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

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

Recent Congressional Votes

  • Senate: Student Loan Interest Rates – Passage
  • House: Defense Appropriations – NSA Phone Record Collection Amendment
  • House: Defense Appropriations—Final Passage
  • House: Coal Ash Regulations – Passage

Upcoming Congressional Bills

  • Senate: Transportation & HUD Appropriations
  • House: Transportation & HUD Appropriations

Recent Senate Votes

Student Loan Interest Rates – Passage – Vote Passed (81-18, 1 Not Voting)

Senators moved to end a months-long partisan standoff over federal student loan interest rates by passing a bill July 24 that would tie rates to the government’s cost of borrowing. Sixteen Senate Democrats opposed the plan over concerns that the move to a variable rate would burden students with more debt in a couple of years. The bill would link student loan interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note. Senators adopted a substitute amendment by voice vote that would add 2.05 percentage points to the note rate for both the subsidized and unsubsidized portions of undergraduate loans, 3.6 points for graduate loans and 4.6 points for PLUS loans. As amended, the bill would cap the rates for undergraduate loans at 8.25 percent, graduate loans at 9.5 percent and PLUS loans at 10.5 percent. The current bill differs only slightly from the original version, which also set the interest rates on the 10-year Treasury note and passed the House, 221-198, in May. The House is expected to clear the measure this week. The White House, which threatened to veto the original House bill, backs the Senate compromise.

Sen. Brian Schatz voted YES
Sen. Mazie Hirono voted NO


Recent House Votes

Defense Appropriations – NSA Phone Record Collection Amendment – Vote Failed (205-217, 12 Not Voting)

An unlikely pair of Michiganders, Republican Justin Amash and Democrat John Conyers Jr. united to ensure a House floor vote on the Amash sponsored amendment to the fiscal 2014 defense appropriations bill that would restrict collection of telephone records through Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders to only data involving people under investigation. 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats supported the bill; however, a group of 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats voted to kill the amendment. Republican John A. Boehner of Ohio voted no, a rare vote from the House Speaker that showed how close the vote was. The White House opposed the amendment.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted NO

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted YES

Defense Appropriations—Final Passage – Vote Passed (315-109, 9 Not Voting)

After clearing numerous amendments, the House passed the C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla. sponsored legislation funding the Defense department for fiscal year 2014. After a split on the NSA amendment, 220 Republicans were joined by 95 Democrats in support of the bill with only 8 Republicans in opposition. It would provide $512.5 billion in non-war discretionary funding and $82.3 billion in contingency funds to support operations in Afghanistan and the general war on terrorism. The bill also includes a 1.8 percent pay raise for military personnel. The White House has already threatened to veto the legislation over provisions intended to limit executive branch budgetary and policy options, including effectively barring civilian furloughs in the next fiscal year, forbidding cuts in the strategic weapons arsenal and preventing spending to implement reductions required by the New START nuclear-arms agreement. The Senate likely won’t take up the legislation until after the August recess.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted YES 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted YES

Coal Ash Regulations – Passage – Vote Passed (265-155, 13 Not Voting)

In the last vote of the week, the House passed a bill that would allow states to create and implement their own permit programs for coal combustion residuals, removing that authority from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA would still be able to review state permit programs in a limited manner. The Senate is unlikely to consider the legislation.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voted Not Voting

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted NO

Upcoming Votes

Transportation & HUD Appropriations – S.1243

The Senate is scheduled to debate legislation that would fund the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments.


Transportation & HUD Appropriations – H.R.2610

The House is schedule to consider its version of the legislation that funds the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments.