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How they voted

Updated: June 20, 2013 4:08PM



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

BLUE ALERT NETWORK: The House passed the National Blue Alert Act (H.R. 180), sponsored by Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y. The bill would establish at the Justice Department a national Blue Alert communications network to issue information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Grimm said the network “will notify the media and the public so that we can have the help that we need to aid in the apprehension of some of the most violent criminals.” The vote, on May 14, was 406 yeas to 2 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, yea; Walorski, yea

REPEALING HEALTH CARE REFORM: The House passed a bill (H.R. 45), sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., that would repeal the 2010 health care reform law, also known as Obamacare. Bachmann said health care reform consisted of “a lot of promises that can’t be fulfilled. Before we go forward with this train wreck, let’s make sure it ends so we can bring about cures, so we can bring about better developments in health care.” An opponent, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said the bill would “add to the deficit, and they send us back to the days when insurance companies were in charge, costs were skyrocketing, and tens of millions either had no coverage —especially if they had preexisting conditions — or coverage that they could depend on.” The vote, on May 16, was 229 yeas to 195 nays.

Votes: Visclosky, nay; Walorski, yea

Senate

REGULATING WATER PROJECTS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601). The amendment would have barred guidance for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt an expanded definition of waters of the United States. Barrasso said the guidance would allow ditches and other small drainage projects to be regulated by the federal government, which “would grant the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Corps of Engineers virtually unlimited — virtually unlimited — regulatory control over all wet areas within a State.” An opponent, Sen. Barbara A. Boxer, D-Calif., said: “For decades the Clean Water Act has provided broad protections for the Nation’s waters. The Barrasso amendment stops the corps from restoring these longstanding protections, leaving many waters at risk.” The vote, on May 14, was 52 yeas to 44 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

BEACH RENOURISHMENT TIMELINE: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601). The amendment would have eliminated a bill provision to extend federal funding for beach renourishment projects from 50 years to 65 years. An opponent, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., said beach renourishment projects help limit damage from hurricanes and other storms while also sustaining recreational use of beaches. The vote, on May 15, was 43 yeas to 53 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

REVIEWING WATER PROJECTS: The Senate \rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601). The amendment would have removed restrictions on the authority of the Infrastructure Deauthorization Commission to recommend the cancellation of water projects. Coburn said excluding projects that have begun since 1996 from the commission’s authority would protect special interests and allow wasteful projects to go forward. An opponent, Sen. Barbara A. Boxer, D-Calif., said the amendment would allow projects “to be stopped midstream--active projects, projects that have local funds flowing into them and private funds flowing into them.” The vote, on May 15, was 35 yeas to 61 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

BUY AMERICAN RULE FOR WATER PROJECTS: The Senate passed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., to the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601). The amendment would require the use of American iron, steel, and manufactured goods for water infrastructure pilot projects. Merkley said: “It makes sense for American business, for the American economy, for our workers to do as much of the work as possible to create that supply chain in America.” An opponent, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the requirement “could increase the cost of materials in some Federal projects by close to 25 percent.” The vote, on May 15, was 60 yeas to 36 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

WATER PROJECTS: The Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), sponsored by Sen. Barbara A. Boxer, D-Calif. The bill would authorize Army Corps of Engineers projects to improve the transportation and navigability of U.S. waterways and develop water resources. Boxer said the projects were needed to prevent flooding, ease the movement of goods between ports, and improve the environmental quality of bodies of water such as the Everglades and Chesapeake Bay. The vote, on May 15, was 83 yeas to 14 nays.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea

CONFIRMING DISTRICT JUDGE FOR CALIFORNIA: The Senate confirmed the nomination of William H. Orrick III to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of California. A supporter, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., cited Orrick’s 25 years of experience as a commercial lawyer in San Francisco and four years of experience overseeing the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Justice Department. Feinstein said Orrick “has proven throughout his career that he has the intellect, skill, and temperament to do an outstanding job on the Federal bench in San Francisco.” An opponent, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said: “I was troubled by his intervention in Utah, Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama. In those States he led the effort to strike down the statutes in those States addressing the Federal Government’s failure to enforce immigration laws.” The vote, on May 15, was 56 yeas to 41 nays.

Votes: Coats, nay; Donnelly, yea

CONFIRMING ENERGY SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Ernest J. Moniz to serve as Energy Secretary. A supporter, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., cited Moniz’s experience as an Energy Department official during the Clinton administration, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and director of MIT’s energy initiative. Wyden said Moniz “is well qualified to spearhead our efforts to evolve our country’s energy system, to increase domestic sources, emit less carbon, and to bolster our economy.” The vote, on May 16, was unanimous with 97 yeas.

Votes: Coats, yea; Donnelly, yea



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