and 232 against, the House on July 24 defeated a motion by Republicans stating that no pension plans receiving loans under HR 397 (above) could participate in the so-called BDS movement against Israel (above). Backers of the motion offered no evidence of any union participation in the movement, and critics said they were using Israel as a wedge issue.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

NO: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

REQUIRING HUMANE TREATMENT OF MIGRANTS:

Voting 233 for and 195 against, the House on July 24 passed a bill (HR 3239) setting minimal standards for the government’s treatment of migrants in its custody. The bill would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct medical screenings of migrants within 12 hours of their detention, or three hours for children, disabled people and pregnant women, and provide health care as warranted. In addition, CBP would have to provide appropriate hygienic care including access to toilets, drinking water, regular showers, and adequate clothing, bedding and incarceration space. The bill also would require CBP to enlist child welfare and health care professionals for dealing with unaccompanied children and to provide interpreters, chaperones and mental health care as warranted. The bill directs the Department of Homeland Security inspector general to conduct unannounced inspections at ports of entry, border patrol posts and detention facilities and report its findings to Congress.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

GRANTING TEMPORARY LEGAL STATUS TO VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS:

Voting 272 for and 158 against, the House on July 25 passed a bill (HR 549) conferring Temporary Protected Status on as many as 200,000 Venezuelan citizens who have taken refuge in the United States from domestic turmoil in their country. The Department of Homeland Security occasionally grants TPS to migrants from countries beset by war or natural disasters. After paying a $360 fee, recipients acquire legal U.S. residency for 18 months and can apply for work permits and Social Security numbers.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

APPROVING TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL:

Voting 284 for and 149 against, the House on July 25 approved a two-year budget deal (HR 3877) that would raise the national debt ceiling to accommodate additional deficit spending through July 31, 2021. The bill would allow military spending to increase by $46.5 billion and discretionary nonmilitary spending by $56.5 billion over fiscal 2019 levels. In addition, the bill prohibits tax increases but makes slight entitlement cuts over two years to partially offset rising red ink.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

9/11 VICTIMS’ COMPENSATION:

By a vote of 97 for and two against, the Senate on July 23 gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 1327) that would reauthorize the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund through fiscal 2090. Administered by a special master, the fund pays economic and noneconomic damages to 9/11 first responders and their survivors as well as to those afflicted by health problems as a result of taking part in 9/11 cleanup efforts, and to their survivors. In addition, the bill would allow claims to be filed until October 2089, remove a cap on noneconomic damages in certain circumstances and index for inflation the program’s annual limits on compensation for economic losses. Although the bill is projected to cost $10.2 billion in its first 10 years, and countless billions after that as cancers and other latent diseases emerge, it does not include a “pay for” mechanism or long-term funding means (next bill).

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Trump.

YES: Tom Udall, D, Martin Heinrich, D

BUDGET CUTS TO FINANCE 9/11 COMPENSATION:

Voting 22 for and 77 against, the Senate on July 23 did not reach 60 votes needed to advance a measure that sought to cut mandatory spending (except for Medicare, Social Security and veterans) by less than 1% over 10 years to help pay the cost of HR 1327 (above). The defeat of this amendment means that all Treasury payments into the 9/11 compensation fund will be deficit spending.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

NO: Udall, Heinrich

CONFIRMING MARK ESPER AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:

Voting 90 for and eight against, the Senate on July 23 confirmed Mark T. Esper as the 27th secretary of defense since the office was established in 1947. He becomes the first confirmed defense secretary since James Mattis resigned in December 2018. Esper, 55, joined the administration in 2017 as secretary of the Army, and before that he was a lobbyist for the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon. He was an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division during the Gulf War in 1990-91 and served as chief of staff to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, from 1996-98. He was a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

YES: Udall, Heinrich

CONFIRMING GEN. MARK MILLEY AS JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN:

Voting 89 for and one against, the Senate on July 25 confirmed Army Gen. Mark Milley to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September, replacing Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford as the nation’s top leader in uniform. Milley has been an infantry officer and commander of Special Forces units in a career that has included service in the Iraq War and a multinational mission in Bosnia Herzegovina to implement the Dayton Accords peace agreement. The negative vote was cast by Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

YES: Udall, Heinrich

For the week ending August 2

 

APPROVING TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL:

Voting 67 for and 28 against, the Senate on Aug. 1 approved a twoyear budget deal (HR 3877) that would allow Pentagon and nonmilitary spending to increase by $320 billion over current levels while suspending the statutory borrowing limit until July 31, 2021, to prevent default on the $22 trillion national debt. The bill addresses the nearly 30% of the $4.6 trillion federal budget comprised of discretionary spending, leaving untouched the approximately 70% allocated to mandatory programs including Medicare, Social Security and veterans benefits and ruling out tax increases as a means of curbing federal debt. The bill caps discretionary spending at $1.375 trillion for each of fiscal years 2020 and 2021 while anticipating annual deficits approaching $1 trillion and interest payments on the national debt likely to top $400 billion annually.

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Trump.

YES: Tom Udall, D, Martin Heinrich, D

BLOCKING INCREASE IN NATIONAL DEBT LIMIT: Voting 23 for and 70 against, the Senate on Aug. 1 defeated an amendment to HR 3877 (above) that would block any increase in the statutory debt limit until after Congress approved three measures to impose fiscal discipline: enact major spending cuts, restore spending caps that the underlying bill removes and send the states a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

NO: Udall, Heinrich

UPHOLDING TRUMP VETO OF SAUDI ARMS MEASURE: Voting 45 for and 40 against, the Senate on July 29 upheld President Donald Trump’s veto of a measure (SJ Res 36) that would prohibit the sale of up to $8 billion in U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia and its allies for use against Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. The munitions consist mainly of laser-guided “smart” bombs. Opponents needed a two-thirds majority of senators present and voting to defeat the veto. This marked Trump’s second successful veto this year of attempts by Congress to check the administration’s expanding military alliance with Saudi Arabia. With the other veto, he turned back a measure that would end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war unless it received congressional authorization under the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

A yes vote was to override the presidential veto.

YES: Udall, Heinrich

CONFIRMING KELLY CRAFT AS UNITED NATIONS AMBASSADOR: Voting 56 for and 34 against, the Senate on July 31 confirmed Kelly Craft as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Craft has been U.S. ambassador to Canada since October 2017 and was an alternate delegate to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration. She received her appointment to Ottawa after her husband, Joe Craft, a Kentucky-based coal producer, contributed more than $1 million to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Republicans praised Craft’s work in Canada on matters including a trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. But Democrats faulted her for having spent 357 days away from Canada while ambassador and for allowing her husband to take part in meetings on energy and environmental policies. They also criticized Craft for doubting the science validating global warming and climate-change.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

NO: Udall, Heinrich

The House and Senate will be in recess until the week of Sept. 9.

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