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Roll Call: Oct. 20, 2013

Last modified: 10/20/2013 12:17:01 AM
By Voterama in Congress

Here’s how New Hampshire members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Friday.


Deal to open government, pay debt: Voting 285 for and 144 against, the House on Wednesday sent President Obama a bill (HR 2775) to fund all federal agencies on a stopgap basis, raise the $16.7 trillion national debt limit and end a fiscal and political impasse that had crippled the U.S. government since Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The bill funds the entire government through Jan. 15 at a sequester-level rate of $986 billion annually and authorizes Treasury borrowing through Feb. 7 to meet U.S. financial obligations. The bill also requires a House-Senate conference committee to produce by Dec. 13 a long-term budget blueprint that sets discretionary spending limits and revenue targets and recommends fiscal policies. Additionally, the bill requires the administration to take further steps to verify the incomes of individuals and households applying for subsidies to buy health insurance in Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Rep. Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said: “This vote has been portrayed as an opportunity for new spending. The difficulty with that argument is that this is . . . about paying our bills and for debts incurred. This . . . is a vote about paying for the war in Iraq, which I opposed, but still believe it has to be paid for.”

Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, said: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we depend on financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policy.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the White House.

Voting yes: Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, both Democrats.

INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES: Voting 233 for and 160 against, the House on Monday passed a Republican measure (HJ Res 80) to fully fund and thus reopen the Indian Health Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education during a partial government shutdown then in its 14th day. This stopgap appropriation sought to fund these agencies for Native Americans at sequestration levels through Dec. 15.

This was the 14th and final bill passed by House Republicans since Oct. 1 to fund specific agencies or programs while leaving the remainder of the government closed. The Democratic-led Senate shelved all of these piecemeal measures on grounds that the entire government deserved to be reopened.

Rep. Ken Calvert, a California Republican, said: “Indian Country was already experiencing significant challenges before the shutdown,” and now “Native American tribes across the nation are facing even more uncertainty.”

Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, called the bill “well-intended” but “an attempted Band-Aid to hide the real problem, which is the government is shut down. We need to open it.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was shelved.

Voting no: Shea-Porter.

Not voting: Kuster.


DEAL TO END SHUTDOWN, RAISE DEBT CAP: Voting 81 for and 18 against, the Senate on Wednesday sent the House a bill (HR 2775, above) to end a 16-day partial closure of federal agencies and avert a U.S. debt default the next day or soon thereafter. In addition to provisions noted above, the bill authorizes $350 million for rebuilding roads and bridges in flooded areas of Colorado, retroactively pays the salaries of an estimated 800,000 civil servants furloughed during the shutdown and approves a $174,000 death benefit for the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat. The bill also provides $3.1 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, a panel established in 2004 to protect citizens’ rights against intrusions by post-9/11 laws such as the USA Patriot Act. Additionally, the bill authorizes $2.2 billion to advance the Olmsted Locks and Dam navigation project on the lower Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said the partial government shutdown “brought a whole lot of anxiety and pain to tens and tens of millions of Americans. Why? Because over in the House, we had a handful of right-wing extremists who decided they were going to hold hostage the American government unless they were able to defund Obamacare.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said: “I know of no one in my party who supported shutting down the government. On the contrary, we argued that we should fund the entire government except for one thing, Obamacare. . . . But the Democrats took the position that either we fund Obamacare or we fund nothing at all.”

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

Voting yes: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, and Kelly Ayotte, a Republican.

Key votes ahead

The House schedule for the week of Oct. 21 was to be announced. The Senate is in recess until the week of Oct. 28.


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