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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 on recent legislation in Congress. There were no key votes in the Senate last week.

House

MONTANA NATURAL GAS PIPELINE: The House passed a bill (H.R. 4606), sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., that would direct the Interior Secretary to issue right-of-way permits for natural gas pipelines located in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Rehberg said a permit to allow maintenance work on a pipeline, built in 1962, that supplies natural gas to close to 25,000 people living in the Flathead Valley of Montana was necessary to continue safely providing the residents with the fuel. The vote, on Dec. 17, was 286 yeas to 10 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

CLARIFYING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LAND TRANSFER: The House passed the Barona Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Clarification Act (S. 3193), sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The bill would correct a 2004 law by properly clearing title to land in San Diego County, Calif., as being held in trust for the Barona Band of Mission Indians, while clarifying the status of private property previously identified in the 2004 law as being the tribe’s property. A supporter, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the bill “solves a problem that should have been solved a long time ago” and will resolve a dispute about access to groundwater beneath the land in question. The vote, on Dec. 17, was unanimous with 306 yeas.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

INVESTING IN SMALL BUSINESS: The House passed the Small Business Investment Company Modernization Act (H.R. 6504), sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. The bill would raise the limit for leverage by Small Business Investment Company funds, which borrow private and public capital to invest in small businesses, from $225 million to $350 million. Chabot said the higher leverage limit will increase capital investments in small business, creating “a ripple effect throughout the economy as businesses will expand, create jobs, and invest in research and development.” The vote, on Dec. 18, was 359 yeas to 36 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

WESTERN HEMISPHERE THREAT OF IRAN: The House agreed to the Senate amendment to the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act (H.R. 3783), sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. The amendment would require the Secretary of State to provide Congress with an unclassified summary of recommendations for policies to address the threat posed by Iran in the Western Hemisphere. Duncan said a plan was needed “to protect U.S. interests and assets here in the Western Hemisphere, including our embassies, consulates, businesses, energy pipelines, and cultural organizations, including threats to U.S. allies.” The vote, on Dec. 18, was 386 yeas to 6 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

PATENT REFORM LAW: The House passed a bill (H.R. 6621), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The bill would make technical corrections to the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, a patent reform law passed in 2011. Smith said the bill “includes several technical corrections and improvements that ensure that the implementation of the bill can proceed efficiently and effectively.” An opponent, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said a bill provision requiring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to submit a report on certain patent application sections would violate “the principle of total confidentiality of a patent application until the patent is granted,” which would make smaller inventors vulnerable to litigation from companies with greater resources. The vote, on Dec. 18, was 308 yeas to 89 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

BIODEFENSE PROGRAMS: The House passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6672), sponsored by Rep. Mike J. Rogers, R-Mich. The bill would reauthorize for five years spending on programs to develop medicines and vaccines that would be used in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack. Rogers said: “The work to protect Americans against bioterrorism is not finished; and we must pass this bill, or the future of America’s public health preparedness infrastructure will be in jeopardy.” The vote, on Dec. 19, was 383 yeas to 16 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

HEARING INDIAN TRUST CLAIMS: The House passed a bill (H.R. 5862), sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., to refer to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims a case in which the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma has petitioned for damages against the government for mismanagement of funds and lands in the tribe’s trust. Cole said the referral would give the Quapaw Tribe “an opportunity to make a case of an injustice that all sides admit occurred, and establish what’s fair compensation.” The vote, on Dec. 19, was 398 yeas to 5 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE: The House passed the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 6655), sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas. The bill would establish a Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, which would be charged with developing recommendations for policies to reduce fatalities from abuse and neglect of children. Doggett said the commission would address the need to focus on prevention and collect “good data so that we can adequately compare what’s happening and can also understand the best practices” for prevention that have been adopted in various parts of the country. The vote, on Dec. 19, was 330 yeas to 77 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

PUNISHING WASTEFUL SPENDING: The House passed the Government Employee Accountability Act (H.R. 6016), sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. The bill would authorize the head of the Senior Executive Service to put employees on unpaid leave or fire employees as punishment for misappropriating funds. Kelly said the bill would give the agency a tool to deter and punish malfeasance by employees, and thereby improve accountability for government spending. The vote, on Dec. 19, was 402 yeas to 2 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea

SPENDING CUTS: The House passed the Spending Reduction Act (H.R. 6684), sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The bill would replace one year of scheduled spending cuts under the budget sequester agreement reached in 2011 with $236 billion of cuts to mandatory and discretionary spending programs over the next 10 years. Cantor said the bill “reduces our deficit and protects our national security by replacing indiscriminate cuts that are neither strategic nor balanced.” An opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said “22 million children will face reduced or eliminated food benefits” under the bill, and “1.8 million Americans will permanently lose their food assistance, and of those, nearly 300,000 children will lose their school free or reduced lunch program.” The vote, on Dec. 20, was 215 yeas to 209 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, nay; Visclosky, nay

MILITARY SPENDING: The House agreed to the conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310), sponsored by Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., to authorize fiscal 2013 military spending. McKeon said “this conference agreement ensures that we can safeguard military readiness in a time of declining budgets and increased strains on our Armed Forces.” An opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the bill would continue to authorize the government’s indefinite detention without charge of individuals, including U.S. citizens, captured in other countries and in the U.S. The vote, on Dec. 20, was 315 yeas to 107 nays.

Votes: Donnelly, yea; Visclosky, yea



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