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 April 28. 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 Budget and Debt-Ceiling Plan

Voting 217 for and 215 against, the House on April 26 passed a Republican bill that would suspend the federal debt ceiling through March 31, 2024, or until total debt reaches $32.9 trillion, in exchange for President Biden and congressional Democrats agreeing to discretionary spending cuts totaling $130 billion next fiscal year and $4.5 billion over 10 years. The bill would limit spending growth to 1 percent annually from 2022 levels over 10 years, but does not identify the domestic, veterans, foreign-affairs or military programs that potentially would be cut to meet those caps. The bill clashes with President Biden’s call for Congress to immediately increase the debt ceiling — as Republicans were willing to do during the Trump administration — and then use normal budget negotiations to set future spending.

The bill would save $570 billion over 10 years by rolling back green-energy and energy-efficiency measures enacted in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, and hundreds of billions over 10 years by canceling administration programs to provide student-debt relief.

In addition, it would reduce spending by an estimated $120 billion over 10 years by imposing stricter work requirements on able-bodied recipients of Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The package would also rescind $100 billion in COVID relief funds that have not been spent.

On the other hand, the bill also would add an estimated $2.4 billion to federal debt over 10 years by enacting a Republican energy bill promoting fossil-fuel consumption, and another $200 billion by repealing a newly launched $80 billion Internal Revenue Service upgrade that includes improved taxpayer services and expanded auditing of businesses and wealthy individuals.

The debt limit is the total amount of debt the government can take on through borrowing to cover expenses that exceed revenue.

Steve Scalise (R-La.): “If somebody maxed out the credit card like President Biden did, the first thing you do is not give them another credit card to max out…. He said to just give him more money to keep spending — money that we don’t have, to rack up more inflation on hardworking families…. What House Republicans have done is come together to say there is a better way.”

Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) called the bill “a ransom note [that] demands 10 years’ cuts unless we stick it to our own constituents…. Now [Republicans] didn’t win the Senate. They didn’t win the White House. They didn’t win as big a majority as they wanted in the House. So now, to get what they want, they want to default on America so then can push through their radical MAGA agenda.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was dead on arrival.

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

Clean Extension of Debt Limit

Voting 211 for and 221 against, the House on April 26 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to enact a clean extension of the statutory debt limit through April 30, 2025. This would be in place of a Republican bill (HR 2811, above) using a one-year extension as a bargaining chip to obtain deep cuts in federal discretionary spending over 10 years. The current $31.4 trillion borrowing limit is expected to be reached within weeks, putting the government at risk of defaulting on its obligations.

Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.): “The cuts in this bill are just cruel, and they would have catastrophic consequences for American families. In combat, it was my sacred duty to make sure we left no one behind. This bill leaves far too many Americans behind.”

Jason Smith (R-Mo.): “Even Democratic senators on the other side of the building said they will not support an absolute blank-check debt limit because they are concerned about the fiscal state of America.”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

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

Removing Troops from Somalia

Voting 102 for and 321 against, the House on April 27 defeated a measure (H Con Res 30) that would require removal of U.S. troops from Somalia, except for those protecting the U.S. embassy. The resolution called for withdrawal within one year under the War Powers Act of 1973, the post-Vietnam law limiting presidential authority to station combat forces abroad for long periods without a congressional declaration of war. The U.S. military presence in Somalia consists of several hundred troops who are training Somali forces in counterterrorism.

Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Somalia’s future “must be determined by Somalia. To the extent that foreign influences could be helpful, I would argue that the African Union is far better positioned to build a stronger sense of national identity and national unity among clans that have been warring in Somalia for generations than U.S. troops.”

John James (R-Mich.): “This premature withdrawal from Somalia will be a great victory for a dangerous al-Qaida affiliate that seeks the death of America. There is another group of adversaries to keep in mind as well. Russia and the Communist Party of China would like nothing more than to see the U.S. take a foreign policy of isolationism.”

A yes vote was to pull U.S. troops out of Somalia.

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

Honoring Israel’s 75th Anniversary

Voting 401 for and 19 against, the House on April 25 adopted a non-binding resolution (H Res 311) that honored the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel while calling for an expansion of the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords framework for normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab states. Despite overwhelming support, the measure drew criticism over not mentioning Palestine or the U.S. government’s long-pursued goal of a two-state solution in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said there is “a generational shift in the Middle East…that promotes peace and prosperity in the region. That is why we need to invest in the positive progress of growing and deepening the Abraham Accords.”

Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) also voted for the resolution, but submitted written remarks charging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition with having “seriously undermined the prospects for a two-state solution.”

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.

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

Importing Chinese Goods for Solar Energy

The House on April 28 voted to revoke an executive order by President Biden intended to spur imports of photovoltaic cells and modules used in the manufacture of solar-energy panels in the United States. The Republican-sponsored resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 39) was adopted by a tally of 221 for and 202 against. Biden suspended antidumping penalties and countervailing duties on certain solar gear that originates in China before assembly in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and shipment to the United States. He said he did so to meet increased demand for domestic solar construction spurred by his green-energy policies, while critics said it is wrong to import products that can be traced to forced labor in China.

Bill Posey (R-Fla.) said Biden’s order “will benefit the Chinese Communist Party, make no mistake about that. They are not our friends, they are our enemy…. Unfortunately, some believe we must tolerate China’s bad decisions and remain dependent on adversarial nations to create renewable energy.”

Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said the order “created a short-term bridge to secure the solar materials needed to protect jobs and meet our energy transition…. While the emergency order is not perfect, it’s necessary to give solar projects here in the pipeline enough time to come into full compliance with our trade laws.”

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

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

U.S. Senate

Equal Rights Amendment

Voting 51 for and 47 against, the Senate on April 27 failed to reach 60 votes needed to advance a measure (SJ Res 4) aimed at pushing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) closer to ratification into the Constitution. The resolution sought to replace a 1982 deadline for states to vote on ratification with an open-ended deadline. This potentially would validate ratification votes by Nevada, Illinois and Virginia that occurred after 1982 but leave unresolved the status of ratification votes by five states the 1970s that they have since rescinded. The ERA states: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said ERA ratification is needed because “there are still systemic challenges based upon sex in our workplace, in health care and domestic violence.”

No senator spoke against this attempt to advance the ERA.

A yes vote was to clear the way for ERA ratification.

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

2 thoughts on “How They Voted (Congress)

  1. As a 76-year-old Vietnam combat veteran who depends on healthcare from the VA healthcare system to maintain a quality of life, I was more than angry to find out that my representative, Rep. Lawler, voted with 216 other Republicans to strip funding from as much as 22 percent of federally budgeted veterans services. This is a guy who never served a day in U.S. military who is signaling to all those who served that we aren’t worth his support.

    • The Republican proposal does not outline specific cuts, but the 22 percent figure comes from opponents to the plan. The legislation would freeze fiscal year 2024 spending at 2022 levels, except for defense. That, according to the White House, would mean “non-defense funding would total $586 billion, which is 22 percent lower than the currently enacted level of $756 billion.”

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