Category: CongressionalWatch

Congress Gives Final OK to Relief Bill, Takes Up Gun Checks and Confirmations

Voterama in Congress

WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval to the coronavirus relief bill this week, but there were other essential issues discussed in Washington, as well. The House passed two bills aimed at strengthening background checks on gun sales, for instance, and the Senate confirmed several key appointments by Biden, including Merrick Garland as attorney general.
Here are votes on major issues during the legislative week ending March 12.

HOUSE

Final OK to Virus Relief

Voting 220 for and 211 against, the House on March 10 gave final congressional approval to a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Read more.

Alabama’s Senators Among Republicans Who Opposed $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill That Won Senate Approval

WASHINGTON — The Senate on a highly partisan vote Saturday approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The vote on (HR 1319) was 50 for and 49 against. Both of Alabama’s senators joined every Republican present to vote against the bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives.

However, the Senate blocked a Democratic move to increase the minimum wage that had been in the bill.

On the House side, representatives in the week that ended March 5 passed a multi-faceted bill aimed at expanding voting in the U.S. and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, both mostly along party lines. Read more.

Alabama’s House Republicans Oppose COVID Relief Bill That Passed the House; Senate Takes Up Issue This Week

WASHINGTON — Members of Alabama’s House delegation, except for Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, voted against the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed the House on a 219-212 vote Saturday.

HR 1319, which the Senate is expected to take up this week, would expand unemployment benefits by $400 per week from March 14 through Aug. 29; deliver payments of $1,400 per person to individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples up to $150,000; raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2025; expand Paycheck Protection Program benefits for small businesses and non-profits; establish a $25 billion grant program for the restaurant industry; and increase Affordable Care Act premium subsidies for a large number of the uninsured. See what else is in the relief package.

Both of Alabama’s Senators Vote to Acquit Trump

Alabama’s senators voted to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, both citing the constitutionality of the prosecution.

“The Constitution speaks of removing a sitting president, not a private citizen,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby said in a statement posted to his website and social media.

“I recently voted to dismiss this case based on its questionable constitutionality. The framers were clear in limiting impeachment to the president, vice president, and civil officers of the United States. That is why today, I voted to acquit,” Shelby said.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville also said in a statement that he had concerns about the constitutionality of the trial. “But I had a duty as a juror to listen to the arguments of both sides and keep an open mind, which I did,” he said. “After hearing the arguments presented, I voted to not convict for a number of reasons, including the fact that I don’t think the Senate has the authority to try a private citizen.” Read more.

Also read:

Alabamians and Politicians Connect to the Insurrection From Start to Finish

Democrats Gearing Up for Effort to Oust Mo Brooks in 2022

‘For everything there is a season’: Richard Shelby Declines Senate Reelection Run in 2022

Alabama’s Senators Vote to Block Impeachment, Reject Biden Nominees

WASHINGTON – Alabama’s two Republican state senators showed a united front last week while siding with a move to challenge the constitutionality of a Trump impeachment trial and voting against President Biden’s nominees to key positions. Here are votes on major issues in the Senate during the week ending Jan. 29. The House was in recess. Read more.

Senate Confirms Alabama-Connected Austin as Secretary of Defense

Voterama in Congress
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 93 for and two against on Jan. 22 to confirm retired Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as secretary of defense. Austin, who was educated at Auburn University and has sat on its board, is the first Black to hold the position in its 74-year history. Both Alabama senators voted in favor of confirming Austin. Read more.

Electoral College Vote Certified in Tumultuous Week on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON — Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, and Rep. Terri Sewell, a Democrat, were the only two of Alabama’s congressmen who voted last week to accept presidential election results certified by the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania.

But Electoral College votes eventually were certified and President-elect Joe Biden was declared winner of the election.

Opponents of accepting, or certifying, the votes said Congress should appoint a commission to audit the 2020 presidential balloting in Arizona and five other states Biden narrowly carried.

The votes occurred the night an armed mob of Trump supporters streamed through the Capitol, destroying property, defiling historical spaces and forcing lawmakers to shelter in place for extended periods, many behind barricaded doors. Read more.