Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.
Along with roll call votes this week, the House also passed the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 762), to provide for the dissemination of information regarding available Federal programs relating to energy efficiency projects for schools; and the Veterans-Specific Education for Tomorrow’s Health Professionals Act (H.R. 1271), to establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a pilot program instituting a clinical observation program for pre-med students preparing to attend medical school.
House Vote 1:
Military burn pits: The House has passed the Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act (H.R. 1381), sponsored by Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-California, to allow individuals designated by military veterans to register those veterans in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ burn-pit registry after the veterans have died. Burn pits have been used by the military during the Iraq war and in other conflicts to burn and dispose of waste at military bases, with exposure from the fires possibly linked to veterans’ illnesses. Ruiz said the bill sought to fulfill the government’s “responsibility to provide our veterans with the benefits that they have earned and deserve” and provide compensation for deaths possibly caused by the burn pits. The vote, on March 5, was unanimous with 416 yeas.
YEAS: Chellie Pingree D-Maine (1st), Jared Golden D-Maine (2nd)
House Vote 2:
Corporate political spending: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, to the For the People Act (H.R. 1). The amendment would bar publicly traded companies from contributing to political campaigns unless they have a method of determining whether their shareholders support the contributions. Raskin said: “People who invest in the stock market should not be used as the pawns for the political designs of CEOs.” An amendment opponent, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said it was “vague and impractical, and would, again, infringe upon free speech” by allowing partisan politics to influence company decisions on political spending. The vote, on March 7, was 219 yeas to 215 nays.
YEAS: Pingree D-Maine (1st), Golden D-Maine (2nd)
House Vote 3:
Anti-Semitism and Intolerance: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 183), sponsored by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, condemning anti-Semitism as well as anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities. Raskin said the resolution was needed “because in America and in nations all over the world, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry, and other forms of racism and intolerance are sharply on the rise.” An opponent, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said that last-minute changes to the resolution that diluted its original focus on condemning anti-Semitism were dangerous because “anti-Semitism, hatred for the children of Israel, is a very special kind of hatred” that caused the Holocaust. The vote, on March 7, was 407 yeas to 23 nays, with one voting present.
YEAS: Pingree D-Maine (1st), Golden D-Maine (2nd)
House Vote 4:
Political Free Speech Rights: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark Green, R-Tennessee, to the For the People Act (H.R. 1). The amendment would have stated that constitutional free speech protections that include financial contributions to political campaigns must be preserved. Green said the reaffirmation of free speech rights was needed because the underlying bill was an “assault on free speech” and the power of citizens to freely participate in the political process. An opponent, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, called it “an attempt to protect the Citizens United decision and the flow of unlimited dark money into our politics and elections.” The vote, on March 7, was 200 yeas to 233 nays.
NAYS: Pingree D-Maine (1st), Golden D-Maine (2nd)
Senate Vote 1:
Appeals Court Judge: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Allison Jones Rushing to serve as a judge on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Rushing, currently a lawyer at the Williams & Connolly firm in Washington, D.C., has focused on civil and criminal litigation in both federal and state courts. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Rushing had “significant appellate experience and has filed 47 briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court,” making her “a fine addition to the federal bench.” An opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said Rushing’s nine years of legal experience, none as a judge, meant she had “the most scant, weakest legal resume imaginable for someone who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the second highest court of the land.” The vote, on March 5, was 53 yeas to 44 nays.
YEAS: Susan Collins R-Maine
NAYS: Angus King I-Maine
Senate Vote 2:
Second Appeals Court Judge: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Chad A. Readler to serve as a judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Readler had spent 19 years at the Jones Day law firm in Columbus, Ohio, and for the past two years has been an official in the Justice Department’s Civil Division. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, cited Readler’s well qualified rating from the American Bar Association, and said Readler “has built a longstanding reputation in private practice as a consummate legal professional.” An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, claimed that if confirmed, Readler “will vote to take away Americans’ healthcare, who will vote to take away Americans’ voting rights, who will vote to take away Americans’ civil rights.” The vote, on March 6, was 52 yeas to 47 nays.
NAYS: Collins R-Maine, King I-Maine
Senate Vote 3:
Third Appeals Court Judge: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Eric E. Murphy to serve as a judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Murphy, Ohio’s state solicitor general since 2013, previously was a lawyer at the Jones Day law firm and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. An opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said that as judge, Murphy would side with corporate interests and against consumers and the cause of social justice. The vote, on March 7, was 52 yeas to 46 nays.
YEAS: Collins R-Maine
NAYS: King I-Maine
Senate Vote 4:
Commerce Official: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of John Fleming to serve as the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development. Fleming was a House member from Louisiana from 2009 to 2017, and for the past two years has been a technology official at the Health and Human Services Department. A supporter, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, said she believed Fleming “understands the needs of communities like those in West Virginia” to access economic opportunities that Fleming could facilitate if confirmed. The vote, on March 7, was 67 yeas to 30 nays.
YEAS: Collins R-Maine, King I-Maine