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News / Politics

Washington, D.C., Roll Call

By Targeted News Service
Published: September 25, 2022, 6:01am

WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the week ending Sept. 23.

Along with the week’s roll call votes, the House also passed these measures by voice vote: the Stop Human Trafficking in School Zones Act (H.R. 7566), to increase the punishment for human trafficking in a school zone; the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 7181), to direct the secretary of transportation to seek to provide for the posting of contact information of the national human trafficking hotline in the restrooms of each aircraft, airport, over-the-road bus, bus station, passenger train, and passenger railroad station operating within the United States; the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying Act (H.R. 4330), to maintain the free flow of information to the public by establishing appropriate limits on the federally compelled disclosure of information obtained as part of engaging in journalism; and the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act (H.R. 6734), to reauthorize the volunteer services, community partnership, and refuge education programs of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Senate also passed: a bill (S. Res. 775), expressing the sense of the Senate that violence and threats of violence against the employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are unacceptable and should be condemned; and the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 4693), to advance targeted and evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of global malnutrition and to improve the coordination of such programs.


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: The House has passed the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act (S. 3895), sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to authorize funding for the commission through fiscal 2024. A supporter, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said sustaining the commission “is critically needed to ensure that our country maintains the tools we need to stand up for human rights and, in particular, religious freedom around the world.” The vote, on Sept. 19, was 402 yeas to 4 nays.

YEAS: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-3rd

IMMIGRANTS AND JOBS: The House has passed the Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (S. 3157), sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to require the Labor Department to make a study of ways to improve the ability of legal aliens and naturalized citizens to obtain employment that fits their level of skills. A bill supporter, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said it “will help us better understand not only the employment barriers facing immigrants and refugees but also steps we can take to ensure that new Americans can join our economic growth and pursue careers in which they can succeed to their fullest potential.” The vote, on Sept. 19, was 363 yeas to 52 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

PEACE CORPS: The House has passed the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1456), sponsored by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., to reauthorize the Peace Corps through fiscal 2024 and make changes to the program, including a zero tolerance drug use policy for volunteers and new safety and security measures for volunteers. Garamendi said the bill “will reinvigorate the Peace Corps and ensure that its essential work can continue to shape and inspire people around the world for years to come.” An opponent, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., criticized the bill’s increase in the pay and government benefits grade level assigned to Peace Corps volunteers, which she said “sets a terrible precedent for other programs that will inevitably ask for an increase in” benefits. The vote, on Sept. 19, was 290 yeas to 125 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

PASSING LEGISLATION: The House has passed a motion sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., to pass a set of 10 bills en bloc, without separate roll call votes. The bills addressed such issues as: Syria’s exports of narcotic drugs, sanctions against Russia’s government and Russian individuals, and global telecommunications systems. The vote, on Sept. 20, was 361 yeas to 69 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

TEXAS SCHOOL: The House has passed the Blackwell School National Historic Site Act (S. 2490), sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to establish a National Park System unit in Marfa, Texas, memorializing the Blackwell School, which taught Mexican Americans from 1885 to 1965. A supporter, Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, said: “Designating the Blackwell School as a national park site would improve the ability of the Park Service to oversee conservation efforts, promote regional tourism, and share important stories about the Mexican American community in the U.S.” The vote, on Sept. 20, was 414 yeas to 12 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

STUDENT LOANS: The House has passed the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act (S. 1098), sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. The bill would allow two joint federal student loan borrowers to petition the Education Department to split the joint loan into two separate loans. A supporter, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said: “The bill provides a pathway for an individual to apply to separate a loan from a spouse, a current spouse or former spouse, including in the event of an absentee or unresponsive spouse, for an act of violence or economic abuse.” An opponent, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said it would give a joint borrower the ability to “use this new legislation as a weapon” by leaving the spouse with the balance remaining in the separated loan. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 232 yeas to 193 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

PRESIDENTIAL VOTES: The House has passed the Presidential Election Reform Act (H.R. 8873), sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. The bill would make numerous changes to Congress’ procedures for registering the Electoral College votes for president, including requiring support from one-third of the members of both the Senate and House for an objection to the Electoral College vote to be heard. Lofgren said: “This bill will make it harder to convince people that they have the right to overthrow the election.” An opponent, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said the existing Electoral Count Act was an adequate law for allowing politicians “to raise constitutional objections to state electoral slates if they determine something may be improper.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 229 yeas to 203 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

GRANTS TO SMALL LAW ENFORCEMENT: The House has passed the Invest to Protect Act (H.R. 6448), sponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., to have the Justice Department award community-oriented policing grants to local government law enforcement agencies with fewer than 200 officers. Gottheimer said of the need for more funding: “We must ensure that local police departments across our country have what they need to recruit and retain the finest officers, provide necessary training, and invest in providing mental health resources for our officers.” A bill opponent, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., said ample Justice Department grant programs for local policing were already available. The vote, on Sept. 22, was 360 yeas to 64 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler

MENTAL HEALTH GRANTS: The House has passed the Mental Health Justice Act (H.R. 8542), sponsored by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., to establish a grant program for state and local governments to provide mental health treatments instead of law enforcement responses to people with behavioral health problems. Porter said: “When we send police to people in crisis, we fail to get those people desperately needed health care, and we take law enforcement away from tackling the violent crime that they are trained to take on. This hurts everyone in our community.” An opponent, Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said deploying mental health officials instead of police “will endanger the mental health professional, the suspect, the person experiencing the mental health crisis, and the person who called 911” due to being in danger. The vote, on Sept. 22, was 223 yeas to 206 nays.

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YEAS: Herrera Beutler

VIOLENCE PREVENTION GRANTS: The House has passed the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (H.R. 4118), sponsored by Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev. The bill would direct the Health and Human Services Department to issue grants to communities disproportionately impacted by violence, including homicides, and create several entities related to the grants effort. Horsford said the multiple billions of dollars of grants authorized by the bill “will invest in proven, community-based violence intervention programs to build safer communities.” An opponent, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said he objected to the grants because “the police power is not a power of the federal government, it is a power of our state and local governments.” The vote, on Sept. 22, was 220 yeas to 207 nays.

NAYS: Herrera Beutler

VIOLENT CRIME: The House has passed the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods Act (H.R. 5768), sponsored by Rep. Val Butler Demings, D-Fla., to establish a Justice Department grant program for state and local law enforcement agencies. Demings said that by helping police investigate violent crime, the grants would help “make sure that our men and women in blue — remember, back the blue — have the support they need to do their jobs.” An opponent, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., questioned whether grants issued by “the increasingly corrupt and politicized Department of Justice” would improve law enforcement. The vote, on Sept. 22, was 250 yeas to 178 nays.

YEAS: Herrera Beutler


APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Florence Pan to be a judge on the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals. Pan has been a U.S. district court judge for D.C. for a year, and previously was a D.C. Superior Court judge and federal prosecutor in the District. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Pan “experienced, balanced, and above all, committed to the rule of law.” The vote, on Sept. 20, was 52 yeas to 42 nays.

YEAS: Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.

CHINA AND HYDROFLUOROCARBONS: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, to the Kigali Amendment on hydrofluorocarbons that would declare that China is not a developing country for the purposes of implementing the Kigali Amendment. Sullivan said the amendment rightly recognized China’s current economic status and the country’s responsibility to meet the same treaty obligations that the U.S., Japan, and other peer nations have. The vote, on Sept. 21, was unanimous with 96 yeas.

YEAS: Cantwell, Murray

HYDROFLUOROCARBONS TREATY: The Senate has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, a treaty reached in 2016 that would have industrial countries seek to cut hydrofluorocarbon use by 80 percent or more by 2050 in order to reduce global warming. A supporter, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said: “Kigali ratification will ensure U.S. companies continue to have access to international markets so that modern, efficient, economical air-conditioners and refrigerators across the world will be stamped ‘Made in America,’ not ‘Made in China.’ ” A treaty opponent, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said, “HFCs contribute only five one-hundredths of 1 degree Celsius to projected increases in global temperature.” The vote to ratify the treaty, on Sept. 21, was 69 yeas to 27 nays.

YEAS: Cantwell, Murray

GLOBAL MEDIA CEO: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Amanda Bennett to be chief executive officer of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees six government media entities, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Bennett was director of Voice of America from early 2016 to June 2020, and previously was an editor at various newspapers and a Wall Street Journal reporter. A supporter, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Bennett “will be a tireless advocate for the journalists working at USAGM and an effective steward of its operations.” The vote, on Sept. 22, was 60 yeas to 36 nays.

YEAS: Cantwell, Murray

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY ADVISER: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Arati Prabhakar to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a White House entity that advises the president. Prabhakar has headed the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and been an executive at technology companies and a venture capital firm. A supporter, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Prabhakar “has the exact experience we need to advise the president on semiconductor manufacturing, on bringing the supply chain and security that we need here in the United States, and on continued growth in science and technology jobs that come along with it.” The vote, on Sept. 22, was 56 yeas to 40 nays.

YEAS: Cantwell