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 the Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act (S. 1321), to prohibit interference with voting systems under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; a resolution (S. Con. Res. 19), celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing; and a resolution (S. Res. 74), marking the fifth anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity and condemning continued Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The House also passed the Inspector General Protection Act (H.R. 1847) to require congressional notification for certain changes in status of inspectors general; the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 736) to require the director of the Government Publishing Office to establish and maintain an online portal accessible to the public that allows the public to obtain electronic copies of all congressionally mandated reports in one place; a resolution (H. Res. 441) condemning the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994, and expressing concern regarding the continuing 25-year-long delay in the resolution of this case; and a resolution (H. Res. 129) condemning Saudi Arabia’s continued detention and alleged abuse of women’s rights activists.
House vote 1
MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAN: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California, to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500), that would bar the use of military force against Iran in the absence of a declaration of war or specific legal authority from Congress.
Khanna called the amendment a clear statement “that this country is tired of endless wars; that we do not want another war in the Middle East.”
An opponent, Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, said the amendment “takes legitimate options off the table; shows America divided in the face of mounting Iranian threats; and makes our nation less safe.”
The vote, on July 12, was 251 yeas to 170 nays. Both U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Jared Golden, D-2nd District, voted yea.
House vote 2
IRAQ WAR AUTHORIZATION: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500), that would repeal Congress’ 2002 authorization for the war against Iraq.
Lee said keeping the authorization in place “runs the risk that it could be utilized by the executive branch for military operations that Congress never intended to authorize.”
An opponent, Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, said the 2002 authorization was still needed because along with the Iraq war, it also authorized actions against al-Qaida and other international terrorist groups.
The vote, on July 12, was 242 yeas to 180 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 3
MILITARY AND MEXICO BORDER: The House has rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500) that would have barred funding for the use of military personnel on the Mexico border to enforce immigration laws.
Ocasio-Cortez said: “The militarization of our immigration system, particularly under this administration, must be stopped.”
An opponent, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said “you never have seen and you are not going to see the DOD [military] assets being used to enforce the law” at the border; rather, they are being used in secondary support roles to help immigration officers deal with the border crisis.
The vote, on July 12, was 179 yeas to 241 nays. Pingree voted yea, and Golden voted nay.
House vote 4
DETAINING MIGRANTS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500) that would bar funding for the use of Defense Department assets to house foreign nationals being detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Thompson said the amendment would appropriately force the agency to “prioritize detaining migrants who pose a serious threat to our society as well as those who will not be deported unless they are detained.”
An opponent, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said that given the strain on ICE resources created by the ongoing surge of migrants across the Mexico border, the block on the use of military assets would either continue the humanitarian crisis with migrants or amount to the end of border security.
The vote, on July 12, was 213 yeas to 204 nays. Pingree voted yea, and Golden voted nay.
House vote 5
2020 MILITARY BUDGET: The House has passed the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2500), sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, to authorize $716 billion of fiscal 2020 spending at the Defense Department, military construction activities and establish military personnel levels for 2020.
Smith said the bill showed “that we support national security and we support the men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country.”
An opponent, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the bill did not do enough to ensure national security by reversing a trend of reduced military readiness and inadequate spending.
The vote, on July 12, was 220 yeas to 197 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 6
COMPENSATING 9/11 VICTIMS: The House has passed the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327), sponsored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York. The bill would authorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 through fiscal year 2090 and change various procedures for claims filed with the fund.
Maloney said the long-term authorization was needed because “due to more and more claims, the fund does not have enough money to make it to 2020. They have had to reduce payouts by 50 to 70 percent, and this is devastating for those who depend on this fund.”
The vote, on July 12, was 402 yeas to 12 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 7
CONDEMNING SUDAN GOVERNMENT: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 432), sponsored by Rep. Daniel T. Kildee, D-Michigan, condemning Sudan’s military-led government for attacks on peaceful protestors and calling for a peaceful transition to a civilian-led government for Sudan.
Kildee said of Sudan’s current repression: “Congress cannot sit idly by while one nation kills its own people, blocks all communication to the outside world, and commits serious human rights violations.”
The vote, on July 15, was 414 yeas to 1 nay. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 8
KASHOGGI MURDER: The House has passed the Saudi Arabia Human Rights and Accountability Act (H.R. 2037), sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-New Jersey, to require the director of national intelligence to send to Congress a report on the murder last October of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and apply sanctions against Saudi Arabians found culpable in the murder.
Malinowski said “it is essential that we name and hold accountable those who are responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” in part because Kashoggi was a legal permanent U.S. resident.
The vote, on July 15, was 405 yeas to 7 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 9
REMARKS BY SPEAKER PELOSI: The House has approved a motion sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, to permit House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to proceed in order on the House floor. The motion followed a ruling by the House chair finding that Pelosi’s reference, in a House speech, to “racist tweets” by President Donald Trump violated the House’s rules of order by making an accusation of racist behavior, and a House vote allowing the reference to remain in the record of House proceedings.
The vote, on July 16, was 231 yeas to 190 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 10
RESOLUTION ON TRUMP TWEETS: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 489), sponsored by Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-New Jersey, condemning as racist and legitimizing fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color recent tweets by Trump that criticized members of the House.
Malinowski said the tweets “can be like sparks to the gasoline of disturbed minds in our country,” helping encourage attacks against immigrants.
A resolution opponent, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, said it violated House rules by labeling Trump as racist on the basis of an editorialized interpretation of the tweets in question.
The vote, on July 16, was 240 yeas to 187 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 11
IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION: The House has tabled a resolution (H. Res. 498), sponsored by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, that would have impeached Trump for high misdemeanors, namely the allegation that his recent comments on Twitter stated that certain members of Congress do not belong in Congress or in the country.
The vote to table, on July 17, was 332 yeas to 95 nays. Pingree voted nay, and Golden voted yea.
House vote 12
WEAPONS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA: The House 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.
A supporter, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, said the weapons were being used by Saudi Arabia to intervene in Yemen’s civil war with gruesome effect, including the killing of many innocent Yemeni civilians.
An opponent, Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, said sending the weapons to Saudi Arabia would help it oppose Iran’s terrorist and other activities against the U.S. and vital U.S. allies in the Middle East.
The vote, on July 17, was 238 yeas to 190 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 13
CONTEMPT RESOLUTION: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 497), sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, recommending that the House find Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for not obeying two subpoenas issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee in April that were related to the upcoming census.
Cummings said Barr and Ross had “blatantly obstructed our ability to do congressional oversight into the real reason Secretary Ross was trying, for the first time in 70 years — in 70 years — to add a citizen question to the 2020 Census.”
A resolution opponent, Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, said the Justice and Commerce departments had adequately responded to the committee’s investigation of the citizenship question, and called the resolution a partisan attempt “to manufacture controversy around anything associated with the Trump administration.”
The vote, on July 17, was 230 yeas to 198 nays. Pingree voted yea, and Golden voted nay.
House vote 14
INTELLIGENCE BUDGET: The House has passed the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 3494), sponsored by Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-California. The bill would authorize fiscal 2020 appropriations for the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agency programs.
Schiff said the bill sought to give intelligence activities the resources needed to support national security and counterterrorism and counterproliferation efforts, while also ensuring effective oversight by Congress.
The vote, on July 17, was 397 yeas to 31 nays. Pingree and Golden voted yea.
House vote 15
REPEALING HEALTH CARE TAX: The House has passed the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 748), sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut. The bill would repeal the 40 percent excise tax on employer-provided health benefits for employees and their families that exceed minimum annual cost coverage levels.
Courtney said the repeal of a large tax scheduled to take effect in 2022 would remove a “shadow over 180 million Americans’ health plans, which we know, from HR administrators and employee reps in real life, has added pressure to shift coverage into higher deductible plans, which falls on the backs of working Americans.”
The vote, on July 17, was 419 yeas to 6 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 16
HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE: The House has passed the Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 582), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, to increase the federal minimum wage, over the course of seven years, to $15 an hour, applied to all types of employees.
Scott said the bill “would increase wages for up to 33 million workers and lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty.”
An opponent, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, said: “With such disparities in the cost of living across the country, mandating a one-size-fits-all wage hike will cause job losses and harm entry-level workers in many regions around the country.”
The vote, on July 18, was 231 yeas to 199 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Peter Joseph Phipps to serve as a judge on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Phipps, a U.S. district judge for the western district of Pennsylvania since 2018, was previously a prosecutor for 15 years in the civil division of the Justice Department.
A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called Phipps “an impressively qualified, intellectually excellent individual who firmly understands what the job of a judge does and does not entail in our constitutional system.”
The vote, on July 16, was 56 yeas to 40 nays. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, voted nay.
Senate vote 2
TAX TREATY WITH SPAIN: The Senate has ratified a tax convention treaty with Spain regarding the avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion that involves Spain and U.S. business and citizens that was signed in 2013.
A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said ratifying the treaty with Spain would give job creators in both countries “less confusion, more certainty, and, often, fewer taxes,” leading to benefits for the U.S. and Spain alike.
A treaty opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, criticized provisions that Paul said “would violate the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches” by making it too easy for tax authorities to get banking information about American citizens.
The vote, on July 16, was 94 yeas to 2 nays. Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 3
TAX TREATY WITH JAPAN: The Senate has ratified a tax convention treaty with Japan regarding the avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion that involves Japan and U.S. business and citizens that was signed in 2013.
A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said of the benefits of ratification: “Fairer treatment for our own American job creators and more enticement for foreign investment to head to our country — that is what we would call a win-win.”
The vote, on July 17, was 95 yeas to 2 nays. Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 4
TENNESSEE DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Clifton L. Corker to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the eastern district of Tennessee. Corker, a magistrate judge in the district court since 2015, was previously a private practice lawyer at his own law firm in Johnson City.
The vote, on July 18, was 55 yeas to 39 nays. Collins voted yea, and King voted nay.
Senate vote 5
AMBASSADOR TO SLOVENIA: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Lynda Blanchard to serve as U.S. ambassador to Slovenia. Blanchard co-founded B&M Management, a real-estate management firm, as well as the 100X Development Foundation, a charity with the goal of eradicating poverty and improving children’s lives globally.
The vote, on July 18, was 54 yeas to 40 nays. Collins and King were among the nays.