How they voted: Maine’s congressional delegation, May 27 – June 2, 2011

Posted June 03, 2011, at 6:07 p.m.

House votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Raising debt limit: The House has rejected a bill (HR 1954), sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., that would have raised the statutory debt limit to $16.7 trillion to accommodate the debt increase included in the fiscal 2012 budget proposed by President Obama. Camp said he opposed the bill because of the need to send “a clear and critical message that the Congress has finally recognized we must immediately begin to rein in America’s affection for deficit spending.” A supporter, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said “there’s no more important agenda item currently facing Congress than ensuring America pays its bills and honors its obligations.” The vote, on May 31, was 97 yeas to 318 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NAYS: Michaud

Vote 2: Immigration enforcement: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Edward Royce, R-Calif., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by $1 million to help fund coordination with state and local law enforcement in enforcing immigration law, and offset the increase with a $1 million cut in spending at Homeland Security’s Office of the Secretary and Executive Management. Royce said the coordination efforts helped state and local agencies “get the gang leaders, get the serious criminals off the streets and enforce our laws.” An opponent, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said the extra funding was not needed and would limit Homeland Security’s “ability to respond to national emergencies and to provide for stable leadership in the event of a large disaster or a terrorist attack.” The vote, on June 1, was 268 yeas to 151 nays.

YEAS: Michaud

NAYS: Pingree

Vote 3: War powers resolution: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would have blocked the use of funds provided by the bill to contravene the War Powers Resolution. Sherman said the amendment was needed to prevent the Obama administration from sending “our forces into battle for an unlimited duration, unlimited in scope, and for whatever purposes the executive branch finds worthy.” An opponent, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., said the amendment was not germane to the bill because it applied to the use of military force. The vote, on June 2, was 208 yeas to 213 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 4: Advanced screening machines: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would have prohibited the use of funds under the bill to operate advanced imaging technology machines as mandatory or primary screening devices at airports and elsewhere. Amash said use of the machines raised “serious concerns about efficacy, safety and privacy, and the violation to our liberty.” An opponent, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., said the amendment was “unnecessary and needlessly limits the discretion for security screening” by Homeland Security. The vote, on June 2, was 123 yeas to 300 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 5: Unionizing TSA employees: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would block funding to allow employee unions at the Transportation Security Administration to enter into collective bargaining agreements. Rokita said unionizing employees “will unquestionably make our transportation security more costly and less efficient.” An opponent, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said the amendment was premature and unwise, and that unionization would not affect security issues at the Transportation Security Administration. The vote, on June 2, was 218 yeas to 205 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 6: Disclosing political contributions: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would block funding for Homeland Security requirements for contract bidders to disclose their political contributions as a condition of applying for a contract. Cole said such a requirement could result in contractors being “evaluated politically as opposed to professionally.” An opponent, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said a disclosure requirement “would enhance transparency and decrease corruption” in contract bidding. The vote, on June 2, was 252 yeas to 170 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 7: Limiting compensation for airport screeners: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017). The amendment would limit funding to compensate airport screener personnel at the Transportation Security Administration to no more than $2.76 billion. Mica said the limit would increase the cost effectiveness of screening by encouraging the use of private companies to perform airport screening. An opponent, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said by cutting funding to pay screeners, the amendment “would lessen aviation security and, particularly, undo a lot of the additional protections that have been put in place in the last year or so.” The vote, on June 2, was 219 yeas to 204 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 8: Funding homeland security: The House has passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 2017), sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala. The bill would provide $40.6 billion of funding for Homeland Security in fiscal 2012, including nearly $2 billion of added funding for disaster relief programs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Aderholt said it was “about putting a priority on limited dollars and robustly supporting the most essential functions” of Homeland Security by improving cost efficiency at the agency and fully funding critical missions. An opponent, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., said that by cutting funding for local first responders, the bill “weakens our national security and undermines the ability of our first responders to safely meet the dangerous challenges they face every day.” The vote, on June 2, was 231 yeas to 188 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

There were no key votes in the Senate this week.

Compiled by Targeted News Service for the Bangor Daily News.

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