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WASHINGTON – Here are the votes of Western New York’s three members of the House of Representatives and the state’s two U.S. senators on major legislation in Congress last week. A “Y” means the member voted for the measure; an “N” means the member voted against the measure; an “A” means the member did not vote.

House

PIPELINE SAFETY STANDARDS: The House passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., that would modify the Pipeline Safety Act by giving the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration three years to adopt technical standards for pipeline safety and strike a requirement for safety documents used by private standards-developing organizations in drafting standards to be made available online for free.

A supporter, Rep. Thomas E. Petri, R-Wis., said the changes would give the PHMSA “the flexibility needed to continue to fully leverage its partnership with standards developing organizations and save the government money by not requiring PHMSA to develop its own technical standards for rulemaking.”

The vote, on July 16, was 405 yeas to 2 nays.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Y; Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Y; Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Y.

SAFETY OF SMALL AIRPLANES: The House passed the Small Airplane Revitalization Act sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. The bill would require the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt a process for streamlining the regulatory approval of measures to improve the safety of small airplanes.

Pompeo said the bill “will spur economic growth, improve aviation safety and help strengthen the health of the lighter, entry-level segment” of the airplane industry.

The vote, on July 16, was unanimous with 411 yeas.

Collins, Y; Higgins, Y; Reed, Y.

EMPLOYER HEALTH CARE MANDATE: The House passed the Authority for Mandate Delay Act sponsored by Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. The bill would allow for a one-year delay in the requirement under the health care reform law for employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to their employees.

Griffin said the bill would grant necessary congressional approval for the recent decision by the Obama administration to grant the one-year delay.

An opponent, Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., called the bill “political grandstanding” by health care reform opponents, given that the delay had already been granted.

The vote, on July 17, was 264 yeas to 161 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, N; Reed, Y.

INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE MANDATE: The House passed the Fairness for American Families Act sponsored by Rep. Todd C. Young, R-Ind. The bill would delay by one year the requirement in the health care reform law for individuals to buy health insurance.

Young said given that employers have been granted an extra year before having to comply with a requirement to provide health insurance for their employees, “it’s simply unfair to give business a pass, but not to give such treatment to rank-and-file Americans” who buy their own health insurance.

An opponent, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said the bill “would delay better health care, delay fixing the problem of uncompensated care from emergency room visits and delay access to good, affordable health care for millions of good Americans.”

The vote, on July 17, was 251 yeas to 174 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, N; Reed, Y.

HAWAIIAN, ALASKAN, AND INDIAN EDUCATION: The House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, to the Student Success Act. The amendment would add funding for educational support programs for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students. Young said the programs would fulfill federal responsibilities to improve educational opportunities for native groups.

An opponent, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said the funding would be offset by a $64 million annual cut in aid to disadvantaged, migrant, neglected, delinquent and rural students, hurting efforts by school districts to increase academic achievement.

The vote, on July 18, was 263 yeas to 161 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, Y; Reed, Y.

EDUCATION AUTHORITY: The House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., to the Student Success Act. The amendment would express the sense of Congress that state and local education agencies, not the federal government, should maintain responsibility for overseeing elementary and secondary education.

Luetkemeyer said local control of schools provided “the diversity of thought and practices that has propelled our education system forward,” and “no Washington bureaucrat, through top-down mandates or regulations, should determine what is best for each of our nation’s more than 100,000 schools and their nearly 50 million students.”

An opponent, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said the amendment wrongly insinuated that the Education Department was coercing states to follow federal education rules.

The vote, on July 18, was 241 yeas to 182 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, N; Reed, N.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS: The House passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., to the Student Success Act. The amendment would bar the education secretary from imposing unauthorized requirements on local educational agencies.

Meehan said the amendment would improve education because “from Pennsylvania to Illinois and beyond, the parents, the students and the school board members that they elect are truly the experts in education, not Washington bureaucrats.”

An opponent, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the amendment “creates more paperwork, more bureaucracy at the federal level by consultations and chances to dispute regulations, many of which are already allowed in federal law.”

The vote, on July 18, was 239 yeas to 187 nays.

Collins, Y; Higgins, N; Reed, Y.

Senate

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Richard Cordray to serve as director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

A supporter, Sen. Mark Udall, D-N.M., cited Cordray’s experience as attorney general of Ohio and experience in working to protect consumers.

An opponent, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said Cordray and the bureau would have too much power over financial transactions and financial records, with little oversight of its operations by Congress.

The vote, on July 16, was 66 yeas to 34 nays.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D, Y; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D, Y.

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK PRESIDENT: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Fred P. Hochberg to serve a second term as chairman and president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

A supporter, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said that in his time as head of the bank, Hochberg “has proven to be a solid leader in his organization by listening, implementing, innovating and administering a very critical job-creation tool” of helping finance exports by U.S. companies.

An opponent, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said the bank transferred financial risk to taxpayers by subsidizing export loans and lacked adequate risk prevention safeguards.

The vote, on July 17, was 82 yeas to 17 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

CONFIRMING LABOR SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Thomas Edward Perez, a Buffalo native, to serve as labor secretary.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., cited Perez’s experience as a U.S. assistant attorney general and Maryland secretary of labor and licensing. Mikulski said Perez “will be a strong voice for the working class and for keeping the government on the side of the people who need it.”

An opponent, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., cited his “great concerns regarding some of the decisions he has made, the professionalism and ethics of those decisions, and his overall management abilities.”

The vote, on July 18, was 54 yeas to 46 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

CONFIRMING EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Regina McCarthy to serve as EPA administrator.

A supporter, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said McCarthy, who had been acting EPA administrator since early this year, was highly qualified and had bipartisan support, including the backing of five Republican governors in whose administrations she served.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticized McCarthy for failing to “back down from the aggressive bureaucratic power grab that has come to define this administration’s use of EPA” and its use of power not assigned to EPA by Congress.

The vote, on July 18, was 59 yeas to 40 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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