How They Voted (Congress)

Here’s how area House and Senate members voted on major issues during the legislative week ending July 21. 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, 41, 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.

Declaring Support of Israel

Voting 412 for and nine against, the House on July 18 adopted a measure (H Con Res 57) restating U.S. support of Israel and asserting it “is not a racist or apartheid state.” The vote occurred on the eve of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress and three days after Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) stoked furor on Capitol Hill by calling Israel “a racist state” in its treatment of Palestinians. She later praised “the idea of Israel” while narrowing her criticism to actions by “the extreme right-wing government” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said: “The United States will always support Israel’s right to self-defense. We see Israeli citizens being murdered in senseless terrorist attacks…. Israel is responsible for protecting the well-being of its citizens. Protecting one’s citizens from terrorist attacks is not racism. It is national security.”

Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said the racism charge “is not something that is made up. The United Nations Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Israel’s own largest human rights organization … all agree that Israel is an apartheid state. To assert otherwise in the face of this body of evidence is an attempt to deny the reality and to normalize violence of apartheid.”

A yes vote was to adopt the nonbinding resolution.

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

Five-year Renewal of Aviation Programs

Voting 351 for and 69 against, the House on July 21 passed a bill (HR 3935) that would reauthorize through September 2028 a wide range of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs including measures to enhance flight safety and improve the passenger experience.

In part, the bill would fund tens of billions of dollars in capital improvements at airports of all sizes; direct a share of construction funds to companies run by minorities and women; recognize the growing impact of climate change on aviation including its role in flight turbulence; subsidize passenger service to remote communities; require measures to prevent passenger assaults on airline personnel; improve in-fight accommodations for disabled passengers; increase hiring of air traffic controllers over five years; expand ground surveillance to detect and prevent near misses on runways, and incorporate emerging technologies such as drones and electric- or hydrogen-powered aircraft into commercial aviation.

Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said the bill “advances American leadership in aviation safety and innovation, strengthens and diversifies our aviation workforce, expands consumer protections and accessibility and fosters environmental sustainability in aviation. Although the U.S. aviation system is the safest in the world, the last few years have shown there is still work to do” in areas including runway safety.

Scott Perry (R-Pa.) objected to the bill’s level of spending, saying: “We are broke. Hello, America. Wake up, everybody. I have a news flash for you. We don’t have any more money. We are borrowing money to pay the bills. We are borrowing money to pay for things that we can’t afford. That is what we are trying to fix here.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, which is drafting its own version of the FAA reauthorization.

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

Removing Climate Change from Turbulence Research

Voting 206 for and 227 against, the House on July 19 defeated an amendment to HR 3935 (above) that sought focus a study into reducing air turbulence on weather rather than climate change. Weather describes short-term atmospheric conditions. Climate change is the average rate of change over long periods in conditions including rainfall and temperature in a particular region. The amendment directed federal agencies to ignore climate change in the turbulence research required by the bill.

Andrew Ogles (R-Tenn.) said his amendment would change the bill’s focus from climate change, which he called a “woke” ideology, to weather patterns, which are “a common cause of turbulence. Jet streams, storms and the movement of warm fronts and cold fronts can all cause it.”

Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said: “To deny the existence of climate change is to deny reality. There are copious amounts of data to show that climate change has been happening for decades.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Pilot Training in Simulators

The House on July 19 voted, 243 for and 191 against, to uphold a Federal Aviation Administration requirement that commercial airline pilots receive 1,500 hours of flight training for certification, with no more than 100 hours occurring on simulators. This removed language from HR 3935 (above) that would have increased to 250 number of simulator hours that could be used to meet the 1,500-hour requirement. As a result of this vote, the allocation will continue to be 100 hours of simulator training to go with 1,400 hours in the sky. The 1,500-hour standard was established in response to a crash in February 2009 of Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo that killed all 49 people on the plane and one person on the ground. Investigators attributed the crash to inexperienced pilots responding incorrectly to a stall warning.

Nicholas Langworthy (R-N.Y.) said that since enactment of the 1,500-hour requirement, “domestic airline fatalities have dropped 99.7 percent …. and our skies are the safest they’ve ever been…. While simulators have their place for experienced pilots, they are not a replacement for in-the-sky training.”

Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said increasing simulator training does “not in any way change or weaken the 1,500-hour rule. What we’re trying to say is that simulator time … should be used in training pilots … because you can simulate anything. Today’s simulators are … far and above what they were just 10 years ago.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Protecting Cockpits Against Terrorists

Voting 392 for and 41 against, the House on July 19 adopted an amendment to HR 3935 (above) that would increase the prevalence of secondary cockpit barriers on commercial aircraft to guard against terrorists and hijackers. As a result of attacks on 9/11 in which terrorists took control of cockpits, the Federal Aviation Administration since 2018 has required secondary barriers on newly manufactured aircraft. This amendment would require all commercial aircraft regardless of age to be equipped with secondary barriers within three years.

Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said: “This commonsense low-cost safety measure will protect the integrity of the flight deck and prevent hostile and dangerous individuals from accessing the cockpit.”

No member spoke against the amendment.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Helicopter Overflights of National Parks

Voting 193 for and 236 against, the House on July 19 defeated an amendment to HR 3935 (above) that sought to require the National Park Service to consider not just environmental concerns but also the profits of helicopter companies when it sets rules limiting or prohibiting helicopter overflights of national parks.

Troy Nehls (R-Texas) said: “Unfortunately, the Biden administration is attempting to limit the number of air tours at … our national parks, all at the request, go figure, no surprise, of certain environmental stakeholders. This is irresponsible. It’s un-American.”

Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said the rules “protect the sanctity of parks from incessant helicopter overflights, which can disrupt both wildlife and the natural beauty … that visitors enjoy.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Denying School Shelter to Undocumented Aliens

Voting 222 for and 201 against, the House on July 19 passed a Republican-sponsored bill (HR 3941) that would deny federal education funds to any public K-12 school or institution of higher education that provides shelter on a temporary basis to undocumented aliens — including those applying for asylum in the U.S. — who have been relocated to their communities by immigration authorities.

Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said: “Schools are for educating students, not housing illegal aliens. That statement shouldn’t be controversial. Yet somewhere along the way, the left diverged from reality and lost sight of what is best for students.”

In a statement, Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) said: “We must solve this humanitarian crisis with comprehensive immigration reform that does not disrupt our children’s education, and that’s what I’ll continue to work on.”

In a fundraising letter, Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.) wrote: “New York Democrats are now opening empty schools to house illegal immigrants. Keep in mind, these are the same Democrats responsible for busing unvetted, adult male, migrants to the Hudson Valley and dumping them here with no plan whatsoever. It’s out of control. We need to take care of Americans struggling to get by, not prioritize illegal immigrants.”

Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) called the measure “an inhumane, xenophobic messaging bill,” adding: “If Republicans truly wanted to protect our schools and our children, they would instead focus on cracking down on rampant gun violence in our schools.”

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 yes


Slashing U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine

Voting 13 for and 71 against, the Senate on July 20 defeated an amendment to the fiscal 2024 Department of Defense budget (S 2226) that would have eliminated nearly all of the bill’s military aid to Ukraine. The amendment sought to reduce the bill’s proposed level of Ukrainian aid by 98 percent (to 2 percent) until such time as all North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries start funding NATO at a level equivalent to 2 percent of their gross domestic product. The bill remained in debate. A House-passed version of the 2024 military budget contains $300 million for Ukraine.

Mike Lee (R-Utah) said his amendment “isn’t about withholding funds from Ukraine; it is about encouraging allies to meet their 2 percent of GDP spending thresholds with regard to their national security…. The United States of America [is] shouldering a disproportionate, unfair share of the burden. We have been doing this for years, just as we have provided and held a disproportionate share of the burden specifically with regard to Ukraine.”

Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said the amendment would “undermine the military posture of Ukraine at a time when they are desperately fighting for their survival. But more importantly, they are fighting our fight also, because if Putin succeeds in Ukraine, we will lose as well as Ukrainians. It will incentivize the kind of autocratic behavior that is determined — at least in the case of Putin — to destroy democracies and destroy the international legal order.”

A yes vote was to slash military aid to Ukraine.

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

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