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 following measures: the Commercial Remote Sensing Amendment Act (H.R. 290), to provide for transparent licensing of commercial remote sensing systems; and the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act (H.R. 298), to expand access to capital for rural small businesses.
PETROLEUM RESERVE: The House has passed the Strategic Production Response Act (H.R. 21), sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane. The bill would require the federal government to take measures to increase oil and natural gas production on federal lands when it makes withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Rodgers said it “will help ensure this vital American energy asset and American security interests will not be drained away for nonemergency, political purposes.” A bill opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said that by limiting releases from the Reserve, it “will hamstring the single most important tool the Biden administration has used to fight Putin’s price hike on gasoline.” The vote, on Jan. 27, was 221 yeas to 205 nays.
NAY: Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania
FINANCE AND FRAUD: The House has passed the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act (H.R. 500), sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., to allow an investment management company (also known as a mutual fund) to delay its redemption of a security if it believes the redemption was fraudulently requested, and use the delay to determine whether the request is valid. Wagner said the bill “will provide our potentially vulnerable investors with an important layer of investor protection to help make sure that they receive the hard-earned savings that they have built up over the years.” The vote, on Jan. 30, was unanimous with 419 yeas.
COVID VACCINES AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS: The House has passed the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act (H.R. 497), sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., to cancel the Covid vaccination requirement for health care workers at facilities that receive funds from Medicare and Medicaid. Duncan said the requirement “has only created resentment and distrust toward the government and loss of jobs, nursing jobs, CNA jobs, often replaced with traveling nurses being paid a higher rate, a higher cost for the taxpayers and the hospitals.” A bill opponent, Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said “halting vaccination for health care professionals would severely and irreparably harm patients and undermine the patient-public interest.” The vote, on Jan. 31, was 227 yeas to 203 nays.
ENDING COVID HEALTH EMERGENCY: The House has passed the Pandemic is Over Act (H.R. 382), sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., to terminate the Covid public health emergency declared by President Donald Trump on Jan. 31, 2020, on the date the bill becomes law. Guthrie said: “The American people are tired of living in a perpetual state of emergency, and it is long overdue for Congress to take back the authorities granted under Article I of the Constitution.” A bill opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., called it “a reckless plan that would jeopardize the health of millions of Americans by immediately ceasing these important response programs without advanced preparations.” The vote, on Jan. 31, was 220 yeas to 210 nays.
REMOTE WORK POLICIES: The House has passed the Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems Act (H.R. 139), sponsored by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. The bill would require the federal government’s executive branch agencies to reinstate the telework policies they had as of the close of 2019. Comer said the reversion was needed because due to the expansion of remote work following the emergence of Covid, “federal agencies are falling short of their missions. They are not carrying out their duties. They are failing the American people.” An opponent, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said: “Telework has strengthened private and public workplaces across the land, enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, improved the morale and satisfaction of the workforce, reduced traffic congestion, and made positive environmental changes.” The vote, on Feb. 1, was 221 yeas to 206 nays.
ENDING NATIONAL COVID EMERGENCY: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 7), sponsored by Rep. Paul A. Gosar, R-Ariz., to end the national emergency in response to Covid that was declared by President Donald Trump on March 13, 2020. Gosar said the resolution was needed to have the House “perform its most basic constitutional duty: checking the powers of the executive branch and the power of the purse.” An opponent, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, said: “Terminating the emergency declaration now sends the wrong message and could have consequences for public health and safety.” The vote, on Feb. 1, was 229 yeas to 197 nays.
REMOVING MEMBER FROM COMMITTEE: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 76), sponsored by Rep. Max L. Miller, R-Ohio, to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Miller said the action would state clearly that the House “does not condone hate and to reaffirm that we will always condemn antisemitism” that Omar has expressed in remarks criticizing Israel. Omar said she has merely spoken “on behalf of those who are experiencing unjust wars, atrocities, ethnic cleansing, occupation, or displacement.” The vote, on Feb. 2, was 218 yeas to 211 nays.
SOCIALISM: The House has passed a resolution (H. Con. Res. 9), sponsored by Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., to denounce socialism in all its forms, and oppose the implementation of socialist policies in the U.S. A supporter, Rep. Jodey C. Arrington, R-Texas, called socialism “a series of actions that rob people of their freedom and concentrate power in the hands of a few in their central government.” An opponent, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said the resolution presented “a misleading and sophomoric description of history. We are told that all socialism is equal, and that Marxist-Leninism is the same as the European Socialists.” The vote, on Feb. 2, was 328 yeas to 86 nays.
PEACE INSTITUTE MEMBER: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Roger Israel Zakheim to be a member of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace for a four-year term. Zakheim, director of the Reagan Institute since 2018, has also been a lawyer specializing in government and public policy, and a military official in the George W. Bush administration. The vote, on Jan. 30, was 84 yeas to 10 nays.
YEAS: Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
SECOND PEACE INSTITUTE MEMBER: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Joseph Lee Falk to be a member of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace for a four-year term. Falk is a consultant at the Akerman LLP law firm and has served on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The vote, on Feb. 2, was 60 yeas to 37 nays.
YEAS: Cantwell, Murray