Here’s how local members of the U.S. House were recorded on major votes during the legislative week of March 10. See the nonpartisan 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.

Removing Troops from Syria

Voting 103 for and 321 against, the House on March 8 defeated legislation (H Con Res 21) that would require the removal of U.S. troops from Syria, where they have been fighting the Islamic state since 2014. The measure called for departure within six months under the post-Vietnam War Powers Act of 1973, which limits presidential authority to station combat forces abroad for long periods without a congressional declaration of war.

The current authority for U.S. actions in the Middle East is the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which Congress approved in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Fewer than 1,000 U.S. troops reportedly are based in Syria.

Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.): Turkey, Russia and Syria “having every incentive to create pressure on ISIS, I do not believe that what stands between a caliphate and not a caliphate are the 900 Americans who have been sent to this hellscape with no definition of victory, with no clear objective…purely existing as a vestige to the regime-change failed foreign policies of multiple former [U.S.] presidents.”

Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) “ISIS once held territory the size of Great Britain, but thanks to our ongoing efforts, it no longer does. A complete withdrawal of U.S. forces, however, will have the same disastrous consequences as our rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan…. Without U.S. Forces in Syria, our enemies will return; they will regrow; and they will come after our allies and, potentially, the United States.”

A yes vote was to end America’s military presence in Syria.

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

Addressing Speech on Facebook, Twitter

Voting 219 for and 206 against, the House on March 9 passed a bill (HR 140) that would impose civil penalties on any federal employee who uses their official authority to curb lawful speech on social media platforms. The bill would do so by expanding the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity during working hours.

Debate cited instances of the FBI and intelligence agencies warning social media about malicious foreign postings or seeking to block them or ask for disclaimers. Republicans said such interventions curb the free speech of their constituents, while Democrats said they protect America against the continued spread of anti-democracy Russian and Chinese propaganda.

The bill requires security agencies to delay interventions for 72 hours after the apparently dangerous information surfaces, except that postings can be immediately confronted if they contain classified material or information about child pornography and human or drug trafficking.

James Comer (R-Ky.): “Biden administration officials have publicly called upon and privately coordinated with private-sector social media companies to ban specific accounts viewed as politically inconvenient….Whether an ordinary citizen or an established media organization, all Americans have a right to utilize these new and powerful communication technology resources to share their views and opinions without Uncle Sam putting his thumb on the scale to tilt the debate in one direction.”

Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.): The bill “welcomes the same kind of election interference that we know Russia did in 2016 and that they continue to do today. Just like Donald Trump sided with Vladimir Putin over our intelligence communities in Helsinki in 2018, this bill and the Republicans who are sponsoring this bill are siding with Russia and Vladimir Putin over our national security apparatus and our law enforcement.”

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

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

Bolstering Law Enforcement and National Security

Voting 204 for and 218 against, the House on March 9 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to keep HR 140 (above) from taking effect until after law enforcement agency and intelligence agencies certify to Congress it would not impair their lawful mission to combat domestic terrorism or speech that incites violence or is discriminatory.

Greg Landsman (D-Ohio): “We must be clear-eyed about pro-Putin propaganda and who and why some … are promoting his will. Why are we being asked to ban American officials from trying to stop propaganda from foreign adversaries like Putin? Why are some proposing we leave Syria, which Putin wants? Why is the call to abandon Ukraine continuing to emerge from some members? Remember, Hitler did this. He used Americans to spread his propaganda, and it cost millions their lives. Putin is doing the same thing.”

John Rose (R-Tenn.): “Our Founding Fathers fought hard to enshrine the right to free speech in our Constitution. As social media companies and ‘Big Tech’ corporations collude with rogue federal officials to censor and deplatform members of our free society — including members of Congress and other conservative voices — we must continue to do everything we can to fight to protect the First Amendment for everyone.” The bill “is a victory against the modern-day attacks on our freedom….”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

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

Repealing Clean Water Rule

The House on March 9 voted, 227 for and 198 against, to kill a new Biden administration rule stipulating that the 1972 Clean Water Act protects headwaters, wetlands and other waters upstream of the navigable waters directly covered by the half-century-old act. The rule would exempt non-navigable waters historically used in farming.

Proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers, the “Waters of the United States Rule” is scheduled to take effect March 20, replacing a Trump administration rule that only lightly regulates non-navigable waters. This vote adopted a resolution (HJ Res 27) that would repeal the rule.

Harriet  Hageman (R-Wyo.): “The feds have far exceeded their authority under the Clean Water Act and have expanded on the scope and intent of the original law by redefining what is a navigable water of the United States…. In many instances, these new and punitive regulations are a de facto taking of private property. Wyoming farmers, ranchers, builders, energy producers and small business owners … would suffer significantly if these changes to the navigable waters of the United States definition were enacted.”

Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.): “In New Mexico, water is life, water is sacred, water is culture, and water is fundamental to everything that we do and everything that we are. For years, our State and our country and our communities have ridden the roller coaster of regulatory rollbacks on the Clean Water Act, but I never could have imagined that in the year 2023, we would be voting on a bill to gut the rule that protects our streams and rivers and our right to have clean water.”

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

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

U.S. Senate

Confirming IRS Commissioner

Voting 52 for and 42 against, the Senate on March 9 confirmed Daniel Werfel to a five-year term as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, where he will oversee an $80 billion, multi-year modernization of the agency financed by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

Werfel’s previous federal posts included serving as acting IRS commissioner and controller of the Office of Management and Budget during the Barack Obama administration and acting OMB controller under President George W. Bush. He began his federal career in 1997 as an OMB policy analyst and then was a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Werfel worked most recently as a public affairs consultant in Washington.

Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Werfel assured to the Senate Finance Committee “that he is going to work with both sides of the aisle and bring transparency to the job. That includes how the IRS will spend funding to improve taxpayer services, upgrade information technology and crack down on those wealthy tax cheats. He is going to protect confidential taxpayer data. That is an enormous priority for both sides.”

No senator spoke against the nomination. A yes vote was to install Werfel as IRS commissioner.

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

Nullifying New D.C. Criminal Code

Voting 81 for and 14 against, the Senate on March 8 adopted a resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 26) that would nullify a District of Columbia law designed bring the city’s 122-year-old criminal code into the 21st Century. The overhaul has drawn its loudest criticism over reductions in mandatory minimum sentencing for certain violent crimes, including a lowering of the carjacking penalty from 40 years to 24 years.

But defenders said that under a 1973 law granting D.C. residents limited home rule, the city should be free to modernize its criminal code without congressional interference. The proposed new code was drafted by a nonpartisan commission in a five-year public process and enacted by the city council over the veto of Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Tom Cotton (R-Ark.): “Crime is a policy choice and the choice is simple: If we put criminals behind bars, crime goes down; if we let criminals run amuck, crimes goes up. We have seen the consequences of letting carjackers run amuck. Now we have a choice to fix that terrible mistake” in the District of Columbia.

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.): “I support full democracy for the nearly 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia … who pay more federal taxes collectively than the people in 21 states…. The Congress should not be overriding the will of the people of D.C. as reflected in their elected representatives.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution of disapproval to President Biden and his expected signature.

Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted yes
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) 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, a nonprofit news service, and has been accredited since 1973 by the U.S. House and Senate daily press galleries. 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 service.