How Hawaii’s Elected Officials Voted – April 29, 2013

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April 29, 2013

In this MegaVote for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District:


Recent Congressional Votes

  • Senate: OMB Director – Confirmation
  • Senate: Internet Sales Tax – Cloture Motion
  • House: High-Risk Insurance Pools – Rule Vote
  • House: FAA Furloughs – Suspension Vote
  • House: Federal Helium Sales – Suspension Vote

Editor’s Note: Due to the redistricting of congressional districts, you may live in a new district and your subscription to this newsletter may need to be updated. To ensure that your congressional district information is correct, click on the “Edit Subscription” link at the bottom of this email. Scroll down to “Subscription Management” and enter your email to make changes to your district.

Congress is in recess until Monday, May 6.

Recent Senate Votes

OMB Director – Confirmation – Vote Confirmed (96-0, 4 Not Voting)

Last week, the Senate unanimously confirmed Sylvia Matthews Burwell to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The office oversees development of the president’s annual budget proposals and oversees the performance of federal agencies.

Sen. Brian Schatz voted YES
Sen. Mazie Hirono voted YES


Internet Sales Tax – Cloture Motion – Vote Agreed to (63-30, 7 Not Voting)

Before leaving for a week-long recess, the Senate also approved a motion to invoke cloture on S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013. S. 743 would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales and use taxes on purchases made by their residents. President Obama supports the measure, saying it would “level the playing field” for brick-and-mortar retailers. The bill is expected to pass when the Senate returns; House action is uncertain.

Sen. Brian Schatz voted YES
Sen. Mazie Hirono voted YES


Recent House Votes

High-Risk Insurance Pools – Rule Vote – Vote Passed (225-189, 18 Not Voting)

The House was expected to pass a bill to transfer funds from one Obamacare-created program to another last week, but after agreeing to a framework for debating the measure with this vote, Republican leaders concluded they did not have enough votes and pulled it from the floor. H.R. 1549 would transfer approximately $3.6 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created to fund various eponymous initiatives, to the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which was created to provide health insurance coverage to individuals who could not obtain such insurance until 2014, when another Obamacare program, the health insurance exchanges, are scheduled to begin operation. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if and when it does come up again.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted NO

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted NO

FAA Furloughs – Suspension Vote – Vote Passed (361-41, 30 Not Voting)

Responding to rising anger with flight delays around the country, Congress acted with rare celerity to avert further furloughs at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA had been forced to reduce the hours of its air traffic controllers as a result of the sequester. After several days of thousands of passengers experiencing delays (and presumably well aware that they would hear about it from constituents during the recess), the Senate passed a bill (S. 853) by unanimous consent allowing FAA to transfer up to $253 million to “prevent reduced operations and staffing.” Because the bill could be seen as a spending measure (though it spends no new funds), Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. secured unanimous consent that a House-passed bill with identical text to S. 853 would automatically pass the Senate as well. The House passed such a bill last Friday; it is expected to clear the Senate when that body meets in pro forma session on Tuesday, April 30. The White House stated last week that the President will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted YES

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted YES

Federal Helium Sales – Suspension Vote – Vote Passed (394-1, 37 Not Voting)

In its final action of the week, the House passed a bill creating a framework for winding down operation of the Federal Helium Reserve. Under current law, the Reserve is mandated to cease commercial helium sales once it pays off its debt, which is expected to occur by October 2013. According to the House Natural Resources committee, the scheduled closure would cut domestic helium supplies in half. H.R. 527 would keep the reserve open with new operating instructions until its capacity is 3 billion cubic feet (down from 10 billion cubic feet at present), at which time commercial sales will no longer be authorized and remaining supplies will only be available for national security and scientific needs. Neither the administration nor Senate leaders have staked out positions on the measure.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted YES

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted YES