How They Voted (Congress)

Here’s how area House and Senate members voted on major issues during the legislative week ending June 16. 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.

Regulating Pistols Converted to Rifles

The House on June 13 voted, 219 for and 210 against, to nullify a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms rule that pistols equipped with stabilizing braces must be registered as short-barreled rifles because the braces enable firing from the shoulder. Owners who fail to register these accessorized AR-style pistols with the ATF would face stiff fines and potential prison terms under the National Firearms Act of 1934, which requires registration of machine guns and sawed-off rifles and shotguns, and the Gun Control Act of 1968, which governs interstate commerce in firearms. On this vote, the House adopted a resolution (HJ Res 44) to repeal the rule, which was partially blocked by a federal appeals court after taking effect May 31.

Pistols equipped with braces were used in mass shootings at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, in March 2023; the Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November 2022; the King Soupers market in Boulder, Colorado, in March 2021 and outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio, in August 2019.

Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said: “As a father and a grandfather, my heart breaks when I see the victims of these deranged killers at schools and elsewhere. We need serious solutions. I think it is an insult to the victims and families that banning a piece of plastic is going to save a life — it won’t — or telling them that putting up a sign that says ‘gun-free zone’ will save a life. It won’t. It will cost lives.”

Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said: “Guns are already the No. 1 killer of children in our country. This year, there have been 291 mass shootings. We can count the numbers, but we can’t count the pain of an empty chair where there was once a vibrant parent or a wonderful little child who was murdered in a mass shooting. This Congress could do something about it if we could end the obstruction. We need to move toward reducing gun violence, not enabling it.”

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

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

Republican Bid to Censure Adam Schiff

Voting 225 for and 196 against, the House on June 14 tabled and thus killed a resolution (H Res 489) to censure and fine Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for his long-running pursuit of allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia to influence the election outcome. As top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee during Trump’s presidency, Schiff repeatedly cited what he said was evidence of the campaign’s collusion with Russian operatives to sway the election. The censure resolution called such charges “falsehoods” that merit rebuke because they “purposely deceived his committee, Congress, and the American people.” Schiff disputed the claim.

A 22-month investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, released in March 2019, cited numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians but said there was insufficient evidence of a criminal conspiracy to disrupt the election. A recently released report by another special counsel, John Durham, accused the FBI of systemic bias against Trump in its probe of Russian connections, but Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, issued a report in December 2019 that found misconduct by the FBI but no evidence of political bias in its decision to investigate contacts between the Trump’s campaign and Russia.

There was no debate on the resolution. A yes vote was to table the resolution.

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

Keeping D.C. Police Law on the Books

Voting 233 for and 197 against, the House on June 13 sustained President Biden’s veto of a House measure (HJ Res 42) that sought to repeal a District of Columbia police-accountability law. The tally fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto. This left in place a D.C. law intended to prevent the use of excessive force by the Metropolitan Police Department and crack down on officer misconduct. A federal territory, D.C. has limited authority to conduct its own affairs but needs congressional approval of laws passed by its city council.

Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) said: “With this veto, President Biden showed his disregard not only for law enforcement but also for the American people whose duly elected representatives voted to block this harmful D.C. legislation.”

Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) called repeal an effort “to kick around the people of Washington and not to support D.C. police officers who, after all, came to our defense on Jan. 6, many of whom were wounded by the insurrectionists and ended up with broken fingers and arms and legs, and so on….”

A yes vote was to override Biden’s veto and repeal the D.C. law.

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

Congressional Veto of Regulations

Voting 221 for and 210 against, the House on June 14 passed a Republican bill (HR 277) that would prevent major rules drafted by the executive branch from taking effect unless they receive congressional approval in advance. The bill would reverse the present sequence in which Congress has authority to disapprove of new regulations only after they have been fully drafted or put into effect. The bill applies to rules having at least a $100 million impact on the economy.

Rulemaking by Cabinet departments and independent agencies is a transparent process that solicits comments from stakeholders and the public at large. In a typical year, the executive branch drafts between 3,000 and 4,500 sets of regulations, or rules, to implement the few hundred major laws passed annually by Congress, according to the Office of the Federal Register. Because Congress lacks the resources and attention span needed to give volumes of real-world detail to its broadly worded laws, it historically has turned the task of writing regulations over to civil servants in the executive branch, whose work is the target of this bill.

Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked: “Are we a government of laws or a government of the executive branch? Are we going to allow the executive branch to write the laws? Are we going to turn our Constitution on its head? Have we gone too far already? I would argue we have, and that is why we need [this bill]…. The power of Congress has atrophied. We are almost like ombudsmen to the executive branch now.”

Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) said: “The regulatory process that [Republicans] seek to frame as a battle against a vast bureaucratic conspiracy is actually an essential part of ensuring that we all have clean air and water to breathe and drink; healthy food to eat; safe planes, trains and automobiles to travel in…. Regulations are extremely tangible ways [by which] the federal government protects people’s health and safety and helps create a fairer economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.”

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

Energy Efficiency for Kitchen Stoves

The House on June 14 voted, 249 for and 181 against, to nullify a Department of Energy rule intended to increase the efficiency and safety of gas cooking tops and gas- and electric-powered kitchen ovens. In addition to lowering utility bills, the rule is intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other gases that pollute households and contribute to global warming. Republicans said the rule wrongly dictates the types of appliances available to consumers and would require many stoves now in use to be replaced. With this vote, the House passed a bill (HR 1640) that would prohibit the rule from taking effect.

Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said: “From Day One, President Biden has waged war on American energy, doing everything possible to phase out the use of all fossil fuels, including American-produced oil and clean-burning, American-produced natural gas. Now, they are taking it a step further. They are dictating what appliances Americans can purchase for their homes.”

Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said: “After meddling in our bedrooms and in our bathrooms…now Republicans are turning their attention to our kitchens…. There is a growing body of science that indicates that burning natural gas increases the chances of childhood asthma and can worsen preexisting heart and lung issues. Using gas in the home … can involve methane leaks that are important as we deal with the climate crisis.”

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


Jared Bernstein, White House Economic Adviser

Voting 50 for and 49 against, the Senate on June 14 confirmed the nomination of Jared Bernstein as chairman of the White House-based Council of Economic Advisers, a three-person panel charged with developing the administration’s economic policies. Bernstein previously served as chief economist to then-Vice President Biden and deputy chief economist at the Department of Labor, among other positions in the public and private sectors.

Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Bernstein has “close to four decades of economic experience. He has devoted his career to working on economic policies that ensure growth reaches all Americans, fighting to make our economy fairer — something there is a lot of talk about in here but not enough action.”

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Bernstein “has called abortion ‘at its core an economic issue.’ He urged Democrats to ‘take the Green New Deal seriously.’ And he praised a nearly $80 billion plan to expand IRS enforcement…. What a staggering lack of awareness of the way his party’s policies have hurt working families across our country.”

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

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

Elizabeth Allen, Undersecretary of State

Voting 66 for and 33 against, the Senate on June 13 confirmed the nomination of Elizabeth Allen as undersecretary of state for public affairs, putting her in charge of diplomatic and exchange programs that engage foreign governments and populations with American institutions and citizens. Allen held the position on an acting basis for the previous 14 months, working to combat disinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She previously held communications posts with former President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said “public diplomacy tools are simply the best bang for our buck when it comes to making sure we expose people around the world to American values, culture and the truth about our foreign policy efforts…. As a highly quality professional with a distinguished career and extensive experience in both public and private sectors, Ms. Allen is a nominee who will hit the ground running.”

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

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

One thought on “How They Voted (Congress)

  1. I’m trying to understand the concern expressed by Rep. Mike Lawler for the 61 percent of New Yorkers who are worried about becoming victims of a crime, according to a recent poll from the Siena College Research Institute.

    Though Rep. Lawler campaigned as an advocate for common sense gun safety measures, he has done nothing to advance gun safety. Instead he voted to deregulate pistol braces that are popular among mass murderers and cop killers. Does his right hand not know what his left hand is doing?

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