Area Votes in Congress

Posted: March 03, 2013

WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:

House

Violence Against Women Act. Voting 286-138, the House on Thursday sent President Obama a bill (S 47) renewing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through fiscal 2018. The law is designed to prevent domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual assaults, and help victims recover when those crimes occur.

The bill expands VAWA to cover gays, lesbians and transsexuals while empowering tribal courts to prosecute and issue protection orders against non-indigenous people accused of assaulting Native American and Alaska native women in their native communities.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.)

Voting no: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.) and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

GOP antiviolence bill. Voting 166-257, the House on Thursday defeated a GOP version of the Violence Against Women Act (S 47, above) that differed by providing fewer safeguards for victims on Indian reservations and college campuses or for gays, lesbians and battered illegal immigrants. In part, the bill failed to give tribal police and courts full authority over non-Indians accused of committing rape and domestic violence on reservations, forcing victims to turn to federal authorities located far from reservations.

A yes vote backed the GOP alternative.

Voting yes: Pitts and Smith.

Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Cartwright, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Runyan, and Schwartz.

Senate

Defense Secretary Hagel. By a vote of 58-41, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chuck Hagel as the nation's 24th secretary of defense. Hagel, 66, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, becomes the first former enlisted man and first Vietnam veteran to hold this post. He drew opposition from Republicans who objected to his public statements on U.S. policies toward Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel and used the nomination to fault the administration for its handling of last year's terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

A yes vote was to confirm Hagel.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

Not voting: Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).

Treasury Secretary Lew. Voting 71-26, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jacob L. Lew, 57, as secretary of the Treasury. Lew served previously as White House chief of staff for President Obama and as director of the Office of Management and Budget under Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Menendez, and Toomey.

Not voting: Lautenberg.

Democratic sequestration plan. Voting 51-49, the Senate on Thursday failed to reach 60 votes for advancing a Democratic bill (S 388) to prevent $85 billion in blind, across-the-board cuts in defense, domestic and foreign-affairs spending for fiscal 2013 from taking effect March 1. The bill sought to replace half of the cuts known as sequestration with revenue increases and the other half with targeted reductions, including a slashing of farm subsidies.

A yes vote was to advance the Democratic plan.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.

Voting no: Toomey.

GOP sequestration plan. Voting 38-62, the Senate on Thursday turned back a Republican bill (S 16) that locked in $85 billion in defense and non-defense spending cuts set for March 1 but ceded to Obama the "power of the purse" to decide how and where to make them. The president's specific cuts would be subject to a vote of disapproval in Congress, and he could not propose tax increases.

A yes vote backed the GOP plan.

Voting yes: Toomey.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.

This week. The House planned to debate a continuing resolution to fund the government from March 27 through Sept. 30, while the Senate schedule was to be announced.

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