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Capitol Hill

The U.S. Capitol Building as seen in winter.

Here's a look at how area members of Congress voted the week of Jan. 11 through Jan. 17. This roll call report is provided by Targeted News Service.

HOUSE VOTES:

FUNDING EPA, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT: The House passed the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 266), sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn. The bill would provide fiscal 2019 funding for the Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and various other cultural and environmental agencies. McCollum said the lapse in funding during the partial government shutdown "places the health of the American people and their communities in jeopardy" by halting EPA funding, and the bill would end that threat. An opponent, Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said the bill did not adequately fund key EPA environmental improvement programs and healthy forest and earthquake early warning initiatives at Interior. The vote, on Jan. 11, was 240 yeas to 179 nays.

NAYS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd

YEAS: Visclosky, D-1st

WORKER PAY AND GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: The House passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act (S. 24), sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., to provide compensation for federal government workers affected by the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22. A supporter, Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., said it fulfilled a "promise to our dedicated civil servants, both those forced to the sidelines and those still hard at work without pay" due to the failure of politicians to avert or resolve the shutdown. The vote, on Jan. 11, was 411 yeas to 7 nays.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

ANTI-SEMITISM ENVOY: The House passed the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act (H.R. 221), sponsored by Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., to give the rank of ambassador for the special envoy at the State Department who is responsible for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism in foreign countries. Smith said giving the envoy a higher status "upgrades and strengthens the position to better anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and respond to threats against Jewish communities worldwide." The vote, on Jan. 11, was 411 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

SMALL BUSINESS INVESTMENT: The House passed the Investing in Main Street Act (H.R. 116), sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., to increase the percentage of capital that banks can invest in businesses that are taking part in the Small Business Investment Company program. Chu said the program has helped small businesses, including Apple, Intel and Costco, and expanding investment in the businesses under the program "means more entrepreneurs will be able to access the capital they need to grow their businesses and hire their workers." The vote, on Jan. 14, was 403 yeas to 2 nays.

NOT VOTING: Baird, R-4th

YEAS: Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: The House rejected the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act (H.J. Res. 27), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The bill would have provided funding through Feb. 1 for the various federal government agencies whose funding has lapsed due to the partial shutdown. Lowey said it aimed to provide "time for Congress to come to a full-year agreement without further jeopardizing vital services or the pay of federal workers." An opponent, Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., said a short-term funding bill would leave the basic budget impasse between Democrats and Republicans unresolved, and Aderholt called for negotiations to develop a permanent solution for fiscal 2019 funding. The vote, on Jan. 15, was 237 yeas to 187 nays, with a two-thirds majority required for approval.

NAYS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd

YEAS: Visclosky, D-1st

WHITE NATIONALISM AND WHITE SUPREMACY: The House passed a resolution (H. Res. 41), sponsored by Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., stating that the House rejects white nationalism and white supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States. Clyburn said: "Racial divisiveness is a fault line that is ripping our nation apart. This body must speak out against this evil." The vote, on Jan. 15, was 424 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

DISCRIMINATION AND FEDERAL WORKFORCE: The House passed the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act (H.R. 135), sponsored by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., to increase discrimination and supervisor retaliation protections for federal employees. Cummings said the bill will "protect the right of every single federal employee, every federal job applicant, and indeed of every citizen, to equality of opportunity." The vote, on Jan. 15, was unanimous with 424 yeas.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

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GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING: The House passed the Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act (H.R. 190), sponsored by Rep. Roger W. Marshall, R-Kan., to increase the dollar amount of sole source contracting awards that are issued to small businesses by the federal government. Marshall said the change would increase opportunities for the small businesses to win federal contracts while also strengthening oversight of the contracting process. The vote, on Jan. 16, was 415 yeas to 6 nays.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

BORDER SECURITY: The House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Mass., to the Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 268). The amendment would block the bill from being used to fund the construction of barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Army Corps of Engineers or Homeland Security Department. McGovern said the amendment was needed to ensure that the bill's intent of using money for disaster relief was not used for another purpose. An opponent, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, called it a "poison pill" that distracted from the bipartisan effort to legislate measures that will "bring our infrastructure and agency assets back to full operation" following recent disasters. The vote, on Jan. 16, was 230 yeas to 197 nays.

NAYS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd

YEAS: Visclosky, D-1st

RECOVERY FROM NATURAL DISASTERS: The House passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 268), sponsored by Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y. The bill would provide $12.1 billion of supplemental funding in fiscal 2019 for federal emergency spending on recovery from recent wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, and provide funding for the various federal agencies whose funding has lapsed due to the partial government shutdown. Lowey said the recovery funding "helps meet the urgent needs of our fellow Americans affected by recent national disasters." An opponent, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said the bill's lack of "funding for border security needs identified by the agents and officers on the front lines" meant it would properly be rejected by the Senate. The vote, on Jan. 16, was 237 yeas to 187 nays.

NAYS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd

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YEAS: Visclosky, D-1st

STANDARDS FOR GOVERNMENT GRANTS: The House passed the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (H.R. 150), sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., to require the Office of Management and Budget to issue government-wide standards for gathering and making publicly available information disclosed by recipients of federal grants. Foxx said adopting the standards "will alleviate compliance burdens; provide instant insights for grantor agencies and Congress; and enable easy access to data for oversight, analytics and program evaluation." The vote, on Jan. 17, was unanimous with 422 yeas.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

RUSSIA BUSINESS SANCTIONS: The House passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 30), sponsored by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., that would disapprove of a Trump administration plan to end sanctions against Russian aluminum businesses connected to Oleg Deripaska, a businessman sanctioned by the U.S. who has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hoyer said the resolution "will force the Treasury Department to engage more thoroughly with Congress on explaining its actions on this deal and to seek a better one." The vote, on Jan. 17, was 362 yeas to 53 nays.

YEAS: Baird, R-4th; Walorski, R-2nd; Visclosky, D-1st

The House also passed the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act (H.J. Res. 28), making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2019; the TANF Extension Act (H.R. 430), to extend the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families and related programs through June 30, 2019; the Federal Intern Protection Act (H.R. 136), to amend title 5, United States Code, to protect unpaid interns in the federal government from workplace harassment and discrimination; and the All-American Flag Act (H.R. 113), to require the purchase of domestically made U.S. flags for use by the federal government.

SENATE VOTES:

RUSSIA BUSINESS SANCTIONS: The Senate rejected a cloture motion to end debate on a resolution (S.J. Res. 2), sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The resolution would have disapproved of a Trump administration plan to end sanctions against Russian aluminum businesses connected to Oleg Deripaska, a businessman sanctioned by the U.S. who has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Schumer said the disapproval was needed to maintain "a tough line on Putin" in light of what he called a "shamefully and suspiciously weak on President Putin" approach by the administration. A resolution opponent, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said the administration's plan "appropriately reflects how U.S. sanctions policy uses smart sanctions to change the behavior of those sanctioned to build pressure behind the ultimate goals of U.S. policy toward Putin's Russia." The vote, on Jan. 16, was 57 yeas to 42 nays, with a three-fifths majority required to end debate.

NAYS: Young R-IN; Braun R-IN

ABORTION FUNDING: The Senate rejected a cloture motion to end debate on the motion to consider the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (S. 109), sponsored by Sen. Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss. The bill would block federal government funds from being used for abortion or for health insurance plans that include abortion coverage, with exceptions for abortions related to rape, incest, or preserving the life of the mother. A supporter, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said: "We must stand to protect the most vulnerable in our society, and that includes the unborn." The vote, on Jan. 17, was 48 yeas to 47 nays, with a three-fifths majority needed to end debate.

YEAS: Young R-IN; Braun R-IN

Along with roll call votes, the Senate also passed a resolution (S. Res. 19), expressing the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates the U.S. Constitution; and passed the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program Extension Act (H.R. 251), to extend by 15 months the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program of the Department of Homeland Security.

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