Key votes ahead

This week, the Senate will complete work on a five-year-farm bill and take up immigration reform, while the House will debate the fiscal 2014 military budget.

Here's how Arizona members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending June 7.



Voting 245 for and 182 against, the House on June 6 approved a $45 billion fiscal 2014 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security and its 230,000 employees in seven agencies. The bill (HR 2217) increases spending for border protection, customs and immigration enforcement while sharply cutting the Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard budgets. In part, the bill appropriates $6.2 billion for Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) disaster relief, $1.2 billion for science and technology accounts and $786 million for boosting governments defenses against cyberattacks.

Additionally, the bill bars transfer of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison to U.S. soil, requires at least 34,000 beds for detaining illegal immigrants in the U.S., improves cellphone service on the Mexican border and amply funds a firearms-training program for commercial pilots and first-responder grants to cities.

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

Yes: Ann Kirkpatrick, D-1, Ron Barber, D-2, Paul Gosar, R-4, Matt Salmon, R-5, David Schweikert, R-6, Trent Franks, R-8, Kyrsten Sinema, D-9

No: Raúl Grijalva, D-3, Ed Pastor, D-7


The House on June 6 voted, 224 for and 201 against, to block a year-old administration policy that achieves the objectives of the so-called Dream Act, which Republicans have blocked in Congress. Under a June 2012 executive order, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not deporting illegal aliens brought to America as children if they meet certain conditions. Among the terms are that they are now age 30 or younger, have been in the U.S. for at least five years, were under 16 when they arrived, have a clean record and have received a high school (or equivalent) degree or honorable military discharge. This amendment to HR 2217 (above) denied ICE authority to carry out the executive order.

A yes vote was to block an executive order in support of the Dream Act.

Yes: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks

No: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema


Voting 281 for and 146 against, the House on June 5 amended HR 2217 (above) to delay for one year higher National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premiums for many of America's most flood-prone properties. This would blunt a key reform in a 2012 law that renewed national flood insurance for five years while reducing taxpayer subsidies of premiums. More than $20 billion in debt, the program insures more than 5 million residential and commercial properties in flood plains in 22,000 communities. The program serves a market largely shunned by private insurers.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

No: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks


Voting 170 for and 254 against, the House on June 4 refused to clear the way for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as President Obama has recommended. This occurred during debate on a bill (HR 2216) funding veterans programs and military construction in fiscal 2014 that was later sent to the Senate. Most of Guantanamo's 166 detainees have not been charged for lack of evidence, and about 100 are now on a hunger strike. Congress has used spending bills such as this one to bar the transfer of detainees to their home countries or maximum-security U.S. military or civilian prisons.

A yes vote backed the transfer of Guantanamo detainees.

Yes: Grijalva, Pastor

No: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks, Sinema


Voting 198 for and 227 against, the House on June 4 defeated a bid by Democrats to add $9.2 million to HR 2216 (above) to help to reduce the backlog of 900,000 veterans disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The funds were to pay for hiring 94 claims processors in addition to the 94 new positions already funded in the underlying bill. Overall, the bill funds nearly 21,000 processors at the Veterans Benefits Administration for handling disability claims filed mostly by Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

A yes vote was to increase funding for claims processors.

Yes: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

No: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks



Voting 51 for and 46 against, the Senate on June 6 failed to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a Democratic bill (S 953) extending for two years the 3.4 percent interest rate on newly issued Stafford student loans. Congress would use the time to enact permanent means of curbing student debt. Today's 3.4 percent Stafford rate is scheduled to rise to 6.8 percent July 1 unless Congress intervenes. The Senate also turned back a GOP plan to avert a hike to 6.8 percent (next issue).

A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

No: John McCain, R, Jeff Flake, R


Voting 40 for and 57 against, the Senate on June 6 defeated a Republican bill (S 1003) to avert a doubling on July 1 of interest rates on newly issued Stafford student loans. Presented as a long-term solution, the bill would set the rate at the Treasury's 10-year borrowing cost (now just above 2 percent) plus 3 percentage points, with the starting rate locked in throughout the loan. The GOP's market-based formula would apply to all student loans, not just Stafford loans, and because of fluctuations in the 10-year Treasury rate, the interest and lifetime cost of loans would depend on when they begin.

A yes vote backed the Republican plan.

Yes: McCain, Flake