Congressional Votes for the Week Ending March 15

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate on March 14 narrowly voted to nullify a national emergency President Trump he declared on the southwest border over immigration concerns. Trump vetoed the resolution, which previously had passed it. The veto will go back to Congress for a vote on a possible override after representatives return from spring break. The House is expected to vote on it March 26. From Alabama, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby voted against the veto and Democrat Doug Jones voted for it.



Public Disclosure of Mueller Report

By a unanimous vote of 420-0, the House on March 14 adopted a non-binding measure (H Con Res 24) calling for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on any ties and/or coordination between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to be publicly disclosed when it is completed. Under law, Mueller must provide a confidential summary of his findings and related documents to Attorney General William Barr, who has been non-committal as to how much of the information, if any, he would make publicly available. This resolution also urges Barr to provide Congress with information not suitable for public release as well as any investigative leads turned up by Mueller that would help Congress fulfill its constitutional oversight role.

Since it began in May 2017, the investigation has yielded indictments of at least 34 individuals and three companies and secured guilty pleas or convictions from eight individuals. Using terms such as “witch hunt,” “hoax” and “scam,” Trump has made thousands of public attacks on the probe and its personnel, none of which has drawn a response from Mueller or his office.

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


Voting yes: Bradley Byrne, R-1, Martha Roby, R-2, Mike Rogers, R-3, Robert Aderholt, R-4, Mo Brooks, R-5, Gary Palmer, R-6, Terri Sewell, D-7 

Voting no: None



Nullification of Border Emergency

Voting 59 for and 41 against, the Senate on March 14 sent President Trump a House-passed resolution (HJ Res 46) that would nullify a national emergency he declared on the southwest border over immigration concerns. Trump vetoed this measure, meaning two-thirds majority votes in both chambers would be required for an override. In the Senate, his foes would have to gain eight votes over the number above. In the House, which would vote first on the veto, they would need a 43-vote pickup if turnout is the same as for the chamber’s first nullification vote Feb. 26. The two-thirds calculation is based on the number of lawmakers participating in the vote, not the total membership of each chamber.

Jack Reed, D-Rhodes Island, said: “There is no national-security emergency at the southwestern border. The president and his administration continue to mislead Americans about what really is happening at the border in order to fulfill a misguided campaign promise to build a wall.”

John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the emergency declaration is Trump’s “commitment to finally address the problems that overwhelmed our communities along the southern border, both in 2014, when President Obama identified (them), and today.”

A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.


Voting yes: Doug Jones, D 

Voting no:  Richard Shelby, R 

U.S. Military Withdrawal From Yemen

The Senate on March 13 adopted, 54 for and 46 against, a measure (HJ Res 37) that would end American military involvement in Yemen’s civil war unless Congress approves the deployment in keeping with its constitutional authority to declare war. If the House were to go along, it would mark the first time Congress has used the 1973 War Powers Resolution to try to stop a military action. The U.S. involvement has consisted mainly of logistical, intelligence and targeting support, and until recently aerial refueling, to a Saudi-led bombing campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels battling the Yemeni military. The United Nations says the four-year-old conflict is the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, said Congress should “step up and say that enough is enough. We are made weaker in the eyes of the world when we willingly participate in war crimes and when we allow for our partner to engage in activity that leads to the slaughter of innocents.”

James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, said: “We are not engaged in hostilities in Yemen against the Houthis, and here is what we are doing in Yemen: We are providing intelligence support that helps construct no-strike lists that enable humanitarian efforts and protect humanitarian aid workers.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the House.


Voting yes: Jones 

Voting no:  Shelby 

Neomi Rao, D.C. Circuit Judge

By a vote of 53 for and 46 against, the Senate on March 13 confirmed Neomi J. Rao for a seat on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The 11-judge panel is regarded as the most powerful court below the Supreme Court because it has jurisdiction over federal agencies and the regulations they issue. Rao, who had been the administration’s regulatory czar, drew Democratic criticism over her scaling back of Obama-era rules addressing climate change and consumer protections.

John Cornyn, R-Texas, said: “In addition to her outstanding career in public service, Ms. Rao was also an associate professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University and is a leading scholar in the field of administrative law.”

Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said Rao was in charge of overturning “the very regulations that combat human contributions to climate change. For example … she has overseen the administration’s efforts to rescind the Clean Power Plan and weaken fuel-economy standards.”

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.


Voting yes: Shelby 

Voting no:  Jones 

William Beach, Labor Statistics Chief

Voting 55 for and 44 against, the Senate on March 13 confirmed William Beach to a four-year term as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency collects and analyzes data for determining the unemployment rate, payroll levels, workplace conditions, the Consumer Price Index, population levels, import and export prices, productivity and other measurements used in shaping federal laws and policies. Beach had been vice president for policy research at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, which studies the impact of government policies on market forces.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.


Voting yes: Shelby 

Voting no:  Jones 


The House and Senate are in recess until the week of March 25.