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 March 31. Congress is now in recess until the week of April 17. 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.

Republican Stamp on Energy Policy

Voting 225 for and 204 against, the House on March 30 passed a Republican-sponsored bill (HR 1) intended to increase production of oil, natural gas and coal in the United States while rolling back long-standing environmental laws and Biden administration clean-energy measures to achieve its objectives. The bill, which is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to add $2.4 billion to the national debt over 10 years, was hailed by GOP backers as a boost to American prosperity and security but faulted by Democratic critics as a retreat from efforts to curb climate change. In part, the bill would:

■ Resume lease sales for drilling and natural gas exploration on federal land and waters but retain a moratorium on drilling offshore from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

■ Repeal a Biden administration-backed tax on methane emissions; increase U.S. Geological Survey support of the uranium industry; repeal administration policies against coal mining; prohibit any moratorium on hydraulic fracking and expedite hard-rock mining on federal lands under the Mining Law of 1872.

■ Authorize Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency waivers exempting refineries from laws including the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act and weaken reviews under NEPA of environmental, health, and economic impacts of policy decisions by over 80 federal agencies.

■ Enable the EPA to waive Clean Air Act and Solid Waste Disposal Act provisions that govern discharges from fracking operations, coal mines and nuclear power plants, and waive provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act to speed review of new chemicals used by energy firms.

■ Repeal a section of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act providing state and local governments with $1 billion in grants over several years for improving residential and commercial energy codes.

■ Repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Production Fund, which allocates $27 billion over several years to infrastructure projects that would improve air quality in poor communities.

■ Expedite liquified natural gas exports by removing a requirement that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finds them to be in the public interest.

■ Provide incentives to increase production of critical minerals used in products including electric vehicles and cellphones.

■ Limit judicial review of environmental challenges to energy projects by shortening statutes of limitations and prohibiting injunctive relief in some court filings.

■ Limit presidential authority to protect pristine federal lands on the basis of natural, cultural or scientific significance while easing Clean Water Act licensing and permitting requirements aimed at protecting water resources on tribal lands.

Mark Alford (R-Mo.) said Republicans “promised the American people that we would make sure they could fill up their trucks…. make it affordable to heat their homes. We promised to fight the woke green New Deal policies that are killing our energy sector. This legislation does just that. It will increase domestic energy production. It will reform the permitting process for all industries. It will reverse the anti-energy policies being perpetrated by the Biden administration…. American energy producers make the cleanest energy in the world. Let’s not only make America energy independent — let’s make America energy dominant.”

Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) called the bill “a dirty energy, pro-polluter plan that would drag our economy back decades…. It makes it easier for companies to strip public lands of their resources and harder to hold corporate polluters accountable for the mess they make. It gives more handouts to Big Oil as if the industry’s CEOs and shareholders haven’t already raked in enough money with record profits over the last few years. It guts half a century of environmental protections that ensure the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean, and it sets our country back as the rest of the world moves toward a clean energy future….”

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

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

Democratic Bid to Kill Energy Plan

Voting 207 for and 222 against, the House on March 30 defeated a Democratic-sponsored motion that would prevent HR 1 (above) from taking effect until the secretaries of energy and interior certify it would lead to lower energy prices for U.S. consumers. The motion also sought to ban oil and gas exploration on federally protected natural resources including national parks, wildlife refuges and conservation and recreation areas.

There was no debate on this attempt to send the bill back to committee for the proposed Democratic changes.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

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

U.S. Senate

Repealing Iraq War Resolutions

Voting 66 for and 30 against, the Senate on March 29 passed a bill (S 316) that would repeal two authorizations for use of military force against Iraq that remain on the books even though Iraq is now a U.S. ally. Congress adopted the first AUMF in 1991 after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the second in 2002 to authorize America’s invasion of Iraq. The bill does not affect the open-ended presidential war authority enacted by Congress in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said President Biden has advised Congress “that the repeal of the Iraq war authorizations [is] necessary because Iraq is now a partner of the United States and that the repeal will neither jeopardize any current military operation, make [America] less safe or take options away [from him] to defend against Iranian aggression.”

Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said: “If we repeal these resolutions, will it make America more safe or less safe? The answer to that question is obvious. Threats still originate in and emanate from Iraq, whether [from] terrorist groups like ISIS or Iran’s proxies. We should not lightly throw away additional authorities to target them.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the House, where its prospects were uncertain.

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

Oversight of U.S. Spending in Ukraine

Voting 26 for and 68 against, the Senate on March 29 defeated an amendment to (S 316) that sought to establish an office of inspector general to conduct independent reviews of U.S. military and humanitarian spending in Ukraine.

Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) called his amendment necessary because Congress “has spent to date $113 billion on the war in Ukraine and counting. Yet we do not have any direct oversight of any of the money that is being spent.”

Tim Kaine (D-Va.) agreed there should be oversight of funds sent to Ukraine but called it wrong “to insert something about Ukraine into this repeal of the Iraq war authorizations.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted no
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) voted no

Repealing Clean Water Rule

The Senate on March 29 voted, 53 for and 43 against, to kill a proposed Biden administration rule that would apply the 1972 Clean Water Act to headwaters, wetlands and other waters upstream of the navigable waters directly covered by the half-century-old law. The rule would exempt non-navigable waters historically used in farming and ranching. But critics said it would still infringe upon longstanding family-held water rights in rural areas. The rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to take effect in late March, replacing a Trump administration rule that only lightly regulates non-navigable upstream waters. This vote to adopt HJ Res 27 officially killed the proposed new rule because the House previously adopted the same resolution of disapproval.

Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said the rule “drastically expands federal jurisdiction over streams, wetlands and private property at the expense of the States and their citizens” and “tells states and individuals that the federal government knows best.”

Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said: “This commonsense, science-based [rule] recognizes that pollution upstream can have downstream impacts, so we must protect the system to safeguard downstream communities and our environment” while retaining “Clean Water Act permitting exemptions for routine farming and ranching activities.”

A yes vote was to kill the rule.

Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted no
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) voted no

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