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2013-05-26T00:00:00Z Capitol LinkVoterama In Congress Voterama In Congress Arizona Daily Star

Key Votes Ahead

Congress is in Memorial Day recess until the week of June 3, when the Senate will complete work on a five-year-farm bill and take up immigration reform. The House schedule was to be announced.

WASHINGTON - Here's how Arizona's members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending May 24.

HOUSE

KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Voting 241 for and 175 against, the House on May 22 passed a bill (HR 3) to approve the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline between the Canadian border and Steele City, Neb. This usurped authority over the project from the executive branch, which is still weighing approval or disapproval of the so-called Northern Route between Canada and Nebraska. This is the final approval needed to complete a nearly 4,000-mile, four-phase Keystone network for shipping crude from tar sands in Alberta to U.S. refineries located in the Midwest and on the Texas Gulf Coast or to U.S. ports for export as crude.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Yes: Paul Gosar, R-4, Matt Salmon, R-5, David Schweikert, R-6, Trent Franks, R-8

No: Ann Kirkpatrick, D-1, Ron Barber, D-2, Raúl Grijalva, D-3, Ed Pastor, D-7, Kyrsten Sinema, D-9

BAN ON OIL EXPORTS

Voting 162 for and 255 against, the House on May 22 refused to prohibit U.S. oil companies from exporting crude oil they receive through the Keystone XL pipeline or petroleum products made from that oil. The underlying bill (HR 3, above) has no requirement that the Keystone oil be used to bolster America's energy independence.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: Kirkpatrick, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

No: Barber, Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks

OIL-SPILL LIABILITY PAYMENTS

Voting 194 for and 223 against, the House on May 22 refused to require firms receiving tar-sands crude via the Keystone XL pipeline to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, just as other oil companies must pay a per-gallon fee into the fund. This Democratic motion to HR 3 (above) sought to amend a 2011 Internal Revenue Service ruling under which tar-sands oil is exempted from having to support the fund.

A yes vote backed the motion.

Yes: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

No: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks.

STATE DEPARTMENT REVIEW

Voting 246 for and 168 against, the House on May 22 expanded HR 3 (above) to include a State Department finding of no disqualifying environmental problems with the Keystone XL Pipeline compared with rail or truck shipments of the crude out of Canada. The draft finding also downplayed chances of the pipeline inflicting major environmental damage to resources along its route.

A yes vote backed the GOP amendment.

Yes: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks

No: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

CARBON-POLLUTION OFFSETS

Voting 146 for and 269 against, the House on May 22 defeated an amendment to HR 3 (above) designed to achieve neutrality in the Keystone XL Pipeline's impact on carbon emissions. The measure sought to require oil companies that refine and produce products from the pipeline's tar-sands crude to offset the resulting air pollution elsewhere in their carbon footprint.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

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

STUDENT-LOAN RATES

Voting 221 for and 198 against, the House on May 23 sent the Senate a Republican bill (HR 1911) setting variable but capped interest rates for Stafford student loans and certain other education loans. For newly issued Stafford loans, the rate would be set annually at the rate for a 10-year Treasury note plus 2.5 percentage points, with a cap of 8.5 percent for undergraduates. At present, interest on Stafford loans is fixed at 3.4 percent, but will rise to 6.8 percent on July 1 unless Congress acts.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Yes: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks.

No: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema.

BAN ON TEASER RATES

Voting 194 for and 223 against, the House on May 23 defeated a Democratic motion barring lenders under HR 1911 (above) from offering teaser rates, and also requiring lenders to give upfront notification of the true or projected total cost of the student loan.

A yes vote backed the motion.

Yes: Kirkpatrick, Barber, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema

No: Gosar, Salmon, Schweikert, Franks.

SENATE

APPEALS COURT JUDGESHIP

Senators on May 23 confirmed, 97 for and none against, Sri Srinivasan, 46, the principal deputy solicitor general at the Department of Justice, to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

A yes vote was to confirm Srinivasan.

Yes: John McCain, R

Not voting: Jeff Flake, R

FEDERAL SUGAR PROGRAM

Voting 45 for and 54 against, the Senate on May 21 rejected an amendment to a pending farm bill (S 954) that sought to add free-market reforms to the federal sugar program, which protects growers and producers of cane and beet sugar. The program limits domestic production, restricts foreign imports, puts a floor under growers' prices and requires the government to buy crop surpluses for sale at a loss to the ethanol industry. Its supporters note the sugar program operates at no cost to taxpayers, while critics say it indirectly taxes consumers by increasing food prices.

A yes vote was to add market forces to the federal sugar program.

Yes: McCain, Jeff Flake

FOOD STAMPS CUTS

Voting 40 for and 58 against, the Senate on May 21 refused to trim $30 billion from the $800 billion, 10-year authorization for food stamps in a five-year farm bill that remained in debate (S 954, above). Food stamps already were cut by $4 billion over 10 years in the Senate bill and would be reduced by $20 billion over 10 years in a farm bill pending in the House.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: McCain, Flake

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS

Voting 27 for and 71 against, the Senate on May 23 refused to give states authority to require genetically engineered foods sold within their boundaries to be labeled as such. This was a bid to devolve powers now reserved to the federal Food and Drug Administration, which requires the labeling of more than 3,000 ingredients and additives but not those pertaining to genetic engineering. The amendment was proposed to S 954 (above).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

No: McCain

Not voting: Flake

TOBACCO SUBSIDIES

Voting 44 for and 52 against, the Senate on May 23 defeated an amendment to prohibit federal subsidies of crop insurance for tobacco farmers, a benefit that costs taxpayers $3 million annually. Taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance is available to a wide range of crops, including tobacco, in a pending farm bill (S 954).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: McCain

Not voting: Flake

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