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Last week in Congress / How our representatives voted

WASHINGTON -- Here are the votes of Western New York's four members of the House of Representatives and the state's two U.S. senators on major legislation in Congress last week. A "Y" means the member voted for the measure; an "N" means the member voted against the measure; an "A" means the member did not vote.

>HOUSE

Regulating the Use of Federal Lands -- The House passed the Conservation and Economic Growth Act sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif. The bill would reduce regulations governing economic and recreation activity on federal lands.

The vote June 19 was 232 yeas to 188 nays.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, N; Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, D-Amherst, Y; Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Y; Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, N.

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Indian Casino in Arizona -- The House passed the Gila Bend Indian Reservation Lands Replacement Clarification Act sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. The bill would bar the Tohono O'odham Indian tribe from developing a Las Vegas-style casino on land purchased by the tribe in Maricopa County, Ariz.

Franks said the casino would violate federal law, and prohibiting it would discourage "dangerous changes to the complexion of tribal gaming in the other states across the country in which Indian tribes can use front companies to buy up land and declare it part of their sovereign reservation for gaming purposes."

An opponent, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the bill "seeks to unilaterally abrogate an Indian land claim and water rights settlement, and it would also interfere with pending litigation in federal court."

The vote was 343 yeas to 78 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, N; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Energy Production in Alaska -- The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The amendment would eliminate the designation of the Colville River Delta in Alaska as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance and require the Interior secretary to approve right-of-way corridors for the construction of two bridges and pipeline rights-of-way for oil and natural gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska.

The vote June 21 was 253 yeas to 163 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, Y; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Oversight of Minerals Program -- The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The amendment would bar the Interior secretary from transferring oversight of the solid minerals program from the Bureau of Land Management to the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

The vote June 21 was 257 yeas to 162 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, Y; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Distributing Offshore Oil Revenue -- The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The amendment would raise the cap for sharing revenue from energy production off the Gulf of Mexico coast with the four states bordering the gulf from $500 million to $750 million, beginning in fiscal 2023.

The vote June 21 was 244 yeas to 173 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, N; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Drilling off Virginia Coast -- The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The amendment would require the Interior secretary to include a section off the Virginia coast in the five-year plan for oil and natural gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The vote June 21 was 263 yeas to 146 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, Y; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Offshore Wind Projects -- The House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., to the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act. The amendment would require the Interior secretary to issue a decision within 30 days on applications to install temporary equipment to test the development of offshore wind power on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The vote June 21 was 256 yeas to 161 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, N; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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Energy Production -- The House has passed the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. The bill would require the Energy secretary to develop a plan for increasing oil and natural gas and renewable energy production on government lands.

The vote June 21 was 248 yeas to 163 nays.

Higgins, N; Hochul, Y; Reed, Y; Slaughter, N.

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>SENATE

Pricing Milk Products -- The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would require the Agriculture secretary to study the effects of amending each federal milk marketing order and making potential changes to the formula for pricing milk products.

Snowe said the amendment would help small dairy farmers whose viability was threatened by excessive price volatility for the milk they produce.

The vote June 19 was 66 yeas to 33 nays.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D, Y; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D, Y.

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Eligibility for Food Stamps -- The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would have limited eligibility for the supplemental nutrition assistance program to individuals who receive cash assistance from the government.

The vote June 19 was 43 yeas to 56 nays.

Gillibrand, N; Schumer, N.

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Pulse Crops and School Lunches -- The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would direct the Agriculture secretary to conduct a pilot program for buying dry beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and other pulse crops for use in school breakfast and school lunch programs.

The vote June 19 was 58 yeas to 41 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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State Food Stamp Bonuses -- The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S. 3240). The amendment would have ended bonus payments to states that increase the number of enrollees in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

The vote June 19 was 41 yeas to 58 nays.

Gillibrand, N; Schumer, N.

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Insurance for Food Recalls -- The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would direct the Agriculture Department to study the feasibility of developing crop insurance products for food producers for protection against losses due to food recalls.

The vote June 19 was 76 yeas to 23 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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Funding for Food Stamps -- The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (S. 3240). The amendment would have struck a provision reducing funding for the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Gillibrand said the amendment would maintain food stamp assistance to children, seniors, veterans and other needy citizens.

An opponent, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said: "This amendment would shield over 82 percent of farm bill spending from deficit reduction and prevent the bill from addressing a serious breach in nutrition program integrity."

The vote June 19 was 33 yeas to 66 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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EPA Emissions Rules -- The Senate rejected a motion to consider a joint resolution sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. The resolution would have disapproved of the Environmental Protection Agency's mercury and air toxics standards limiting emissions from industrial boilers and power plants.

The vote June 20 was 46 yeas to 53 nays.

Gillibrand, N; Schumer, N.

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Spending on Food Marketing -- The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would have cut annual funding for the Agriculture Department's food marketing program to $160 million and barred the use of funds for reality television shows, wine tastings, animal spa products and cat or dog food.

The vote June 20 was 30 yeas to 69 nays.

Gillibrand, N; Schumer, N.

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Land Conservation Payments -- The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would establish a $1 million annual income cap for farmers and companies to receive payments from the Agriculture Department's land conservation programs.

The vote June 20 was 62 yeas to 37 nays.

Gillibrand, N; Schumer, N.

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Protecting Forests -- The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would increase by $100 million the funding for Forest Service efforts to protect forests threatened by insect and disease epidemics.

The vote June 20 was 77 yeas to 22 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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Funding Party Conventions -- The Senate approved a rider amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act. The amendment would bar public funding for political party conventions and return funds previously distributed to the parties to be used for deficit reduction.

The vote June 21 was 95 yeas to 4 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

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Agriculture Programs -- The Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act sponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. The bill would extend the supplemental nutrition assistance program through fiscal 2017, extend various food production and land conservation programs, and repeal countercyclical and direct payments to farmers after 2012.

The bill included funding for agricultural and food policy research centers; the suspension of price support programs for milk and other dairy products, cotton, sugar and covered commodities; funding for food safety initiatives; assistance for the loss of livestock due to adverse weather or attacks by wolves and other federally reintroduced animals; the establishment of a production margin protection program for dairy operations; and the establishment of a plan to make loans to consumers to improve energy efficiency

The vote June 21 was 64 yeas to 35 nays.

Gillibrand, Y; Schumer, Y.

Information for this column is supplied by Targeted News Service.