WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how Maine’s members of Congress voted last week.
Along with roll call votes, the House also passed: the Venezuela Arms Restriction Act (H.R. 920), to restrict the transfer of defense articles, defense services and crime control articles to any element of the security forces of Venezuela that is under the authority of a government of Venezuela that is not recognized as the legitimate government of Venezuela by the government of the United States; the Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act (H.R. 854), to provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, including Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the Americas; and the Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act (H.R. 1477), to require a threat assessment and strategy to counter Russian influence in Venezuela, and an assessment of foreign acquisition of CITGO assets in the United States.
House vote 1
EUROPE AND RUSSIAN ENERGY SUPPLIES: The House has passed the European Energy Security and Diversification Act (H.R. 1616), sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, to prioritize U.S. efforts to move Central and Eastern Europe’s energy supplies away from dependence on Russia, increase Europe’s energy security, and help the U.S. reach its global energy security goals.
A supporter, Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Florida, said: “This bill advances U.S. foreign policy and economic interests by strengthening our alliances with countries in the region and promoting U.S. energy as an appropriate alternative to the bondage of Russia.”
The vote, on March 25, was 391 yeas to 24 nays. Both U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, and Jared Golden, a Democrat, voted yea.
House vote 2
MEXICO BORDER SECURITY WALL: The House has rejected a resolution (H.J. Res. 46), sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, that would have voided President Donald Trump’s recent national emergency declaration for the purpose of construction of a wall and other security measures on the border with Mexico.
Castro said the declaration was an unconstitutional attempt “to take the power away from the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the executive trying to steal the power of the purse from the Congress.”
A resolution opponent, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-California, said Congress in 1976 gave presidents the authority to use unobligated money in military construction accounts to handle declared emergencies.
The vote, on March 26, was 248 yeas to 181 nays, with a two-thirds majority required to override and void the declaration over the objections of the president. Both Pingree and Golden voted yea.
House vote 3
WORKERS AND SEX DISCRIMINATION: The House has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), sponsored by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Connecticut. The bill would change legal standards for sex-based differences in employee compensation, including by making it easier to sue employers for damages for sex-based wage discrimination.
DeLauro said the current standards for such discrimination “are too insubstantial to provide women with full restitution or provide bad-acting companies a meaningful deterrent.”
A bill opponent, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, said it offered no new protections against sex-based discrimination by employers, and “creates an impossibly high burden of proof for job creators defending themselves in lawsuits” brought by their employees.
The vote, on March 27, was 242 yeas to 187 nays. Both Pingree and Golden voted yea.
House vote 4
TRANSGENDER MILITARY PERSONNEL: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 124), sponsored by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Massachusetts, expressing strong opposition to a possible ban on the enlistment of transgender individuals in the U.S. military.
Kennedy said the resolution would “move one step closer to that sacred promise [of equality] by telling brave trans men and women in uniform that they cannot be banned from military service because of who they are.”
An opponent, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, said: “The military has valid reasons for excluding people with certain medical conditions from service. It is not the job of Congress to dictate what medical conditions the military should accept.”
The vote, on March 28, was 238 yeas to 185 nays, with 1 voting present. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Bridget S. Bade to serve as a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bade had worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for Arizona, as a private practice lawyer in Arizona, and currently is a magistrate judge in the U.S. district court for Arizona.
The vote, on March 26, was 78 yeas to 21 nays. Both U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, voted yea.
Senate vote 2
GREEN NEW DEAL: The Senate has rejected a cloture motion to end debate on a resolution (S.J. Res. 8), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that would have declared the federal government’s duty to adopt a 10-year plan, the Green New Deal, to achieve U.S. net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by sharply reducing use of fossil fuels and sharply increasing use of renewable energy sources, and providing higher education, high-quality health care, and affordable, safe and adequate housing to all.
An opponent, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said: “Vague proposals or resolutions, such as the Green New Deal, which contain no real details or no metrics are not going to solve the issue of climate change in any meaningful way.”
An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, called the resolution a Republican political stunt used “to distract from the fact that they neither have a plan nor a sense of urgency to deal with the threat of climate change.”
The vote, on March 26, was unanimous with 57 yeas, and 43 voting present. Both Collins and King voted nay.
Senate vote 3
HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Nicole R. Nason to serve as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. Nason, currently an administrator in the State Department, was administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2006 to 2008.
A supporter, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, said he believed confirming Nason to fill a two-year vacancy at the highway administration would give it the leadership it needs to resolve the nation’s varied roads and public transit problems.
The vote, on March 28, was 95 yeas to 1 nay. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.