WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.
Along with roll call votes, the Senate and House also passed the following legislation by voice vote. The House also elected a new speaker.
The Senate also passed the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, to provide work leave for new federal employees who are veterans with service-connected disabilities; the Surface Transportation Extension Act, to extend transportation programs funded by the Highway Trust Fund; and the Homeless Veterans Services Protection Act, to waive the minimum period of continuous active duty requirement for homeless veterans receiving Veterans Affairs benefits.
Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was voted speaker of the House.
The House also agreed to the Senate amendment to the DHS Social Media Improvement Act, to authorize the creation of a working group on social media at the Homeland Security Department; passed the Northern Border Security Review Act, to require the Homeland Security Secretary to analyze security threats on the U.S.-Canada border; and passed the READ Act, to require that the president’s annual budget request to Congress include a line item for funding the Research in Disabilities Education program.
House vote 1
REPEALING HEALTH CARE PROVISIONS: The House has passed the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia. The bill would repeal the health care reform law’s medical device excise tax, repeal the employer health insurance mandate and repeal the individual health insurance mandate.
Price said the measures would provide relief for Americans who are being forced into a health care system that is “more expensive, less accessible, lower quality, and with fewer choices” than before health care reform.
A bill opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said that “as a result of this legislation, insurance coverage would decline by about 16 million people in most years; 3 million of those people would be children.”
The vote was 240 yeas to 189 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
BROKERS AND INVESTMENT ADVICE: The House has passed the Retail Investor Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to take into account potential harm to retail investors when proposing a rule setting out a standard of conduct for investment advisors.
Wagner said that as currently designed, the proposed rule would increase compliance costs for the advisors, potentially prompting them to drop small retirement accounts established by “Americans who are just starting to save and haven’t built up their retirement nest egg.”
A bill opponent, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said it would derail the SEC’s efforts to prevent conflicts of interest in which advisors provide investment advice to individuals based on the commissions they receive from investment firms rather than based on what is best for their clients.
The vote was 245 yeas to 186 nays. Pingree gave a nay vote, and Poliquin gave a yea vote.
House vote 3
EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: The House has passed the Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act, sponsored by Rep. Steven Lee Fincher, R-Tennessee. The bill would reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank and adopt an array of requirements increasing government oversight of the bank.
Fincher said the oversight provisions would improve the bank while maintaining its capability to support job creation by helping finance trade by U.S. companies.
An opponent, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said the Export-Import Bank primarily benefited Boeing and a handful of other large companies, and unfairly set up a program of subsidies for those companies at a cost to the rest of the country.
The vote was 313 yeas to 118 nays. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
House vote 4
GOVERNMENT BUDGET PLAN: The House has agreed to a motion sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Kentucky, to concur in the Senate amendment to the Trade Act. The amendment would establish a federal government budget plan for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, suspend the debt limit through March 2017, revise budget spending caps for 2016 and 2017, and make various reforms to Social Security and Medicare.
Rogers said the plan would improve budgeting at government agencies, prevent a debt default, reduce waste in entitlement program spending and help the economy by providing fiscal stability.
No bill opponents spoke on the House floor.
The vote, on Oct. 28, was 266 yeas to 167 nays. Both Pingree and Poliquin were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
CONFIRMING NEW YORK DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Lawrence Joseph Vilardo to serve as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York.
A supporter, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, praised Vilardo’s experience as a leading Buffalo lawyer and said his confirmation was urgent “because the Western District has been working without a single sitting federal judge.”
The vote was unanimous with 88 yeas. Both Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, were among the yays.
Senate vote 2
PERSONAL INFORMATION AND CYBERSECURITY: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. The amendment would have required the federal government to remove personally identifiable data not related to a given cybersecurity threat before sharing information about the threat with other parties.
Heller said the requirement would apply to the government the same standard for protecting consumer privacy that Congress is considering applying to the private sector.
An amendment opponent, Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, said the uncertainty it would create for private companies would discourage them from voluntarily partnering with the government on efforts to improve cybersecurity.
The vote was 47 yeas to 49 nays. Both Collins and King were among the nays.
Senate vote 3
SHARING CYBERSECURITY INFORMATION: The Senate has passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina. The bill would require several federal agencies to adopt procedures that promote sharing information about cybersecurity threats with other government entities and the private sector, as well as the broader public.
Burr said encouraging cybersecurity information sharing between private companies and various levels of government would help re-secure personal data when computer networks have been hacked by outsiders, without violating consumers’ privacy.
A bill opponent, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said “sharing information without robust privacy standards creates as many problems as it may solve” by failing to require that companies seek to remove unrelated personal information about their customers before submitting cybersecurity data to the government.
The vote was 74 yeas to 21 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.