How Arkansas’ con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion voted

Here is how Arkansas’ U.S. sen­a­tors and U.S. rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted on ma­jor roll call votes dur­ing the week that ended Fri­day.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -


D Class ac­tion law­suits, ar­bi­tra­tion clauses. Passed 231190, nul­li­fy­ing a new Con­sumer Fi­nan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bu­reau rule that would en­able in­di­vid­u­als with sim­i­lar griev­ances to band to­gether in class-ac­tion law­suits against credit card is­suers, banks, pay­day lenders and other re­tail fi­nan­cial firms reg­u­lated by the bu­reau. Con­sumers en­ter­ing into con­tracts with fi­nan­cial firms are now re­quired to agree to use manda­tory ar­bi­tra­tion to re­solve dis­putes, thus sign­ing away their rights to pur­sue claims in court. The rule sched­uled to take ef­fect in mid-Septem­ber pro­hibits the use of ar­bi­tra­tion clauses to bar cus­tomers from par­tic­i­pat­ing in class-ac­tion suits. Manda­tory ar­bi­tra­tion is con­ducted by com­pany-ap­proved me­di­a­tors un­der rules that limit dis­cov­ery, bar dis­clo­sure of the out­come and pro­hibit mean­ing­ful ap­peals. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said: “Ar­bi­tra­tion al­lows par­ties to use an in­de­pen­dent me­di­a­tor, in­stead of hir­ing ex­pen­sive lawyers, to set­tle a dis­pute. While the [new] rule … is a bad deal for con­sumers, it is a huge win for trial lawyers, who make an av­er­age of $1 mil­lion per case.”

Marcy Kap­tur, D-Ohio, said “so­called forced ar­bi­tra­tion clauses … pre­vent cheated or de­frauded con­sumers from go­ing to court. In other words, they pre­vent the vic­tims from go­ing to court [and] hand­cuff the cus­tomers, not the mega­banks that took them to the clean­ers.”

A yes vote was to send the mea­sure (HJRes111) to the Se­nate. h✔ Rick Craw­ford (R) h✔ French Hill (R) h✔ Steve Wo­mack (R) h✔ Bruce Wester­man (R) Eco­nomic sanc­tions on Rus­sia. Passed 419-3, a bill (HR3364) that would es­tab­lish a process for Congress to block any U.S. pres­i­dent from soft­en­ing or re­mov­ing U.S. eco­nomic sanc­tions on Rus­sia. The bill would also place a range of new sanc­tions on the Rus­sian econ­omy while putting into law sev­eral Obama-era ex­ec­u­tive or­ders pe­nal­iz­ing the Krem­lin for its in­ter­ven­tions in the United States and other coun­tries. Both the new and ex­ist­ing penal­ties are re­sponses to Rus­sia’s cy­ber-in­ter­fer­ence in U.S. elec­tions, an­nex­a­tion of Crimea, ag­gres­sion in Ukraine and sup­port of the regime of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad. The bill would also add new U.S. eco­nomic sanc­tions on Iran and North Korea.

The mea­sure would ap­ply to Rus­sian eco­nomic sec­tors such as min­ing, met­als, ship­ping and rail­ways. It is in­tended to ad­dress cor­rup­tion and hu­man rights abuses in Rus­sia, im­pose fi­nan­cial penal­ties on non-Rus­sian en­ti­ties and in­di­vid­u­als that pro­vide the Krem­lin with cer­tain types of com­mer­cial sup­port, and pe­nal­ize en­ti­ties that sup­ply weapons to the Syr­ian regime. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he was briefed in Oc­to­ber “by our in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity. They told me that Rus­sia en­gaged in a bla­tant ef­fort to med­dle in our do­mes­tic af­fairs and, specif­i­cally, our demo­cratic process. I was an out­spo­ken sup­porter of the need for a strong re­sponse then and I re­main so now.”

David Ci­cilline, D-R.I., said: “Given our pres­i­dent’s com­plete un­will­ing­ness to hold Rus­sia ac­count­able for their at­tack — and let’s not mis­take it for any­thing else; it was an at­tack on Amer­ica — it has be­come nec­es­sary for Congress to as­sert its role in this area and en­sure that Rus­sia will be held ac­count­able.”

No mem­ber spoke against the bill.

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

Craw­ford (R)

Hill (R)

Wo­mack (R) Wester­man (R) $800 bil­lion in 2018 spend­ing. Passed 235-192, a pack­age of four ap­pro­pri­a­tions bills for fis­cal 2018 (HR3219) to­tal­ing nearly $800 bil­lion, in­clud­ing $1.6 bil­lion for con­struc­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pro­posed U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der wall; $584.2 bil­lion for ba­sic mil­i­tary oper­a­tions; $73.9 bil­lion for oper­a­tions in war zones; $88.8 bil­lion for vet­er­ans pro­grams and mil­i­tary con­struc­tion; $37.6 bil­lion for wa­ter projects and Depart­ment of En­ergy oper­a­tions; and $3.6 bil­lion for run­ning the leg­isla­tive branch other than the Se­nate. Over­all, the bill funds four of Congress’ 12 ap­pro­pri­a­tions bills for the bud­get year be­gin­ning Oct. 1. Rod­ney Frel­inghuy­sen, R-N.J., said the bill is de­voted “to fund­ing our crit­i­cal mil­i­tary pri­or­i­ties, sup­port­ing vet­er­ans and mak­ing our bor­ders more se­cure.” Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, asked: “Why is there a sin­gle dime of Amer­i­can tax­payer money for a bor­der wall that Pres­i­dent Trump promised Mex­ico would fi­nance?”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Se­nate. h✔ Craw­ford (R) h✔ Hill (R) h✔ Wo­mack (R) h✔ Wester­man (R) F

Spot­light on bud­get of­fice. De­feated 107-314, an at­tempt to cut the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice’s 2018 op­er­at­ing bud­get by half, or $25.4 mil­lion, in re­sponse to what crit­ics said were the of­fice’s grossly in­ac­cu­rate pro­jec­tions sev­eral years ago of the num­ber of peo­ple who would gain health in­sur­ance un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act. The amend­ment was pro­posed to HR3219 (above). One of the few non­par­ti­san of­fices on Capi­tol Hill, the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice and its pro­fes­sional staff are in charge of fore­cast­ing the bud­getary im­pacts of mea­sures con­sid­ered by the House and Se­nate.

Scott Perry, R-Pa., said “the CBO sim­ply must be held ac­count­able for its con­sis­tent fail­ure to ac­cu­rately or even rea­son­ably pre­dict bud­get and eco­nomic im­pacts of leg­is­la­tion.”

John Yar­muth, D-Ky., said: “It should be em­bar­rass­ing to my Repub­li­can col­leagues that they are launch­ing th­ese at­tacks sim­ply be­cause they do not have the courage to de­fend the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of their plan to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act.”

A yes vote was to cut the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice bud­get.

h✖ Craw­ford (R)

h✖ Hill (R)

h✖ Wo­mack (R) h✖ Wester­man (R)


F De­feat of health-care re­peal. De­feated 49-51, a GOP-spon­sored mea­sure to dis­man­tle the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, end­ing the lat­est at­tempt by con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans to take down the 2010 law also known as Oba­macare. This amend­ment to HR1628 sought to elim­i­nate the law’s in­di­vid­ual and em­ployer man­dates; scale back Med­i­caid; de­lay an ex­cise tax on med­i­cal de­vices; ex­pand health sav­ings ac­counts; weaken the Af­ford­able Care Act’s min­i­mal cover­age stan­dards and put a 1-year hold on pa­tients us­ing Med­i­caid for Planned Par­ent­hood care, among other pro­vi­sions. The Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice said the mea­sure would in­crease the num­ber of unin­sured Amer­i­cans by 15 mil­lion next year while sharply rais­ing the cost of pre­mi­ums in the in­di­vid­ual in­sur­ance mar­ket. h✔ John Booz­man (R) h✔ Tom Cotton (R) D Make-or-break health-care vote. Passed 51-50, with Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence cast­ing the de­ci­sive vote, start­ing de­bate on a House-passed bill (HR1628, above) that was the leg­isla­tive ve­hi­cle for later votes (be­low) to re­peal, re­place or over­haul the Af­ford­able Care Act. Had Repub­li­cans lost this vote, they would have faced a choice of ei­ther paus­ing their 7-year fight against the Af­ford­able Care Act or invit­ing Democrats to work with them to draft a bi­par­ti­san re­place­ment law. A yes vote was to start de­bate on a not-yet-writ­ten GOP plan to dis­man­tle the 2010 health law. h✔ Booz­man (R)

h✔ Cotton (R) F Pre­serv­ing Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion. De­feated 48-52, a Demo­cratic mo­tion to strip HR1628 (above) of pro­vi­sions that would cur­tail Med­i­caid ben­e­fits for those cur­rently el­i­gi­ble, pre­vent or dis­cour­age ad­di­tional states from ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid cover­age un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act or shift ad­di­tional Med­i­caid costs to state gov­ern­ments. A yes vote was to pro­tect the cur­rent health law’s ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid. h✖ Booz­man (R) h✖ Cotton (R) F Rand Paul’s Af­ford­able Care Act re­peal. De­feated 45-55, a pro­posal by Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would par­tially re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act over two years. The amend­ment to HR1628 (above) would scrap the cur­rent re­quire­ment that in­di­vid­u­als carry health in­sur­ance or pay a tax penalty, the man­date that larger em­ploy­ers pro­vide work­ers with health cover­age, and tax pro­vi­sions that help fund the health care law. Two years later, the law’s fed­eral sub­si­dies for Amer­i­cans buy­ing in­di­vid­ual cover­age through pub­lic ex­changes would end, as would the Af­ford­able Care Act’s ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid in 31 states. The amend­ment would leave in place cover­age stan­dards for health poli­cies and pro­tec­tions for peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions. A yes vote was to adopt the most ex­ten­sive re­peal mea­sure be­fore the Se­nate.

h✔ Booz­man (R)

h✔ Cotton (R) F Cruz, Port­man health-care plans. Failed 43-57, to reach 60 votes needed to ad­vance a pair of changes that GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rob Port­man of Ohio pro­posed to HR1628 (above). Cruz sought to al­low in­sur­ers to sell low-cost, bare­bones poli­cies in states where they also of­fer at least one pol­icy com­pli­ant with the Af­ford­able Care Act. Port­man sought a $100 bil­lion au­tho­riza­tion over 10 years for de­fray­ing out-of-pocket costs faced by in­di­vid­u­als com­pelled by the GOP bill to trans­fer from Med­i­caid to pri­vate in­sur­ance. A yes vote was to adopt the Cruz-Port­man health care pack­age. h✔ Booz­man (R) h✖ Cotton (R)

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