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How they voted

Updated: March 1, 2013 4:06PM



WASHINGTON — Here’s how U.S. Reps. Joe Donnelly and Peter Visclosky, Democrats, and U.S. Sens. Richard Lugar and Daniel Coats, Republicans, voted last week.

House

TRIBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The House rejected the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act (H.R. 2362), sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. The bill would have ordered the Interior Secretary to authorize up to six Indian tribes to partner with Turkish companies for economic development demonstration projects. Cole said the projects would increase knowledge of best practices for tribes to do business with foreign countries and tribal guidelines for such partnerships. An opponent, Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., said that given Turkey’s record of acting against American interests in foreign policy matters, “I don’t believe that the preferential consideration which it gives to the interest of one country, Turkey, can be justified.” The vote, on July 23, was 222 yeas to 160 nays, with a two-thirds majority required for approval.

Votes: Donnelly, did not vote; Visclosky, nay

OFFSHORE ENERGY LEASES: The House passed the Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan (H.R. 6082), sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would expand the number of oil and natural gas production lease sales in offshore waters for 2012 through 2017 to 29. Hastings said: “The bill would replace the lease sales scheduled in the President’s proposed plan and safely open new areas that were previously under moratoria-such as the Mid-Atlantic, southern Pacific, and the Arctic. It does this while ensuring that necessary and required environmental reviews are conducted. The congressional replacement plan would generate $600 million in additional revenue and create tens of thousands of new American jobs.” An opponent, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., said: “Pumping more fossil fuels out of the ground and into the atmosphere will not sustain the American economy, nor provide the kind of economic prosperity that will benefit all Americans.” The vote, on July 25, was 253 yeas to 170 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, nay

OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS LEASES: The House rejected President Obama’s Proposed 2012-2017 Offshore Drilling Lease Sale Plan Act (H.R. 6168), sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would have directed the Interior Secretary to implement President Obama’s plan to conduct sales of leases to drill for oil and natural gas in 15 areas in offshore waters. A supporter, Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., said: “This plan, which has been developed over the past few years with extensive public input, is a responsible way to increase domestic production of oil and gas while still protecting our delicate and vital ocean environment.” An opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said the plan would curtail oil and gas exploration, hurting the economy by limiting energy production on federal lands. The vote, on July 25, was 164 yeas to 261 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, nay; Visclosky, yea

AUDITING THE FEDERAL RESERVE: The House passed the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (H.R. 459), sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. The bill would require the Comptroller General to conduct a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks. Paul said an audit would prevent the Federal Reserve from secretly using trillions of dollars to “bail out all the wealthy, rich people; the banks and the big corporations; international, overseas banks; bailing out Europe; dealing with central banks around Europe and different places.” An opponent, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said the audit “would provide information without a proper context. That could have unintended consequences and have totally unwarranted effects on consumer confidence in our financial institutions.” The vote, on July 25, was 327 yeas to 98 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

DRINKING WATER REGULATIONS: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would have exempted drinking water regulations from the bill’s moratorium on agencies developing significant new regulations. Hastings said: “We cannot afford to weaken or delay critical agency actions designed to ensure the continued enforcement and regulation of clean water rules.” An opponent, Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said: “I oppose this amendment because it is unnecessary and weakens the important reforms made by the bill.” The vote, on July 25, was 188 yeas to 231 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

REGULATIONS AND EXTREME WEATHER: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would have exempted regulatory actions intended to protect the public from extreme weather events from the bill’s moratorium on agencies developing significant new regulations. Markey said: “Given the record-breaking extreme weather events our country has experienced in the last few years, it cannot risk tying the helping hands of government when it comes to dealing with droughts and floods and wildfires and extreme events.” An opponent, Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said: “I believe the exceptions already in this bill would cover regulations related to the extreme weather events suggested by the gentleman from Massachusetts’ amendment.” The vote, on July 25, was 177 yeas to 240 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

HEALTH CARE REGULATIONS: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would have exempted regulations necessary to implement the 2010 health care reform law from the bill’s prohibition against creating new regulations. Richardson said by allowing for the continued implementation of health care reform, the amendment “will promote job growth, support economic growth and spur deficit reduction in our economy.” An opponent, Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said the regulations would add to the “staggering burden” on the economy imposed by health care reform, also known as ObamaCare. The vote, on July 26, was 170 yeas to 247 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

REGULATIONS AND FAIR CREDIT: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would have exempted regulations necessary to carry out the Fair Credit Reporting Act from the bill’s prohibition against creating new regulations. Richardson said: “This amendment promotes job growth by ensuring small businesses have fair and accurate credit scores to obtain competitive interest loans.” An opponent, Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., said the amendment would “further constrict access to credit” by allowing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to introduce new regulations that impose significant costs on small business. The vote, on July 26, was 173 yeas to 246 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

THRESHOLD FOR NEW REGULATIONS: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. David B. McKinley, R-Va., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would change the threshold for barring federal agencies from developing a new significant regulation from $100 million to $50 million of annual cost to the economy from the regulation. McKinley said the lower threshold would prevent “the promulgation of more questionable, job-hindering regulations.” An opponent, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said a $50 million threshold “would prevent the implementation of important rules whose benefits far outweigh their costs.” The vote, on July 26, was 240 yeas to 178 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, nay

REGULATING FINANCIAL MARKETS: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would have authorized funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to conduct cost/benefit analysis of new regulations of financial markets. Waters said the amendment would provide funding to help the agencies maintain adequate oversight of markets while also carrying out mandated cost/benefit analyses. An opponent, Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., said the added funding could encourage the agencies to conduct bad cost/benefit analyses by covering the cost of any lawsuits against the agencies resulting from bad analyses. The vote, on July 26, was 171 yeas to 247 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

CORPORATE CLIMATE CHANGE DISCLOSURE: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., to the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078). The amendment would bar the Securities and Exchange Commission from enforcing or issuing guidance for companies to disclose to investors the potential impact climate change will have on them. Posey said climate change disclosure “is highly speculative, and dubious at best. If allowed to proceed, it invites all kinds of compliance costs and confusion down the road.” An opponent, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., said: “The guidance seeks to help companies assess the possibility that events related to climate change may materially affect their bottom lines and trigger public disclosure requirements. This guidance is prudent and serves to benefit both the investor and the company.” The vote, on July 26, was 245 yeas to 171 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, nay; Visclosky, nay

RESTRICTING NEW REGULATIONS: The House passed the Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act (H.R. 4078), sponsored by Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. The bill would bar federal agencies from developing new significant regulations until the unemployment rate drops to 6 percent, with an exemption provided for regulations deemed necessary by executive order by the president. Griffin said “excessive and overly burdensome regulations” created by the Obama administration since 2009 cost the economy more than $46 billion annually, and the bill would restrain the president from adding more costly regulations. An opponent, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., said: “There is little or no evidence correlating regulation to private sector hiring. However, there is considerable evidence showing that blocking important health and safety regulations will have a negative effect on all seniors, children, veterans, consumers-not to mention the private sector itself.” The vote, on July 26, was 245 yeas to 172 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, nay; Visclosky, nay

Senate

EXTENDING ALL EXPIRING TAX CUTS: The Senate rejected a substitute amendment sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (S. 3412). The amendment would have extended for one year all existing income, estate, dividend and capital gains tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012. Hatch said: “Our economy needs relief, businesses and families need certainty, and all we are proposing is extending current tax law for 1 more year so we can dedicate that year to do tax reform.” An opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the amendment would cut taxes for the rich while ending tuition, child care, and earned-income tax credits for the middle class, with the result that the deficit would increase while the middle class would be hurt. The vote, on July 25, was 45 yeas to 54 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Lugar, yea

EXTENDING TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE CLASS: The Senate passed the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (S. 3412), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The bill would extend for one year existing income, estate, dividend and capital gains tax cuts for taxpayers with less than $200,000 of individual annual income or married couples with less than $250,000 of annual income. Reid said: “Our plan gives 114 million taxpayers-again, 98 percent of American families-certainty that their taxes won’t go up, and it reduces the deficit by almost $1 trillion by ending wasteful tax breaks for the rich.” An opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, called the failure to extend all expiring tax cuts “a uniquely bad idea for the economy” that would derail the economic recovery. The vote, on July 25, was 51 yeas to 48 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Lugar, nay

CYBERSECURITY STANDARDS: The Senate approved a motion to proceed to consideration of the Cybersecurity Act (S. 3414), sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. The bill would establish standards for protecting against cyberattacks against communications networks, the electricity grid, and other infrastructure systems. Lieberman said enhancing cybersecurity would “protect tens of thousands of jobs which otherwise are going to end up elsewhere in the world because they will have stolen the industrial secrets that lead to the new industries that create those jobs.” The vote, on July 26, was 84 yeas to 11 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Lugar, yea



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