Friday, May 15, 2015

Which 41 Democrats Just Voted to Allow the Pentagon to Bypass Sequestration Caps?

Earlier today, I wrote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment votes that the House took yesterday.

Today, the House finished the amendment votes and then voted on the final bill.

Let's start with the bill itself.

The NDAA usually wins over the majority of the Democratic caucus. Last year, Democrats voted for it 109 to 85. However, this year, the Democratic leadership encouraged its members to vote against it.

There are a few reasons for that. First, the bill puts money into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) slush fund in order to bypass sequestration level spending limits. House Republicans, as we know, want to eliminate the sequester on the military but leave it in place for social spending. The House Democratic leadership also opposed it because of its restrictions on closing Gitmo and a provision that bans DREAMers from serving in the military.
The bill would provide for the authorization of funding for the Department of Defense and other related agencies, programs, and operations for Fiscal Year 2016. It authorizes approximately $605.6 billion in discretionary budget authority in total. This includes $495.8 billion for the Department of Defense base budget and $17.6 billion for the defense-related activities of the Department of Energy.
The bill also includes $89.2 billion in discretionary budget authority for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), shifting $38 billion in funding from the President’s base defense request into the OCO war funding account. This gimmick goes around the sequester-level defense spending cap, while leaving the non-defense sequester-level cap in place……
The legislation maintains the current restriction on domestic transfers of Guantanamo detainees and prevents the use of funds for construction or modification of U.S. facilities to house Guantánamo detainees. The bill reverts to a more onerous certification standard for the transfer of Gitmo detainees and prohibits transfers to any country in which a previously transferred detainee was confirmed to have re-engaged in armed conflict.  It also includes a further restriction on transferring detainees to a “combat zone,” which is defined broadly by an IRS statute.
House Republicans adopted an anti-immigrant amendment, stripping out language that was adopted on a bipartisan vote by the Armed Services Committee related to the consideration of allowing “DREAMers” to enlist and serve in the Armed Forces.  This amendment, which only further damages our broken immigration system, is just another in a long line of Republican efforts to demagogue “DREAMers” – the hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and know no other home than the U.S. Members are urged to VOTE NO.
The president currently claims he will veto it for mainly the same reasons, but he always claims that and never does.

The final vote on passage was 269 to 151. 228 Republicans and 41 Democrats voted for it. 143 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 41 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Tulis Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Denny Heck (WA-10)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Annie Kuster (NH-02)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
Joe Larson (CT-01)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Mark Takai (HI-01)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

Here are the 8 Republicans:
Justin Amash (MI-03)
Curt Clawson (FL-19)
Jimmy Duncan (TN-02)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Raul Labrador (ID-01)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)

I want to now turn to a few of the amendments that received votes today.

Nuclear Weapons
Doug Lamborn (CO-05) offered an amendment to limit funding for implementing the New START treaty, the nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia signed in 2010.

It passed 235 to 182.

Both 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted with the other side.

Here are the 4 Democrats who should be shamed for voting for this:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Here are the 4 Republicans who should be commended for voting against it:

Darrell Issa (CA-49)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)


Jerry Nadler (NY-10) offered an amendment to strike the section of the bill that places limits on funding for the dismantlement of nuclear weapons.

It failed 178 to 242.

9 Democrats voted against it, and 3 Republicans voted for it.

Here are the 9 Democrats who should be shamed for voting against it:

Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)

Here are the 3 Republicans who should be commended for voting for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)


Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) offered an amendment to end the budget gimmickry of the Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, and move the funding for the Navy’s Ohio-class replacement submarines back into the Navy’s shipbuilding budget.

Here is Blumenauer on his amendment:
“Over the next 30 years, the United States is set to spend over $1 trillion rebuilding the nuclear arsenal. This enormous sum of money is not just a significant burden on taxpayers, but risks crowding out high priority essential defense spending. As we move forward, Americans in and out of uniform deserve transparency about the costs of these programs and how the bill will be paid for. No one has yet answered that question. The Sea-Based Deterrence Fund is the latest effort to avoid that question.”
 “The Sea-Based Deterrence Fund is an illusion of affordability. This fund may allow the Navy to build all of the ships and submarines it wants without running afoul of the Navy’s budgetary caps, however, there’s no getting around the fact that the money will have to come from somewhere. Untethering the program from the Navy’s shipbuilding budget will reduce scrutiny and discipline, increasing the likelihood of cost overruns and questionable accounting.”
Unfortunately, it failed 43 to 375. 39 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted for it.

Here are the 39 Democrats who should be commended for voting for it:

Xavier Becerra (CA-34)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Judy Chu (CA-32)
Katherine Clark (MA-05)
Yvette Clarke (NY-09)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
John Conyers (MI-13)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Pete DeFazio (OR-04)
Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Ted Deutch (FL-21)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Luis Gutiérrez (IL-04)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Eddie B. Johnson (TX-30)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
John Lewis (GA-05)
Nita Lowey (NY-17)
Grace Meng (NY-06)
Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Grace Napolitano (CA-32)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Jose Serrano (NY-15)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)
Pete Visclosky (IN-01)
Pete Welch (VT-AL)

Here are the 4 Republicans who should be commended for voting for it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Tim Huelskamp (KY-01)
Tom Price (GA-06)

Endangered Species

Frank Lucas (OK-03) offered an amendment to reverse and prohibit the further listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as a threatened or endangered species until 2021 and to de-list the American Burying Beetle as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

It passed 229 to 190.

4 Democrats voted for it, and 10 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 4 Democrats who should be shamed for voting for it:

Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)

Here are the 10 Republicans who should be commended for voting against it:

Vern Buchanan (FL-16)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Richard Hanna (NY-22)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Leonard Lance (NJ-07)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)
Erik Paulsen (MN-03)
Chris Smith (NJ-04)

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