Votes in Congress: How the area's delegation voted on major bills this week - The Daily Progress: News

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Votes in Congress: How the area's delegation voted on major bills this week

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Posted: Saturday, September 21, 2013 6:30 pm

WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Sept. 20.

 

House

Food stamp cuts. Voting 217 for and 210 against, the House on Sept. 19 passed a Republican bill (HR 3102) to cut spending on food stamps by nearly $4 billion annually over 10 years, resulting in a projected budget of at least $75 billion per year for what is formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under the bill, states could deny stamps to able-bodied adults without dependents who are jobless, under 51 years of age and not participating in training or some other work-related activity. States could further reduce their rolls by subjecting food-stamps applicants to drug testing. Steps such as these would reduce participation from about 47 million to 43 million recipients per month, a figure that varies with the state of the economy.

The House has now passed separate bills this year to fund farm subsidies and food-security programs. Both are now headed to conference with a traditional five-year farm and food-security bill passed by the Senate, one that authorizes far higher food-stamp spending.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Robert Hurt, R-5th; Eric I. Cantor, R-7th.

 

Benefits for veterans, pregnant women. Voting 193 for and 230 against, the House on Sept. 19 defeated a Democratic bid to prohibit HR 3102 (above) from denying food stamps to veterans, pregnant women, seniors, the disabled or minor children in the event of a U.S. government shutdown or default on its debt.

A yes vote was to ensure uninterrupted benefits for veterans and certain other categories of food stamps recipients.

Voting no: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Fast-track mining permits. Voting 246 for and 178 against, the House on Sept. 18 passed a bill (HR 761) to ease environmental rules and limit lawsuits in order to quicken agency reviews of applications to mine critical and non-critical minerals on federal lands in the West. While the bill spotlights strategically important rare-earth minerals, it also would speed action on permits for sand and gravel mining. The bill would designate mining activities as “infrastructure projects” to make them eligible for fast-tracked government reviews.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Mineral exports to China, Iran. Voting 197 for and 229 against, the House on Sept. 18 defeated a Democratic bid to prohibit strategic and critical minerals mined as a result of HR 761 (above) from being exported to China, Iran or any country that has violated U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.

Voting no: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Obamacare defunding, stopgap spending. Voting 230 for and 189 against, the House on Sept. 20 sent the Senate a stopgap appropriations measure (HJ Res 59) to fund the government between Oct. 1-Dec. 15 at a spending rate of $986 billion per year for discretionary domestic, military and foreign affairs programs. The Republican bill also would defund and thus kill the 2010 health law that is known as Obamacare while continuing the blind, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

A yes vote was to pass the continuing resolution.

Voting yes: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Social Security, Medicare. Voting 190 for and 228 against, the House on Sept. 20 defeated a Democratic bid to prohibit spending in HJ Res 59 (above) aimed at privatizing Social Security or converting Medicare to a voucher program. The motion also sought to establish a regular yearlong budget rather than three months’ stopgap spending for veterans’ benefits and military operations.

A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.

Voting no: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Logging in national forests. Voting 244 for and 173 against, the House on Sept. 20 sent to the Senate a bill (HR 1526) to establish “timber production zones” in national forests. In addition to reducing fire risks, the purpose of the bill is to fund a 2000 law that sends federal payments to nearby counties as compensation for the fact that federally managed lands do not generate local tax revenues. The bill devolves U.S. Forest Service management authority over the newly created timber zones to state boards while granting exemptions from federal environmental laws.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Hurt, Cantor.

 

Senate

Federal Judge Elaine Kaplan. Voting 64 for and 35 against, the Senate on Sept. 17 confirmed Elaine D. Kaplan as a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims, which hears monetary claims against the federal government. The 16 federal claims judges are appointed for 15-year terms. Kaplan, 57, joins the court from her dual positions as general counsel and acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

A yes vote was to confirm Kaplan.

Voting yes: Mark R. Warner (D); Timothy M. Kaine (D).

 

Federal helium reserve. Voting 97 for and two against, the Senate on Sept. 19 sent back to the House a bill (HR 527) that would avert the scheduled closure Oct. 7 of the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo, Texas. The bill ends tight federal control of the helium market, in which four companies have exclusive rights to refine crude helium from the reserve. But the bill keeps the federal facility in operation to ensure that private companies and government agencies receive adequate helium supplies based on market prices. A byproduct of natural gas, the element helium is used in making products such as fiber optic cables, MRI machines, space rockets and computer chips. The bill would save $500 million over ten years, $100 million of which would be allocated to deficit reduction.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Warner, Kaine.

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