Congressional Votes for the Week Ending May 3

WASHINGTON – U.S. House of Representatives members from Alabama continued the trend of voting along party lines last week when the body voted to stay in the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Along the same lines, the House voted against a measure that would have held up an agreement until President Trump certified no U.S. jobs would be lost to China. Trump meanwhile, wants the U.S. to withdraw from the agreement.

See how area members of Congress voted on these and other major issues during the legislative week ending May 3.


Keeping America In Climate Accord

The House on May 2 voted 231 for and 190 against to continue U.S. participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change. The bill (HR 9) would deny funding to carry out President Trump’s plan to withdraw the United States from the global pact in November 2020. The bill also requires the administration to develop a plan for achieving voluntary carbon-reduction goals to which America subscribed when the Obama administration joined the agreement in 2016. Those goals would be reached primarily by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Signed by 195 nations, the Paris Agreement is designed to limit the increase in the average global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (about 1850) levels. Each participant is responsible on a voluntary basis to meet emissions targets it negotiates with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States is the only signee nation to have disavowed the agreement.

Paul Tonko, D-New York, said the vote “will show the American people and the international community who in Washington understands and acknowledges the threat of climate change, who recognizes the importance of building global cooperation to address it. … Based on the president’s statements, the answer is clearly not him. And the clock is ticking.”

Tim Walberg, R-Michigan, said the bill would “lock us into a bad deal. While the United States is continuing to lower its emissions and to lead the world through technological innovation, other countries … are not meeting even their targets. … Staying in the Paris Agreement would raise (U.S.) energy prices and slow economic growth without curbing emissions in a meaningful, global fashion.”

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


Voting yes: Terri Sewell, D-7 

Voting no:  Bradley Byrne, R-1, Martha Roby, R-2, Mike Rogers, R-3, Robert Aderholt, R-4, Mo Brooks, R-5, Gary Palmer, R-6 

Republican Plan to Preserve U.S. Jobs

Voting 206 for and 214 against, the House on May 2 defeated a GOP-sponsored motion that would prevent HR 9 (above) from taking effect until President Trump certifies it would not result in a net loss of U.S. jobs to China. Republicans said U.S. participation in the Paris accord would ravage fossil-fuel industries including coal, while Democrats said carbon-related job losses would be more than offset by gains in clean-energy employment.

Andy Barr, R-Kentucky, said “the Paris Agreement would hurt our economy, cost millions of American jobs, weaken our sovereignty and put us at a disadvantage among international competitors, especially China. … We must be sure our environmental goals do not put us at a strategic disadvantage or force us to commit economic self-destruction.”

Tom Malinowski, D-New Jersey, said China “is taking advantage of our retreat” from the Paris accord. “China is a strategic competitor, and it should pain all of us that everywhere around the world, China is being treated like the leader in fighting climate change. It should pain us that China is investing more money in renewable energy than any other country.”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.


Voting yes: Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer 

Voting no: Sewell

Treaty Status for Paris Pact

Voting 189 for and 234 against, the House on May 2 defeated an amendment to HR 9 (above) that sought to end U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement by reclassifying it as a treaty requiring ratification by a two-thirds Senate majority. Amendment foes said the pact is only a subsidiary agreement to a United Nations climate-change treaty the Senate ratified in October 1992, during the George H.W. Bush administration.

Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, said: “If Congress refuses to exercise its constitutional authority and not demand the Paris Agreement to be sent to the Senate, then this body is telling future presidents that there are no checks and balances.”

Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, said the accord derives from “the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change … that was signed by President George H.W. Bush and approved by both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate in 1992.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.


Voting yes: Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer 

Voting no: Sewell


Upholding Trump Veto Over War Powers

Voting 53 for and 45 against, the Senate on May 2 failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to override President Trump’s veto of a measure (SJ Res 7) ending American military involvement in Yemen’s civil war unless Congress approves the action. This derailed what would have been Congress’ first use of the 1973 War Powers Resolution to stop a military deployment it has not authorized.

Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said: “Whether it is Saudi Arabia’s conduct in the war in Yemen, their grizzly murder of American resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, their imprisonment of U.S. citizens or their gross violations of basic human rights, the United States must reevaluate and reshape our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said U.S. forces “are not co-belligerents” in the civil war. Their role, he said, is “advisory in nature and helps defend the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which both face a very real threat from the Iranian-backed Houthis and from Iran itself. Our limited support is intended to prevent the conflict in Yemen from escalating”

A yes vote was to override the presidential veto.


Voting yes: Doug Jones, D 

Voting no:  Richard Shelby, R 


The House will take up a health care bill focused on pre-existing conditions in the week of May 6, while the Senate will hold confirmation votes on judicial and executive-branch nominations.