WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how Maine’s members of Congress voted over the past week.
Along with this week’s roll call votes, the House also passed: a resolution (H. Res. 543) recognizing Hong Kong’s bilateral relationship with the United States, condemning the interference of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong’s affairs and supporting the people of Hong Kong’s right to protest; the Placing Restrictions on Teargas Exports and Crowd Control Technology to Hong Kong Act (H.R. 4270) to prohibit commercial exports of certain nonlethal crowd control items and defense articles and services to the Hong Kong Disciplined Services; the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act (H.R. 1496) to amend the Former Presidents Act of 1958 with respect to the monetary allowance payable to a former president; and a resolution (H. Res. 635) expressing the profound sorrow of the House of Representatives on the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat.
The Senate also passed a bill (S. 2635) to require the FBI director to declassify any and all information relating to whether the government of Saudi Arabia assisted a citizen or national of Saudi Arabia in departing the United States while the citizen or national was awaiting trial or sentencing for a criminal offense committed in the United States.
House vote 1
HOMELESS VETERANS: The House has passed the Homeless Veteran Families Act (H.R. 95), sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley, D-California, to change Department of Veterans Affairs per diem payment calculations for services provided for homeless veterans to include funding for dependent children of said veterans.
Brownley said accounting for the children would help veterans’ families “obtain the housing and services needed to help them achieve residential stability; give them the opportunity to increase their skill level and income; and, ultimately, obtain greater self-determination and self-worth.”
The vote, on Oct. 15, was unanimous with 408 yeas. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, did not vote. U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, voted yea.
House vote 2
SYRIA RESOLUTION: The House has passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 77), sponsored by Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-New York, opposing the recent end of U.S. efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria and calling on Turkey to stop its military action in Northeast Syria and respect existing agreements concerning Syria.
Engel called the move “a gift to Russia, a gift to Iran, a gift to ISIS, and a gift to Assad” in that it cleared the way for Turkey to invade Syria and begin a violent campaign against Syrian Kurds.
An opponent, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, said past U.S. support for the Kurds did not morally bind it to give perpetual support to the Kurds.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was 354 yeas to 60 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 3
INVESTMENT DISCLOSURE RULES: The House has passed the Securities and Exchange Commission Disclosure Effectiveness Testing Act (H.R. 1815), sponsored by Rep. Sean Casten, D-Illinois, to require the SEC to conduct research that includes surveys and interviews of retail investors when it is evaluating rules for financial firms’ disclosures to those retail investors.
Casten said the research would help “ensure that legally required disclosures can be understood by the average investor.”
A bill opponent, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth, R-Indiana, said it “distracts the SEC from the necessary work on regulating our markets and protecting our investors by going back and doing hundreds of investor tests on over 600 different SEC-promulgated rules.”
The vote, on Oct. 17, was 229 yeas to 186 nays. Both Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
AIR FORCE SECRETARY: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Barbara McConnell Barrett to be Air Force Secretary. Barrett has been a member of various corporate and nonprofit boards, ambassador to Finland, chair of the Aerospace Corp., and a federal aviation official.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was 85 yeas to 7 nays. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, were among the yeas.
Senate vote 2
WEST VIRGINIA JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Frank William Volk to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the southern district of West Virginia. Volk, currently a bankruptcy court judge in the district, was also previously a law clerk for two of the district’s judges.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was unanimous with 92 yeas. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 3
TEXAS JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Charles R. Eskridge III to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the southern district of Texas. Eskridge has been a private practice lawyer in Houston for two decades, with a focus on commercial litigation.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was 61 yeas to 31 nays. Collins voted yea, and King voted nay.
Senate vote 4
VIRGINIA JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of David John Novak to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the eastern district of Virginia. Novak had been a magistrate judge in the district since 2012, and before that an assistant U.S. attorney in the district for 18 years.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was 89 yeas to 3 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 5
NEW YORK JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Rachel P. Kovner to serve as a judge on the U.S. district court for the eastern district of New York. Kovner has been an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general since 2013, in which role she has argued 11 cases before the Supreme Court.
The vote, on Oct. 16, was 88 yeas to 3 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 6
EPA GHG EMISSIONS RULE: The Senate has rejected the Clean Power Congressional Review Act (S.J. Res. 53), sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Maryland. The bill would have given congressional disapproval of a recently proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule repealing the Clean Power Plan, which restricted greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants.
A supporter, U.S. Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, called the new EPA rule a harmful measure that would not do enough to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.
An opponent, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said the new rule would strike the right balance “between reducing emissions and ensuring that Americans can still continue to have access to reliable, affordable energy.”
The vote to disapprove, on Oct. 17, was 41 yeas to 53 nays. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.
Senate vote 7
BORDER SECURITY EMERGENCY: The Senate has rejected a bill (S.J. Res. 54), sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, that would have ended the national emergency related to the U.S.-Mexico border that was declared by President Donald Trump on Feb. 15.
Udall called the emergency declaration “an unconstitutional power grab” that took away funding for needed military construction projects and rerouted it to what Udall called an antiquated, environmentally harmful border wall.
An opponent, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the emergency was legitimately declared under a decades-old authority granted to the president by Congress, and that the declaration was justified by an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis in the border area.
The vote, on Oct. 17, was 53 yeas to 36 nays, with a two-thirds majority required for approval. Both Collins and King were among the yeas.