How they voted: Maine’s congressional delegation, April 29-May 5, 2011

Posted May 06, 2011, at 7:23 p.m.

House votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Funding for state health insurance exchanges: The House has passed a bill (HR 1213), sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., that would repeal the authority given to the secretary of health and human services under the health care reform law for the secretary of health and human services to directly provide grants to states to help them establish health insurance plan exchanges. Upton said the provision allowed an executive branch official to spend hundreds of billions of dollars without congressional oversight, and he argued that “repealing the fund will protect precious taxpayer resources at a time of record red ink.” An opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the grants would help states tailor their exchanges “in a way that’s most effective to cover the most Americans and provide them good-quality health care at a low cost.” The vote, on May 3, was 238 yeas to 183 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 2: Studying school-based health centers: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., to a bill (HR 1214) to repeal mandatory funding for the construction of new school-based health centers that was included in the health care reform law. The amendment would have required the Government Accountability Office to study which U.S. school districts were most in need of new or renovated school-based health centers. Pallone said the $50 million a year provided under the reform law would not cover all schools seeking funding, and the study was needed “so that we can find out exactly how many more of these clinics, or centers, are in need of funding.” The vote, on May 4, was 205 yeas to 210 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 3: School-based health centers: The House has passed a bill (HR 1214), sponsored by Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, that would repeal mandatory funding for the construction of new school-based health centers that was included in the health care reform law. Burgess said “forced spending to construct facilities without adequate safeguards if they will provide care is irresponsible and it certainly abdicates the pursestring nature of the House of Representatives.” An opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the health centers were “a tremendous success story” that had provided health care to needy children at a lower cost than off-school health centers, and building more health centers would help stimulate the economy. The vote, on May 4, was 235 yeas to 191 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 4: Government funding of abortions: The House has passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (HR 3), sponsored by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. The bill would bar the government from funding or providing tax incentives for any health insurance plans that cover abortion except in the cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. Smith said it would “respect, protect and tangibly love both mother and child.” An opponent, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said the bill “up-ends the principle of equal rights and freedoms by placing severe restrictions on the constitutionally protected right to an abortion.” The vote, on May 4, was 251 yeas to 175 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 5: Reviews for offshore oil, gas leases: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., to the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (HR 1230). The amendment would have required the interior secretary to conduct environmental and safety reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act before offering any lease sales for new offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. Holt said the requirement to build on “hard-earned lessons that we learned from the largest oil spill in the gulf waters” in 2010 was necessary going forward. An opponent, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the requirement would put the U.S. “right back where we started when the President canceled these lease sales, sending jobs and energy production overseas.” The vote, on May 5, was 174 yeas to 240 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 6: Offshore energy production: The House has passed the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (HR 1230), sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would require the interior secretary to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia. Hastings said it “will create American jobs, lower gasoline prices, and strengthen energy independence” by increasing domestic energy production. An opponent, Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., said it would allow “the shoddy environmental analysis conducted by the Bush administration’s Mineral Management Service before the BP spill” to suffice as the basis for future lease sales. The vote, on May 5, was 266 yeas to 149 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

Vote 1: Honoring Osama bin Laden mission: The Senate has passed a resolution (SRes 159), sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to honor the military members and intelligence officials who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. Reid said the operatives “captivated us with their skill and expertise, their patriotism, and their professionalism” in successfully concluding the pursuit of bin Laden. The vote, on May 3, was unanimous with 97 yeas.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 2: Small-business programs: The Senate has failed to approve cloture for debate on the SBIR-STTR Reauthorization Act (S 493), sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. The bill would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said cloture was needed to move forward a bill that “would create thousands of jobs.” The vote, on May 4, was 52 yeas to 44 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for cloture.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Compiled by Targeted News Service for the Bangor Daily News.

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