Roll Call for Oct. 27
Here’s how New Hampshire’s House members voted on major issues in the week ending Friday. The Senate was in recess.
CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROJECTS: Voting 417 for and three against, the House on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 3080) to guide the development of more than 700 of Army Corps of Engineers projects budgeted at $60 billion for purposes such as flood control, shoreline protection, river navigation, harbor dredging, lock and dam maintenance and environmental restoration. The bill authorizes $8.2 billion over 10 years for new projects, cancels at least $12 billion worth of inactive projects, bars earmarks and fast-tracks environmental reviews under laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act.
Rep. Daniel Webster, a Florida Republican, said the bill “reforms federal bureaucracy, but it also is fiscally responsible. We all know that our nation . . . oftentimes spends money haphazardly without a plan and without restraint. This bill does not.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, said: “Repairing our nation’s aging infrastructure, including our water infrastructure, is the best jobs program out there. The resulting economic benefits will ripple from our ports to Main Street America.”
No member spoke against the bill.
A yes vote was to send the bill to conference with a similar Senate bill.
Voting yes: Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, both Democrats.
ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW STANDARDS: Voting 183 for and 236 against, the House on Wednesday refused to require standard rather than fast-track environmental reviews of water projects authorized by HR 3080 (above). The amendment sought to delay the bill’s easing of environmental requirements until the existing $60 billion backlog of unfinished projects has been reduced to $20 billion. Debate centered on whether reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act have helped cause the current backlog.
Supporters of this amendment attributed project delays to inadequate funding by Congress rather than environmental hurdles, while foes said environmental reviews have been drawn-out and cumbersome.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat, said: “Clearly, complying with NEPA and other environmental and public-participation requirements is not the reason we have a backlog of projects worth billions of dollars.”
Rep. Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said: “Streamlining environmental reviews is an essential reform, and I believe it will help to reduce backlogs.”
A yes vote was to require normal rather than expedited environmental reviews of water projects.
Voting yes: Shea-Porter, Kuster.
OCEAN PLANNING GUIDELINES: Voting 225 for and 193 against, the House on Wednesday barred the Army Corps of Engineers from advancing administration guidelines for the stewardship of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources. The GOP amendment was added to HR 3080 (above). The guidelines were issued in 2010 in the form of a non-binding executive order. They seek to harmonize conflicting commercial, noncommercial and recreational uses of marine resources while protecting the health and biological diversity of ecosystems. In part, the guidelines promote “coastal and marine spatial planning,” which critics call “ocean zoning.”
Amendment sponsor Rep. Bill Flores, a Texas Republican, said the guidelines “have the potential to change permitting criteria and regulatory requirements for a large number of economic sectors, including maritime shipping and inland river transportation.”
Rep. Sam Farr, a California Democrat, said the amendment “goes back to the Dark Ages. It goes back to the Flat Earth opinion about ocean planning, which is: ‘Don’t do it.’ ”
A yes vote was to disregard administration guidelines for managing ocean and Great Lakes resources.
Voting no: Shea-Porter, Kuster.
Key votes ahead
This week, the House will take up bills to ease derivatives regulations and govern brokers and investment advisers in their dealings with noninstitutional investors.