Here is how our House members and New York’s two senators voted on select issues during the legislative weeks ending March 29, 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 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.

Consolidated Appropriations

The House on March 22, by a 286-134 vote, passed an amendment to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882) to provide $1.2 trillion of funding for discretionary federal programs in fiscal 2024. A supporter, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), said the bill “strengthens our national security and funds critical defense efforts,” and also “continues our strong support of Israel, combats the flow of illegal drugs, and fully funds medical research for cancer and chronic diseases.” An opponent, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), said the bill was “filled with all manner of spending priorities that are at odds with the American people,” including lax enforcement of immigration laws and wasteful earmark spending.

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

GHG Emissions Fund

The House on March 22, by a 209-204 vote, passed the Cutting Green Corruption and Taxes Act (H.R. 1023), sponsored by Rep. Gary J. Palmer (R-Ala.), to repeal the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Fund for providing aid to low-income areas to reduce GHG emissions, as well as a tax on methane emissions associated with natural gas production. Palmer said the fund would cost $27 billion, and claimed it had “little to no oversight to fund climate activists, green groups, and Democrat political allies that do little to impact the climate.” A bill opponent, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), said: “These two programs work to slash dangerous climate pollution and invest in communities across the country all while lowering the deficit.”

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

SENATE

Federal Judges

The Senate on March 22, by an 88-7 vote, confirmed the nomination of Ernest Gonzalez to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Over the past three decades, Gonzalez has been a county assistant attorney, federal prosecutor in the eastern and western Texas districts, and, for the past year, a Justice Department lawyer.

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

The Senate on March 22, by a 90-8 vote, confirmed the nomination of Leon Schydlower to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Schydlower has been a magistrate judge in the district since 2015, after stints as a private practice lawyer and lawyer in the military.

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

Illegal Aliens and Airport Security

The Senate on March 22, by a vote of 51-45, rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882), that would have barred funding for use of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP One smart phone application, or any similar successor application, to facilitate the entry of foreign aliens into the U.S. Lee said the app, by allowing illegal immigrants to board airplanes without proof of identification, has enabled criminal activity, and established an unequal standard in favor of the immigrants. An amendment opponent, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said: “Using this app improves security because it provides the CBP with advanced notice of who is arriving and of those individuals who have already passed security checks.”

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

Iran Sanctions Waivers

The Senate on March 22, by a 51-47 vote, tabled an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882), that would have barred funding for measures to waive various sanctions that have been imposed on Iran. Cruz said funding waivers would mean “funding the genocidal, theocratic lunatic who leads Iran, who is funding Hamas, who is waging war against Israel.” An opponent, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), said waivers were useful “for accommodating humanitarian or basic human needs, including food and medicine and to pay for vetted third-party, non-Iranian vendors.”

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

Online Censorship

The Senate on March 23, by a 51-47 vote, rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882), that would have barred funding for federal government efforts to label speech by U.S. citizens as disinformation or misinformation, including requests for social media companies to alter, remove, restrict, or suppress such speech. Schmitt said: “The First Amendment is the beating heart of our Constitution. It protects fundamental human expression, and the government shouldn’t be deciding what we can read or what we can hear or what we can say.” An opponent, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), said: “If you want to make sure we are doing everything in our power to stop Vladimir Putin and others from infiltrating America, vote no on this amendment.”

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

Immigration Sanctuary Cities

The Senate on March 23, by a 51-47 vote, tabled an amendment sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882), that would have barred Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services Department funds from being sent to city governments that do not fulfill Homeland Security Department requests for them to provide advance notice of the date and time that they will release illegal aliens from local custody. Johnson cited a recent “string of horrific crimes in which the suspects are illegal immigrants.” An opponent, Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), said a ban “likely violates the 10th Amendment [of the Constitution]. It likely violates the Fourth Amendment.”

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

Continuing Appropriations

The Senate on March 23, by a 74-24 vote, concurred in the House amendment to the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2882), to provide $1.2 trillion of funding for discretionary federal programs in fiscal 2024. An amendment supporter, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said it “delivers on the investments that matter most in people’s daily lives — on everything from Pell Grants to community health centers.” An opponent, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said it continued a trend of excessive government spending that has created large deficits and spurred inflation that results in “the erosion of your paycheck, the explosion of your gas prices, and the explosion of your grocery bills.”

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

Along with the week’s roll call votes, the Senate passed:

■ The Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act (S. 1258), which requires the Office of Management and Budget to submit to Congress an annual report on projects that are over budget and behind schedule; and

■ A resolution (S. Res. 333) designating 2024 as the Year of Democracy as a time to reflect on the contributions of the system of government of the U.S. to a freer and more stable world.

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.

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1 Comment

  1. I attended a town meeting featuring Rep. Lawler about a month ago and have to admit (as someone who did not vote for him) that he was impressive. He listened, he spoke to the questions asked. I was not convinced but was impressed with his skill as he engaged with us his constituents.

    Thus, I was shocked and dismayed at a recent interview he had on CNN where, when asked about Trump’s outrageous tweet of a bound-and-gagged President Biden, the congressman fell back into canned responses, repeating more than once that “the president has the right to defend himself” and that “everyone” needs to “tone down the rhetoric.” Asked point blank if he condemned the former president’s threats of violence, Lawler could barely bring himself to say that “family members should be off limits.” (Trump had published a picture of his judge’s daughter, along with scurrilous attacks on her.)

    Rep. Lawler, we expect better of you. When Trump threatens violence, you have to come out forcefully against it, no matter what the political cost.

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