Press Release

Maine Congressional delegation votes for week of Nov. 1-7

By Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Here’s a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.

There were no key votes in the House this week.

SENATE VOTES:

Senate Vote 1:

MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Debra M. Brown to serve as U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi. A supporter, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., cited Brown’s experience as a partner at the Phelps Dunbar law firm and shareholder in the Wise Carter Child & Caraway law firm, as well as her record of community service and endorsement by many prestigious groups. Wicker said: “Our country needs judges who have a record of professional excellence, integrity, and public service. Ms. Brown has demonstrated this throughout her career.” The vote, on Nov. 4, was unanimous with 90 yeas.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

Senate Vote 2:

RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION FROM GAY RIGHTS BILL: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815). The amendment would have applied the bill’s exemption for religious groups to all hospitals, schools, charities, and other organizations owned by or affiliated with a religious group covered by the exemption. Toomey said the exemption would strike “a good, sensible balance between the equality in the workforce that is the principle motivation for this bill and the religious freedom I feel very strongly about and I think many of my colleagues do as well.” An opponent, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said: “In potentially allowing secular commercial businesses to discriminate in hiring and other employment practices on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, this amendment threatens to gut the fundamental premise of ENDA that all workers should be treated equally and fairly.” The vote, on Nov. 7, was 43 yeas to 55 nays.

NAYS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

Senate Vote 3:

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: The Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. The bill would bar employers and unions from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Merkley said the bill would “break the chains of discrimination that hold back millions of LGBT Americans from the full promise of liberty–liberty, that freedom to participate fully in our society, in the public square to the voting booth, to the school, to the workplace; liberty, that quality deeply rooted in our national journey and embedded in our Declaration of Independence.” An opponent, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said it would limit the rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech by forcing religious individuals and faith-based groups into compliance. The vote, on Nov. 7, was 64 yeas to 32 nays.

YEAS: Sen. Susan M. Collins R-ME, Sen. Angus King I-ME

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