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How they voted

Updated: March 5, 2013 6:20AM



WASHINGTON — This is how Northwest Indiana’s congressional delegation — U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski, Republican, and Peter J. Visclosky, Democrat, and U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly, Democrat, and Dan Coats, Republican — voted this week. The House was in recess this week, and will return on Monday.

Senate

OFFSETTING COST OF SANDY RELIEF: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (H.R. 152). The amendment would have offset the $50.5-billion cost of funding programs for recovery from Hurricane Sandy by cutting discretionary spending over the next 9 years by 0.49 percent. Lee said the offset was needed to avoid adding to the debt and potentially impairing the government’s ability to fund future disaster relief programs. An opponent, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said: “We should not insist on budget offsets as a pre-requisite for helping disaster victims in this country.” The vote, on Jan. 28, was 35 yeas to 62 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

FUNDING SANDY RELIEF: The Senate passed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (H.R. 152), sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. The bill would provide $50.5 billion of supplemental appropriations to fund recovery and relief efforts for the communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy. A supporter, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said the bill was urgently needed to provide critical relief to those damaged by Sandy, and would “help our citizens, both as individuals, businesses, and communities, rebuild their lives.” An opponent, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said the bill contained wasteful spending and was not offset by spending reductions elsewhere, so it would add to the already elevated federal debt. The vote, on Jan. 28, was 62 yeas to 36 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

SECRETARY OF STATE: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., as Secretary of State. A supporter, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., now the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said Kerry “will need no introduction to the world’s political and military leaders and will begin day one fully conversant not only with the intricacies of U.S. foreign policy but with the understanding of the nuanced approach necessary to effectively interact on a multinational stage.” Menendez described Kerry as a “tireless and most convincing advocate for addressing global climate change and supporting the transition to a clean energy future.” The vote, on Jan. 29, was 94 yeas to 3 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

DEBT LIMIT AND SPENDING CUTS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325), that would have required increases in the debt limit over the next 10 years to be accompanied by proposed legislation to reduce spending by an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the debt limit increase. Portman called the amendment “a commonsense way to address the debt limit debate today and in the future if this body is going to be serious about getting Washington’s spending and debt under control.” An opponent, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said: “This amendment could allow the minority of 41 Senators to dictate the fiscal policy to the majority” by requiring a three-fifths majority to override its provisions. The vote to table the amendment, on Jan. 31, was 54 yeas to 44 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

BUDGETING AND AUTOMATIC SPENDING CUTS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325), that would have reduced spending levels from previous-year levels by 1 percent every 90 days in the event that Congress fails to appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year. Portman said the amendment would ensure “no significant disruption, no crisis for citizens, no furloughed employees, no rush to approve a last-minute budget deal” after a fiscal year has begun, while also applying pressure to Congress to pass appropriations in a timely manner. An opponent, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said that by cutting agency funding by 1 percent, the amendment would establish the framework for many draconian budget cuts if Congress doesn’t pass appropriations. The vote to table the amendment, on Jan. 31, was 52 yeas to 46 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

SPENDING PRIORITIES AND THE DEBT LIMIT: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325), that would have required the government to prioritize paying debt obligations and Social Security, disability, and survivors’ benefits, as well as paying the salary of active military members, in the event that the debt limit is reached. Toomey said the amendment “would take a little bit of the drama and the risk and the uncertainty and the potential damage to the economy off the table and allow us to have an honest, sensible discussion about how we are going to get spending under control.” An opponent, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the amendment would “result in a lot more worry in the markets, not more confidence” by creating uncertainty about how government spending will proceed if the debt limit is reached. The vote to table the amendment, on Jan. 31, was 53 yeas to 45 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

SENDING MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO EGYPT: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325), that would have prohibited the provision of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks, and various other military equipment to the government of Egypt. Paul said “I think it particularly unwise to send tanks and our most sophisticated fighter planes to Egypt at a time in which many are saying the country may be unraveling” under a government that may be hostile to the U.S. and to Israel. An opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the prohibition “would be rupturing a decades-long partnership and denying and squandering our influence with the leaders of one of the most important institutions in Egypt.” The vote to table the amendment, on Jan. 31, was 79 yeas to 19 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

DEBT CEILING AND THE BUDGET: The Senate passed the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325), sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. The bill would suspend the debt ceiling by authorizing the Treasury Department to issued debt until May 19, and require Congress to adopt a budget resolution by April 15 in order for members of Congress to continue receiving their pay beyond that date. A supporter, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said: “Failure to pass this bill will set off an unpredictable financial calamity that would plunge not only the United States but much of the world back into recession.” An opponent, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the bill did not offer “a long-term solution to the debt ceiling or our fiscal predicament” of rising debt and elevated deficits, and continued a trend of unsustainable short-term budgeting. The vote, on Jan. 31, was 64 yeas to 34 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea



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