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How they voted

Updated: April 28, 2013 12:04AM



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 on key legislation last week.

House

COMMUNITY-BASED FLOOD INSURANCE: The House passed a bill (H.R. 1035), sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., that would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to submit to Congress a study of the possibility of incorporating voluntary community-based flood insurance policies into the national flood insurance program. Moore said community-based flood insurance had the potential to lower the cost of insurance through creating economies of scale resulting from a combination of a streamlined underwriting process, increased participation, and providing incentives for a community to mitigate its flood risks. The vote, on March 12, was 397 yeas to 17 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Walorski, yea

WELFARE WORK REQUIREMENTS: The House passed the Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act (H.R. 890), sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. The bill would bar the Health and Human Services Secretary from granting states waivers from the requirement that 50 percent of a state’s welfare recipients be working or enrolled in job training programs. Camp said: “The best way out of poverty is a job, and it’s critical that our laws both foster job creation as well as ensure welfare is always a pathway to work.” An opponent, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., said the bill was unnecessary because Health and Human Services was not seeking to end the welfare work requirements, but rather seeking to give state more flexibility in how the requirements are applied. The vote, on March 13, was 246 yeas to 181 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Walorski, yea

JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS: The House agreed to a rule (H.Res. 113) providing for consideration of the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act (H.R. 803), sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. The bill would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, consolidate job training programs in the federal government, and create a fund for investing in workforce education. Foxx said the bill encourages training programs “to focus on in-demand jobs and industries so that participants will be able to succeed in the workplace upon completion, and it ensures that funds are spent directly on services rather than on administration and bureaucrats.” An opponent, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said “this bill hands a blank check to Governors with a message that says to go ahead and use Federal tax dollars however you like” with little federal oversight, and would reduce services for “workers with disabilities, disadvantaged youth, returning veterans, low-income adults, migrant workers, and minorities.” The vote, on March 14, was 226 yeas to 191 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Walorski, yea

Senate

CONFIRMING FEDERAL CIRCUIT JUDGE: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Richard Gary Taranto to serve as a U.S. Circuit Judge on the Federal Circuit. A supporter, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., cited Taranto’s unanimously well qualified rating from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and his more than two decades of experience as a partner in the Farr & Taranto law firm, during which time Taranto has argued 19 cases in the Supreme Court and 20 cases in the Federal Circuit. Leahy said: “During the year since he was reported without controversy by the Judiciary Committee, I do not know of a single Senator who has come to the floor to express any reservations about this nomination on the merits.” The vote, on March 11, was unanimous with 91 yeas.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

FUNDING OBAMACARE IMPLEMENTATION: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933). The amendment would have barred funding for implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Cruz said: “ObamaCare should not be funded and implemented at a time when our economy is gasping for breath, at a time when our economy is struggling to such a degree that implementing it right now could well force us into a recession.” An opponent, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said the amendment “would defund all activities related to health reform, including paying the Federal employees who administer Medicare,” funding training of nurses, and measures to prevent Medicare fraud and abuse. The vote, on March 13, was 45 yeas to 52 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN GUAM: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933). The amendment would eliminate two provisions to have the military provide $140 million for construction of a wastewater treatment plant and a public regional health laboratory on the territory of Guam. McCain said the provisions directly contravened the explicit directions of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees by funding unrequested civilian infrastructure in Guam that would not serve a military purpose. An opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the infrastructure projects were needed to make sure 16,000 Marines on Guam have safe drinking water, adequate wastewater treatment, and basic public health facilities. The vote to table the amendment, on March 13, was 48 yeas to 50 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, nay

HEALTH, EDUCATION FUNDING: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933). The amendment would have added $125 million of funding for educating the disabled, $140 million for the National Institutes of Health, and $29 million for researching AIDS drugs. Harkin said the funding increases would respond to “the educational needs of our kids, the scientific and research needs we need for addressing some of our chronic illnesses.” An opponent, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said the amendment would also cut funding for “critical job-training programs and funding for hospital preparedness” programs, and would fail to prevent the National Labor Relations Board from adopting “job-killing rules.” The vote, on March 14, was 54 yeas to 45 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

FEDERAL HIRING FREEZE: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933). The amendment would have barred funding for executive government agencies to hire new non-essential employees during the budget sequester. Coburn said a hiring freeze “could prevent furloughs to the government workers carrying out essential services and mission-critical duties.” An opponent, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said the amendment “would force agencies to rely on contracting out functions the Federal Government should be handling or that are more expensive to outsource simply because they are not allowed to hire necessary staff.” The vote, on March 14, was 45 yeas to 54 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay



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