How They Voted (Congress)

Here’s how area House and Senate members voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Nov. 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, 37, 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.

Continuing Resolution to Keep Government Open

Voting 336 for and 95 against, the House on Nov. 14 passed a bill (HR 6363) that would fund federal operations until early next year, averting a partial shutdown set to occur Nov. 17. Sponsored by Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., the continuing resolution (CR) needed Democratic votes to advance because several dozen members of the Republican caucus turned against it. It was supported by all but two of the 211 Democrats who voted and 127 of the 220 Republicans who voted. The bill funds the government at current levels while denying the administration’s emergency-aid requests for Israel and Ukraine. The CR funds some departments and agencies until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2. Democrats said they agreed to help Johnson pass the bill because it omits steep funding cuts and radical policy changes advocated by hard-right GOP members.

Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) said: “House Republicans all agree we need to get the federal government on a more fiscally responsible path, but lengthy government shutdowns don’t save money. They actually cost more money. The CR will give us time to reach an agreement on a top-line spending level and to negotiate final bills with the Senate.”

Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said: “Once again, the Republican majority needs Democratic votes to govern…. This continuing resolution is flawed. Critically, it does nothing to help our allies. It does not include any emergency assistance for Israel, Ukraine or our Indo-Pacific partners, for humanitarian aid, for childcare or for disaster victims here at home.”

No member spoke against the bill during brief discussion ahead of the vote.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

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

Defunding Scientific Research Into Gun Violence

Voting 216 for and 211 against, the House on Nov. 15 adopted an amendment that would defund scientific research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into the causes of gun violence. The premise of the research is that America’s mounting firearms carnage is an issue of public health as well as factors such as law enforcement. This amendment was added to a GOP-drafted bill (HR 5894) funding the CDC and other agencies and departments in fiscal year 2024. The bill remained as unfinished business because the House Republican majority could not muster enough votes to pass it. The Biden administration requested $35 million for CDC gun-violence research in 2024, nearly three times the comparable 2023 figure.

The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control “has been the nation’s leading public health authority on violence and injury prevention for nearly 30 years,” according to the agency’s website. “Firearm violence has tremendous impact on American’s overall safety and wellbeing. Using a public health approach is essential to addressing firearm violence and keeping people safe and healthy.”

Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) said: “As a physician and former director of public health in Iowa, I believe that our leading [federal] public health agency should be focusing on researching and preventing communicable diseases, which was what the CDC was originally created to do — not prioritizing gun control.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Proposed 60 Percent Cut in Student Financial Aid

Voting 85 for and 350 against, the House on Nov. 14 defeated an amendment to reduce financial assistance for students in higher education by nearly 60 percent in fiscal 2024. The amendment targeted an account used to fund grants and loans including Pell Grants for students from low-income families. Offered to a fiscal 2024 appropriations bill (HR 5894) that remained in debate, the amendment sought to reduce the Department of Education’s student financial assistance account from $22 billion to $9.25 billion in fiscal year 2024.

Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said “subsidization of higher education costs for individuals has actually created perverse incentives for institutions to raise prices for all students and prospective students…. The federal government should not have a place in the monetary affairs of its private citizens. That is a matter for private banks, colleges and students.”

Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said: “Make no mistake, this amendment will result in fewer students receiving Pell Grants and will cut the maximum Pell Grant award for 6.4 million students who use federal student aid to pay to get a college education…. This is truly a new low.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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


Stopgap Budget to Keep Government Open

Voting 87 for and 11 against, the Senate on Nov. 14 joined the House (above) in passing a stopgap spending bill (HR 6363) that would fund the 15 federal departments and related agencies until early next year at current spending levels. The bill provides appropriations until Jan. 19 for the departments or Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, and through Feb. 2 for Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, State and Treasury. House Speaker Mike Johnson said the laddered approach would give the two chambers more flexibility to negotiate appropriations for the remainder of fiscal 2024 on a bill-by-bill basis. Democrats accepted the two-tier approach, but said they expect House Republicans to honor spending levels negotiated by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden in May.

Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said: “I am heartened — cautiously so — that [House] Speaker Johnson is moving forward with a CR that omits precisely the sort of hard-right cuts that would have been nonstarters for Democrats…. [The bill] does two things Democrats have pushed for: It will avert a shutdown, and it will do so without making any terrible, hard-right cuts that the MAGA rightwing demands. It also eliminates the poison pills that so many MAGA Congress members put in the bills.”

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said: “This reckless level of borrowing and spending is patently unsustainable. Americans are starved for a voice of fiscal sanity. Americans understand far better than the nation’s elites that time is running out. Americans will pay dearly for Congress’s inability to say no to every cause, every line item, every pinstripe lobbyist. We will pay more to Uncle Sam in the form of taxes.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Biden, who signed it into law.

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

Republicans’ Standalone Aid to Israel

Voting 51 for and 48 against, the Senate on Nov. 14 blocked an attempt to call up a House-passed Republican bill (HR 6126) that would appropriate $14.2 billion in emergency military aid to Israel while reducing the Internal Revenue Service budget by the same amount, increasing deficits by a projected $12.5 billion over 10 years. Senate Democratic leaders have declared the House bill dead on arrival. They are pushing for Senate approval in coming weeks of a $105 billion emergency funding request by President Biden that includes $60.4 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine, $14.2 billion in military aid to Israel, $13.6 billion for securing America’s southern border and humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, among other outlays.

Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who voted to block the House bill, said: “Ukraine can no more afford a delay than our allies in Israel. Ukraine is at a critical point in a brutal war to defend its sovereignty against Putin’s bloody invasion. Abandoning Ukraine is the same as surrendering to Putin and sends a message that he can invade any democracy he would like with impunity. Fortunately, members on both sides of the aisle do understand this, and clear, overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate have shown they support aid for Ukraine.”

Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said: “What Americans understand about Ukraine is that Joe Biden has thrown $113 billion at the problem with minimal accountability. And in return, 200,000 people have died. Americans understand that the war in Ukraine is at a stalemate, and it is going to turn into a 7-, probably 10-year war. It is going to turn into a war of attrition. What is the plan, Americans want to know? How much more of their blood and treasure do we have to send overseas? Let’s debate Ukraine funding another day.”

A yes vote was to block consideration of the House’s Israeli aid bill.

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

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