Congressional Votes for the Week Ending Sept. 14

WASHINGTON – Alabama’s U.S. senators and representatives, with the exception of Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, threw their support behind a $147 billion appropriations bills for next year.

The bill increases money for veterans’ programs and includes money for energy and water programs, including a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade drinking-water systems and outlays to help schools replace lead-poisoned drinking fountains.

Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the week ending Sept. 14.


$147 Billion Appropriations Bill

Voting 377 for and 20 against, the House on Sept. 13 gave final congressional approval to a $147 billion appropriations bill for several departments and agencies in fiscal 2019, which starts Oct. 1. In part, the bill (HR 5895) would provide $86.5 billion for veterans programs, including health care for seven million individuals; $44.6 billion for energy and water programs; $10.3 billion for construction at military bases; $7 billion for Army Corps of Engineers public-works projects and $4.8 billion for operating the legislative branch, including a boost in funding to defend Capitol Hill against cyberattacks.

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Trump.


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

Voting no: Mo Brooks, R-5



Charles Rettig, IRS Commissioner

Voting 64 for and 33 against, the Senate on Sept. 12 confirmed Charles P. Rettig, 62, a tax attorney in private practice in Beverly Hills, California, for a five-year term as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, where he will be in charge of administering and enforcing U.S. tax laws and conventions.

Opposition centered on a recent administration ruling that tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations no longer must disclose their donors to the IRS. Those “dark money” groups can spend unlimited amounts on issue advocacy not associated with specific candidates in federal, state and local elections. But they had been required to identify their donors in confidential Form 990 filings so that the IRS could detect illegal contributions to American elections from ineligible contributors, including Russians and other foreign nationals.

Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said he would support the nominee “because the IRS deserves to have dedicated leadership at the top,” after having been led for the past 10 months by a political appointee, David J. Kautter, who also serves as assistant secretary of the Treasury for tax policy.

Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said: “The Trump dark money rule is anti-law enforcement, anti-democratic and anti-disclosure. It puts a blindfold on law enforcement at the exact moment Congress ought to be coming up with new approaches to shed more sunlight on political spending and defend American democracy from foreign influence.”

A yes vote was to confirm Rettig.

Voting yes: Richard Shelby, R, Doug Jones, D

Voting no: None

$147 Billion Appropriations Bill

Voting 92 for and five against, the Senate on Sept. 12 agreed to the conference report on HR 5895 (above). The $147 billion measure provides $44.6 billion for energy and water programs, including $4.4 billion for a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade drinking-water systems and outlays to help schools replace lead-poisoned drinking fountains. In addition, the bill increases budgets for mental health and suicide prevention programs for veterans and provides $454 million for addressing veterans’ opioids addiction.

Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said the bill nearly doubles the budget for veterans’ sports programs “so that more service-disabled veterans, including those who suffer from invisible injuries like PTSD and brain injuries, can participate in lifelong sports in their communities, or train to showcase their mental and physical training at national competitions.”

No senator spoke against the bill.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

Voting yes: Shelby, Jones 

Voting no: None


The House will consider a bill scaling back the Affordable Care Act in the week of Sept. 17, while the Senate will debate appropriations for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.