Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree
Vote 1: U.S. troops in Libya: The House has passed a resolution (HRes 292), sponsored by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, to declare that President Obama shall not deploy military forces on the ground in Libya. Boehner said Obama had not adequately explained the purpose of the NATO mission in Libya or provided a sufficient rationale for involvement in Libya, and that the resolution reflected the constitutional responsibility of the House to determine whether to authorize the use of force. An opponent, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., said the nonbinding nature of the resolution meant it “simply perpetuates a dynamic of congressional acquiescence and acquiescence that, for the most part, has gone on truly since the Korean War.” The vote, on June 3, was 268 yeas to 145 nays.
YEAS: Michaud, Pingree
Vote 2: Withdrawal from Libya: The House has rejected a resolution (HConRes 51), sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that would have ordered the removal of U.S. military forces from the NATO operation against Libya within 15 days. Kucinich said that by involving U.S. troops in the operation, President Obama “has ignored Congress’ assertion of the war powers by failing to obey the War Powers Resolution” and violating the constitution. An opponent, Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., said the resolution would give Moammar Gadhafi “a free hand to maintain control in Libya and continue his campaign against civilians,” while abandoning NATO partners and threatening the advance toward democracy in other Arab nations. The vote, on June 3, was 148 yeas to 265 nays.
YEAS: Michaud, Pingree
Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe
Vote 1: Confirming Solicitor General: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., to serve as U.S. Solicitor General. A supporter, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., cited Verrilli’s “impressive breadth of experience both in Government and in private practice” as a lawyer arguing cases in the federal and state courts, and called Verrilli “exactly the kind of superbly qualified, serious professional we should be encouraging to serve the American people in their government.” An opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., cited Verrilli’s support for trying individuals affiliated with al-Qaida in civilian courts rather than before a military commission as unlawful combatants, and said such a policy “places our nation at greater risk” of attack from terrorists. The vote, on June 6, was 72 yeas to 16 nays.
YEAS: Collins, Snowe
Vote 2: Debit card fees: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to the Economic Development Revitalization Act (S 782). The amendment would have required the Federal Reserve to conduct a one-year study into the effect on local banks and credit unions of new rules imposing limits on debit card fees. Tester said the study would prevent a situation in which “more small banks and credit unions fail, reducing consumer choice and reducing banking options, especially as they currently exist in rural America.” An opponent, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said “defeating the Tester-Corker amendment means saving jobs in my home State of Wyoming and around the Nation” by helping local businesses by ensuring that debit card fees are immediately curtailed. The vote, on June 8, was 54 yeas to 45 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.
NAYS: Collins, Snowe
Vote 3: Impact of regulations on small business: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to the Economic Development Revitalization Act (S 782). The amendment would have required federal agencies to study the potential impact of their proposed regulations on small businesses. McConnell said it “would help give small businesses much-needed relief from the federal government and its one-size-fits-all approach.” An opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said “it flies in the face of common sense and our moral responsibility” to protect public health through regulations, and would result in expensive new litigation over proposed regulations. The vote, on June 9, was 53 yeas to 46 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.
YEAS: Collins, Snowe
Compiled for the Bangor Daily News by Targeted News Service