How they voted: Maine’s congressional delegation, July 1-7, 2011

Posted July 08, 2011, at 9:50 p.m.

House votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Cutting funding for office of the defense secretary: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have cut funding for operation and maintenance programs at the office of the Defense Secretary by $216.5 million. Broun said the cuts were needed to help reduce the deficit by curbing the growth in spending by the office in recent years. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said the office’s budget had already been cut to eliminate wasteful spending, and that further cuts could harm military education programs, basic operational functions and special operations. The vote, on July 6, was 87 yeas to 328 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 2: Military energy programs: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have increased funding for the military’s Environmental Security Technology Certification program by $15 million. Connolly said the funding “will help address the immense challenge our military’s facilities’ energy requirements represent” by improving energy efficiency and developing alternative and renewable energy for use at the facilities. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said the bill already provided a doubling in funding for the program, and he also cited the need to constrain unnecessary spending. The vote, on July 6, was 152 yeas to 266 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 3: Gulf War illness research: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would increase funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program by $3.6 million and offset the increase by cutting funding for the Pentagon’s tv channel. Kucinich said the funding would allow for clinical trials to test the effectiveness of using a supplement to treat Gulf War Illness and relieve the suffering of Gulf War veterans. An opponent, Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., said the Gulf War Illness Research Program was already adequately funded at $6.4 million. The vote, on July 6, was 253 yeas to 167 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 4: Developing strategic bombers: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have cut funding for research into development of a next-generation strategic bomber by $297 million and applied the savings to deficit reduction. Welch said the funding was not recommended by President Obama, and a cut in military spending was needed to have the Pentagon share in the general reduction in government spending. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said work on replacing the current generation of strategic bombers was needed to modernize the military’s capabilities. The vote, on July 6, was 98 yeas to 322 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 5: Contracting and the military: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would strike a provision barring the military from contracting out work projects unless contracting would save at least $10 million or 10 percent of estimated project costs. Amash said that by expanding contracting, his amendment would “increase the availability of cost-saving competitions” for contracts issued by the military, and also improve service for the projects. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said contracting typically increased costs and the military often could “actually do the work at a lesser cost than the private sector.” The vote, on July 6, was 212 yeas to 208 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 6: A-76 military contracting program: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would strike a provision barring funding for private-public competitions for contracts granted by the military under the A-76 contracting circular. Sessions said A-76 competitions could cut costs for taxpayers by giving the military “the flexibility to manage the most effective and efficient cost ways” to achieve its mission. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said the provision was needed to ensure that the military improved its accountability for funds provided to contractors. The vote, on July 6, was 217 yeas to 204 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 7: Afghanistan infrastructure: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have cut funding for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by $200 million and applied the savings to deficit reduction. Cohen said the funding for Afghanistan was “not being used properly and effectively” because of corruption in the country, and the $200 million would be better used to cut the deficit. An opponent, Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said the $200 million was needed to improve Afghanistan’s infrastructure and help win support for counterinsurgency efforts from local populations in Afghanistan. The vote, on July 7, was 210 yeas to 217 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 8: Funding Libya military operations: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have barred funding for military operations against the Qadhafi regime in Libya. Amash said President Obama was violating the Constitution by making war against Libya without authorization from Congress. An opponent, Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., said passing the amendment would not stop the White House from continuing operations against the Qadhafi regime, and would only unnecessarily restrict operations in Libya. The vote, on July 7, was 199 yeas to 229 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 9: Funding Libya military campaign: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have barred funding for efforts in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn and Operation Unified Protector in Libya. Rigell said the Obama administration was conducting an “egregious ongoing breach of the separation of powers” principle in the Constitution by using military force in Libya without congressional authorization. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said unilaterally withdrawing from Libya “could materially harm our relationship with NATO allies” by hurting “the NATO-led mission to defeat Qadhafi and to protect the people of Libya.” The vote, on July 7, was 176 yeas to 249 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 10: War powers resolution: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would bar funding for programs that contravened the War Powers Resolution. Sherman said the amendment supported “democracy and the rule of law” by blocking President Obama and other presidents from deploying troops overseas for an indefinite period without authorization from Congress. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said the amendment “would harm the efforts of our allies, working against our national interests and benefiting” the Qadhafi regime in Libya by hindering efforts to overthrow the regime. The vote, on July 7, was 316 yeas to 111 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 11: Aid to Pakistan: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2219). The amendment would have barred funding to provide aid to Pakistan. Rohrabacher said Pakistan was aiding “America’s worst enemies: radical Islam and, yes, an emerging and belligerent China,” and continuing to aid Pakistan would encourage the country’s continued hostility to U.S. interests. An opponent, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said “a complete withdrawal of U.S. assistance” would be counterproductive because it would likely “exacerbate significant pro- and anti-American rifts within their military and their government generally.” The vote, on July 7, was 89 yeas to 338 nays.

YEAS: Michaud

NAYS: Pingree

Vote 12: Israeli-Palestinian negotiations: The House has agreed to a resolution (HRes 268), sponsored by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., to reaffirm U.S. support for a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Cantor called on the Palestinian Authority “to recognize the legitimacy of Israel to exist as a Jewish state” and engage in “direct negotiations with the Israelis” to resolve the conflict. An opponent, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said the resolution would dictate terms for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in a “transparently one-sided manner,” and he called for the Israelis and Palestinians to find their own solution to the conflict without U.S. interference. The vote, on July 7, was 407 yeas to 6 nays.

YEAS: Michaud

PRESENT: Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe

Vote 1: Budget deficit and wealthy taxpayers: The Senate has approved a cloture motion to cut off debate on a bill (S 1323), sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to express the sense of the Senate on the need for shared sacrifice by wealthy taxpayers to resolve the budget deficit. Reid said “we must address our deficit both by reducing spending and by ending tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens and corporations” as a way to secure “the financial future of this country.” The vote, on July 7, was 74 yeas to 22 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Compiled by Targeted News Service for the Bangor Daily News

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