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Roll Call

Roll Call

April 15th, 2019 by CQ Roll Call in National News

HOUSE

Return of rules for 'net neutrality':

Voting 232 for and 190 against, the House on April 10 passed a bill (HR 1644) that would reinstate and write into law Federal Communications Commission "net neutrality" rules implemented in 2016 during the Obama administration but repealed in 2017 during the Trump administration. The rules require the internet to be made equally accessible to all users. They prohibit service providers such as Verizon and Comcast from offering faster content delivery to customers in return for higher fees while leaving other customers in a slower lane. The bill gives the FCC permanent authority to prevent internet gatekeepers from blocking or throttling customer access, and it retains FCC programs that expand broadband access in rural areas and make the internet more accessible to low-income persons.

Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said the bill "not only protects consumers from large corporations, but it also strengthens our economy by promoting innovation and small businesses. Net neutrality ensures that any business, no matter how small, gets the same internet at the same speeds as giant corporate interests."

Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said, "The government is not regulating the internet today, and it is growing and expanding to the point where we are the envy of the world. We have some of the best job creation in this industry. We don't need the federal government to come in and save us from this great growth and expansion."

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

ARKANSAS

Voting no: Bruce Westerman, R-4

TEXAS

Voting no: Louie Gohmert, R-1, John Ratcliffe, R-4

 

Internet Tax Freedom Act:

Voting 204 for and 216 against, the House on April 10 defeated a Republican motion that would prevent HR 1644 (above) from overriding the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a 1998 law that prohibits state and local taxation of internet service providers. Democrats said the bill already protects the internet's tax-free status.

Greg Walden, R-Ore., said, "This is pretty simple. Republicans want to close the door on taxation of the internet. Will Democrats join us or not?"

Michael Doyle, D-Pa., said, "The Internet Tax Freedom Act is federal law. Nothing in this order allows the FCC to modify, impair or supersede federal law."

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Westerman

TEXAS

Voting yes: Gohmert, Ratcliffe

 

SENATE

David Bernhardt, secretary of Interior:

Voting 56 for and 41 against, the Senate on April 11 confirmed David Bernhardt, 49, as secretary of the interior. He had been the department's acting secretary and deputy secretary. Republicans lauded Bernhardt's experience in government and as an oil and gas attorney in private practice. But Democrats criticized his record of undermining climate change regulations while advocating oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in waters off the east and west coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. They also faulted Bernhardt's refusal to fully recuse himself from decisions benefiting clients he represented as an oil lobbyist.

Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Bernhardt has seen how federal policies impact people's access to and use of public land, and he also recognizes the need to balance conservation and opportunities for economic development.

Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said that for New Jersey, which depends on a healthy, vibrant coastal economy, Mr. Bernhardt's extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry are troubling, to say the least.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Tom Cotton, R, John Boozman, R

TEXAS

Voting yes: John Cornyn, R, Ted Cruz, R

 

John Abizaid, ambassador to Saudi Arabia:

Voting 92 for and seven against, the Senate on April 10 confirmed John P. Abizaid, 68, a former commander of the U.S. Central Command, as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Abizaid, who retired from the military in 2007, had been a fellow with the Hoover Institution think tank, a director of United Services Automobile Association financial services firm and advisor to Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.

Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Abizaid has the experience and leadership necessary to both manage a large mission and get the currently fraught relationship with Saudi Arabia back on track in a way that advances our security interests and stays true to our ideals.

No senator spoke against Abizaid.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Cotton, Boozman

TEXAS

Voting yes: Cornyn, Cruz

 

Cheryl Marie Stanton, Labor Department official:

Voting 53 for and 45 against, the Senate on April 10 confirmed Cheryl Marie Stanton as administrator of Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, where she will oversee the enforcement of overtime rules, the federal minimum wage, child labor laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act, certain immigration statutes and the wage-garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Stanton resigned in December as executive director of an agency that administers unemployment benefits in South Carolina. She was an associate counsel to President George W. Bush and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito while he was an appeals judge.

Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Stanton has vast experience in labor and employment law, both in public life and in the private sector.

Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she would oppose Stanton because of her very long history of siding with employers when they have violated workers' rights.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

ARKANSAS

Voting yes: Cotton, Boozman

TEXAS

Voting yes: Cornyn, Cruz

 

KEY VOTES AHEAD

Congress is in Easter-Passover recess until the week of April 29.

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