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Yesterday, House Republicans did one of their favorite things: attack the EPA. They did this in the form of the so-called "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act," a bill that would overturn an EPA rule aimed at redefining which streams, ponds, wetlands, and other waterways are under its Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court ordered the federal government to define its "waters of the United States" jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act in a 2001 case. The EPA has thus been working on this rule for over a decade. And Republicans, in response to industry lobbying, want to make them start all over.

Here is Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-04), who serves on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment in the House, on the dangers of the bill:

“H.R. 1732 would halt the current Clean Water rulemaking, and require the agencies to withdraw the proposed rule and restart the rulemaking process. This is after one million public comments, a 208 day comment period, and over 400 public hearings. On April 6, 2015, the EPA and the Corps forwarded a revised rule based on concerns expressed to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

“The bill would only force the agencies to meet with the same group of stakeholders and talk about the same issues that they have already discussed several times over the last fourteen years since the first Court decision. This rulemaking has been more than a decade in the development. Moreover, this bill will further perpetuate the current regulatory confusion that leads to unnecessary costs and delays, which has been the subject of much criticism from all stakeholders, and will leave many of our nation’s waters unprotected.

“This week we will also vote on the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which contains a policy rider explicitly prohibiting the Army Corps of Engineering (Corps) from spending any money to develop the very same new Clean Water rule that this bill tells the Corps to write.  From my understanding the Interior appropriations bill is expected to contain a similar rider for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Republicans try to make it sound as if all they want is for EPA and the Corps to develop rules the right way, but it’s clear that what they really want is to stop these agencies from doing their job at all – no Rules – no clean water.

“Congress must allow the Administration to finish its work and publish the final rule. If we don’t like the result, we have ample authority to fix it.  Congress has the ability to review “major” rules issued by federal agencies before the rules take effect.  In fact, the Congressional Review Act allows Congress to actually disapprove new rules, resulting in the rules having no force or effect.

“If H.R. 1732 were to be enacted, it would only ensure that the confusion continues and that these sources of drinking water remain a serious risk to the public health. That is why I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.

The bill passed 261 to 155. 24 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for it.

Here are the 24:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Jim Clyburn (SC-06)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Sean Maloney (NY-19)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
David Scott (GA-13)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Norma Torres (CA-35)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

When the GOP brought up this bill last September, it got 35 Democratic votes.

Part of this difference is due to the retirements or defeats of conservative Democrats last year.

7 Democrats who voted FOR the bill last year changed their mind and now voted against it:

Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Alcee Hastings (FL-23)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
David Loebsack (IA-02)

5 Democrats did the opposite. They voted against it last year but now voted for it.

Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Sean Maloney (NY-19)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)

Raul Ruiz (CA-36), who voted against it last year, was not in attendance this time.

Brad Ashford (NE-02) and Gwen Graham (FL-02) both replaced Republicans who had voted for the bill, and Norma Torres (CA-25) replaced a now-retired Democrat (Gloria Negrette McLeod) who had supported it.

Discuss

Earlier today, a group of 27 senators--26 Democrats plus Bernie Sanders--wrote to President Obama urging him to block federal agencies and contractors from asking job applicants about prior criminal convictions.

The "box" in the title of this diary refers to the checkbox on many job applications that asks applicants about their criminal records.

When people get out of prison, employment is key to successful reintegration into the community; however, such questions on job applications make it difficult for them to find jobs. Moreover, asking that question on an initial application runs afoul of the intent of Equal Opportunity Commission's past directives:

The Equal Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) ruling during the 1980s told employers they could refuse to hire former offenders as long as they promised to devote somber thought to the issue. The ruling takes employers’ word of honor that they’ll consider the incarcerated person’s offense(s), time elapsed since conviction and the penance they’ve served.

Modest as it is, many employers don’t even pretend to honor the EEOC’s request. The National Employment Law Project compiled hundreds of job postings that say things like “Must have no previous misdemeanors or felonies.” Such postings clearly violate EEOC’s good faith.

In the letter, the 27 senators urged the president, "We ask you to require federal contractors and agencies to refrain from asking job applicants about prior convictions until later in the hiring process...This policy would eliminate unnecessary barriers to employment for all job seekers and would give individuals re-entering the workforce the opportunity to apply for work based on their current merits rather than past wrong-doings."

Here are the 27 senators who signed:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

If you see your senator on the list, you should thank him/her. If your senator isn't on the list, then he/she deserves a call from you.

Discuss

Earlier today, a group of 150 House Democrats--led by Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), and David Price (NC-04)--sent a letter to President Obama in support of the diplomatic negotiations with Iran.

You can read the full text here:

Dear Mr. President:

As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continue, we urge you to stay on course, building on the recently announced political framework and continuing to work toward a strong and verifiable agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran that will prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. We commend you and your negotiating team, as well as our coalition partners, for the significant progress made thus far.

This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives too dire. We must exhaust every avenue toward a verifiable, enforceable, diplomatic solution in order to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely. The multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table would likely collapse, and the Iranian regime would likely decide to accelerate its nuclear program, unrestricted and unmonitored. Such developments could lead us to war.

War itself will not make us safe. A U.S. or Israeli military strike may set back Iranian nuclear development by two or three years at best—a significantly shorter timespan than that covered by a P5+1 negotiated agreement. We must pursue diplomatic means to their fullest and allow the negotiations to run their course — especially now that the parties have announced a strong framework — and continue working to craft a robust and verifiable Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by June 30.

We must allow our negotiating team the space and time necessary to build on the progress made in the political framework and turn it into a long-term, verifiable agreement. If we do not succeed, Congress will remain at-the-ready to act and present you with additional options to ensure that Iran is prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Thank you for your resolve in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. We look forward to continuing our shared work on this important matter.

The list of 150 signers (whose names were conveniently listed alphabetically at the end of the letter) actually contains only 145 voting members of Congress. Five of them are non-voting members: Madeleine Bordallo (Guam), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Pedro Pierluisi (Puerto Rico), Stacey Plaskett (U.S. Virgin Island), and Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands). Pierluisi has the status of "Resident Commissioner"; the rest are "Delegates."

With 145 voting signers and a caucus of 188 voting members, that means that 43 didn't sign the letter in support of diplomacy with Iran.

Who are the 43?

Brendan Boyle (PA-13)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Crowley (NY-14)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Ted Deutch (FL-21)
Eliot Engel (NY-16)
Lois Frankel (FL-22)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Alan Grayson (FL-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Alcee Hastings (FL-20)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Derek Kilmer (WI-06)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Sandy Levin (MI-09)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Nita Lowey (NY-17)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
Grace Meng (NY-06)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
John Sarbanes (MD-03)
Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Albio Sires (NJ-08)
Dina Titus (NV-01)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)

Discuss

On Thursday, the House voted to overturn the District's Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, which the DC City Council passed unanimously in December.

What did DC's bill do? Here's RH Reality Check:

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 amends the District’s Human Rights Act, which deals with employment discrimination, to add that an employer cannot discriminate in “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” because of an employee’s or a dependent’s “reproductive health decision making, including a decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service.
Basically, it says that a boss can't fire or retaliate against an employee if said employee is using birth control or had an abortion.

During the floor debate, DC's congressional delegate Eleanor Homes Norton sharply condemned the Republican effort to undermine the District:

"This resolution is wildly undemocratic. It is a naked violation of the nation's founding principle of local control of local affairs and is profoundly offensive to D.C. residents. This resolution uniquely targets my district, but every member will get to vote on it except for me, the District's elected representative."
The House vote to overturn the bill was 228 to 192, a mostly party line vote.

Three Democrats joined the Republicans in voting to undermine democracy in the District and workplace protections for women:

Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Thirteen Republicans, all from swing districts, voted with Democrats:

Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
Charlie Dent (PA-15)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
David Jolly (FL-13)
John Katko (NY-24)
Martha McSally (AZ-02)
Pat Meehan (PA-07)
Tom Reed (NY-23)
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
 

Discuss

Continuing with the appropriations process, the House today voted on the appropriations bill for the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, and nuclear weapons programs.

Here is what the bill would do:

H.R. 2028 appropriates $35.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies funded in the bill for FY 2016, which is $1.2 billion (3.5%) above FY 2015 levels but $633 million below the President’s request.

The measure also increases funding for the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, but makes significant cuts to funding for fossil fuels and alternative energy programs. Advanced energy research, environmental cleanup activities, nuclear non-proliferation programs, and most renewable energy programs would see flat funding or minor increases.  The Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency office is cut $266 million below FY 2015. The bill also includes numerous controversial policy riders, including three that hinder the Corps of Engineers’ ability to address water pollution under the Clean Water Act, one blocking the agencies in the bill from implementing the National Ocean Policy, and one allowing guns to be carried on all Corps of Engineers lands.

In addition to the concerns expressed above, Democratic leadership in the House urged members to vote against it because, since Congress did not yet replace sequestration cuts, the bill would require cuts in other parts of the budget:
Republicans are developing this year's spending bills based on their budget resolution’s adherence to sequester level discretionary spending caps for FY 2016, established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The two-year Ryan-Murray Bipartisan Budget Agreement to replace much of the sequester’s cuts to defense and non-defense funding has expired, limiting resources for the regular appropriations process to $1,016.6 billion for FY 2016, a funding increase of just 0.29%. Because this Energy & Water appropriations bill includes an increase larger than 0.29%, cuts to other non-defense Appropriations subcommittees’ 302(b) allocations will be necessary without an agreement to replace the sequester. At the same time, Republicans are exempting defense from the sequester by shifting $38 billion of the President’s base defense request into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) war funding account, relieving pressure to replace the sequester for non-defense priorities.
The bill ultimately passed 240 to 177.

230 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted for it. 170 Democrats and 7 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 10 Democrats:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

Here are the 7 Republicans:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Joe Heck (NV-03)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)

Over the course of yesterday and today, the House voted on numerous amendments. I included only those in which the Democratic vote was not unanimous for or against.

Fossil Fuels

Raul Ruiz (CA-36) offered an amendment to increase funding for Water and Related Resources by $5 million and to reduce funding for Fossil Energy Research and Development by $20 million.

It failed 172 to 249.

161 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted for it. 228 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 21 Democrats:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
John Larson (CT-01)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
David Price (NC-04)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Pete Visclosky (IN-01)

Here were the 11 Republicans:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Frank Guinta (NH-01)
Joe Heck (NV-03)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Reid Ribble (WI-08)
Ed Royce (CA-39)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Mimi Walters (CA-45)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

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Morgan Griffith (VA-09) offered an amendment to transfer $50 million from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Fossil Energy Research and Development.

It failed 177 to 244.

175 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it. 180 Democrats and 64 Republicans voted against it.

The two Democrats were Gene Green (TX-29) and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

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Eric Swalwell (CA-15) offered an amendment to increase funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $25,500,000 and to reduce funding for Fossil Energy by $34,000,000.

It failed 173 to 248.

164 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted for it. 230 Republicans and 18 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 18 Democrats:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
James Clyburn (SC-06)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

Here are the 9 Republicans:

Dave Brat (VA-07)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
John Katko (NY-24)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
David Reichert (WA-08)
Ed Royce (CA-39)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

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Keith Ellison (MN-05) offered an amendment to reduce funding for Fossil Energy Research and Development by $45 million and to apply the savings to the spending reduction account.

It failed 175 to 246.

133 Democrats and 42 Republicans voted for it. 197 Republican and 49 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 49 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
James Clyburn (SC-06)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Eddie Johnson (TX-30)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
John Larson (CT-01)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Ben Luján (NM-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Richard Neal (MA-01)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
David Price (NC-04)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Norma Torres (CA-35)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Pete Visclosky (IN-01)
Frederica Wislon (FL-24)

ARPA-E Funding

Eric Swalwell (CA-15) offered an amendment to increase funding for Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) by $20 million and to reduce funding for Departmental Administration by a similar amount.

It failed 202 to 219.

176 Democrats and 26 Republicans voted for it. 213 Republicans and 6 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 6 Democrats:

Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Al Green (TX-09)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Eddie  Johnson (TX-30)
Charlie Rangel (NY-13)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)

Nuclear Weapons

Mike Quigley (IL-05) offered an amendment to apply $167,050,000 to the savings reduction account for the new nuclear arm cruise missile.

It failed 164 to 257.

149 Democrats and 15 Republicans voted for it. 224 Republicans and 33 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 33 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
James Clyburn (SC-06)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Eddie  Johnson (TX-30)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Ben Luján (NM-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Terri Sewell (Al-07)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Louise Slaughter (NY-25)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Frederica Wilson (FL-24)

Here are the 15 Republicans:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Rodney Davis (IL-13)
John Duncan (TN-02)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Reid Ribble (WI-08)
Tom Rice (SC-07)
Ed Royce (CA-39)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

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John Garamendi (CA-03) offered an amendment to reduce the Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration, Weapons Activities Account by $25 million and to apply the savings to the spending reduction account.

It failed 149 to 272.

136 Democrats and 13 Republicans voted for it. 226 Republicans and 46 Democrats voted against it.

29 of the 33 Democrats who voted against the prior amendment voted against this one as well. The exceptions were Gene Green (TX-29), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Paul Tonko (NY-20), and Filemon Vela (TX-34).

Then 17 additional Democrats voted against it, bringing the net increase to 13.

Brendan Boyle (PA-13)
G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Richard Neal (MA-01)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Charlie Rangel (NY-13)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Norma Torres (CA-35)

Here are the 13 Republicans who voted for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
John Duncan (TN-02)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Reid Ribble (WI-08)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

Light Bulbs

Michael Burgess (TX-26) offered an amendment to block energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs.

It passed 232 to 189.

One Democrat—Collin Peterson (MN-07)—voted for it.

Eight Republicans voted against it:

Andy Barr (KY-06)
Larry Bucshon (IN-08)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Garret Graves (LA-06)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
David Jolly (FL-13)
Dave Reichert (WA-08)
Lee Zeldin (NY-01)


Climate Change

Keith Rothfus (PA-05) offered an amendment to prohibit use of funds to apply the report entitled "Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting Liquified Natural Gas from the United States" in any public interest determination under the Natural Gas Act.

It passed 232 to 172.

230 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it. 169 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted against it.

The two Democrats were Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Collin Peterson (MN-07).

The three Republicans were Chris Gibson (NY-19), Richard Hanna (NY-22), and Walter Jones (NC-03).

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Paul Gosar (AZ-04) offered an amendment to prohibit use of funds for the Department of Energy's Climate Model Development and Validation program.

It passed 224 to 84.

223 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted for it. 174 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted against it.

That one Democrat was Collin Peterson (MN-07).

Here are the 10 Republicans:

Bob Dold (IL-10)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
David Jolly (FL-13)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Tom MacArthur (NJ-03)
Dave Reichert (WA-08)
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Lee Zeldin (NY-01)


Overall Spending

Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) offered an amendment to reduce funding in the bill by 1 percent across-the-board.

It failed 159 to 248.

156 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted for it. 171 Democrats and 77 Republicans voted against it.

The three Democrats that voted for it were Jim Cooper (TN-05), Jim Costa (CA-16), and Jared Polis (CO-02).


Water

Tom McClintock (CA-04) offered an amendment to prohibit use of funds for the purchase of water to supplement or enhance instream water flow requirements in California.

 It passed 228 to 183.

226 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it. 174 Democrats and 9 Republicans voted against it.

The two Democrats were Jim Costa (CA-16) and Collin Peterson (MN-07).

Here are the 9 Republicans:

Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Tom Emmer (MN-06)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Pat Meehan (PA-07)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)

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Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) offered two amendments. The first one would prohibit use of funds to implement, administer, or enforce the requirement in the Code of Federal Regulations, that activities identified in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act must be established or ongoing in order to receive an exemption under the Act.

It passed 239 to 174.

229 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted for it. 169 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 10 Democrats:

Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

Here are the 5 Republicans:

Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)

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LaMalfa’s second amendment would prohibit use of funds to deliver water to the Trinity River above the minimum requirements of the Trinity Record of Decision or to supplement flows in the Klamath River.

It passed 228 to 173.

225 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted for it. 173 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted against it.

The 3 Democrats were Jim Costa (CA-16), John Garamendi (CA-03), and Collin Peterson (MN-07).

Here are the 10 Republicans:

Mo Brooks (AL-05)
Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Tom Emmer (MN-06)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)
Fred Upton (MI-06)
Greg Walden (OR-02)

Discuss

Yesterday, I wrote about the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that the House just passed.

I wanted to highlight the vote on the medical marijuana amendment in its own diary.

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) offered an amendment to allow the VA to recommend medical marijuana to patients.

It failed 210 to 213, a narrow defeat.

175 Democrats and 35 Republicans voted for it. 205 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 8 Democrats who voted against it:

Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Joe Kennedy (MA-04)
Sandy Levin (MI-09)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Here are the 35 Republicans who voted for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Dan Benishek (MI-01)
Rod Blum (IA-01)
Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)
Mike Coffman (CO-06)
Chis Collins (NY-27)
Ryan Costello (PA-06)
Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
Rodney Davis (IL-13)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Joe Heck (NV-03)
Duncan Hunter (CA-50)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Mia Love (UT-04)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Alex Mooney (WV-02)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Dan Newhouse (WA-04)
Scott Perry (PA-04)
Bruce Poliquin (ME-02)
Tom Reed (NY-23)
Tom Rice (SC-07)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Thomas Rooney (FL-17)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
David Schweikert (AZ-06)
Steve Stivers (OH-15)
Fred Upton (MI-06)
Don Young (AK-AL)
Lee Zeldin (NY-01)
Ryan Zinke (MT-AL)

This amendment fared better than it did last year, when it failed 195 to 222. Last year, 18 Democrats opposed. Now only 8 did. Last year, only 22 Republicans voted for it. Now, 35 did.

Discuss

As I noted yesterday,, the House passed its Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill and voted on a series of amendments.

I wanted to highlight the Gitmo vote in a separate diary.

Jerry Nadler (NY-10) offered an amendment to strike the language in the bill that would block the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Prison.

It failed 167 to 254.

163 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted for it. 236 Republicans and 18 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 18 Democrats who voted against it:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)

Here are the 4 Republicans who voted for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
John Duncan (TN-02)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)

Discuss

The House began voting on appropriations bills today, starting with military construction and veterans' programs.

House Republicans boosted military spending above the level of agreed-to spending caps, which would necessitate cuts elsewhere in the budget (i.e., in the social programs Republicans hate), and also moved some spending into the sequestration-exempted slush fund called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The bill would also block most releases from Guantanamo and make said prison more difficult to close.

Here is a summary from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's office:

H.R. 2029 appropriates $76.057 billion in discretionary budget authority for veterans' programs and military construction for FY 2016, which is $4.2 billion (5.9%) above FY 2015 levels….Accounting for mandatory programs, including veterans’ pensions, the measure provides a total of $171 billion in spending…Republicans are developing this year's spending bills based on their budget resolution’s adherence to sequester level discretionary spending caps for FY 2016…Because this MilCon-VA appropriations bill includes an increase larger than 0.29%, cuts to other non-defense Appropriations subcommittees’ 302(b) allocations will be necessary without an agreement to replace the sequester. At the same time, Republicans are exempting defense from the sequester by shifting $38 billion of the President’s base defense request into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) war funding account, relieving pressure to replace the sequester for non-defense priorities.
(emphasis added)

The bill passed 255 to 163.

236 Republicans and 19 Democrats voted for it. 159 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 19 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Mark Takai (HI-01)

Here are the 4 Republicans:

Jeff Denham (CA-10)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)

Before that final vote, Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) and Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) offered three amendments to strike down each section of the OCO provision mentioned above. Each one failed with a similar vote.

The first failed 191 to 229.

164 Democrats and 27 Republicans voted for it. 210 Republicans and 19 Democrats voted against it. Darrell Issa (CA-49) voted present.

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Mark Takai (HI-01)

Here are the 27 Republicans who voted for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Doug Collins (GA-09)
Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
John Duncan (TN-02)
Scott Garrett (NJ-05)
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Jim Jordan (OH-04)
Raul Labrador (ID-01)
Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Scott Perry (PA-04)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)
Matt Salmon (AZ-05)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
David Schweikert (AZ-06)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
Scott Tipton (CO-03)
Rob Woodall (GA-07)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

The second amendment failed 192 to 229. 163 Democrats and 29 Republicans voted for it. 209 Republicans and 20 Democrats voted against it. Issa again voted present.

The 19 Democrats who voted against the prior amendment also voted against Mulvaney’s. Karen Bass (CA-37), who voted for the prior amendment, voted against this one.

This amendment lost the support of Bill Posey (FL-08) and Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) but picked up the support of Mo Brooks (AL-05), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), and Bradley Walker (NC-06).

The third amendment failed 190 to 231. 161 Democrats and 29 Republicans voted for it. 210 Republicans and 21 Democrats voted against it. Issa again voted present.

Henry Cuellar (TX-28), who voted for the prior two amendments, voted against this one.

The House also voted down amendments on medical marijuana and Guantanamo, but I will address them in separate diaries.

Discuss

On Friday, in a conference call with reporters, President Obama accused Democratic critics of fast tracking the TPP of being "dishonest," particularly with regard to their claims that the deal is "secret." The day before, he compared his liberal critics to Sarah Palin and others who spoke of "death panels" in the Affordable Care Act. He has also accused critics like Elizabeth Warren of having their "facts" wrong.

Earlier today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) responded to the president's criticism by noting that if he wants the American people to judge the TPP based on the facts, then he should let them see it and allow members of Congress to talk with their constituents about it.

April 25, 2015

Mr. President:

This week, you said that the American people should look at the facts of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) before taking a position on it. We agree. We write to request that you promptly declassify the latest bracketed negotiating text of the TPP and release it publicly before asking Congress to vote on “fast track” authority to facilitate the TPP’s ratification.

In recent remarks, you suggested that critics of the TPP are “dishonest” when we claim that the TPP is a “secret deal.” Even though negotiations over the TPP are largely complete, your Administration has deemed the draft text of the agreement classified and kept it hidden from public view, thereby making it a secret deal.

As a result of your Administration’s decision, it is currently illegal for the press, experts, advocates, or the general public to review the text of this agreement. And while you noted that Members of Congress may “walk over ... and read the text of the agreement” -- as we have done -- you neglected to mention that we are prohibited by law from discussing the specifics of that text in public.

While experts, the public, and the press are not allowed to review the latest draft of the TPP, executives of the country’s biggest corporations and their lobbyists already have had significant opportunities not only to read it, but to shape its terms. The Administration’s 28 trade advisory committees on different aspects of the TPP have a combined 566 members, and 480 of those members, or 85%, are senior corporate executive or industry lobbyists. Many of the advisory committees—including those on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles and clothing, and services and finance—are made up entirely of industry representatives.

Because the negotiations are largely complete, there is no reason the TPP must remain secret from the American people before Congress votes on fast track authority. In 2001, President George W. Bush made public a draft of the scrubbed bracketed text of the Free Trade Area of the Americans (“FTAA”) agreement several months before Congress granted partial fast track authority to facilitate ratification of that deal. At the time of the public release of the text, then-U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick noted that the release would “make international trade and its economic and social benefits more understandable to the public,” and would “increase public awareness and support for the FTAA.”

What was true then remains true now. The American people should be allowed to weigh in on the facts of the TPP before Members of Congress are asked to voluntarily reduce our ability to amend, shape, or block any trade deal. The press and the public should be allowed to examine the details that corporate executives and lobbyists have already been allowed to influence for years. Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules. Before the Congress votes to facilitate the adoption of the TPP, the American people should be allowed to see for themselves whether it’s a good deal for them.

We have an additional concern: the fast track legislation currently under consideration goes far beyond the TPP. Fast track, as currently written, would preclude Congress from amending or filibustering any trade agreement submitted to this Congress or any future Congress—potentially through 2021. If passed, this legislation would grease the skids for approval of any additional trade agreements that might be advanced through the next two presidencies. While we hope that future Presidents and future Congresses will share our values, no one knows who will be using this authority once you leave office.

We understand that people may disagree about the risks and benefits associated with a massive trade deal. We respectfully suggest that characterizing the assessments of labor unions, journalists, Members of Congress, and others who disagree with your approach to transparency on trade issues as “dishonest” is both untrue and unlikely to serve the best interests of the American people. We write in the hope that we can work together to open this process up to the American people to achieve your goal of letting them judge the facts for themselves.

Discuss

On Wednesday night, the Senate Finance Committee voted to advance the trade promotion authority, or fast track, bill 20 to 6. 7 Democrats voted for it and 5 against it.

Thursday night, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to advance fast track authority. As to be expected, House Democrats were more hostile to corporate-negotiated trade deals than Senate Democrats. The bill passed out of committee 25 to 13; however, only two Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for it.

Who were the two Democrats who voted against workers and the enivronment?

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Ron Kind (WI-03)

And which 13 Democrats voted NO in committee?

Sandy Levin (MI-09)
Charlie Rangel (NY-13)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
John Lewis (GA-05)
Richard Neal (MA-01)
Xavier Becerra (CA-34)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
John Larson (CT-01)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Joseph Crowley (NY-14)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Linda Sanchez (CA-38)

Discuss

Yesterday, the House voted 307 to 116 to pass the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, a surveillance bill dressed up like a cybersecurity bill.

Today, the House passed another "cybersecurity" bill: the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015.

This bill is similar to the bill passed yesterday (You can click the link above for a description of that one):

The second bill, which recently advanced out of the Homeland Security Committee on a voice vote, is similar to the cyber-networks bill, but it would use the Department of Homeland Security as an intermediary for sharing the electronic information. In return, companies would get protection from civil suits brought by consumers who think the information sharing violates privacy laws.
Today's bill passed 355 to 63.

220 Republicans and 135 Democrats voted for it. 44 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 44 Democrats who voted against it:

Karen Bass (CA-37)
Xavier Becerra (CA-34)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Bob Brady (PA-01)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Judy Chu (CA-27)
David Cicilline (RI-01)
Katherine Clark (MA-05)
John Conyers (MI-13)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Ted Deutch (FL-21)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Donna Edwards (MD-04)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Alan Grayson (FL-09)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
Eddie B. Johnson (TX-30)
John Larson (CT-01)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Ted Lieu (CA-33)
Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Jim McGovern (MA-02)
Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Mark Pocan (WI-02)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
John Sarbanes (MD-03)
Jose Serrano (NY-15)
Louise Slaughter (NY-25)
Mark Takano (CA-41)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Niki Tsongas (MA-03)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Maxine Waters (CA-43)
Pete Welch (VT-AL)
John Yarmuth (KY-03)

And here are the 19 Republicans:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Dave Brat (VA-07)
Jim Bridenstine (OK-01)
Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
John Fleming (LA-04)
Scott Garrett (NJ-05)
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)
Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
Tom Graves (GA-14)
Frank Guinta (NH-01)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Darrell Issa (CA-49)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Jim Jordan (OH-04)
Raul Labrador (ID-01)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Alex Mooney (WV-02)
Matt Salmon (AZ-05)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)

With two exceptions, all of the 63 also voted against the bill yesterday as well. Those exceptions were Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) (who was not there) and Scott Garrett (NJ-05) (who voted for the bill).

Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Frank Pallone (NJ-06), who both voted against yesterday's bill, were not present today.

Discuss

After a long mark-up period, the Senate Finance Committee took its final vote on the trade promotion authority, or "fast track," bill that Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) had negotiated.

As I'm sure you all already know, fast track authority means that Congress hands over any rights to amend a trade deal, giving carte blanche to the president. This is a bad move on the simple ground that trade deals have a strong impact on domestic policy. It is even a worse move when one sees what is being negotiated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) right now.

The Senate Finance Committee vote was 20 to 6.

7 Democrats and 13 Republicans voted for it.

Who were the 7 Democrats?

Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mark Warner (D-VA)

5 Democrats and 1 Republican voted against it.

That lone Republican was Richard Burr (R-NC).

The 5 Democrats were the following:

Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA)

Discuss
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