Press Release

Votes of Maine Congressional delegation for week of July 26-Aug. 1

By Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here’s a look at how Maine members of Congress voted over the previous week:

HOUSE VOTES:

House Vote 1:

SUBSIDIZING AIR TRAVEL IN ALASKA AND HAWAII: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2610). The amendment would exempt Alaska and Hawaii from the bill’s $500 cap on the government’s per-passenger subsidy of the essential air service program. Young said the exemption recognized the two states’ unusual level of dependence on air travel to meet the transportation needs of rural Alaskans and Hawaiians. The vote, on July 30, was 239 yeas to 175 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd)

NOT VOTING: Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 2:

ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE PROGRAM: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2610). The amendment would have cut $100 million of funding for the essential air service program and applied the savings to deficit reduction. McClintock said the program “subsidizes regular, scheduled, commercial service that practically nobody uses,” wasting taxpayer money by subsidizing the lifestyle choices of a small number of residents of rural areas. An opponent, Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, said the air service program “ensures that small and rural communities have access to the national air transportation system. The program plays a key role in the economic development of many rural communities by ensuring that air service continues.” The vote, on July 30, was 166 yeas to 248 nays.

NAYS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd)

NOT VOTING: Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 3:

FUNDING AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PROGRAM: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2610). The amendment would have provided $870 million to fund the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control program. Hastings said the funding would speed the FAA’s development of NextGen, which promises to reduce air travel delays, reduce fuel consumption by airliners, and save billions of dollars for consumers, the FAA, and airliners. An opponent, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., said the amendment “could have the unintended consequences of forcing cuts to other priorities, such as to aviation safety research and programs to improve air traffic control in the near term, including programs to reduce noise and carbon emissions.” The vote, on July 30, was 109 yeas to 300 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd)

NOT VOTING: Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 4:

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES: The House has concurred in the Senate amendment to the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act (H.R. 1911), sponsored by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. The bill would set the interest rate for Stafford Loans issued to undergraduate students at the 10-year Treasury note rate plus 2.05 percent, with a cap on the interest rate of 8.25 percent, and a 9.5 percent cap for loans to graduate and professional students. Kline said: “By getting politicians out of the business of setting student loan interest rates, the measure we consider today will protect students from future uncertainty,” establishing a regime of market-based student loan interest rates that will benefit students without hurting taxpayers. An opponent, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, called the regime of market-based variable rates “an imprudent policy that seeks profits for deficit reduction at the expense of students struggling with the substantial and climbing cost of post-secondary education.” The vote, on July 31, was 392 yeas to 31 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 5:

SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN: The House has passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, R-Calif. The bill would mandate sanctions against financial institutions that help finance the importation of sensitive weapons technology into Iran and ask the European Union to restrict Iran’s access to the euro currency. Royce said “only when the Iranian leadership truly feels a choice between maintaining power and obtaining the bomb does our diplomacy have a chance to succeed” in the effort to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. An opponent, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said rather than increase sanctions, “let’s accept the olive branch extended by the Iranian people who selected a more moderate candidate,” Hassan Rouhani, to be Iran’s new president in the country’s recent elections. The vote, on July 31, was 400 yeas to 20 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 6:

REVIEWS OF EPA REGULATIONS: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., to the Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582). The amendment would have  struck a bill provision allowing the Department of Energy to block Environmental Protection Agency regulations fond to result in significant harm to the economy. Waxman said: “It makes no sense for DOE to veto an EPA public health rule, especially since the veto would be based on DOE’s analysis of the economic impact, which is by its terms a macroeconomic analysis.” An opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said the amendment would eliminate an important part of the process for reviewing the impact of EPA regulations. The vote, on Aug. 1, was 183 yeas to 230 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 7:

SOCIAL COST OF CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., to the Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582). The amendment would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from incorporating estimates of the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions in the cost-benefit analysis of new energy-related regulations. Murphy said the amendment would block a move by the Obama administration to incorporate the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions into regulations without first having a public review of the issue. An opponent, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said the amendment would wrongly “require the government to assume zero harm, zero cost from carbon pollution and climate change” despite widespread scientific of the danger of carbon dioxide emissions. The vote, on Aug. 1, was 234 yeas to 178 nays.

NAYS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 8:

IMPACT OF EPA REGULATIONS: The House has passed the Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582), sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. The bill would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing energy-related regulations estimated to cost more than $1 billion if the Secretary of Energy has determined that the regulations would do significant harm to the economy, and require the EPA to submit to Congress studies of the proposed regulations. Cassidy said the bill “ensures energy cost and economic and job impacts are given appropriate consideration” when the EPA studies potential new regulations. An opponent, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said: “Even if DOE does not veto an EPA rule, the extensive analysis required under the bill could delay EPA rules for years, which means more air pollution, more asthma for our kids, and more danger to our planet.” The vote, on Aug. 1, was 232 yeas to 181 nays.

NAYS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 9:

HUMAN RIGHTS AND AID TO VIETNAM: The House has passed the Vietnam Human Rights Act (H.R. 1897), sponsored by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. The bill would require the government of Vietnam to meet standards for respecting the human rights of its citizens before it could receive nonhumanitarian assistance from the U.S. Smith said the bill would “send a clear, strong, and compelling message to the increasingly repressive communist regime in power in Vietnam that says that the United States is serious about combating human rights abuse in Vietnam.” The vote, on Aug. 1, was 405 yeas to 3 nays.

YEAS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

House Vote 10:

BONUSES FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: The House has passed the Stop Government Abuse Act (H.R. 2879), sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan. The bill would cap bonuses paid to government employees while the budget sequester is in effect, allow private citizens to record telephone and in-person conversations with government employees, and allow for government employees under investigation for possible wrongdoing to be put on unpaid leave. Jenkins said the bill recognizes the government’s fiscal constraints by limiting bonuses paid, holds government employees accountable for their actions while maintaining due process rights, improves the ability of citizens to protect themselves against intimidation and wrong behavior by government employees. An opponent, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said the bill would impede law enforcement activities by allowing the recording of conversations that could jeopardize criminal investigations and would eliminate constitutional protections for civil servants under investigation. The vote, on Aug. 1, was 239 yeas to 176 nays.

NAYS: Rep. Michael H. Michaud D-ME (2nd), Rep. Chellie Pingree D-ME (1st)

SENATE VOTES:

Senate Vote 1:

CONFIRMING FBI DIRECTOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of James B. Comey, Jr., to serve as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a ten-year term. A supporter, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., cited Comey’s experience as a government prosecutor, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Deputy Attorney General during the Bush administration. Leahy said Comey “has had a long and outstanding career in law enforcement. He worked for years as a front-line prosecutor on a range of cases fighting violent crime, terrorism, and white-collar fraud, all of which are at the core of the FBI’s mission.” The vote, on July 29, was 93 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

Senate Vote 2:

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Nancy Jean Schiffer to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board. A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, cited Schiffer’s experience as associate general counsel for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and a staff attorney for the NLRB in its Detroit office. An opponent, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Schiffer’s time working for unions raised doubts about whether she will successfully transition from her previous position as a labor advocate to a position of impartially judging labor disputes that come before the NLRB. The vote, on July 30, was 54 yeas to 44 nays.

YEAS: Sen. Angus King I-ME

NAYS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME

Senate Vote 3:

FOREIGN AID TO EGYPT: The Senate has tabled an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (S. 1243). The amendment would have ended the provision to Egypt of foreign aid until democratic national elections have taken place in Egypt, due to the country’s recent military coup d’etat, and redirected the aid to Egypt to instead be used to fund work on U.S. bridges in critical transportation corridors. Paul said the amendment corresponded to U.S. law blocking foreign aid to countries that have had a military coup, and redirecting the funds would help address the decay of vital U.S. bridges. An opponent, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said ending aid to Egypt would hurt peace talks between Egypt and Israel, and create a vacuum in which Russia could increase its influence in the Middle East. The vote to table the amendment, on July 31, was 86 yeas to 13 nays.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

Senate Vote 4:

CONFIRMING BATF DIRECTOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Byron Todd Jones to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. A supporter, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., cited Jones’ experience as U.S. attorney for Minnesota during the Clinton and Obama administrations and as acting director of the BATF for the past two years. An opponent, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voiced concerns about Jones’ leadership ability, including his ability to work with other federal law enforcement agencies, and his handling of an ongoing whistleblower case in the office of the U.S. attorney for Minnesota. The vote, on July 31, was 53 yeas to 42 nays.

YEAS: Sen. Angus King I-ME

NAYS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME

Senate Vote 5:

FUNDING TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (S. 1243), sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The bill would have provided $54 billion for the Transportation Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department in fiscal 2014. Murray said it “helps families and communities, it gets workers back on the job, it is fiscally responsible, and it lays down a strong foundation for long-term and broad-based economic growth.” An opponent, Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., said the bill violated budgeting rules set out by the Budget Control Act, and failed to prioritize spending on the most effective government programs. The vote, on Aug. 1, was 54 yeas to 43 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to end debate.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

Senate Vote 6:

U.N. AMBASSADOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Samantha Power to serve as ambassador to the United Nations. A supporter, Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., said: “It is clear that in Samantha Power we have a nominee with a keen intellect and a grasp of the complex foreign policy challenges we face in the world. She combines a dedication to American values and principles with the pragmatism that will serve us well at the U.N.” An opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized Power for failing to adequately answer questions during her confirmation hearing. The vote, on Aug. 1, was 87 yeas to 10 nays.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

For more information about Targeted News Service, please contact Myron Struck, editor, 703/866-4708, editor@targetednews.com;  for technical questions about transmission or for retransmissions, please contact Kevin Meek, kevin@targetednews.com.

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