WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.
Editor’s note: Besides roll call votes, the Senate and House also took action on legislation by voice vote. The Senate also passed the Veteran’s I.D. Card Act, to issue, upon request, veteran’s identification cards to military veterans. The House also passed the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act, to require Homeland Security to research ways that small and medium-sized drones could be used in a terrorist attack, and ways to prevent or mitigate such attacks.
House vote 1
REPEALING MEDICARE ADVISORY BOARD: The House has passed the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, sponsored by Rep. David P. Roe, R-Tennessee. The bill would repeal provisions of the health care reform law that established the Independent Payment Advisory Board for overseeing Medicare spending.
Roe said the board would have too much power to change Medicare policy without oversight from the president, courts or Congress. Roe predicted that the board “will ration seniors’ access to care through a one-size-fits-all payment policy” that does not consider the individual circumstances of Medicare enrollees.
A bill opponent, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, called the board a necessary measure to contain Medicare costs and improve Medicare’s sustainability for decades to come.
The vote was 244 yeas to 154 nays. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, gave a nay vote, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, gave a yea vote.
House vote 2
INTERNET DOMAINS: The House has passed the DOTCOM Act, sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois. The bill would bar the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from ending its governance of the Internet domain name system until the U.S. Comptroller General has conducted a report on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s role in the system.
Shimkus said the report requirement would allow time for the consideration of the consequences and potential problems associated with moving to private governance of Internet domain names.
The vote was 378 yeas to 25 nays. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
House vote 3
ADOPTING EPA POWER REGULATIONS: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-California, to the Ratepayer Protection Act. The amendment would have eliminated a provision putting off adoption of the EPA’s rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants until the rule has been fully litigated, and required state regulators to conduct analyses of the impact that emissions-reduction plans would have on power reliability.
McNerney said his amendment “would both protect consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions” by requiring the analyses to help states consider the impact that cutting emissions might have on the grid and on power prices.
An amendment opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky, said it would defeat the purpose of the bill by allowing the EPA to move forward with its plan to extend its regulatory authority over the power generation industry to excessive levels.
The vote was 177 yeas to 250 nays. Pingree gave a yea vote, and Poliquin gave a nay vote.
House vote 4
CLIMATE CHANGE AND POWER PRICES: The House has passed the Ratepayer Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky. The bill would put off the deadline for states to submit to the EPA their plans for implementing a new rule putting limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants until judicial review of the rule is complete. States also would not have to adopt emissions-reduction plans if they believe implementation would significantly raise power prices or harm the reliability of the power grid.
Whitfield said the bill responded to concerns raised by states about “implementation challenges, risks to electric reliability, and significantly higher energy costs” resulting from the rule.
A bill opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey, said it would obstruct the “path to cleaner air, better health, a safer climate, and a stronger economy” set out by the EPA’s rule, intended to reduce climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
The vote was 247 yeas to 180 nays. Pingree gave a nay vote, and Poliquin gave a yea vote.
House vote 5
TRANSPARENCY AT HOMELAND SECURITY: The House has passed the DHS FOIA Efficiency Act, sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia. The bill would direct the Homeland Security Department’s chief Freedom of Information Act officer to issue rules that improve the agency’s responsiveness to Freedom of Information Act requests for documents made by the public.
Carter said the bill addressed Homeland Security’s chronic failure to effectively respond to Freedom of Information Act requests by improving the agency’s procedures and accountability.
The vote was unanimous with 423 yeas. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
House vote 6
PASSING TRADE LEGISLATION: The House has agreed to a motion sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to concur in the Senate amendment to the Trade Preferences Extension Act. The amendment would extend preferential duties for goods imported from various developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, reauthorize the trade adjustment assistance program for retraining workers who have lost their jobs because of imports from overseas, and adopt provisions aimed at preventing other countries from dumping goods in the U.S. market at unfair prices.
Ryan said the bill would “strengthen the American economy” by improving the country’s trade position, encouraging lower-cost imports and promoting job-creating exports.
The vote was 286 yeas to 138 nays. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
House vote 7
INFORMATION ABOUT TERRORIST THREATS: The House has passed the CBRN Intelligence and Information Sharing Act, sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona. The bill would direct Homeland Security to improve its capability to analyze the threat of terrorist attacks using chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and coordinate the sharing of intelligence about such threats both within Homeland Security and with other federal and nonfederal government authorities.
McSally said ongoing evidence of efforts by terrorist groups to use such weapons made it imperative for Homeland Security to improve its threat analysis and ability to deliver “the actionable intelligence information necessary to stop or mitigate” attacks to state and local officials.
The vote was 420 yeas to 2 nays. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
CONFIRMING NEW TSA HEAD: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Peter V. Neffenger to serve as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.
A supporter, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, said Neffenger, a commissioned Coast Guard officer for the past three decades, had shown exceptional leadership skills that will help him reform the TSA and make it “an intelligence driven, risk-based counterterrorism agency.”
The vote was 81 yeas to 1 nay. Both Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine were among the yeas.
Senate vote 2
TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY: The Senate has concurred in the House amendment to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. David G. Reichert, R-Washington. The bill would authorize fast-track trade promotion authority for the president to negotiate terms of trade treaties, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other nations bordering the Pacific Ocean.
A supporter, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said it “will help farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and our entrepreneurs throughout our country get better access to foreign markets and allow them to compete on a level playing field” by encouraging trade agreements that benefit the U.S.
A bill opponent, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Maryland, said trade promotion would hurt U.S. workers by enabling other countries with substandard worker wage, health and safety regulations to undercut U.S. industries that pay their workers higher wages and must abide by stricter regulations.
The vote was 60 yeas to 38 nays. Both Collins and King were among the nays.
Senate vote 3
TRADE WITH DEVELOPING NATIONS: The Senate has agreed to the House amendment to the Trade Preferences Extension Act, sponsored by Rep. George Holding, R-North Carolina. The bill would extend preferential duties for goods imported from Haiti and extend the generalized system of preferences exempting certain goods from tariffs, as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which provides preferential treatment for textiles and other goods imported from Africa.
A supporter, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the extensions would benefit both developing countries and the U.S. by encouraging economic growth and lowering the cost of importing many raw materials used by U.S. manufacturers.
The vote was 76 yeas to 22 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.