WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Nov. 1:


Adopting rules for impeachment hearings. Voting 232 for and 196 against, the House on Oct. 31 adopted a resolution (H Res 660) offered by majority Democrats setting ground rules for public hearings that will be the next phase of the ongoing inquiry into potential impeachment of President Trump. The resolution was supported by all but two of the 234 Democrats who voted and opposed by all 196 Republicans who voted. The Democrats voting no were Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Independent Justin Amash of Michigan voted yes. The Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence will begin public hearings and is authorized to release transcripts of the testimony it has already taken in closed sessions. The panel will report its findings to the Judiciary committee, which would decide in additional public hearings whether to send articles of impeachment to the full House. Any House vote(s) on impeachment could occur in December. If the House voted to impeach, the Senate would conduct a trial to determine if Trump would be removed from office.

Minority participation: Democrats said the procedure will be similar to that used in previous impeachments, including the House GOP majority’s 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The resolution provides Intelligence committee Republicans the same opportunity as Democrats to question witnesses, with staff attorneys for each party allotted 45 minutes per witness before lawmakers ask questions. However, Democrats would maintain control of inquiry since majority votes would be needed to call witnesses and issue subpoenas.

Provisions for Trump’s defense: The president and/or his counsel will be able to participate when the proceedings reach the Judiciary committee. They can present a defense case, respond to evidence, cross-examine witnesses, raise objections and request additional evidence and testimony. But they can only call witnesses if majority Democrats agree that the testimony is “necessary or desirable to a full and fair record” of the proceedings. If Trump declines to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee, he could lose some of the rights granted to him at the outset.

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

Voting yes: Abigail Spanberger, D-7th.

Voting no: Denver Riggleman, R-5th.

Declaring Armenian massacre a genocide. Voting 405 for and 11 against, the House on Oct. 29 adopted a resolution (H Res 296) officially recognizing Turkey’s killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the fading Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 as a genocide. Three members answered “present,” which indicates they participated in the roll call without taking a stand. They were Republican Paul Gosar of Arizona and Democrats Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas. More than 30 countries and 49 U.S. states have formally declared the killings a deliberate, premeditated extermination, or genocide, as opposed to Turkey’s assertion that the deaths were collateral damage of World War I. For the United States to officially declare an Armenian genocide, this measure would have to pass the Senate and gain President Trump’s signature.

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the Senate.

Voting yes: Riggleman, Spanberger.

Sanctioning Turkey over its invasion of Syria. Voting 403 for and 16 against, the House on Oct. 29 passed a bill (HR 4695) to penalize Turkey if it resumes or continues attacks on Kurdish forces and civilians in northeastern Syria that began when President Trump reduced America’s military presence there in early October. The bill would freeze the U.S. assets of top government officials and cancel their U.S. visas while imposing sanctions on certain Turkish banks. In addition, the bill would block the sale of U.S. arms that Turkey could use in its Syrian offensive and require the administration to develop a strategy for preventing a resurgence of Islamic-state military strength in the region.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Voting yes: Riggleman, Spanberger.

Prohibiting mining near Grand Canyon. Voting 236 for and 185 against, the House on Oct. 30 passed a bill (HR 1373) that would make permanent a temporary moratorium on the issuance of new mining claims on federally owned land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. During debate, there was discussion of groundwater pollution attributed to an inoperative uranium mine that was opened in 1986 in nearby Kaibab National Forest..

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Voting yes: Spanberger.

Voting no: Riggleman.


Lowering health care coverage standards. The Senate on Oct. 30 failed, 43 for and 52 against, to adopt a Democratic resolution (SJ Res 52) that would prohibit states from offering in their health-insurance exchanges diluted versions of the coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. The measure sought to block a Trump administration rule under which states could obtain waivers to offer short-term policies that omit or weaken ACA requirements in place since law was enacted in 2010. The law’s standards are intended to guarantee coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions while requiring ACA policies to cover “essential health benefits” such as pediatric care, mental health and substance-abuse treatments, emergency care, outpatient services and maternity care. Backers of the administration’s waiver policy said it gives states flexibility to develop lower-priced coverage alternatives. But critics call such policies “junk insurance” that would destroy the health law by siphoning off healthy and younger policyholders.

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

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

Thomas Voting Reports Inc.

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