Here’s how local members of the U.S. House were recorded on major votes during the legislative week of Feb. 6. (The House will be in recess next week.) See the nonpartisan VoteFacts.com for more information on top congressional issues and individual voting records. Click here for previous votes.

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 Foreign Travelers

Voting 227 for and 201 against, the House on Feb. 8 passed a bill (HR 185) that would immediately terminate a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement that airline travelers from abroad show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the U.S. The bill would prevent any similar mandates in the future. The Biden administration plans to lift national COVID emergency declarations on May 11 while retaining the foreign travelers’ vaccine requirement.

Nicholas Langworthy (R-N.Y.): ”Life has returned to normal across the country. Yet despite the world moving on from the pandemic, this administration persists in retaining an unnecessary vaccination requirement for those visiting the United States…. It is time that we acknowledge that these vaccine mandates do not definitively stop the spread of COVID. It is time for Congress to act where this administration refuses and finally end this mandate.”

Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.): “This is just the latest bill inspired by anti-vax conspiracy theories that has been rushed to the floor…. It is dangerous to repeatedly mislead the public about the efficacy of these vaccines that are proven to save lives. This bill increases the risk of spreading new variants, just as hospitals and public health infrastructure are trying to rebuild. Once again, an extremist fringe is putting politics over science and undermining public health experts.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Democratic-led Senate, where it was likely to fail.

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

Protecting Hospitals from COVID Overloads

Voting 208 for and 220 against, the House on Feb. 8 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to prevent HR 185 (above) from becoming law until after the Department of Health and Human Services certifies it would not contribute to U.S. healthcare staffing shortages, diminish bed capacity in American hospitals or otherwise reduce national healthcare resources.

Dr. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.): “This bill is a political stunt. It has no basis in science. It fails to recognize the reality that our hospitals are facing right now and that any one of us might face if a loved one needs a hospital bed and that bed is not available. Please leave public health decisions to public health professionals.”

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa): “I am a doctor, and unlike my colleague on the other side of the aisle, I am also a former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, so I am speaking for public health. The vast majority of Americans are either vaccinated or have natural immunity. There is no recognition of natural immunity by continuing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for travelers into the United States.”

A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.

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

Affirming Non-COVID Vaccination of Foreign Travelers

Voting 210 for and 220 against, the House on Feb. 8 refused to stipulate that none of the provisions of HR 185 (above) would limit the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to impose vaccination requirements against diseases other than COVID-19 on foreigners seeking to enter the U.S. by air travel. The CDC now has such requirements in place and its authority to do so is facing court challenges.

Jim McGovern (D-Mass.): “All we are saying is the CDC should continue to have the authority…to demand that visitors to the United States show proof of vaccination for diseases other than COVID. It is not complicated. It is not a radical idea. We already require multiple vaccines for people who are immigrating or seeking refuge in this country for diseases like smallpox, polio, measles and mumps. Why? Because they work.”

Thomas Massie (R-Ky.): “It has not been established that the CDC has this authority…. The intent of this bill is to eliminate a presidential order about a COVID vaccine for international travelers. There is no need for us to try and give the CDC additional authority. In fact, the bill is quiet on whether they have this authority, and that is a subject that is being debated in the courts right now.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Pre-departure COVID Testing in China

The House on Feb. 8 voted 426 for and eight against to stipulate that none of the provisions of HR 185 (above) would change a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement that aircraft travelers from the People’s Republic of China receive a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before flying to or entering the U.S.

John Rose (R-Tenn.): “Because we can’t trust the Chinese government to be transparent and honest about the scope of their current COVID crisis, we must take appropriate precautions. Continuing to test travelers from China is essential to our national safety.”

No member spoke against the amendment. A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Nullifying D.C. Law on Voting Rights

Voting 260 for and 182 against, the House on Feb. 9 adopted a resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 24) that would nullify a 2022 District of Columbia law that qualifies non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants, to vote in the local elections if they have lived in D.C. for at least 30 days. Under the 1973 District of Columbia Home Rule Act, the federal territory has limited authority to run its own affairs but must receive congressional approval of laws passed by the city council such as this one.

Nicholas Langworthy (R-N.Y.): The law violates “the core idea of what it means to be a citizen of this great country. America is not a geographic expression where the concept of citizenship and sovereignty is meaningless or relative. We are a sovereign nation and a sovereign people. It is Congress’ right and responsibility to step in and right a wrong that threatens one of the pillars of our democracy — the right of citizens to vote.”

Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.): “There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits noncitizens from voting in local, state or federal elections…. Currently, there are at least 15 municipalities that permit noncitizens to vote in local elections. They do so in recognition of the fact that noncitizens, who are allowed to vote under such local laws, pay a variety of state, local, and federal taxes, and they have an inherent interest in helping to shape policies in the communities where they live.”

A yes vote was to send the measure to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.

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

Nullifying Revised D.C. Criminal Code

Voting 250 for and 173 against, the House on Feb. 9 adopted a resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 26) that would nullify a District of Columbia law designed to bring the city’s 122-year-old criminal code into the 21st Century. The overhaul has drawn criticism over provisions that scale back mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for violent crimes and grant the right to a jury trial for a range of misdemeanor offenses. Scheduled to take effect in 2025, the proposed code was drafted by a nonpartisan commission of legal experts over five years in a public process. The revision was enacted by the city council over the veto of Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.): “The Constitution grants Congress the authority to ‘exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such District.’ But we don’t just have a constitutional obligation to stop this soft-on-crime bill from becoming law, we also have a moral obligation to protect America’s safety and security in our nation’s capital city…. Clearly, crime after crime is on the rise here in D.C., yet the D.C. council’s bill will only make matters worse.”

Jamie Raskin (D-Md.): Rep. Clyde “invoked a couple of crimes in Washington, D.C., including one in the Metro. He didn’t talk about the hundreds of crimes that were committed here at the Capitol, in Congress, in Washington, D.C., because he viewed the events of Jan. 6 as akin to a ‘normal tourist visit.’ Now he dares to lecture the people of Washington, D.C., about keeping Washington, D.C., safe.”

A yes vote was to send the measure to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.

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

Condemning Chinese Balloon Incursion

On a unanimous vote of 419 for and none against, the House on Feb. 9 adopted a non-binding resolution (H Res 104) denouncing “the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a high-altitude surveillance balloon over United States territory as a brazen violation of United States sovereignty.” The spy balloon traversed several states from west to east for a week or longer before being downed on Feb. 4 by an Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet off the South Carolina coast.

Michael McCaul (R-Texas): The incident is “further proof that the [Chinese Communist Party] does not care about having a constructive relationship with the United States. It is publicly challenging U.S. interests, threatening Taiwan, supporting Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and now violating U.S. sovereignty.”

Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.): “It is now up to Beijing to demonstrate, not just to the United States but to the world, that it is serious about respecting international rules and law, and that it is genuine about stabilizing relations with the United States.”

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

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

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Thomas is the editor of VoteFacts.com, a nonprofit news service, and has been accredited since 1973 by the U.S. House and Senate daily press galleries. VoteFacts.com is a nonpartisan, fact-based site whose mission is to help civic-minded individuals track the most consequential and newsworthy issues debated in the U.S. House and Senate. The Highlands Current subscribes to the VoteFacts.com service.