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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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Washington, D.C., Roll Call report

The Columbian
Published:

Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.

Along with roll call votes this week, the Senate also passed, by voice vote, a resolution (S. Res. 418) condemning Hamas and antisemitic student activities on college campuses in the U.S. Also, the House chose Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., as its new speaker on Wednesday. The vote was 220 for Johnson, 209 for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; and four House members did not vote. No Republicans voted for Jeffries, and no Democrats voted for Johnson.

House

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 771), sponsored by Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, to support Israel in its war with Hamas, and condemn Iran’s support for Hamas and other terrorist groups. McCaul said the resolution “will send a clear message across the world that terrorists and their sponsors will be held to account for their atrocities, their crimes against humanity, their crimes of genocide.” An opponent, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, faulted the resolution for lacking reference to “the vision of peace between Israel and Palestine by way of a two-state solution.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 412 yeas to 10 nays, and six voting present.

YEAS

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania County

ENDANGERED FISH: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394), to increase by $1 million spending on endangered fish recovery programs in the Upper Colorado and San Juan River basins. Neguse said: “The programs work to recover and protect four species of endangered and threatened fish, while providing Endangered Species Act compliance for over 2,500 water projects.” The vote, on Oct. 26, was 277 yeas to 142 nays.

YEAS

Perez

AMERICAN CLIMATE CORPS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., to the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394), that would prohibit funding for the American Climate Corps. Norman asked: “Instead of funding Democrats’ woke climate agenda, why don’t you focus on a pro-growth agenda that spurs the economy and prioritizes American energy independence?” An amendment opponent, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, said: “This program will give a new generation of Americans the skills that our grandparents had, which are necessary to access good-paying jobs that are aligned with high-quality employment opportunities after they complete their paid training and service.” The vote, on Oct. 26, was 207 yeas to 204 nays.

NAYS

Perez

FUNDING ENERGY, WATER PROGRAMS: The House has passed the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394), sponsored by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., to provide $57 billion of fiscal 2024 funding for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, and other water and energy agencies. Fleischmann said the bill “advances our national security, our energy security, and our economic competitiveness in a fiscally responsible manner.” An opponent, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn., said: “This bill undermines growth and modernization of our energy infrastructure, weakens our national security, and it would yield leadership of the world’s energy future to our greatest adversaries.” The vote, on Oct. 26, was 210 yeas to 199 nays.

NAYS

Perez

Senate

FAA ADMINISTRATOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Michael G. Whitaker to be the Federal Aviation Administration’s administrator for a five-year term. Whitaker was the FAA’s deputy administrator from 2013 to 2016; he had been an executive at United Airlines, and the CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, an India airline company. A supporter, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Whitaker had committed to “build a strong safety culture, attract new talent, and keep pace with technology transformation” in aviation at the FAA. The vote, on Oct. 24, was unanimous with 98 yeas.

YEAS

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

WORKER WAGES: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Jessica Looman to be administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. Looman has been a deputy administrator at the division since the start of President Joe Biden’s term; previously, she was a construction labor union executive director, and Minnesota commerce commissioner. A supporter, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., said Looman “is respected for her skill leading large, complex organizations and getting results and working productively with diverse groups of people to find good solutions and common ground.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 51 yeas to 46 nays.

YEAS

Cantwell, Murray

TRANSPORTATION MASK MANDATES: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4366). The amendment would bar fiscal 2024 funding for the Transportation Department to enforce face mask mandates in response to the novel coronavirus. Vance said: “The era of mask mandates caused a lot of problems. It caused problems for our kids. It caused developmental delays for schoolchildren. It caused a lot of rancor and a lot of division.” An opponent, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said that if a much more virulent and hazardous version of the coronavirus emerges, “public health officials should be able to consult with agencies to try to figure out what measures ought to work.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 59 yeas to 38 nays.

NAYS

Cantwell, Murray

VETERANS AND GUN RIGHTS: The Senate has passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4366). The amendment would bar funding for the Veterans Affairs Department to report the mental incompetence of a veteran to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in the absence of an order from a judicial authority. Kennedy said current VA policies mean that whenever a veteran needs a financial fiduciary, that information is sent to the NICS and the veteran loses the right to have a firearm without due process. An amendment opponent, Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., said it “gives gun rights back to every single seriously mentally ill veteran who has been judged to be mentally incompetent, even those who are actively suicidal.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 53 yeas to 45 nays.

NAYS

Cantwell, Murray

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4366). The amendment would have stipulated that Congress remain in session, working on spending legislation, whenever it has failed to pass bills that maintain funding for the federal government. Lankford said the amendment sought “to change the status quo and to begin the process of ending government shutdowns forever.” An amendment opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said it would mean “abdicating Congress’s responsibility to control the powers of the purse and avoiding the hard work of compromise by putting funding on perpetual autopilot.” The vote, on Oct. 25, was 56 yeas to 42 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.

NAYS

Cantwell, Murray

INTERVENTION IN NIGER: The Senate has rejected a motion to discharge from committee a resolution (S.J. Res. 44), sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have ordered the removal of U.S. soldiers from Niger due to the lack of congressional authorization for that deployment. Paul said: “We are in the middle of a potential war, with 1,100 troops in Niger, where a democratically elected president has been deposed, and they are being ruled by a military junta and still our troops are there.” A resolution opponent, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., said: “The U.S. presence is helping save lives and to contain terrorism. Our partners in Africa want us there to deal with that threat.” The vote to discharge, on Oct. 26, was 11 yeas to 86 nays.

NAYS

Cantwell, Murray

EARMARK SPENDING: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4366), that would have barred funding for so-called earmark projects, which are spending on specific projects that have been inserted into legislation by individual members of Congress. Braun said: “Earmarks give representatives, give senators, the incentive to be big spenders. We should cut every earmark out of this bill and ban them permanently and quit loading up our kids and grandkids with the debt to pay for all this.” An opponent, Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, said earmarks give members “who understand the needs of their constituents far better than every federal agency to advocate for specific investments in their local communities.” The vote, on Oct. 26, was 35 yeas to 62 nays.

NAYS

Cantwell, Murray

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