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How WNY's members of Congress voted last week

By Jerry Zremski

It was a busy week in the House of Representatives, but all of those votes paled in significance compared to the Senate votes that, in essence, killed gun control legislation.

Here's a closer look, courtesy Targeted News Service:

HOUSE VOTES:

House Vote 1:
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD: The House
has passed the Preventing
Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations
Act (H.R. 1120),
sponsored by Rep. David P. Roe, R-Tenn. The bill would bar
the National
Labor Relations Board from taking actions that require a quorum
of the
Board's members until either the Senate has confirmed enough members
to
establish a quorum, the Supreme Court has ruled on the
constitutionality
of Board appointments made in January 2012, or the first
session of the
113th Congress has adjourned. Roe said that by requiring the
appointment
of an adequate number of Board members, the bill would
resolve
uncertainty about whether Board rulings made since January 2012
are
legal. An opponent, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said the bill
would
stop the Board from enforcing labor law, leaving workers vulnerable
to
mistreatment by their employers. The vote, on April 12, was 219 yeas
to
209 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Chris Collins R-Clarence.
NAYS: Rep. Brian
Higgins D-Buffalo, Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning.

House Vote
2:
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE: The House has passed the
Government
Accountability Office Improvement Act (H.R. 1162), sponsored by
Rep.
Darrell Issa, R-Calif. The bill would expand the
Government
Accountability Office's access to data maintained by the
executive
branch of the government, including the National Directory of New
Hires,
and authorize the Comptroller General and head of GAO to take
civil
legal actions to obtain agency records in order to perform GAO's
duties.
Issa said the bill would help the GAO quickly obtain information
to
carry out its mission of giving Congress "current information on
how
Federal programs are performing in order to both legislate
and
effectively conduct meaningful oversight." The vote, on April 15,
was
unanimous with 408 yeas.
YEAS: Collins, Higgins, Reed.

House Vote
3:
TAX DELINQUENCY AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: The House has rejected
the
Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act (H.R. 249), sponsored by
Rep.
Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. The bill would have barred individuals
with
seriously delinquent tax debt from being hired by the federal
government
or maintaining employment with the government. Chaffetz said the
bill
would discourage government employees from disobeying tax law.
An
opponent, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said: "The legislation
is
unnecessary because the IRS and other executive agencies already
have
procedures in place to recover back taxes from Federal employees."
The
vote, on April 15, was 250 yeas to 159 nays, with a two-thirds
majority
required for approval.
YEAS: Collins.
NAYS: Higgins, Reed.

House Vote 4:
GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SECURITY: The House has
passed the Federal
Information Security Amendments Act(H.R. 1163), sponsored
by Rep.
Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The bill would require government officials
to
increase the automated and continuous monitoring of
government
information technology systems to prevent cyberattacks. Issa said
the
government needs to "address cybersecurity threats in a manner
that
keeps pace with our Nation's growing dependence on technology," and
the
bill was a necessary response to the changing nature of
cybersecurity
threats. The vote, on April 16, was unanimous with 416
yeas.
YEAS: Collins, Higgins.
NAYS: Reed.

House Vote 5:
CYBERSECURITY
PLANNING: The House has passed the Cybersecurity
Enhancement Act (H.R. 756),
sponsored by Rep. Michael T. McCaul,
R-Texas. The bill would require a
strategic plan for the government's
cybersecurity research and development
programs, and provide for
cybersecurity scholarships to be offered to future
government
cybersecurity workers by the National Science Foundation
and
cybersecurity public outreach programs at the National Institute
of
Standards and Technology. McCaul said the bill was a needed response
to
changes in cybersecurity since 2002, when the last major
cybersecurity
was enacted, and will advance cybersecurity work at government
agencies.
The vote, on April 16, was 402 yeas to 16 nays.
YEAS: Collins,  Higgins, Reed.

House Vote 6:
COORDINATING CYBERSECURITY PROGRAMS: The House
has passed the Advancing
America's Networking and Information Technology
Research and Development
Act (H.R. 967), sponsored by Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis,
R-Wyo. The bill
would establish provisions for the coordination of government
research
and development efforts on cybersecurity, data security, and
other
information technology programs. Lummis said: "Advances in
networking
and information technology continue to transform our quality of
life,
our economy, U.S. competitiveness, and our national security. This
bill
provides the coordination necessary for the United States to respond
to
rapid changes in these areas, it encourages innovation, and it
protects
our economy." The vote, on April 16, was 406 yeas to 11
nays.
YEAS: Collins, Higgins, Reed.

House Vote 7:
CYBERSECURITY DATA
SHARING: The House has passed the Cyber Intelligence
Sharing and Protection
Act (H.R. 624), sponsored by Rep. Mike J. Rogers,
R-Mich. The bill would
require the Director of National Intelligence to
establish procedures for the
intelligence community and private business
to share information about cyber
threats, and allow the government to
use shared information to investigate
cybersecurity crimes and protect
national security. Rogers said: "The bill
will allow the government to
share cyber threat intelligence more widely with
American companies in
operationally usable form so they can help prevent
state-sponsored cyber
spies from stealing American trade secrets." An
opponent, Rep. Janice D.
Schakowsky, D-Ill., said: "Cybersecurity and privacy
are not mutually
exclusive, and this bill fails to achieve a balance between
protecting
our networks and safeguarding our liberties." The vote, on April
18, was
288 yeas to 127 nays.
YEAS: Collins, Higgins, Reed.

SENATE
VOTES:

Senate Vote 1:
CONFIRMING U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE: The Senate has
confirmed the nomination
of Beverly Reid O'Connell to serve as a U.S.
District Judge for the
Central District of California. A supporter, Sen.
Dianne Feinstein,
D-Calif., cited O'Connell's experience as a civil
litigator, 10 years of
experience as a lawyer in the U.S. Attorney's Office
in the Central
District of California, and, since 2005, as a judge in
California's
Superior Court. Feinstein said: "Judge O'Connell has
outstanding
credentials and an impeccable reputation, and she has received a
rating
of 'well qualified' from the American Bar Association." The vote,
on
April 15, was unanimous with 92 yeas.
YEAS: Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand
D-NY, Sen. Charles E. Schumer D-NY.

Senate Vote 2:
BACKGROUND CHECKS
FOR FIREARMS PURCHASES: The Senate has rejected an
amendment sponsored by
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to the Safe
Communities, Safe Schools Act (S.
649). The amendment would have
required background checks for commercial
firearms transactions, barred
the government from establishing a national
firearms registry, and
created a national commission on mass violence.
Manchin said the
amendment "is using common sense to protect the safety of
the public,
especially our kids and at the same time protect the Second
Amendment
right to bear arms." The vote, on April 17, was 54 yeas to 46 nays,
with
a three-fifths majority required for approval.
YEAS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote
3:
REPUBLICAN GUN VIOLENCE PLAN: The Senate has rejected a
substitute
amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to the
Safe
Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. 649). The substitute amendment
would
have added rules for including mental health records in the
National
Instant Criminal Background Check System, expanded penalties for
gun
trafficking and funding to prosecute illegal firearms transactions,
and
authorized out-of-state gun dealers to sell firearms in a state so
long
as they comply with that state's firearms laws. Grassley said
the
amendment "contains commonsense measures to fight gun violence in
our
communities and protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding
gun
owners." An opponent, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said the
amendment
was not a serious effort to make progress on efforts to reduce
gun
violence. The vote, on April 17, was 52 yeas to 48 nays, with
a
three-fifths majority required for approval.
NAYS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote 4:
STRAW
PURCHASES OF FIREARMS: The Senate has rejected an amendment
sponsored by Sen.
Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., to the Safe Communities, Safe
Schools Act (S. 649).
The amendment would have made it illegal for
individuals, known as straw
purchasers, to buy firearms legally in order
to deliver the firearms to
individuals who cannot legally buy firearms,
and made it illegal to smuggle
firearms out of the country. Leahy said
the amendment would give law
enforcement officials the legal tools they
need "to fight against the drug
cartels and other criminals who threaten
our communities." The vote, on April
17, was 58 yeas to 42 nays, with a
three-fifths majority required for
approval.
YEAS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote 5:
RECIPROCITY OF CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS: The Senate
has rejected an
amendment sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to the
Safe
Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. 649). The amendment would
have
authorized individuals with state licenses to carry concealed
handguns
to also carry their handguns in other states that authorize the
issuance
of concealed handgun licenses. Cornyn said the amendment would
treat
concealed carry licenses similarly to driver's licenses, so
that
"someone with a concealed carry permit in Texas would no longer have
to
worry about obtaining a separate one when he or she was traveling
across
the country." An opponent, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said the
amendment
would allow dangerous individuals who have obtained permits in
states
with lax standards to carry handguns into states with laws that bar
the
individuals from owning a handgun. The vote, on April 17, was 57 yeas
to
43 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for a approval.
NAYS:
Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote
6:
ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN: The Senate has rejected an amendment sponsored
by
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to the Safe Communities, Safe
Schools
Act (S. 649). The amendment would have reinstated a ban on
buying
certain models of semi-automatic firearms, commonly known as
assault
weapons, that expired in 2004. Feinstein said the amendment sought
to
"begin to dry up the future supply of assault weapons and
high-capacity
ammunition magazines over time, which will save lives." The
vote, on
April 17, was 40 yeas to 60 nays.
YEAS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote 7:
VETERANS
AND FIREARMS PURCHASES: The Senate has rejected an amendment
sponsored by
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., to the Safe Communities, Safe
Schools Act (S.
649). The amendment would have required judicial review
of decisions by the
Veterans Affairs Department to place veterans on the
federal list of those
banned from buying firearms. Burr said that
currently, veterans found to be
unable to handle their own finances are
unfairly put on the list. An
opponent, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said
the amendment would take 165,000
people off the list, "all of whom have
some degree of incompetence" that
indicates they should not own
firearms. The vote, on April 17, was 56 yeas to
44 nays, with a
three-fifths majority required for approval.
NAYS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote
8:
BANNING HIGH-CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICES: The Senate
has
rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,
to
the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. 649). The amendment
would
have barred the possession of devices to feed more than 10 rounds
of
ammunition into a firearm. Blumenthal said the devices "are used to
kill
more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than
half
the mass shootings since 1982." An opponent, Sen. Chuck
Grassley,
R-Iowa, said: "There is no evidence banning these magazines has
reduced
the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban [on
the
devices] was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims
were
killed or wounded than before it was adopted." The vote, on April
17,
was 46 yeas to 54 nays.
YEAS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote 9:
RELEASING INFORMATION ON GUN
OWNERSHIP: The Senate has passed an
amendment sponsored by Sen. John
Barrasso, R-Wyo., to the Safe
Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. 649). The
amendment would withhold 5
percent of federal funding for state and local
Community Oriented
Policing Services programs if those governments release
sensitive and
confidential information on gun ownership of law-abiding
individuals.
Barrasso said the amendment "protects the privacy and safety
of
law-abiding gun owners. When government officials release gun
ownership
information, it puts many lives at risk." An opponent, Sen. Patrick
J.
Leahy, D-Vt., said the amendment would hurt states by reducing
funding
for their law enforcement efforts. The vote, on April 18, was 67 yeas
to
30 nays.
NAYS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

Senate Vote 10:
MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS: The Senate has passed an
amendment sponsored by
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to the Safe Communities, Safe
Schools Act (S.
649). The amendment would reauthorize Department of Education
and Health
and Human Services programs to prevent and treat mental
health
conditions and substance abuse disorders. Harkin said: "We need to do
a
better job of early identification, intervention, and providing
support
services for the mental health of our children in this country."
The
vote, on April 18, was 95 yeas to 2 nays.
YEAS: Gillibrand, Schumer.

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