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How they voted

Updated: May 1, 2013 3:59PM



WASHINGTON — This is how Northwest Indiana’s congressional delegation — U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly, Democrat, and Dan Coats, Republican — voted on key legislation last week. There were no key votes in the House.

Senate

HEALTH CARE BENEFITS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to avert tax increases for low- and middle-income consumers, while preserving health care benefits included in the health care reform law. Murray said: “We have to make sure taxes do not hit low-and middle-income families, but we should do it in a responsible way that doesn’t take away health care for millions of Americans.” The vote, on March 22, was unanimous with 99 yeas.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to protect women’s access to birth control, contraception and other health benefits under the health care reform law. Shaheen said: “Improving access to preventive care, including contraception, is good health policy, and as a result it means healthier women, healthier children, and healthier families.” An opponent, Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said the amendment would deny citizens their right to exercise religious beliefs and slow the economy. The vote, on March 22, was 56 yeas to 43 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

PAYMENTS TO RURAL HOSPITALS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to require states to establish payments to rural hospitals at a level similar to the level that existed before the health care reform law. Coburn said the amendment would reverse a mistake included in the current law, and was a step toward reforming Medicare. An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the amendment erred by singling out one provision of the health care reform law without addressing the larger need for reforming the Medicare wage index reimbursement process. The vote, on March 22, was 68 yeas to 31 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to allow for the approval and construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada through the central U.S. Hoeven said Keystone XL was about “getting our economy going and growing” and improving energy security by facilitating the transportation of oil supplies from Canada, North Dakota, and Montana to refineries in the southern U.S. An opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said of Keystone XL: “We don’t know how much of the steel will be American; we don’t know how many of the jobs will be American; we don’t know if our national security people think that dirty tar sands is going to create climate disruption.” The vote, on March 22, was 62 yeas to 37 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

ESTATE TAXES AND THE DEFICIT: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to consider legislation to repeal or reduce the estate tax, so long as the legislation did not increase the deficit. Warner said that if the estate tax were repealed without offsetting tax increases, the repeal would add $600 billion to the deficit. The vote, on March 22, was 80 yeas to 19 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

CLIMATE CHANGE REGULATIONS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would have reduced funding for the Environmental Protection Agency to implement regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions in order to address climate change. Inhofe said regulations would harm the economy and ignore a lack of congressional support for the regulations. An opponent, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., said the amendment would prevent the EPA “from carrying out its mission to regulate our environment” and protect public health. The vote, on March 22, was 47 yeas to 52 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

HEALTH CARE AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would have authorized the Senate Budget Committee to bar illegal immigrants or illegal immigrants granted legal status from qualifying for federally subsidized health care. Sessions said illegal immigrants should not be able to qualify for government health care benefits if their immigration status changes. An opponent, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said the law already bars illegal immigrants from having access to health care benefits, making the amendment unnecessary. The vote, on March 22, was 43 yeas to 56 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

ANALYZING IMPACT OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would have authorized the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to require cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations of the financial sector. Shelby said: “Regulations should be based on solid evidence and supported by robust economic analysis, not the arbitrary preferences of bureaucrats.” An opponent, Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said the amendment “would slow down rulemaking and invite Wall Street to bring lawsuits against their financial regulators,” hampering the ability of regulators to prevent financial crises. The vote, on March 22, was 47 yeas to 52 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAMS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to consolidate the government’s 15 financial literacy programs. Coburn said the consolidation would produce greater effectiveness and efficiency for financial literacy efforts. An opponent, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the amendment was unnecessary because the Senate’s budget already instructed committees to pursue consolidation of duplicative programs. The vote, on March 22, was 62 yeas to 37 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

STUDYING IMPACT OF TAX REFORMS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to require the Congressional Budget Office to provide Congress’s Joint Tax Committee with macroeconomic analysis of the impact of tax reform bills of over $5 billion a year. Portman said the analyses would give the Senate “better information to be able to legislate better” by providing it with the same information on the impact of tax changes that the House already has. An opponent, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the use of dynamic scoring to attempt to determine the macroeconomic effects of tax changes, as the amendment would require, “is very difficult and arbitrary and very hard to do,” and could produce badly inaccurate estimates of the effects of tax changes. The vote, on March 22, was 51 yeas to 48 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, nay

U.N. ARMS TREATIES: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., to a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8). The amendment would authorize the Senate Budget Committee to revise budget allocations in order to prevent the U.S. from entering into U.N. arms trade treaties. Inhofe said the treaty would require the U.S. to ends its authority to reach arms trade agreements with its allies. An opponent, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said the amendment would harm negotiations for an arms trade treaty that sought to “keep illicit firearms out of the hands of war criminals and terrorists.” The vote, on March 22, was 53 yeas to 46 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

FISCAL 2014 BUDGET: The Senate passed a resolution (S.Con.Res. 8), sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The bill would cancel the budget sequester, establish a fiscal 2014 budget, establish budgetary levels for the government for fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2023, and revise the budget for the remainder of fiscal 2013. Murray said the budget “cuts spending responsibly and calls on the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share,” reducing the deficit while supporting economic growth. An opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the budget would hurt the economy by raising taxes by $985 billion without addressing the problem of the deficit “because it makes no changes in the drivers of our debt, the big entitlement programs, the big welfare programs, the interest on the debt.” The vote, on March 22, was 50 yeas to 49 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea



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