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WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how Maine’s members of Congress voted over the previous week.
Along with roll call votes this week, the Senate also passed a resolution (S. Res. 253), designating June 19, 2019, as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which news of the end of slavery reached the slaves in the southwestern states.
House vote 1
AID TO PAKISTAN: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740). The amendment would withhold $66 million of aid from Pakistan due to its imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped U.S. efforts to find and kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Meadows said: “Many of my constituents question why we are sending money to Pakistan anyway, let alone if they are going to violate the human rights of someone who has helped bring justice to a terrorist.”
The vote, on June 18, was 387 yeas to 33 nays. Both U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Jared Golden, D-2nd District, were among the yeas.
House vote 2
MEDICAID PROGRAM EXTENSION: The House has passed the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act (H.R. 3253), sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan. The bill would extend through 2024 Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person program, which provides funds to people with disabilities and chronic health problems who are leaving institutional care.
Dingell said the programs helps recipients “transition to and live in the community with their families and friends, while keeping them safe from abuse and neglect.”
The vote, on June 18, was 371 yeas to 46 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 3
FUNDING LABOR, EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE: The House has passed the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2740), sponsored by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Connecticut, to provide $190 billion for those government departments and agencies in fiscal 2020.
DeLauro called the spending “historic investments in working people, in students, in parents, in children, in families and in our future.”
A bill opponent, Rep. Michael K. Simpson, R-Idaho, said it increased spending by too much and was unrealistic because it lacked the detailed spending provisions needed to gain approval in the Senate.
The vote, on June 19, was 226 yeas to 203 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 4
STATE MARIJUANA LAWS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3055). The amendment would bar funding for Justice Department activities that oppose state laws regarding marijuana production, distribution and use.
Blumenauer said there was compelling evidence that marijuana can have medicinal benefits, and the federal government should not be blocking state-level changes in marijuana law.
An amendment opponent, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alaska, said: “Claims of benefits from smoked or ingested marijuana are anecdotal and generally outright fabrications. It is established by fact that such marijuana use has real health and real social harms.”
The vote, on June 20, was 267 yeas to 165 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 5
FLORIDA OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3055). The amendment would bar funding for Interior Department activities related to potential drilling for oil and natural gas in outer continental shelf planning areas around Florida.
Wasserman Schultz said: “Now is not the time to expand more areas to fossil fuel extraction. We must be doing everything possible to transition to a clean energy economy.”
An opponent, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, said “plentiful energy at affordable prices help American businesses and the American worker,” and exploration of federal waters off the Florida coast could help continue that abundance.
The vote, on June 20, was 252 yeas to 178 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CEO: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Sean Cairncross to serve as chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corp., a federal agency created in 2004 that has the mission of providing aid to poor countries whose governments meet rigorous standards. Cairncross, a senior advisor in the White House, was previously chief operating officer of the Republican National Committee for the 2016 campaigns and a Washington, D.C., lawyer.
The vote, on June 18, was 59 yeas to 37 nays. Both U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, were among the yeas.
Senate vote 2
TEXAS DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Matthew J. Kacsmaryk to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the northern district of Texas. Kacsmaryk has been an attorney at the First Liberty Institute since 2014, and was an attorney in the U.S. attorney’s office for the district from 2008 to 2013.
A supporter, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said: “As a passionate constitutionalist, Matt has served Texas well in his various professional and public service roles and proven himself to be a remarkably experienced and deserving candidate.”
An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said that Kacsmaryk “has demonstrated a hostility to the LGBTQ community bordering on paranoia.”
The vote, on June 19, was 52 yeas to 46 nays. Both Collins and King were among the nays.
Senate Vote 3
FLORIDA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Allen Cothrel Winsor to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the northern district of Florida.
A supporter, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, said Winsor “has demonstrated a keen legal acumen and adherence to the rule of law, both in his prior capacity as the solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General and in his present role as an appellate judge on Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.”
The vote, on June 19, was 54 yeas to 44 nays. Collins voted yea, and King voted nay.
Senate vote 4
LOUISIANA DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of James David Cain Jr. to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the western district of Louisiana. Cain has been a private practice lawyer in Lake Charles since 1998.
The vote, on June 19, was 77 yeas to 21 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 5
SECOND LOUISIANA JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Greg Gerard Guidry to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the eastern district of Louisiana. Guidry has been a judge on the Louisiana Supreme Court since 2009, and for most of the 1990s he was an assistant attorney in the U.S. attorney’s office for the eastern district.
The vote, on June 19, was 53 yeas to 46 nays. Collins voted yea, and King voted nay.
Senate vote 6
WEAPONS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA: The Senate has passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 36), sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, to disapprove of the proposed sale of military products and services to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Menendez said the Trump administration was wrong to claim that an emergency declaration justified selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, and rejecting the sales would avert U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s violence against innocent civilians in Yemen.
A resolution opponent, Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said the declaration and weapons sales were needed to help Saudi Arabia oppose malign actions by Iran that also threaten the U.S.
The vote, on June 20, was 53 yeas to 45 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 7
NUCLEAR ENERGY SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Rita Baranwal to serve as an assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy. Baranwal, since 2016 the director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear initiative at the Idaho National Laboratory, was previously a nuclear power executive at Westinghouse.
The vote, on June 20, was 86 yeas to 5 nays. Both Collins and King voted yea.