WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the week ending April 21.
CHINA SURVEILLANCE BALLOONS: The House has passed the Upholding Sovereignty of Airspace Act (H.R. 1151), sponsored by Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., to condemn China’s surveillance balloon flights over the U.S. since 2017 and have the State Department work with other countries to oppose such flights as invasions of sovereign territory. Meeks said of the flights: “Such a violation of international law and U.S. sovereignty will not be tolerated and must not happen again.” The vote, on April 17, was 405 yeas to 6 nays.
YEAS: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-3rd
RUSSIA DRONE ATTACK: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 240), sponsored by Rep. Brandon Williams, R-N.Y., to condemn Russia’s recent destruction of a U.S. military drone said to have been flying in international airspace over the Black Sea. Williams said the resolution would “reassure our allies that we are committed to defend ourselves and our friends, and together, we will ensure the peace through deterrence in unity.” The vote, on April 17, was unanimous with 410 yeas.
REGULATING WATERWAYS VETO OVERRIDE: The House has failed to override President Biden’s veto of a resolution (H.J. Res. 27), sponsored by Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., that would have voided an Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency rule issued this January that defines Waters of the United States (WOTUS). Such waters would be subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. Graves said the rule favored “radical environmental activists over America’s families, small businesses, farmers, builders, and property owners.” A resolution opponent, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., said: “This resolution represents a step backward for clean water, increases uncertainty for businesses, and doubles down on fighting and on chaos.” The vote, on April 18, was 227 yeas to 196 nays, with a two-thirds majority required.
D.C. CRIME POLICIES: The House has passed a bill (H.J. Res. 42), sponsored by Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., to disapprove of and void the Washington, D.C., Council’s adoption of a law changing policing policies for D.C. police officers. Clyde said the action was necessary because “the D.C. Council’s misguided legislation has driven out men and women in blue who protect us, while disincentivizing individuals to join the force.” An opponent, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the Council was only trying to “promote accountability for police officers who use excessive force or abuse their power, a goal that the vast majority of Americans share.” The vote, on April 19, was 229 yeas to 189 nays.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS SECURITY: The House has passed the Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act (H.R. 1149), sponsored by Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., to require the State Department to assist telecommunications infrastructure installments that promote U.S. national security, and require other measures to address security risks from telecommunications. Wild said: “Securing these networks is imperative when it comes to national security and human rights, as well as for our economic security.” The vote, on April 19, was 410 yeas to 8 nays.
GENDER AND SCHOOL SPORTS: The House has passed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act (H.R. 734), sponsored by Rep. Gregory W. Steube, R-Fla., to condition federal funding of school athletic programs on those schools not allowing people whose biological sex at birth is male to take part in female athletic programs. Steube said the bill “preserves women’s sports and ensures fair competition for generations of women to come.” An opponent, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., said: “Congress has no business targeting transgender women and girls and imposing a nationwide ban on their participation in school sports.” The vote, on April 20, was 219 yeas to 203 nays.
MILITARY OFFICIAL: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Radha Iyengar Plumb to be Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. Plumb, currently chief of staff to Defense’s deputy secretary, was formerly an executive at Google and at Facebook, and a national security staffer at several federal agencies. The vote, on April 18, was 68 yeas to 30 nays.
YEAS: Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Patty Murray, D-Wash.
JUSTICE PROGRAMS: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Amy Lefkowitz Solomon to be the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). A senior official at OJP since the start of the Biden administration, Solomon was in similar roles at OJP during the Obama administration as well. A supporter, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called Solomon “a devoted public servant whose policy expertise and commitment to the rule of law will serve the Justice Department and communities across America.” The vote, on April 18, was 59 yeas to 40 nays.
YEAS: Cantwell, Murray
COVID VACCINES: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870), that would have made grants to local fire departments contingent on those departments not having imposed Covid vaccination requirements on their employees. Paul said: “Firemen and EMTs who chose not to be vaccinated were never a threat to anyone, never a threat to their communities. On the contrary, these firefighters served their communities bravely and made their neighbors safe.” An opponent, Sen. Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., said: “This amendment would interfere with state and local governments’ ability to determine health policies for their own employees and how to best keep their communities safe.” The vote, on April 18, was 45 yeas to 54 nays.
NAYS: Cantwell, Murray
FUNDING FIREFIGHTER GRANTS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., to the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870) that would have used unspent Covid relief funds to help cover the cost of the bill’s firefighting grants program. Scott said that given the more than $31 trillion of government indebtedness, it would be financially prudent to redirect unobligated funds to support firefighters, rather than add to deficit spending. An amendment opponent, Sen. Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., said: “Redistributing this funding could weaken our nation’s ability to continue responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and would pull funds from a program that is supporting our communities, families, and small businesses in important ways.” The vote, on April 18, was 47 yeas to 49 nays.
NAYS: Cantwell, Murray
FIGHTING FIRES: The Senate has passed the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870), sponsored by Sen. Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., to reauthorize through fiscal 2030 several federal firefighting and fire management programs. Peters said: “Fire departments depend on these programs to address staffing needs, replace outdated equipment, fund fire training and education programs, and invest in health screenings for firefighters in the line of duty.” The vote, on April 20, was 95 yeas to 2 nays.
YEAS: Cantwell, Murray