House OK’s Funding to Avoid Government Shutdown, Bill Goes to Senate

WASHINGTON — Most of Alabama’s House delegation voted in favor of a bill to fund the government on a stopgap basis for the first 10 weeks of fiscal 2021, which begins Oct. 1.

The House approved the bill (HR 8337) in a 359-57 vote on Sept. 22, and it is expected to be taken up by the Senate this week. The continuing resolution became necessary because Congress did not pass regular appropriations bills for the new budget year. The measure will fund agencies at 2020 spending levels through Dec. 11.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said: “The fact that we are passing (stopgap funding) without having already passed an additional COVID stimulus bill represents cruelty and gross incompetence.”

Another supporter, Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said: “The last thing that the United States needs right now in the midst of a pandemic is a lapse in government funding.”

No member spoke against the bill.

Alabama representatives voting for the bill were Martha Roby, R-2, Mike Rogers, R-3, Robert Aderholt, R-4, and Terri Sewell, D-7.

Voting against the bill were Mo Brooks, R-5, and Gary Palmer, R-6.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-1, did not vote.

Here’s how area members of Congress voted on other major issues during the legislative week ending Sept. 25.


Developing Clean Energy to Address Climate Crisis

Voting 220 for and 185 against, the House on Sept. 23 approved a $135 billion, five-year package (HR 4447) of clean-energy measures designed to create jobs while reducing the impact of climate change on the U.S. and global economies. In part, the bill would increase the number of electric vehicles on American roads; advance the development of wind, marine, solar and other clean energies; fund “blue collar to green collar” job-training programs; build infrastructure for transmitting clean energy to consumers; fund research into the health effects of wildfire smoke; raise energy-efficiency standards for homes, factories, schools and other buildings; fund “environmental justice” programs to reduce pollution in poor communities and phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, the coolants used in air conditioning and refrigeration. The bill was judged deficit-neutral by the Congressional Budget Office because its price tag would be offset by revenue increases and spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.

Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., said: “Climate change is accelerating and poses a growing threat to our economy and to our world. We must address climate change with the urgency that it demands, and that means we must all take action. (The bill) represents the type of strong, concrete steps that we must take to prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”

David McKinley, R-W.Va., called the bill “just another effort to gin up the liberal base and divide the House before the election. … I thought we were here to find solutions for the environment, but apparently not. The majority is deliberately misleading the American public with this legislation. Have they no shame? Remember, this bill will not prevent wildfires, droughts or hurricanes.”

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


Voting yes: Sewell

Voting no: Roby, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer

Not voting: Byrne, Rogers

Denying Benefits to Chinese State-Owned Companies:

Voting 193 for and 214 against, the House on Sept. 24 defeated a proposed Republican requirement that any recipient of funds under HR 4447 (above) would have to certify in advance to the administration that no intellectual property resulting from its work would benefit state-owned enterprises in China or other countries. Supporters said the requirement would safeguard national security, while critics said it would enable the White House to choose the U.S. recipients of clean-energy spending.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.


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

Voting no: Sewell

Not voting: Byrne 


Confirming Commissioner Sonderling

Voting 52 for and 41 against, the Senate on Sept. 22 confirmed Keith E. Sonderling as one of the five members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws against discrimination in the workplace. Sonderling had been a top official at the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, and he practiced employment law at a Florida law firm before joining the Trump administration in 2017.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.


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

Voting no: None


The Senate in the week of Sept. 28 will debate stopgap government funding for fiscal 2021, which starts Oct. 1, and both chambers may take up a COVID-19 relief package.