Here’s how local members of the U.S. House were recorded on major votes during the legislative week that ended May 12. The House was in recess the week ending May 5. 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 Immigration Policy

By a vote of 219 for and 213 against, the House on May 11 passed a bill (HR 2) that would reinstate Trump-era measures for securing the southwestern border while placing tough new restrictions on asylum applicants and illegal immigrants in search of permanent U.S. residence. Projected to add $6.1 billion in deficits over 10 years, the Republican bill expands immigration enforcement while weakening or eliminating several humanitarian programs now in place.

The bill would require construction of at least 900 miles of wall on the 2,000-mile border at a cost of $25 million per mile; establish criminal penalties for those who overstay their visas for as few as 10 days; prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from contracting with nongovernmental and religious organizations to transport, shelter or feed undocumented aliens; scale back a DHS program known as “humanitarian parole” that grants temporary U.S. residence to immigrants from countries including Ukraine; require employers including those in agribusiness to use the federal E-Verify website to ensure their workers are have legal status; expand the number of Customs and Border Protection agents from 19,000 to 22,000 and begin polygraph testing of job applicants; distribute $110 million annually to state, local and tribal law enforcement; increase manned surveillance flights; require 24-hour drone surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border and eradicate invasive vegetation along the Rio Grande River.

The bill would prohibit the transfer of migrant families to U.S. communities while they await hearings in immigration court, instead requiring their detention near the border. The bill establishes an accelerated process for returning unaccompanied children to their native country unless that would expose them to sex trafficking, and it would end federal funding of attorneys to represent them in immigration proceedings. The bill also puts in jeopardy the temporary legal status of 800,000 “dreamers” brought illegally to the U.S. as children before 2014.

The bill would deny asylum eligibility to those who fail to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at an official point of entry or voluntarily lived in a third country for at least one year without suffering persecution or torture. In addition, the bill empowers the Department of Homeland Security to deny U.S. entry to asylum seekers if that is warranted to establish “operational control” of the border. The bill also would prohibit gang members and felons from applying for asylum, assess a $50 fee on asylum applications and limit the use of an app for scheduling court hearings on asylum claims.

Chip Roy (R-Texas): “We should be exporting the rule of law rather than importing lawlessness, fentanyl, death and destruction. The legislation we have before us would be a giant step toward ensuring that we can hold this administration accountable to make sure that we secure our border, protect our citizens and protect migrants who seek to come here.”

Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.): “Jailing families indefinitely or sending unaccompanied children back to dangerous and exploitive situations and refusing to provide working legal pathways to residents will not make us any safer; neither will be wasting American taxpayer dollars to build a discredited and ineffective border wall … or defunding trusted nonprofit organizations that provide support to immigrants.”

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

Democrats’ Immigration Bill

Voting 211 for and 221 against, the House on May 11 defeated a Democratic motion that sought to replace a Republican-sponsored immigration bill (HR 2, above) with the proposed American Dream and Promise Act that the House passed in 2021, when Democrats were in the majority. The Democratic bill, which did not win Senate approval, would provide an opportunity for lawful permanent residency to undocumented children brought to the United States by parents lawfully admitted as temporary workers. To qualify, children would have to have arrived before their 19th birthday and before Jan. 1, 2021, have lived continuously within U.S. borders for at least four years and meet standards of good citizenship and educational attainment. The bill also would reinforce the temporary legal status of some 800,000 “dreamers” covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is under challenge in federal court.

There was no debate on the motion. A yes vote was to approve the Democrats’ alternative immigration bill.

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

Pandemic-Era Unemployment Fraud

Voting 230 for and 200 against, the House on May 11 passed a bill (HR 1163) that would give states more tools for collecting accidental or fraudulently obtained overpayments of unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Improper payments ranged from $164 billion to $191 billion, according to the Department of Labor. In part, the bill targets the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which issued jobless checks to individuals who lost work because of COVID but did not qualify for traditional state-federal unemployment insurance. Many overpayments were the result of antiquated systems at state agencies being overwhelmed by a surge of claims filed by crime syndicates as well as legitimate applicants. The bill allows states to use 25 percent of the overpayments they collect to upgrade their systems. The bill would extend from five to 10 years the statute of limitations for bringing federal criminal charges against those who fraudulently collected unemployment benefits.

Jason Smith (R-Mo.): “Criminal organizations and foreign fraudsters exploited the pandemic to steal…hundreds of billions in payments intended to keep workers afloat…. How much has been stolen? The Department of Labor inspector general [says] taxpayers may be on the hook for at least $191 billion in improper payments…. These are stolen tax dollars, which makes every person in America a victim of this fraud. Today’s vote is an important step toward ending suffering and delivering accountability.”

Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.) said the bill “would allow states to send surprise bills to workers for unemployment-benefits overcompensation paid to them during the pandemic for as long as 10 years after the overpayment was issued. Is it the job of the American people to keep the receipts of 10 years past of UI payments so that they don’t go to jail? People who applied for these benefits and were overpaid did not know they had been overpaid. These were the result of a government mistake.”

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

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


Northern Long-Eared Bat, An Endangered Species

Voting 51 for and 49 against, the Senate on May 11 approved a resolution (SJ Res 24) that would remove the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service designated the bat for protection on January 30 to safeguard its habitat in 38 north-central and Atlantic Coast states against intrusive wind-energy and infrastructure projects and forestry. The listing would reduce the bat’s exposure to a fungus-caused disease known as white-nose syndrome that is decimating its population during hibernation in caves and abandoned mines. “Bats are critical to healthy, functioning natural areas and contribute at least $3 billion annually to the U.S. agriculture economy through pest control and pollination,” according to the service.

Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said “two-thirds of all endangered species are located on private lands [and] private landowners must be part of the solution and not treated as the enemy. Unfortunately, through aggressive critical-habitat designations … private landowners are penalized and harmed instead of incentivized to help with species recovery.”

Thomas Carper (D-Del.) said the endangered-species designation “not only helps the northern long-eared bats but also supports other bat species that are in decline due to white-nose syndrome. By protecting this species, we are protecting our farmers, our agricultural communities and the revenues that they depend on.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the House, where it was likely to be approved and sent to President Biden.

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

Asian Imports for U.S. Solar Production

The Senate on May 3 voted to nullify 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 resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 39) was adopted by a tally of 56 for and 41 against. Biden has suspended for two years antidumping penalties and countervailing duties on 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. Critics said it is wrong to import products linked to forced labor in China.

Rick Scott (R-Fla.): “President Biden’s solar emergency declaration is a giveaway to President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party. It is a massive gift to a regime that is using slave and child labor, a favor to an evil regime that wants to destroy our great country. There is no other way to describe it.”

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) called the resolution “a misguided effort that will not only cripple our nation’s solar industry but kill thousands of American jobs…. Nevada has the number-one solar economy in the country, which has created nearly 9,000 good-paying jobs, many of them union jobs. But if we lift the pause on our solar tariffs, those jobs will be in danger.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the president and his promised veto.

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

Lesser Prairie-Chicken, an Endangered Species

Voting 50 for and 48 against, the Senate on May 3 approved a resolution (SJ Res 9) that would remove a game bird known as the lesser prairie-chicken from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listings that protect its population and habitat against intrusive farming, ranching and energy production in parts in Kansas and four southwestern states. In March 2023, the bird was designated an endangered species in eastern New Mexico and the southwestern area of the Texas Panhandle and a threatened species in southeastern Colorado, south-central and western Kansas, western Oklahoma and the northeastern part of the Texas Panhandle. A species of the prairie grouse known for its colorful mating display, the lesser prairie-chicken has dwindled from a population of at least hundreds of thousands historically to about 27,000 in those five states. Its population density or sparseness is seen as a measure of the health of America’s grasslands.

Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who supported removal, said: “Whether it is gas or diesel or wind energy, this decision to list the chicken would increase the cost of energy. It would federalize millions of acres of ranchlands and expand the regulatory burden on our farmers and ranchers, ultimately, increasing the cost of food. But for what? An attempt to protect the species by an agency that has only successfully recovered 2 percent of the species that it has listed.”

Thomas Carper (D-Del.) said “enacting this resolution could set this species on a path to continued decline and eventual extinction…. Preserving our planet diversity is critical for innovation, it is critical for human health, and it is critical for our environment. And the Endangered Species Act is our best tool for protecting species and preserving [the] environment.”

A yes vote was to remove Endangered Species Act protection of the lesser prairie-chicken.

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

Geeta Rao Gupta, U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues

Voting 50 for and 44 against, the Senate on May 4 closed debate and advanced the nomination of Geeta Rao Gupta to become ambassador at large for global women’s issues. She would lead a Department of State office dedicated to advancing gender equality and the status of women. A final confirmation vote was expected within days. Gupta recently headed a program for girls and women at the United Nations Foundation, and she has served as deputy executive director of UNICEF, president of the International Center for Research on Women and a senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among other positions. Gupta was born in 1956 in Mumbai, India, and emigrated to the United States in the 1980s.

Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.): “Empowering women and achieving gender equality is not just a moral imperative; it is also a strategic imperative. The evidence routinely demonstrates that women’s empowerment is integral to achieving greater security and stability around the world. Simply put, those societies, those countries that empower women are more stable, and they are more likely to be democracies.”

No senator spoke against the nominee. A yes vote was to advance the nomination toward a final confirmation vote.

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

Colleen Joy Shogan, Archivist of the U.S.

Voting 52 for and 45 against, the Senate on May 10 confirmed the nomination of Colleen Joy Shogan as archivist of the United States. She will lead the National Archives and Records Administration, an independent agency charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records dating to the start of the republic and administering the 15 presidential libraries and museums. Shogan, 47, was employed most recently as assistant deputy for collections at the Library of Congress and deputy director of the library’s Congressional Research Service.

Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said: “As an accomplished political scientist who has held nonpartisan leadership roles throughout her career, Dr. Shogan is well qualified to lead the National Archives. She would also be the first woman to hold this job.”

No senator spoke in opposition. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) voted yes
Kirsten Gillibrand (D.-N.Y.) did not vote

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.