How Hawaii’s Elected Officials Voted – July 16, 2013

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U.S. Capitol – Illustration by Emily Metcalf

July 15, 2013In this MegaVote for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District:

Recent Congressional Votes

  • Senate: Student Loan Interest Rates – Cloture
  • House: Energy-Water Appropriations – Passage
  • House: Farm Bill – Passage

Upcoming Congressional Bills

  • Senate: Executive Branch Nominations
  • House: Affordable Care Act Implementation

Recent Senate Votes

Student Loan Interest Rates – Cloture – Vote Rejected (51-49)

Senators failed to broker a temporary deal to maintain federal student loan interest rates, which rose automatically on July 1 to 6.8 percent. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could not muster the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture on a bill that would have extended the previous interest rate of 3.4 percent for subsidized undergraduate loans for one year. Proposed by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the plan would have cost $4.25 billion, offset by changing the tax treatment of certain inherited IRAs and 401(k)s. The bill received no Republican support, ensuring under current Senate rules that it would not receive a final vote for passage.

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


Recent House Votes

Energy-Water Appropriations – Passage – Vote Passed (227-198, 9 Not Voting)

After voting on more than two dozen amendments, the House passed the fiscal 2014 energy-water spending measure on Wednesday. A mostly party-line vote, with only 8 Democrats in support and 9 Republicans in opposition, the legislation would provide $30.4 billion for the Energy and Interior Departments and the Army Corps of Engineers, which is $2.9 billion less than the enacted level for fiscal 2013 and $4.3 billion less than legislation currently being considered in the Senate. The measure would combine renewable-energy and electricity delivery programs into a single account funded at $958 million, about a 50 percent reduction from this year. Ohio Republican Rep. Michael R. Turner’s amendment to prohibit funds in the Energy Department’s nuclear-weapons program from being used to reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile below levels in the New Start Treaty was adopted by voice vote. Turner said it would prevent President Barack Obama from implementing his plan to reduce the nuclear arsenal. The legislation will now likely be taken up by the Senate.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted NO

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted NO

Farm Bill – Passage – Vote Passed (216-208, 11 Not Voting)

After failing last month to approve a five-year $939 billion reauthorization of both agricultural and nutrition programs, the House decided to take a different approach and approved only agricultural programs through fiscal year 2018. The legislation passed without a single Democratic vote and twelve Republicans in opposition. The House will now try to pass a separate bill for nutrition programs that include the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). The Senate passed its version of the comprehensive legislation a month ago including $4 billion in reductions to SNAP; House Republicans have proposed $20.5 billion in cuts during committee mark-ups. Ultimate outcomes for the bill include either a conference committee between the Senate and House to negotiate a compromise or possibly another one-year extension like Congress had to do last year.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted NO

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted NO

Upcoming Votes

Executive Branch Nominations –

The Senate has planned cloture votes this Tuesday on seven federal nominations, including Thomas E. Perez and Gina McCarthy (nominees for Secretary of Labor and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency respectively).


Affordable Care Act Implementation – H.R.2267&H.R.2668

The House is scheduled to vote on two bills sponsored by Republican Reps. Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Dave Camp of Michigan that would delay implementation of the mandate to have minimal health care coverage by individuals and employers until 2015.