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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 on recent legislation.

House

HEALTH REGULATIONS AND COAL MINING: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would have authorized the Interior Secretary to issue rules under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act for the purpose of decreasing the incidence of lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and birth defects. Markey said the amendment would allow regulations to be issued that protect communities located near mountaintop coal mining sites, which suffer from “significantly higher rates of lung disease, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and a higher likelihood that these diseases will kill them.” An opponent, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said the amendment would change the rationale behind the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and would duplicate other, existing laws. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 174 yeas to 229 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, nay

CO2 EMISSIONS ENDANGERMENT FINDING: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would have eliminated language in the bill that repealed the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that carbon dioxide emissions endanger public health and welfare. Waxman said the amendment would affirm the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming, and prevent the House from ignoring the problem of climate change. An opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said the finding would allow the government to issue regulations prohibiting the construction of new coal-fired power plants, with consequent harm to the economy. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 178 yeas to 229 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, yea

VEHICLE FUEL ECONOMY RULE: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would require the Transportation Secretary to submit to Congress a report on the economic and public safety impact of implementing a rule establishing standards for greenhouse gas emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy for cars and trucks made from 2017 onward. Kelly called the requirement a common sense effort to address the unintended economic damage caused by the rule. An opponent, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said the amendment would kill efforts to cut U.S. oil consumption by 2 million barrels a day by increasing vehicle fuel economy standards, which Markey said will improve national security by reducing reliance on oil imports. The vote, on Sept. 21, was 242 yeas to 168 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, yea

EPA WATER PERMITS: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from retroactively vetoing Section 404 permits under the Clean Water Act. McKinley said “our job creators need a consistent and predictable regulatory program that will protect jobs we have and create new ones in an environmentally responsible manner,” and barring the EPA from revoking water permits would help provide regulatory certainty. An opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said: “On the very rare occasion one of these permits threatens to permanently destroy our Nation’s critical water resources, the EPA should have the authority to stop it.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 247 yeas to 163 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, yea

NATIONAL RENEWABLE POWER REQUIREMENT: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would have established a national requirement for 25 percent of electricity to be generated by renewable resources, such as wind and solar, by 2035. Markey said: “My amendment ensures that there is a pathway to the future for the most abundant American energy source, wind and solar, geothermal and biomass.” An opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said the amendment would impose higher electricity costs on Americans and “determine for the American people where their electricity will come from.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 160 yeas to 250 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, nay

FUGITIVE COAL DUST EMISSIONS: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would have required the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency to submit to Congress, within six months, a report on the health, environmental, and public health impacts of fugitive dust emissions from coal being transported on railway cars. DeFazio said the report could “relieve a lot of people in gateway ports and large cities in the West where coal dust is being proposed to transit through those cities” of worries about the potential harm from coal dust. An opponent, Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., said the amendment was unnecessary “because fugitive dust from the transport of coal is already regulated at the Federal and State level under the Clean Air Act, as well as State fugitive dust laws and regulations.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 168 yeas to 243 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Donnelly, nay

STATES AND AIR VISIBILITY: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would authorize states to substitute their own implementation plans for improving air visibility by cutting emissions that cause haze, in place of revoked federal implementation plans. Flake said the amendment would require the Environmental Protection Agency to follow the law rather than negotiate with third-party groups on emissions standards and ignore implementation plans submitted by states. An opponent, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the amendment “overthrows the principles of cooperative federalism that have guided us for 40 years. Instead, it would leave various pollution control decisions almost entirely up to the States.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 228 yeas to 183 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, nay

EPA AND ARIZONA POWER PLANT: The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., to the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409). The amendment would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing regulations to limit operation of the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station in northern Arizona. Gosar said the amendment would “stop the EPA from issuing far-reaching regulations that threaten jobs, Arizona’s water supply, affordable electricity, and tribal rights established with Congress.” An opponent, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said: “This amendment would remove EPA’s authority to protect clean air in the national parks.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 226 yeas to 181 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, nay

REGULATING COAL MINING: The House passed the Stop the War on Coal Act (H.R. 3409), sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. The bill would bar the Interior Secretary from issuing any regulations to limit coal mining before 2014 under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Johnson said the bill would stop the Obama administration’s war on coal by halting revision of the Stream Buffer Zone rule to regulate coal mining near waterways, which Johnson said “will cost tens of thousands of jobs, cut coal production by up to 50 percent in America, and cause electricity rates to skyrocket even higher than the President has already pushed them.” An opponent, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said: “The bill would prevent the Interior Department from undertaking any of a number of actions that it is considering to ensure that mining operations are safe for the workers and for the public and for our environment.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 233 yeas to 175 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Donnelly, yea

Senate

FOREIGN AID AND THE MIDDLE EAST: The Senate rejected a bill (S. 3576), sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would barred foreign aid to Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan unless the governments of those countries take steps to prevent attacks on U.S. embassies. Paul said: “We are running a trillion-dollar deficit, and Americans are tired of their tax dollars being sent to countries that are burning the American flag.” An opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said: “If the Senate were to cut off all U.S. assistance to Libya now, as this amendment before us would do, it would abandon our friends to our terrorist enemies and destroy America’s moral standing in the world and do egregious harm to our national interests.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 10 yeas to 81 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Lugar, nay

IRAN AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Senate passed a resolution (S.J. Res. 41), sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., expressing the sense of Congress that the U.S. sought to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and did not rely on containment as an option in response to the issue. Graham said: “If we allow these people to get a nuclear weapon, they will share the technology with terrorists. The reason thousands have died in the war on terror--not millions--is because the terrorists cannot get the weapons to kill millions.” An opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said: “Announcing to the world, as this resolution does, that containment will never be our policy is unwise. A country that vows to never contain an enemy is a country that vows always to preemptively strike.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 90 yeas to 1 nay.

Votes: Coats, yea; Lugar, yea

CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS: The Senate 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. A supporter, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said the resolution “allows adequate funding for disaster relief. This is an inefficient way to fund our Federal Government, but it is better than shutting it down next week. “ An opponent, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the resolution “ignores the dire circumstances of a record $16 trillion of national debt that will increase close to $1 trillion a year if we don’t balance our annual budget, and do it soon.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 62 yeas to 30 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Lugar, yea

HUNTING, FISHING ON FEDERAL LANDS: The Senate agreed to a motion to consider the Sportsmen’s Act (S. 3525), sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. The bill would expand access to federal lands for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Tester said: “This bill benefits 90 million Americans who hunt, fish, and watch wildlife, supported by 56 groups from the Nature Conservancy to the NRA. It reduces our deficit by some $7 million due to net gain over 10 years.” The vote, on Sept. 21, was 84 yeas to 7 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Lugar, yea



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