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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, voted last week in the House. There were no key votes in the Senate.

COMMUNITY FLOOD INSURANCE: The House passed a bill (H.R. 6186), sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. The bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to study the possibility of offering voluntary, community-based flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program. Moore said that by increasing participation and spreading flood risk across a community, the policies could lower insurance rates, and also provide “increased incentives for communities to take affirmative actions to mitigate the threat from floods in the community.” The vote, on Sept. 10, was 364 yeas to 11 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, did not vote

REFORMING MORTGAGE INSURANCE: The House passed the FHA Emergency Fiscal Solvency Act (H.R. 4264), sponsored by Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill. The bill would make several reforms intended to improve the financial health of the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs, including authorizing the agency to increase its mortgage insurance premiums, improving its ability to recover loan losses from fraudulent lenders, and establishing a Chief Risk Officer at GNMA, the Government National Mortgage Association. Biggert said the bill “will provide FHA with the tools that it needs to shore up the program, lower the program’s risk, and reduce taxpayers’ liabilities.” The vote, on Sept. 11, was 402 yeas to 7 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

INDIAN RIGHTS IN LAND TRANSFER: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., to the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act (H.R. 5544). The amendment would have ordered the Agriculture Secretary to ensure that the exchange of lands owned by the state of Minnesota for lands that are part of the National Forest System does not impinge upon treaty rights held by Indian tribes. McCollum said: “If this unnecessary, unclear bill is to proceed, at least at a minimum, we should protect our U.S. government-to-government treaty rights and any land exchange.” An opponent, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the amendment was unnecessary and could alter the original 1854 treaty with Indian tribes by adding gathering rights to the fishing and hunting rights included in the treaty. The vote, on Sept. 12, was 201 yeas to 213 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

MINNESOTA LAND TRANSFER: The House passed the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act (H.R. 5544), sponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn. The bill would authorize the exchange of lands owned by the state of Minnesota for lands that are part of the National Forest System. Cravaack said by allowing state-owned lands that are now locked within the federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to be exchanged for forest system lands that could yield timber and mining benefits, the bill “will generate a lot of funding for our schools and create good-paying jobs” in Minnesota without added costs for the government. An opponent, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the bill failed to include a map that would verify which lands will be exchanged, could deprive Indian tribes of their treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest, and failed “to ensure that our assets are appropriately valued as part of the exchange.” The vote, on Sept. 12, was 225 yeas to 189 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, nay

NATIONAL SECURITY AND SURVEILLANCE: The House passed the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5949), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The bill would provide for a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act, which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that became law in 1978. Smith said: “This bipartisan bill ensures that our country will be able to identify and prevent threats to our national security without sacrificing the civil liberties of American citizens.” An opponent, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the bill failed to comply with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution because it allowed the government to intercept communications by U.S. citizens without a warrant. The vote, on Sept. 12, was 301 yeas to 118 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, yea

PUBLIC TRANSITY SECURITY: The House passed the Public Transit Security and Local Law Enforcement Support Act (H.R. 3857), sponsored by Rep. Robert L. Turner, R-N.Y. The bill would authorize $400 million of funding to make transit security grants to public transit agencies in areas deemed to be at a high risk for terrorist attacks. Turner said the bill’s provision eliminating the requirement for transit agencies to apply for a waiver to receive grants “will help avoid countless hours of request, preparation, and review,” helping to “ensure that the brave men and women who work so hard to keep us safe have the resources they need as soon as they need it.” The vote, on Sept. 12, was 355 yeas to 62 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

MANUFACTURING COMPETITIVENESS: The House passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act (H.R. 5865), sponsored by Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill. The bill would establish an American Manufacturing Competitiveness Board charged with developing a national manufacturing competitiveness strategy and advising the president on manufacturing issues. Lipinski said: “If we want American manufacturing to compete and succeed in a global economy, it is vital that we develop a strategy to coordinate our policies that impact manufacturers.” The vote, on Sept. 12, was 339 yeas to 77 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

LYING ABOUT MILITARY SERVICE: The House passed the Stolen Valor Act (H.R. 1775), sponsored by Rep. Joseph J. Heck, R-Nev. The bill would institute criminal penalties for individuals who falsely claim that they have received certain decorations or medals for military service with the intent of obtaining personal profit. Heck said the bill would “preserve and protect the honor and integrity of military service and awards.” The vote, on Sept. 13, was 410 yeas to 3 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

REPLACING BUDGET SEQUESTER: The House passed the National Security and Job Protection Act (H.R. 6365), sponsored by Rep. Allen B. West, R-Fla. The bill would require replacing the sequester spending reductions established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 with alternative legislation to achieve the same level of reductions. West said the bill would avoid damaging cuts to military and education programs. An opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said the bill rejected a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would eliminate special interest tax breaks and enact small tax increases for the very wealthy. The vote, on Sept. 13, was 223 yeas to 196 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, yea

CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS: The House passed the Continuing Appropriations Resolution (H.J. Res. 117), sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. The bill would provide continuing appropriations for government spending through March 27, 2013, with funding remaining at levels similar to those of fiscal 2012, aside from a $6.4 billion increase in disaster recovery. Rogers said: “We have to pass this important bill to maintain the continuity of our government and to prevent its shutdown and to continue the vital programs and services for our people, for our Nation, and for the stability of our economy.” The vote, on Sept. 13, was 329 yeas to 91 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

EXTENDING IMMIGRATION PROGRAMS: The House passed a bill (S. 3245), sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., that would extend by three years authorization for the EB-5 Regional Center Program to encourage foreign investment in certain designated areas, the E-Verify Program to check the citizenship status of workers, the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program to grant visas for foreign religious workers, and the Conrad State 30 J-1 Visa Waiver Program to encourage foreign doctors to remain in the U.S. in exchange for practicing medicine in areas with shortages of health professionals. A supporter, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said extending the four immigration programs would help “ensure there is a national business climate that fosters the ability of private enterprise to create jobs for Americans and legal workers.” The vote, on Sept. 13, was 412 yeas to 3 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea



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