How They Voted (Congress)

Here’s how local members of the U.S. House were recorded on major votes during the legislative week that ended Feb. 3. See the nonpartisan for more information on top congressional issues and individual voting records.

Mike LawlerMichael Lawler (R), District 17 (including Philipstown)
Lawler, 36, was elected to Congress in 2022. From 2021 to 2022, he was a Republican member of the state Assembly from the 97th district in Rockland County. A graduate of Suffern High School, he holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Manhattan College. He is a former  director of the state Republican Party and former deputy town supervisor of Orangetown.

Pat RyanPat Ryan (D), District 18 (including Beacon)
Ryan, 40, was elected to Congress in 2022. Formerly the county executive of Ulster, he grew up in Kingston and holds a bachelor’s degree in international politics from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown. Ryan served in the U.S. Army as a combat intelligence officer from 2004 to 2009, including two tours in Iraq. He is also a former technology executive.

Ending Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

Voting 227-203, the House on Jan. 31 passed a bill (HR 497) that would immediately terminate a federal mandate that healthcare workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-funded hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, surgery centers and other treatment facilities be vaccinated against COVID -19. The directive by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid was put into effect in September 2021 and upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2022. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Democratic-led Senate, where it was likely to fail.

Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) said “the Biden administration’s authoritarian COVID-19 vaccine mandate on our dedicated medical professionals is an absolute abuse of power. It is an attack on the personal freedoms of our frontline workers and it has certainly unnecessarily exacerbated the healthcare workforce shortage. This bears repeating: We are not anti-vaccine. We are anti-mandate.”

Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said “COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they have been essential to saving lives, rebuilding our economy, and protecting the health of our communities. More than 668 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered here in the United States, which has resulted in 120 million fewer COVID–19 infections, 18.5 million fewer hospitalizations, and 3.2 million lives saved.”

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted yes
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon) voted no

Rejecting Democrats’ Abortion Bill

Voting 210-219, the House on Jan. 31 defeated a motion by Democrats that sought to replace HR 497 (above) with the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill passed by the House but not the Senate in the previous Congress. The bill would establish a right in federal law for women to receive abortions and for healthcare providers to administer them notwithstanding restrictions imposed by states under the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling in June 2022, which overturned Roe v. Wade and returned control of abortions to the states. A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.

Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) said the GOP bill “is nonsense and would expose patients to unnecessary risk, all because Republicans are trying to score political points. That is why my motion to recommit would strike this bill and insert the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that would actually keep the American people safe and healthy.” No member spoke against the motion.

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted no
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted yes

Revoking COVID Emergency Declarations

Voting 220-210, the House on Jan. 31 passed a bill (HR 382) that would immediately cancel two COVID-19 emergency declarations that were put into effect by the Trump administration in 2020 and renewed 12 times by the Biden administration. The day before this vote, President Biden announced he would revoke the declarations on May 11, 2023. They have expanded social programs including food stamps; required Medicare Advantage to reimburse COVID patients for out-of-network treatments; raised Medicare reimbursements to hospitals; expanded telemedicine; and required Medicare, Medicaid and most private plans to provide free or low-cost COVID vaccinations, testing and therapeutic care to millions of Americans.

In addition, ending the emergencies would remove up to 15 million individuals from Medicaid in certain states that have agreed to boost Medicaid enrollment in exchange for increased federal matching funds. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Democratic-led Senate, where it was likely to fail.

Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) said his bill “sends a loud and clear message to President Biden: The American people are tired of living in a perpetual state of emergency, and it is long overdue for Congress to take back the authorities granted under Article I of the Constitution.”

Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) asked: “Why are we spending time abruptly ending this declaration, which is going to end in three months anyway, when we could have instead had a serious conversation about making this as smooth a transition as possible?”

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted yes
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted no

Protecting COVID Medicare Benefits

Voting 210-220, the House on Jan. 31 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to ensure there would be no immediate cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals or reductions in Medicare coverage for seniors if HR 382 (above) became law. A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.

Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) asked: “What would an instant cut to the social safety-net mean for Medicare beneficiaries and their families? The American family could face an abrupt increase in costs and decrease in care. What would this mean for your local hospital back home? Hospitals could see a cut of 20 percent for care of COVID patients.” No member spoke against the motion.

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted no
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted yes

Scaling Back Federal Teleworking

Voting 221-206, the House on Feb. 1 passed a bill (HR 139) that would roll back policies that have allowed as many as 75 percent of civil servants in most agencies and departments to telework from home as a protection against COVID-19. The bill requires federal workplaces to return to 2019 telework levels within 30 days. If an agency or department wishes to continue pandemic-level teleworking, it would have to obtain an Office of Personnel Management waiver that would be subject to congressional review. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Democratic-led Senate, where it was likely to fail.

Pat Fallon (R-Texas) said: “It is important to stress that this bill is not some radical notion. We are not ending all telework. We are just snapping back to 2019 pre-pandemic levels and ensuring a reasonable pathway for agencies to retain telework employees and, under the right conditions, allow for expansion of telework. The bottom line is the pandemic is over.”

Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) said: “Federal telework participation rates have already decreased substantially…. The most recent telework survey showed that 47 percent of federal employees teleworked in the last fiscal year, but the fact remains that increased availability of telework is here to stay in the private as well as the public sectors.”

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted yes
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted no

Removing Ilhan Omar from House Committee

Voting 218-211, the House on Feb. 2 adopted a resolution (H Res 76) that removed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. She joined the panel in 2019. She is the first Somali-American and naturalized citizen of African birth to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in the House, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich).

Citing Omar’s remarks on subjects such as Israel and the 9/11 attacks, and noting that she once equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban in a discussion war crimes, the resolution asserted Omar has “disqualified herself from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a panel that is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national security.” In response, Omar said: “I didn’t come to Congress to be silent…. So take your vote or not, I am here to stay and I am here to be a voice against the harms around the world and advocate for a better world.” A yes vote was to remove Omar from the committee.

Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.) said: “Individuals who hold such hateful views should rightly be barred from that type of committee. Words matter. Rhetoric matters. It leads to harm, and so the congresswoman is being held accountable for her words and her actions.”

Kathleen Clark (D-Mass.) asked: “How can [Republicans] talk about integrity and honor as they empower the most extreme voices in their party? As they claim due process has been added in when there is none [for Omar]? As they promote conspiracy theories, as they stack some of our most critical committees with election deniers? It is too late to inject integrity into this sham process, but we, as members, can inject our own by voting ‘no’ on this resolution.”

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted yes
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted no

House Condemnation of Socialism

Voting 328-86, the House on Feb. 2 adopted a resolution (H Con Res 9) condemning “the horrors of socialism.” The non-binding measure states, in part: “Whereas the United States of America was founded on the belief in the sanctity of the individual, to which the collectivistic system of socialism in all of its forms is fundamentally and necessarily opposed… Be it resolved… that Congress denounces socialism in all its forms and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.” Democratic critics cited programs such as veterans’ health care, Medicare and Social Security that could fall under the bill’s definition of socialism. A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

Alexander Mooney (R-W.Va.) said: “As President Donald Trump said right here in this chamber in his State of the Union speech: ‘America will never be a socialist country.’ America must never give up on our God-given rights. We must fight against socialism and for the American Dream. When the government takes away your rights and freedoms, as the socialist and communist countries want to do, they never give them back. Every American should feel blessed to have been born in this country where we are free. Let’s protect our freedoms.”

Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said: “With this resolution, Republicans demonize Social Security, on which more than 46 million retirees rely today. Republicans demonize Medicare, which has saved the lives of countless Americans. Republicans demonize many other federal programs, including benefits offered to our nation’s veterans. Harry Truman was right when he said that: ‘Socialism is a scare word that [Republicans] have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.’ “

Michael Lawler (R-17, including Philipstown) voted yes
Pat Ryan (D-18, including Beacon), voted yes

U.S. Senate

Confirming Director of Peace Institute

Voting 60-37, the Senate on Feb. 2 confirmed Joseph Lee Falk for a four-year term on the board of the United States Institute of Peace. Falk worked most recently with the lobbying and public-affairs firm of Akerman LLP. He is a board member of the national LGBTQ Victory Fund and past president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. A federal agency with more than 300 employees and an annual budget of $55 million, the peace institute operates domestically and in war zones, conducting research, educational programs and mediations intended to prevent and defuse global conflicts. The agency was signed into law by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted yes
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) voted yes

2 thoughts on “How They Voted (Congress)

  1. Michael Lawler has hit the Republican trifecta in voting to oust Ilhan Omar from her committee assignment. It is at once anti-woman, anti-non-white and anti-non-Christian. What it also vividly demonstrates is the closed mind of the Republican establishment. After all what possible benefit could there be from having a Muslim woman, born in Somalia, participating on the Foreign Relations Committee? I am sure that the Republicans like Mr. Lawler have seen enough of the world on their spring break trips to Cancun or the package tour to seven European capitals in 10 days, meals included, to dispense with annoying the input of anyone else.

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