Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Area Votes in Congress

WASHINGTON - Here is how area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:


Cross-border pipeline approvals. Voting 238-173, the House on Tuesday passed a bill (HR 3301) to weaken environmental reviews of cross-border pipeline projects between the United States and Canada or Mexico. Backers said the bill would not affect the pending application for U.S. approval of the Keystone XL pipeline carrying tar-sands crude from Canada through the U.S. But critics said it would allow any rejected Keystone application to be resubmitted under relaxed environmental standards.

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

Voting yes: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.).

Not voting: Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.).

Protection of Great Lakes, Ogallala Aquifer. By a vote of 185-227, the House on Tuesday refused to bar approvals of oil pipelines under HR 3301 (above) that could rupture and spill toxic chemicals into the Great Lakes or the Ogallala Aquifer beneath South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

A yes vote was to protect Great Lakes and Great Plains water resources against underground pipeline spills.

Voting yes: Brady, Carney, Cartwright, and Schwartz.

Voting no: Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Not voting: Fitzpatrick.

Curbs on financial regulation. Voting 265-144, the House on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill (HR 4413) that would renew the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through fiscal 2018, curb its regulatory powers, add investor protections, and increase the national debt by $948 million over five years. An independent agency, the CFTC oversees derivatives markets as well as futures trading in farm commodities, oil and natural gas.

A yes vote was to reauthorize the CFTC with weakened regulatory powers.

Voting yes: Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Voting no: Brady, Carney, Cartwright, and Schwartz.

Not voting: Fitzpatrick.

Expedited natural-gas exports. Voting 266-150, the House on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 6) requiring prompt Department of Energy (DOE) action on applications from U.S. firms to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries in Europe and elsewhere with which America does not have a free-trade agreement. The bill requires the department to issue a final decision within 30 days after environmental reviews have been completed.

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

Voting yes: Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Voting no: Brady, Carney, Cartwright, and Schwartz.

Outer Continental Shelf drilling. Voting 229-185, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 4899) authorizing oil and gas exploration in expanses of the Outer Continental Shelf offshore from Southern California, Virginia, and South Carolina where drilling is banned for primarily environmental reasons. The OCS usually begins three-to-nine nautical miles from the U.S. shoreline and reaches outward for at least 200 nautical miles. Now awaiting Senate action, this bill also would open Bureau of Land Management properties in the West to oil and gas drilling.

A yes vote backed Outer Continental Shelf and Bureau of Land Management drilling.

Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Meehan, and Pitts.

Voting no: Brady, Carney, Cartwright, Fattah, LoBiondo, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.


Streamlined job training. Voting 95-3, the Senate on Wednesday approved a House-passed bill (HR 803) to consolidate dozens of federal programs for job training, adult education, and literacy education into a single, broad-based workforce program to be administered by the states as they see fit rather than by Washington. The bill is a five-year renewal of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to be funded at $6 billion or more annually through block grants controlled by governors.

A yes vote was to send the job-training bill back to the House.

Voting yes: Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

Ahead. Both chambers are in Independence Day recess until the week of July 7.

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