Here is how our House members and New York’s two senators voted on select issues during the legislative weeks ending Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, as reported by Targeted News Service. 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.

Federal Purchasing and National Security

The House on Jan. 29 passed the Safe and Smart Federal Purchasing Act (H.R. 5528), sponsored by Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), by a vote of 397-0. The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to study whether provisions directing federal agencies to take a lowest price technically acceptable source selection approach to their purchasing process have created national security risks. Donalds said: “Prioritizing price over any other technical or operational factors in federal procurement can result in agencies cutting corners, sacrificing long-term value, and potentially jeopardizing national security.”

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

Secret Service Spending

The House on Jan. 29 passed, by a vote of 379-20, the Overtime Pay for Protective Services Act (S. 3427), sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), to extend through 2028 authority for Secret Service workers to receive additional overtime pay. A supporter, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said the added pay would give the workers “the respect, gratitude and compensation that they deserve.”

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

Border Pursuits and Crime

The House on Jan. 30 passed, by a vote of 271-154, the Agent Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act (H.R. 5585), sponsored by Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.). The bill would designate as federal crimes offenses involved in driving a motor vehicle near the U.S. border while fleeing from the Border Patrol and other law enforcement officers. Ciscomani said it sought to “send a stronger message to the bad actors that we will pursue any actions that threaten American lives to the fullest extent of the law.” An opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), criticized the bill for not requiring a conviction of fleeing law enforcement in order to render an immigrant deportable, and said its mandatory minimum sentences for convictions were unjust.

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

Social Security Fraud and Immigration Law

The House on Jan. 31 passed, by a vote of 272-155, the Consequences for Social Security Fraud Act (H.R. 6678), sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). The bill would make aliens who have been convicted of or admitted to committing Social Security fraud deportable and not eligible for legal residence in the U.S. A supporter, Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), called the bill “imperative to protect our communities from fraud and ensure aliens who engage in fraud can be more quickly removed from the United States.” An opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called it a measure that “does nothing to address the real problems facing this country and that destroys due process for legal permanent residents.”

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

COVID Aid Fraud and Immigration Law

The House on Jan. 31 approved, by a 267-158 vote, an amendment sponsored by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) to the Consequences for Social Security Fraud Act (H.R. 6678). The amendment would require that aliens who committed criminal misconduct with regards to loans issued during the Covid lockdowns be deportable and not eligible for legal residence in the U.S. D’Esposito said: “We must continue to advance legislation that will protect taxpayers’ money and penalize those who commit fraud, especially those in our country illegally.” An amendment opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) faulted it for requiring only an admission of guilt, not a criminal conviction, and asked: “Do we really want to be deporting lawful permanent residents without any due process?”

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

Immigration and Hamas Attacks

The House on Jan. 31 passed, by a vote of 422-2, and 1 voting present, the No Immigration Benefits for Hamas Terrorists Act (H.R. 6679), sponsored by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). The bill would bar foreigners who took part in the Oct. 7, 2023, attacks on Israel from residing in the U.S., and expand to all Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) members an existing ban on PLO admission to the U.S. A supporter, Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) said: “It is not farfetched to think that Oct. 7 terrorists would try to come here. It is imperative that Congress ensures that such bad actors will find no refuge in the United States.”

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

Changing Federal Taxes

The House on Jan. 31 passed, by a vote of 357-70, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act (H.R. 7024), sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.). The bill would make numerous changes to the tax code, including increasing the child tax credit, increasing depreciation and expensing allowances and deductions for businesses, and would halt funding for the employee retention tax credit. Smith said: “Parents and Main Street communities across this country will see lower taxes, more opportunity, and greater financial security after we pass this legislation.” An opponent, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), said the child tax credit would be offered to illegal residents with children born in the U.S., so the bill “takes the problem we have with so-called birthright citizenship and anchor babies and doubles down on it, makes it worse.”

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

Immigration and Drinking and Driving

The House on Feb. 1 passed, by a vote of 274-150, the Protect Our Communities from DUIs Act (H.R. 6976), sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) to make driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs (DUI) as either a convicted or an admitted offense, grounds for deporting and refusing U.S. residency to an alien national. Deportation would require a criminal conviction. Moore said: “If you are a guest in our country, and you drive drunk or impaired, you shouldn’t be allowed to stay here as we wait for you to do it again or to kill or seriously injure someone.” An opponent, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the conviction standard was inadequate, in part because “every state has a different standard for how they define and prosecute DUIs.”

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

SENATE

Amtrak Board

The Senate voted, 91-7, on Jan. 23 to confirm the nomination of Christopher Koos to be a member of Amtrak’s board of directors for a 5-year term. Koos has been the mayor of Normal, Illinois, since 2003, and is the vice chair for passenger rail at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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

The Senate also voted, 79-18, to confirm the nomination of Anthony Coscia to be a member of Amtrak board of directors for a 5-year term. Coscia has been the chairman of Amtrak’s board since 2013; previously, he was a long-standing executive on economic development and port authority agencies in New York City and New Jersey.

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

The Senate voted, 96-1, to confirm the nomination of Joel Matthew Szabat to be a member of Amtrak’s board of directors for a 5-year term. Szabat had spent nearly four decades in the Army, Transportation Department, and other federal agencies, including time as Transportation’s representative on Amtrak’s board.

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

Federal Judges

The Senate voted, 80-17, on Jan. 24 to confirm the nomination of Jacquelyn D. Austin to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for South Carolina. Austin, after being a private practice lawyer in the state for more than a decade, became a magistrate judge on the district court in 2011.

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

The Senate voted, 67-32, on Jan. 24 to confirm the nomination of Cristal C. Brisco to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana. Brisco has variously been a private practice lawyer, an attorney for South Bend, and magistrate judge at the county level in Indiana over the past 17 years.

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

The Senate voted, 87-6, on Jan. 25 to confirm the nomination of Gretchen S. Lund to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana. Lund, a judge in Elkhart County, was previously a county prosecutor and the city judge for Goshen.

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

The Senate on Jan. 30 confirmed the nomination of Joshua Kolar to be a judge on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 66-25. Kolar, a U.S. magistrate judge for a district court in Indiana, was previously a U.S. attorney in the state.

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

The Senate on Jan. 31 confirmed, by a vote of 54-45, the nomination of Kirk Sherriff to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Sherriff has been head of the Fresno Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district since 2015, and a federal attorney in the district since 2002.

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

The Senate on Jan. 31 confirmed, by a vote of 50-49, the nomination of Karoline Mehalchick to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. A magistrate judge in the district for the past decade, Mehalchick was previously a lawyer in private practice in Lackawanna County.

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

EPA Assistant Administrator

The Senate on Jan. 31, by a vote of 50-49, confirmed the nomination of Joseph Goffman to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. Goffman has been a senior official in the office for the past three years, and was in a similar role during the Obama administration; he has also worked at the Environmental Defense Fund, and was a Harvard Law School administrator from 2018 through 2020. A supporter, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said: “Under his direction, the EPA has made significant progress in implementing many of the programs that we secured in the Inflation Reduction Act.” An opponent, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), said that in his time at the EPA, Goffman has shown his intent on implementing anti-fossil fuel regulations “regardless of what the law says or its disastrous consequences on the reliability of the grid or the affordability of energy.”

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

Adjudicating Trade Disputes

The Senate on Feb. 1, by a vote of 53-42, confirmed the nomination of Lisa W. Wang to be a judge on the United States Court of International Trade. Wang has variously been a private practice lawyer, Commerce Department lawyer and senior official, officer at the U.S. embassy in China, and a lawyer at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative over the past two decades.

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

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Myron Struck is the editor and president of Targeted News Service in Washington, D.C. Before co-founding the service in 2003, he was a national staff writer for the Miami Herald and Washington Post, editor of Campaigns & Elections and managing editor of State News Service. The Highlands Current subscribes to the Targeted News Service.

Leave a comment

The Current welcomes comments on its coverage and local issues. All online comments are moderated, must include your full name and may appear in print. See our guidelines here.