WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted during the legislative week ending March 8:


House revamp of electoral systems and campaign funding. Voting 234 for and 193 against, the House on March 8 passed a 700-page Democratic-sponsored bill (HR 1) that would make it easier to register to vote and participate in federal elections; begin partial public financing of House campaigns; help states fortify voting systems against cyberattacks; require disclosure of “dark money” political contributions; end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns; crack down on influence peddling by inaugural committees; expand handicapped access to voting places; and tighten ethics rules in the legislative and executive branches, among other provisions.

The bill would directly affect federal elections, and House races in particular, while inevitably having a major impact on state and local voting, as well. The bill would impose a 2.75 percent surcharge on penalties paid by corporate and high-income individual tax cheats and use the revenue — projected at $1.948 billion over 10 years — to establish a Freedom from Influence Fund that would aid House candidates in general and primary election campaigns. Incumbents and challengers who agree to a $200 limit on individual contributions would receive $6 in public funds for each $1 they raised. Federal money from other sources could not be added to the fund, which is projected to disburse about $200 million to House candidates in each two-year election cycle.

The bill also would require high-traffic social-media platforms — including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram — to maintain public databases of foreign actors and other entities seeking to purchase at least $500 annually in political ads, and would require “dark-money” financiers of political ads, who now remain anonymous to voters, to be publicly identified in their ads. In addition, states would have to replace partisan gerrymandering with bipartisan commissions to redraw congressional district boundaries following each census.

The bill would authorize spending $750 million over five years on state programs to make voter registration easier. States would have to automatically register residents who sign up for government services including education; allow registration applications online and in person on Election Day; provide ample opportunity for early voting and require voting systems to be backed up with paper ballots that can be audited.

The measure would authorize $1.55 billion over five years for grants to states for modernizing voting equipment and hardening systems against cyberattacks. Under the bill, felons who have served their sentences would be entitled to vote in federal elections. Presidential and vice-presidential candidates would have to disclose personal tax returns for the preceding 10 years, as well as the returns of any company they control.

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

Voting yes: Abigail Spanberger, D-7th.

Voting no: Denver Riggleman, R-5th.

Tax-exempt political activity. Voting 194 for and 238 against, the House on March 7 defeated a Republican bid to remove from HR 1 (above) a provision allowing the IRS to require disclosure of donors and set limits on political activity by nonprofit organizations, including 501(c)(4) “social-welfare” groups, that participate in election campaigns. Donors to those groups are the main source of the estimated $100 million-plus in “dark money” that flows anonymously into U.S. elections each two-year cycle. Current law prohibits the IRS from collecting donor information from the groups or tightening standards for tax-exempt status.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting yes: Riggleman.

Voting no: Spanberger.

Pre-registration to vote for youths. Voting 239 for and 186 against, the House on March 8 adopted a Democratic amendment to HR 1 (above) requiring states to make it possible for youths to pre-register to vote in federal elections at ages 16 and 17, so that they are prepared to cast ballots when they turn 18.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting yes: Spanberger.

Voting no: Riggleman.

Lowering federal voting age to 16. Voting 126 for and 305 against, the House on March 8 defeated a Democratic amendment to HR 1 (above) that sought to lower the minimum voting age in federal elections from 18 to 16. The federal voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting yes: Spanberger.

Voting no: Riggleman.

School board voting by undocumented immigrants. Voting 197 for and 228 against, the House on March 8 defeated a Republican bid to add language to HR 1 (above) that would outlaw San Francisco’s current practice of allowing undocumented immigrants to vote in school board elections.

A yes vote was to adopt the GOP motion.

Voting yes: Riggleman.

Voting no: Spanberger.

Condemnation of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Voting 407 for and 23 against, the House on March 7 adopted a resolution (H Res 183) condemning all manifestations of religious and racial bigotry and hatred while specifically naming anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sparked the resolution by recently inferring that some lawmakers “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” namely Israel. Jewish lawmakers said it was an anti-Semitic trope inviting harm against Jews to assert they have dual loyalties. Omar voted in favor of the resolution.

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

Voting yes: Riggleman, Spanberger.


Readler for federal appeals judge. Voting 52 for and 47 against, the Senate on March 6 confirmed Chad A. Readler, 46, as a judge on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Formerly a lawyer in private practice, Readler was employed most recently as acting head of the Department of Justice Civil Division. His nomination drew Democratic opposition, in part, because he filed the administration brief challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Voting no: Mark R. Warner (D); Tim Kaine (D).

Join our Mailing List

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

Load comments