Key votes ahead
The House and Senate are in recess in the week of April 29.
Here's how Arizona's members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending April 26.
AIR TRAVEL, SEQUESTRATION
Voting 361 for and 41 against, the House on April 26 passed a bill (HR 1765) to end furloughs of air traffic controllers made necessary by the blind, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that are now in force. The bill reallocates $253 million in the Federal Aviation Administration budget in order to return controllers to full work schedules and end flight delays clogging U.S. air travel. The bill awaited Senate approval and President Obama's signature.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Yes: Ann Kirkpatrick, D-1; Ron Barber, D-2; Raúl Grijalva, D-3; Paul Gosar, R-4; Matt Salmon, R-5; David Schweikert, R-6; Ed Pastor, D-7; Trent Franks, R-8; Kyrsten Sinema, D-9
FEDERAL HELIUM RESERVE
Voting 394 for and one against, the House on April 26 sent the Senate a bill (HR 527) to avert the scheduled closure of the Federal Helium Reserve on Oct. 1. The bill ends tight federal control of the helium market in which four companies now have exclusive rights to refine crude helium from the reserve. But the bill keeps the federal facility in operation to ensure that private companies and government agencies will receive adequate helium supplies based on market prices. A byproduct of natural gas, the element helium is used in making products such as fiber optic cables, MRI machines, space rockets and computer chips. The bill would save $340 million over 10 years to be applied to deficit reduction.
The reserve was established in 1925 in a geologic formation near Amarillo, Texas. Congress in 1995 directed the Department of the Interior to eventually privatize the reserve, and that process, now under way, would be prolonged for at least ten years by this bill.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Yes: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Pastor, Franks, Sinema
ONLINE SALES TAXES
Voting 63 for and 30 against, the Senate on April 25 advanced a bill (S 743) requiring online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes and send the revenue to the taxing jurisdiction where the customer lives. At present, firms selling over the Internet are obligated to collect sales taxes only if they have a physical presence in the particular state or locality, giving them a cost advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, which by law must add sales taxes to purchases. The bill exempts Internet retailers with less than $1 million annually in out-of-state sales. It does not raise taxes, but facilitates the collection of an estimated $23 billion in sales taxes that now goes unpaid. Senators will resume debate on the bill in early May.
A yes vote was to advance the bill.
Yes: John McCain, R
Not voting: Jeff Flake, R
BUDGET DIRECTOR BURWELL
By a unanimous vote of 96 for and none against, the Senate on April 24 confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Burwell, 48, had been president of the Walmart Foundation, and before that she was a top executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Burwell held several positions on President Bill Clinton's economic team. She becomes the second woman to serve as federal budget director, following Alice Rivlin, who headed the OMB in 1994-1996.
A yes vote was to confirm Burwell.
Yes: McCain, Flake