Here’s how Inland members of Congress voted on net neutrality, raw milk and crimes against police

Here’s how Inland members of Congress voted on net neutrality, raw milk and crimes against police

Here’s how Inland-area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Friday, May 18.


VETERANS HEALTHCARE IMPROVEMENTS: Voting 347-70, the House on Wednesday passed a bill (S 2372) that would launch the process to realign, consolidate or close some of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 1,200-plus medical centers and outpatient clinics, some of which were built to treat veterans of the Civil War. The bill also would streamline a four-year-old “community care” program in which veterans who live at great distance from Veterans Health Administration medical facilities can receive publicly funded care from close-to-home private-sector providers. In addition, the bill would expand a program that provides financial support to immediate and extended family members who care for veterans. The bill is projected to increase the discretionary-spending side of the department’s budget by $47 billion over five years.

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

Voting yes: Ken Calvert, R-Corona; Paul Cook, R- Yucca Valley; Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands; Norma Torres, D-Pomona; Raul Ruiz, D-La Quinta; Mark Takano, D-Riverside; and Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine.

FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF CRIMES AGAINST POLICE: Voting 382-35,  the House on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 5698) that would establish a new federal offense for the crime of targeting any law-enforcement officer in activities or geographical areas associated with interstate commerce. While the bill defers to state or local prosecution of such crimes, it authorizes Department of Justice intervention under some circumstances, including when federal action is “necessary to secure substantial justice.” Supporters said the bill would boost law enforcement during National Police Week, while critics called it a “messaging bill” that duplicates laws already on the books.

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

Voting yes: Calvert, Cook, Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz, Takano and Hunter.

DEFEAT OF FIVE-YEAR FARM BILL: Voting 198-213, the House on Friday defeated a bill (HR 2) to reauthorize federal farm, nutrition and anti-hunger programs for five years at a cost of about $87 billion annually. The bill failed because of a dispute in the Republican caucus over the scheduling of immigration legislation. The measure would cut spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) by more than $2 billion annually while imposing stricter work and job training requirements on recipients. In addition, the bill would renew the federal sugar program as is; fund programs to boost exports; subsidize crop insurance and provide price supports for growers of commodities including corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice; fund rural development including broadband expansion and renew the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which is designed to stabilize dairy incomes without directly limiting milk production.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Calvert, Cook and Hunter.

Voting no:  Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz and Takano.

PROPOSED SUGAR PROGRAM CHANGES: Voting 137-278, the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to HR 2 (above) that sought to scale back a program that benefits U.S. growers and producers of cane and beet sugar by keeping sugar prices higher than free-market levels. The program limits domestic production, restricts imports, puts a floor under growers’ prices and requires the government to buy crop surpluses for sale at a loss to the ethanol industry. This amendment sought to repeal the sugar-to-ethanol program, lift production caps and allow lower tariffs on imported sugar. Supporters note that the program operates at no cost to taxpayers, while critics say it indirectly taxes consumers by increasing food and soda prices.

A yes vote was to revamp the federal sugar program.

Voting yes: Hunter

Voting no:  Calvert, Cook, Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz and Takano.

REPEAL OF CLEAN WATER RULE: The House on Friday voted 238-173 to repeal an Obama administration rule that gives protection under the Clean Water Act to headwaters, wetlands and other waters upstream of navigable waters. The amendment was offered to HR 2 (above). The rule, which does not apply to non-navigable waters used in farming, has been blocked by the Trump administration but not permanently repealed.

A yes vote was to repeal an environmental rule that is now blocked by President Donald Trump.

Voting yes: Calvert, Cook and Hunter.

Voting no:  Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz and Takano.

INTERSTATE SHIPMENTS OF RAW MILK: Voting 79-331 against, the House on Friday defeated an amendment to HR 2 (above) that sought to allow raw milk to be transported between any of the 28 states where its consumption is legal. The measure would override a federal ban on shipping unpasteurized milk in interstate commerce, which is rooted in a Food and Drug Administration finding that the product is a serious health hazard.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting no:  Calvert, Cook, Aguilar, Torres, Ruiz, Takano and Hunter.


GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR: The Senate on Thursday confirmed, 54-44, Gina Haspel, 61, as Central Intelligence Agency director. A 33-year agency employee, Haspel was broadly supported by the intelligence community. But she drew criticism over of her role in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation,” or torture, of terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush administration, including her supervision of a secret site in Thailand where at least one detainee was tortured in 2002. She becomes the seventh CIA director since the agency was restructured in 2005.

A yes vote was to confirm Haspel.

Voting no:  Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both D-Calif.

REGULATING INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS: Voting 52-47, the Senate on Wednesday passed a measure (SJ Res 52) that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of “net neutrality” rules adopted during the Obama administration to keep the Internet equally accessible to all users. As a result of the FCC’s action last December, service providers such as Comcast and Verizon soon will be able to offer customers varying levels of broadband service, including faster lanes for websites and apps willing to pay more for speedier delivery of their content. The resolution now goes to the GOP-led House, where its prospects are dim.

A yes vote was to restore “net neutrality” rules for the Internet

Voting yes: Feinstein and Harris

MITCHELL ZAIS, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Voting 50-48, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Mitchell Zais, 71, as deputy secretary of education. Before serving as South Carolina’s superintendent of education and president of Newberry College, Zais had a 31-year U.S. Army career that included infantry duty in Vietnam, commanding U.S. and allied forces in Kuwait, teaching at West Point and attaining the rank of brigadier general.

A yes vote was to confirm Zais for the number-two post at the Department of Education.

Voting no:  Feinstein and Harris

Copyright 2018, Thomas Voting Reports