News Column

Congressional Votes for New Mexico the Week of 05/23 - 05/29/2014

May 30, 2014



by TARGETED NEWS SERVICE Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, May 30 -- There were 12 key votes in the House this week; the House held a total of 29 roll call votes in the week ending Thursday. The Senate was not in session this week. The most important House vote was to pass a bill funding the Departments of Justice and Commerce in fiscal year 2015, as well as science programs and other related agencies.

In addition to roll call votes, the House also passed the Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act (H.R. 4587), sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., to impose sanctions on individuals found responsible for carrying out or ordering human rights abuses against Venezuelan citizens; a bill (H.R. 4028), sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., to list the desecration of cemeteries among the violations of the right to religious freedom set out by the International Religious Freedom Act; the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act (H.R. 4261), sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., to improve research of the Gulf War Illness and reform the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses; and a bill (H.R. 2527), sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., to amend the U.S. Code to provide veterans with counseling and treatment for sexual trauma suffered during inactive duty training.

Here's a look at how area members of Congress voted over the previous week.

There were no key votes in the Senate this week.

HOUSE VOTES:

House Vote 1: RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHINA: The House has passed a resolution (H. Res. 599), sponsored by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. The resolution urged China's government to respect the human rights of its citizens and allow open discussion of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in June 1989. Smith said that as the 25th anniversary of the end of the Tiananmen Square protests approaches, "the memory of the dead and those arrested, tortured, and exiled requires us to honor them, respect their noble aspirations for fundamental freedoms, and recommit ourselves to the struggle for freedom and human rights in China." The vote, on May 28, was 379 yeas to 1 nay. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd) NOT VOTING: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 2: DESERT STORM WAR MEMORIAL: The House has passed the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial Act (H.R. 503), sponsored by Rep. David P. Roe, R-Tenn. The bill would authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to build the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial in Washington, D.C., as a memorial to the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. Roe said it was important to "establish a monument to honor those who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield." The vote, on May 28, was unanimous with 370 yeas. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st) NOT VOTING: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd), Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 3: WEATHER FORECASTING: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would increase funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration'sOffice of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research by $12 million, with the increase offset by a $12-million cut in funding for the Census Bureau. Bridenstine said increasing spending on weather research "will save countless American lives in the future and allow our citizens to better protect their personal property" by improving forecasts of tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. The vote, on May 29, was 340 yeas to 71 nays. YEAS: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd), Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd) NAYS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st)

House Vote 4: CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would increase funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by $19.5 million, with the increase offset by spending cuts elsewhere. Thompson said that by improving state submission of data into the background check system, his amendment would help stop dangerous people who otherwise wouldn't pass a background check from buying guns because they are not listed in the system. The vote, on May 29, was 260 yeas to 145 nays. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd) NAYS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 5: SPENDING ON SCIENCE RESEARCH: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would redirect $15.35 million within the National Science Foundation from being used for research into the social, behavioral, and economic sciences directorate to being used for research into the physical sciences and engineering. Smith said "investments in science are essential if our country is to continue to lead the world in nanotechnology, supercomputing, and other fields that yield new jobs, new businesses, and, in fact, entire new industries," whereas the spending on social, behavioral, and economic sciences has often been wasteful. An amendment opponent, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., said redirecting the funding would mean less research into areas such as posttraumatic stress and behavior in the face of disasters that improves and saves lives. The vote, on May 29, was 208 yeas to 201 nays. YEAS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd) NAYS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd)

House Vote 6: GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar funding for the Justice Department to prevent states from implementing their own laws to authorize the growth and use of industrial hemp. Bonamici said her amendment "recognized the importance of industrial hemp as a natural resource, an agricultural commodity, and a versatile component in thousands of commercial products" and the unreasonableness of Justice's efforts to block farmers from growing hemp. An amendment opponent, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., said there were no restrictions on the licensed use of domestically produced or traded industrial hemp products, making the amendment unnecessary. The vote, on May 29, was 237 yeas to 170 nays. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd) NAYS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 7: MEDICAL MARIJUANA: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar funding for the Justice Department to take action to prevent 29 states from implementing their laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana. Rohrabacher said the amendment acknowledged the right of states to adopt their own laws without interference from the federal government and respected the doctor-patient relationship and freedom of doctors to prescribe medicines they feel their patients need. An amendment opponent, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said the amendment was "the camel's nose under the tent" in that it would support efforts to legalize recreational use of marijuana, and it would harm the Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts to stop the illegal marijuana trade. The vote, on May 29, was 219 yeas to 189 nays. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd) NAYS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 8: CONFIDENTIALITY OF REPORTER SOURCES: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar funding for the Justice Department to take action to compel journalists to testify about information they have received from confidential sources. Grayson said adopting the so-called shield law to protect a reporter's confidential sources would compel the federal government to respect freedom of the press, following the lead of 49 other states that have adopted their own shield laws. An amendment opponent, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., said it was not appropriate to insert the amendment into an appropriations bill without notice and without giving Congress the chance to hold hearings on the issue. The vote, on May 29, was 225 yeas to 183 nays. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd) NAYS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

House Vote 9: MANAGING INTERNET DOMAIN NAMES: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar funding to end the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's responsibility for administering the Internet domain name system. Duffy said shifting responsibility for the system to an international or foreign body, as has been proposed by President Obama, would diminished freedom of speech online by giving authoritarian governments the power to control the Internet. An amendment opponent, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., said it "would suggest to countries like China and others that we want to control the Internet versus we want it to be an opportunity for people to gather information, speak freely, and associate freely." The vote, on May 29, was 229 yeas to 178 nays. YEAS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd) NAYS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd)

House Vote 10: SANCTUARY CITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar the Justice Department from providing funding for law enforcement agencies in cities that have sanctuary policies to shield illegal immigrants from being deported by the federal government. King said Congress had "a responsibility to assert our constitutional and statutory authority" on immigration, and should do so by punishing cities that do not obey federal immigration law. An amendment opponent, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., said the amendment would punish sanctuary cities that are "trying to make the best of a very tough situation that the federal government is creating" by failing to reform immigration policies. The vote, on May 29, was 214 yeas to 194 nays. YEAS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd) NAYS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd)

House Vote 11: GHG EMISSIONS AND TRADE AGREEMENTS: The House has passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660). The amendment would bar funding for reaching trade agreements that limit greenhouse gas emissions. Meadows said emissions limits could cost the U.S. millions of jobs in coming decades, and Congress has already passed legislation blocking cap-and-trade GHG emissions measures, so his amendment "would carry on the will of the House in terms of making sure that we wouldn't use any funds to circumvent the will of Congress." The vote, on May 29, was 226 yeas to 179 nays. YEAS: Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd) NAYS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd)

House Vote 12: FUNDING COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE PROGRAMS: The House has passed the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4660), sponsored by Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va. The bill would provide $51.2 billion to fund the Commerce Department, Justice Department, National Science Foundation, and related agencies in fiscal 2015. Wolf said the funding focused on "fighting crime and terrorism, including a focus on preventing and investigating cyber attacks; and boosting U.S. competitiveness and job creation by investing in exports, manufacturing, science, and space exploration." A bill opponent, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., criticized the bill's lack of funding for fish hatcheries in Alaska and the Northwest, which he said were necessary to maintain the nation's supply of salmon and other fish. The vote, on May 29, was 321 yeas to 87 nays. YEAS: Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham D-NM (1st), Rep. Ben Ray Lujan D-NM (3rd), Rep. Stevan Pearce R-NM (2nd)

For more information about Targeted News Service products and services, please contact: Myron Struck, editor, Targeted News Service LLC, Springfield, Va., 703/304-1897; editor@targetednews.com; http://targetednews.com.

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