WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how Maine’s members of Congress voted over the previous week.
Along with roll call votes, the Senate also passed: the Secure Federal Leases from Espionage and Suspicious Entanglements Act (S. 1869) to require the disclosure of ownership of high-security space leased to accommodate a federal agency; the Improving FHA Support for Small Dollar Mortgages Act (H.R. 5931) to require a review of the effects of Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance policies, practices and products on small-dollar mortgage lending; the Yes In My Backyard Act (H.R. 4351) to require certain grantees under title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to submit a plan to track discriminatory land use policies; and the Secure 5G and Beyond Act (S. 893) to require the president to develop a strategy to ensure the security of next generation mobile telecommunications systems and infrastructure in the United States and to assist allies and strategic partners in maximizing the security of next generation mobile telecommunications systems, infrastructure and software.
The House also passed a resolution (H. Res. 230) expressing the sense of the House that the United States condemns all forms of violence against children globally and recognizes the harmful impacts of violence against children; and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (S. 1822) to require the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules relating to the collection of data with respect to the availability of broadband services.
House vote 1
GOLD STAR MONUMENT: The House has passed the Gold Star Families National Monument Extension Act (H.R. 2819), sponsored by Rep. Andy Kim, D-New Jersey, to extend to the start of 2024 the authority for the Gold Star Mothers National Monument Foundation to establish a commemorative work at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Gold Star families, who have had a relative die in combat.
Kim said the extension was needed to give the Gold Star families “the time they need to complete a monument acknowledging that sacrifices aren’t just made by those in uniform, but by the loved ones left behind.”
The vote, on Feb. 28, was unanimous with 407 yeas. U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from Maine’s 1st District, and Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine’s 2nd District, were among the yeas.
House vote 2
REGULATING TOBACCO: The House has passed the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act (H.R. 2339), sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey, to impose various regulations on tobacco products, including both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Pallone called the measures “decisive action in order to prevent losing the next generation of our kids to a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”
An opponent, Rep. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, said: “A bill like this that makes illegal the products used by many Americans could contribute to an already existing and thriving black market for tobacco products.”
The vote, on Feb. 28, was 213 yeas to 195 nays. Pingree was among the yeas, and Golden was among the nays.
House vote 3
SOLDIERS AND DEBT COLLECTORS: The House has passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act (H.R. 5003), sponsored by Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania, to prohibit debt collectors from making threats regarding a military member’s rank or security clearance or threats of prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice in their attempts to collect debts.
Dean said the bill “will help ensure that our military families are not unnecessarily targeted for their service to our country and shield them from bad practices.”
The vote, on March 2, was unanimous with 355 yeas. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 4
CHINESE LOANS: The House has passed the Ensuring Chinese Debt Transparency Act (H.R. 5932), sponsored by Rep. J. French Hill, R-Arkansas, to establish a U.S. policy of attempting to increase transparency about the terms and conditions of financing provided by China to members of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Hill said of China’s current lending practices: “There is no evidence that China is adopting international transparency standards from the multilateral development banks or engages in best practices to prevent debt traps, corruption, or poor construction outcomes.”
The vote, on March 2, was unanimous with 356 yeas. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 5
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 387), sponsored by Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, condemning violence by armed groups against civilians in the Central African Republic and calling for a lasting political solution to that country’s conflict.
Cicilline said the resolution was needed to continue U.S. support for the people of the Central African Republic as they attempt to resolve the conflict and adopt a democratic government.
The vote, on March 3, was 378 yeas to 7 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 6
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR PAKISTANI EDUCATION: The House has passed the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act (H.R. 4508), sponsored by Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries, D-New York, to require the U.S. Agency for International Development to award at least half of the university scholarships the agency grants to Pakistani youth through its Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program, from 2020 through 2022, to Pakistani women.
Jeffries said: “Empowering girls with access to education is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do for Pakistan and for the global community.”
The vote, on March 3, was 374 yeas to 16 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 7
BACKING TAIWAN: The House has passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act (S. 1678), sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, to require the State Department to consult Congress before decreasing or increasing engagement with another nation as a result of that nation’s move to strengthen or undermine its ties with Taiwan.
A supporter, Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, said: “The Chinese government is a bully. They want to try to isolate Taiwan, and their tactics shouldn’t go unanswered.”
The vote, on March 4, was unanimous with 415 yeas. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 8
CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: The House has passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-New York. The bill would provide $8.3 billion of emergency supplemental spending in fiscal 2020 to handle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Lowey said the “strong funding in this legislation is a critical first step to enable a strategic, coordinated, and whole-of-government response to the coronavirus.”
The vote, on March 4, was 415 yeas to 2 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
House vote 9
TSA WORKERS: The House has passed the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act (H.R. 1140), sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Mississippi. The bill would establish various rights for Transportation Security Administration employees, including pay rates and conditions of employment.
Thompson said the bill’s enactment “will reduce attrition, improve morale, and position TSA to have a more experienced workforce with the proficiency needed to execute TSA’s national security mission.”
An opponent, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said preserving current TSA authorities was desirable because the agency has unique operational needs, including adjusting to dynamic conditions at airports and ensuring checkpoint security.
The vote, on March 5, was 230 yeas to 171 nays. Pingree and Golden were among the yeas.
Senate vote 1
CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: The Senate has passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-New York. The bill would provide $8.3 billion of emergency supplemental spending in fiscal 2020 to handle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A supporter, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, said the funding would pay for coronavirus diagnostic tests that identify the illness and help prevent its spread.
The vote, on March 5, was 96 yeas to 1 nay. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, were among the yeas.