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2013-02-17T00:00:00Z Capitol LinkVoterama In Congress Voterama In Congress Arizona Daily Star
February 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Key votes ahead

Congress is in recess until the week of Feb. 25, when the Senate will resume debate on Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary and take up a bill to avert across-the-board "sequester" cuts due to start March 1. The House schedule was to be announced.

Here's how Arizona members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Feb. 15.

HOUSE

FEDERAL WORKERS' PAY FREEZE

Voting 261 for and 154 against, the House on Feb. 15 passed a Republican bill (HR 273) to freeze federal workers' pay through Dec. 31, thus denying a 0.5 percent increase set for March 27. This would extend a pay freeze that began in January 2011 for the 2 million U.S. civil servants. The bill also would extend until year's end a pay freeze for members of Congress that started in January 2009.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Yes: 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: Ann Kirkpatrick, D-1; Raul Grijalva, D-3; Ed Pastor, D-7

SENATE

FILIBUSTER AGAINST CHUCK HAGEL

By a vote of 58 for and 40 against, the Senate on Feb. 14 failed to reach 60 votes for ending a Republican filibuster against the nomination of Chuck Hagel as the nation's 24th secretary of defense. Hagel, 66, served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1967-68, receiving two Purple Hearts as an infantry squad leader, and was a Republican senator from Nebraska for two terms ending in 2008. He has drawn opposition from Republicans unhappy with his comments on U.S. policies toward Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel and who also object to the administration's handling of the terrorist attack last October on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and its aftermath.

A yes vote was to advance the nomination.

No: John McCain, R; Jeff Flake, R

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

Voting 78 for and 22 against, the Senate on Feb. 12 approved a five-year extension of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a 1994 law designed to prevent domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual assaults and help victims recover when those crimes occur. The bill (S 47) expands VAWA to cover gays, lesbians and transsexuals while empowering tribal courts to prosecute and issue protection orders against non-indigenous persons accused of assaulting Native American and Alaska native women in their native communities. The bill also provides funding to help police departments reduce large backlogs in laboratory testing of DNA evidence taken from rape victims.

Additionally, the bill addresses rape and other sexual crimes on college campuses; allocates U visas to help battered, undocumented immigrants avoid domestic violence; funds programs to combat human trafficking; expands the availability of safe homes for victims of domestic violence and makes it easier to bring charges under the Telecommunications Act against persons making obscene or harassing telephone calls.

Over the past 19 years, the VAWA has funneled billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments and nonprofit organizations for administering a variety of anti-violence programs. The departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies disburse the grants through laws such as the Victims of Child Abuse Act, the Higher Education Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Yes: McCain, Flake

AUTHORITY OF TRIBAL COURTS

Voting 31 for and 59 against, the Senate on Feb. 11 refused to strip S 47 (above) of a section allowing tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians in cases of domestic violence on Indian reservations. Under present law, the only recourse for these victims is to turn to distant state and federal courts and police for protection against non-Indian assailants. Critics said the expanded tribal authority should be removed from the bill because it would deny basic constitutional protection to non-Indians on reservations.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Yes: McCain, Flake

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