Congressional roll call
Voterama in Congress
Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the week ending Sept. 30.
SEPT. 11-SAUDI ARABIA: Voting 348-77, the House on Sept. 28 overrode President Obama’s veto of a bill (S 2040) that would give families of Sept. 11 victims standing to sue Saudi Arabia in federal court for any role by the kingdom or its top leaders in assisting the attacks of 15 years ago. Coming after a Senate override vote (below), this put the bill into law. Under the bill, U.S. courts could waive the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act of 1976 in suits alleging Saudi complicity in the attacks. President Obama said the legislation would invite retaliation in foreign courts against America’s vast global operations. A yes vote was to override the presidential veto.
Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook: Yes Sean Maloney, D-Cold Spring: Yes
OVERTIME PAY: Voting 246-177, the House on Sept. 28 passed a bill (HR 6094) intended to kill a new Department of Labor rule that would sharply raise the salary level for qualifying for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. At present, salaried employees lose their eligibility for overtime pay when they receive more than $455 per week or $23,660 annually. Under the new rule, the thresholds double to $913 per week and $47,476 annually. The rule takes effect Dec. 1 and is projected to boost the paychecks of 4 million workers in its first year. Overtime pay, which kicks in after 40 hours worked in a given week, amounts to time-and-a-half the normal compensation rate. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it appeared certain to fail. Gibson: Yes
Maloney: No HEALTH LAW: Voting 258165, the House on Sept. 27 passed a bill (HR 954) that would waive the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for persons enrolled in so-called co-op health plans that closed for financial reasons. The individual mandate requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. Co-ops are member-controlled, non-profit plans tailored to underserved markets. Although many co-ops have closed because of financial losses, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken steps to salvage those that remain and restore others. The bill posed a clash between Republicans, who are in their seventh year of attempting to dismember the health law, and Democrats, who say the law’s
weaknesses should be fixed just as other major federal programs are improved over time, rather than discarded. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was dead on arrival. Gibson: Yes
WATER PROJECTS: Voting 399-25, the House on Sept. 28 passed a bill (HR 5303) that would authorize $5 billion over two years for dozens of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-control, river-navigation and harbor-dredging projects, including especially large ones in California, Georgia, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas. In addition, the bill cancels $5 billion worth of long-dormant projects and converts discretionary spending from the Harbor Improvements Trust Fund to entitlement (guaranteed) spending. A yes vote was to pass the bill, which will receive Senate action later this year. Gibson: Yes Maloney: Yes LEAD-POISONED WATER: Voting 284-141, the House on Sept. 28 adopted an amendment that would authorize $170 million to HR 5303 (above) for Corps of Engineers projects to help Flint, Mich., and other communities replace drinking-water pipes that are contaminated by lead. A yes vote was to provide targeted aid to Flint and several other cities with lead problems. Gibson: Yes Maloney: Yes EARMARKED PROJECT: Voting 181 in favor and 243 opposed, the House on Sept. 28 defeated a Democratic bid to strip HR 5303 (above) of an $810 million earmark for the Upper Trinity River flood-control and waterfront-development project in Fort Worth, Texas. The motion also required the secretary of the Army to determine that the project is “economically justified.” Critics, including the National Taxpayers Union, say the funding is an earmark that would pay for athletic fields and a splash park, while defenders say the project’s recreational features would be built with local funds. A yes vote was to strip the Upper Trinity River earmark from the bill. Gibson: No
Maloney: Yes STOPGAP SPENDING: Voting 342-85, the House on Sept. 28 joined the Senate (below) in passing a bill (HR 5325) that would fund government operations from the start of fiscal 2017 on Oct. 1 until Dec. 9. The bill would provide $1.1 billion to address the Zika virus and $500 million to help Louisiana and other states recover from flooding in August. In addition, the bill includes a regular fiscal 2017 budget for veterans programs that is 4 percent above the 2016 level. A yes vote was to send the bill to President Obama, who signed it into law. Gibson: Yes
SEPT. 11-SAUDI ARABIA: Voting 97-1, the Senate on Sept. 28 went far beyond the two-thirds majority required to override President Obama’s veto of a bill (S 2040) that would give families of Sept. 11 victims standing to sue Saudi Arabia in federal court for any role the kingdom played in the attacks on American soil. Under the bill, U.S. courts could waive the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act of 1976 in suits alleging Saudi complicity in the terrorist assaults. In his veto message, Obama said the bill “does not enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and undermines core U.S. interests.” The lone “no” vote was cast by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., were absent. A yes vote was to override the veto.
Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.:
Yes Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: Yes STOPGAP SPENDING:
Voting 72-26, the Senate on Sept. 28 passed a bill (HR 5325) that would fund government operations from Oct. 1 until Dec. 9, by which time lawmakers hope to have approved a longer-term budget bill. This stopgap measure bill would provide $1.1 billion to address the Zika virus and $500 million to help Louisiana and other states recover from flooding in August. It also would fund a full-year 2017 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs that is 4 percent above the 2016 level. A yes vote was to send the bill to the House, where it was approved (see above).
Gillibrand: Yes Schumer, D-N.Y.: Yes COMING UP Congress is in recess until the week of Nov. 14.
Copyright 2016, Thomas Voting Reports, Inc.