BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, a candidate for U.S. Senate, missed three additional votes last week so she could continue to fundraise and campaign for the seat left open by the retirement of U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.
Congress.org, a vote tracking system that issues regular reports on political leaders in Hawaii and throughout the nation, said on Monday, July 23, that Hirono was one of 37 members not voting on the Foreign Relations Authorization, which required and received a two-thirds majority vote. The bill would “maintain basic funding and is silent on controversial issues that have held up previous authorizations.”
Hirono was one of 15 Congress members who missed voting on the Sequestration Report, which” backed a measure that would pressure the Obama administration to detail how agencies would implement the cuts, known as a sequester, that are scheduled to hit on January 2, 2013. …lt would require the White House to produce a report within 30 days with a detailed account of how the cuts would affect both domestic and defense programs,” Congress.org said.
The web site also noted Hirono was one of 15 who missed voting on the Defense Appropriations Act, “a $606 billion Defense spending bill last week that would fund the Pentagon and national security programs in fiscal 2013.”
Carolyn Tanaka, spokesperson for Hirono’s U.S. Senate campaign, said: “Mazie is committed to continuing to work for the people of her district while also running a vigorous campaign for U.S. Senate, where the stakes for Hawaii are very high. During this critical period leading up to the Primary election voters want to see and hear from her and that is what she has been doing this week. She has been out in the community meeting and visiting with small businesses and their employees talking about job creation and getting our families back to work. ”
Last week, Hawaii Reporter documented that Hirono, who is a hotly contested primary race for U.S. Senate against former Congressman Ed Case, (D-Hawaii/2002-2007), missed several votes in the last few weeks in favor of campaigning.
Some of the bills she did not vote on, according to Congress.org’s MegaVote reports, include:
Veterans Licensing – Suspension Vote, which would “instruct the heads of federal agencies to recognize relevant training and skills acquired by veterans during their terms of service as meeting the requirements for federal licenses;”
ATM Fee Disclosure – Suspension Vote, which would “lift a requirement that ATMs bear a physical display warning users that they may incur a fee if they are not account holders at the financial institution that owns the ATM;”
Hydropower Generation – Suspension Vote, which would “exempt small hydropower facilities that generate up to 10,000 kilowatts of electricity from permitting by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).”
Before that, she was absent for votes on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a bill the White House threatened to veto, which “directs the Director of National Intelligence to develop procedures to share cyber-threat information on a voluntary basis between the government’s intelligence community and the private sector.”
She also was not there to vote on the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would “keep the interest rate for government-subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent, and stop it from a scheduled increase to 6.8 percent.”
In addition, Hirono missed voting on the Legislative Branch Appropriations, which “funds FY 13 spending on legislative branch operations including funding for Member and committee offices and operations of agencies such as the Library of Congress, Capitol Police, Congressional Research Service (CRS), and Government Accountability Office (GAO).”
Hirono also was absent for the vote on the FDA User Fee Reauthorization, which would “reauthorize the FDA to impose user fees on drug and device manufacturers for five years.”
Explaining why Hirono is putting campaigning ahead of voting in the US House, Tanaka said in a July 18, 2012, statement to Hawaii Reporter: “Because if Hawaii doesn’t like the partisan games being played nearly every day by the Republicans who control the U.S. House, then we certainly cannot afford to allow the Republican Party to win the four seats required to seize control of the U.S. Senate.”
Hirono and Case will face off in the August 11 primary election, and the winner will take on former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in the General Election on November 6.