WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues last week.
Adopting Rules for Public Impeachment Hearings: Voting 232-196, the House on Oct. 31 adopted a resolution (H Res 660) offered by majority Democrats setting ground rules for public hearings that will be the next phase of the ongoing inquiry into potential impeachment of President Trump. The Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence will begin public hearings and is authorized to release transcripts of the testimony it has already taken in closed sessions. The panel will report its findings to the Judiciary committee, which would decide in additional public hearings whether to send articles of impeachment to the full House. Any House vote(s) on impeachment could occur in December. If the House voted to impeach, the Senate would conduct a trial to determine if Trump would be removed from office. A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.
Yes: Tom O’Halleran, D-1, Ann Kirkpatrick, D-2, Raul Grijalva, D-3, Ruben Gallego, D-7, Greg Stanton, D-9
No: Paul Gosar, R-4, Andy Biggs, R-5, David Schweikert, R-6, Debbie Lesko, R-8
Declaring Armenian Massacre a Genocide: By a vote of 405-11, the House on Oct. 29 adopted a resolution (H Res 296) officially recognizing Turkey’s killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the fading Ottoman Empire in 1915-16 as a genocide. More than 30 countries and 49 U.S. states have formally declared the ethnic killings a deliberate, premeditated extermination, or genocide, as opposed to Turkey’s assertion that the deaths were collateral damage of World War I. If the United States is to join other nations in declaring an Armenian genocide, this measure must pass the Senate and gain President Trump’s signature. A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.
Yes: O’Halleran, Kirkpatrick, Grijalva, Biggs, Schweikert, Gallego, Lesko, Stanton
Not voting: Gosar
Sanctioning Turkey Over Syrian Invasion: Voting 403-16, the House on Oct. 29 passed a bill (HR 4695) to penalize Turkey if it resumes or continues attacks on Kurdish forces and civilians in northeastern Syria that began when President Trump reduced America’s military presence there in early October. The bill would freeze the U.S. assets of top government officials and cancel their U.S. visas while imposing sanctions on certain Turkish banks. In addition, the bill would block the sale of U.S. arms that Turkey could use in its Syrian offensive and require the administration to develop a strategy for preventing a resurgence of Islamic state militants in the region. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Yes: O’Halleran, Kirkpatrick, Grijalva, Schweikert, Gallego, Lesko, Stanton
No: Gosar, Biggs
Prohibiting Mining Near Grand Canyon: Voting 236-185, the House on Oct. 30 passed a bill (HR 1373) that would make permanent a temporary moratorium on the issuance of new mining claims on federally owned land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. During debate, there was discussion of groundwater pollution attributed to a uranium mine that was opened in 1986 in nearby Kaibab National Forest. Although the mine is inoperative and has produced no uranium ore, it has generated uranium and arsenic pollution affecting millions of gallons of groundwater, according to Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said the bill would prevent access to “the highest grade and largest quantity of uranium reserves in the country,” to the detriment of national security. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Yes: O’Halleran, Kirkpatrick, Grijalva, Gallego, Stanton
No: Gosar, Biggs, Schweikert, Lesko
Loosening Health Insurance Requirements: Voting 43-52, the Senate on Oct. 30 defeated a Democratic measure (SJ Res 52) that would prohibit states from offering in their health-insurance exchanges diluted versions of the coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. The measure sought to block a Trump administration rule under which states could obtain waivers to offer short-term policies that omit or weaken ACA requirements. The law’s standards are intended to guarantee coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions while requiring ACA policies to cover “essential health benefits” such as pediatric care, mental health and substance-abuse treatments, emergency care, outpatient services and maternity care. Backers of the administration’s waiver policy say it gives states flexibility to develop lower-priced coverage alternatives. But critics call such policies “junk insurance” that would destroy the health law by siphoning off healthy and younger policyholders. A yes vote was to adopt the resolution.
Yes: Kyrsten Sinema, D
No: Martha McSally, R
Voterama in Congress