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Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week
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Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week

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Here’s how members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation voted on major issues this week.

HOUSE

SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Voting 237 for and 190 against, the House on Wednesday passed a Republican bill (HR 4012) that would negate specific rulemakings by the Environmental Protection Agency unless all data from underlying scientific studies — including any confidential health information about participants — has been made publicly available so that the studies can be independently replicated. Republicans said the bill would promote much-needed transparency at the EPA, while Democrats said it would thwart enforcement actions because many environmental studies depend on protecting the privacy rights of participants. Democrats said the bill’s main targets are studies by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University that link air pollution with ill health and underpin the EPA’s administration of the Clean Air Act.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is expected to die.

Voting yes: Paul Ryan, R-1, James Sensenbrenner, R-5, Tom Petri, R-6, Sean Duffy, R-7, Reid Ribble, R-8

Voting no: Mark Pocan, D-2, Ron Kind, D-3, Gwen Moore, D-4

EBOLA DISINFECTANTS: Voting 196 for and 230 against, the House on Wednesday defeated a Democratic bid to exempt from HR 4012 (above) any EPA actions to approve Ebola disinfectants or protect communities against nuclear, biological or terrorist attacks or chemical spills into drinking-water supplies.

A yes vote was to exempt EPA actions against health threats such as the Ebola virus from the bill.

Voting yes: Pocan, Kind, Moore

Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble

EPA SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD: Voting 229 for and 191 against, the House on Tuesday passed a Republican bill (HR 1422) to reshape the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to make it more industry-friendly. The board provides independent evaluations of the scientific analyses upon which the EPA bases its regulations. Its 52 members are chosen by the EPA administrator and serve without pay. This bill would diminish academic representation on the board while expanding corporate membership; permit experts with financial ties to EPA-regulated industries to serve if they disclose their conflicts-of-interest; give state, local and tribal governments a guaranteed number of seats on the board and require the board to gather more public comments, among other provisions.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it is expected to die.

Voting yes: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble

Voting no: Pocan, Kind

Not voting: Moore

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: Voting 195 for and 225 against, the House on Tuesday refused to amend HR 1422 (above) in a way that would deny membership on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board to representatives of companies or trade associations having a financial interest in decisions that result from the board’s recommendations.

A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic motion.

Voting yes: Pocan, Kind

Voting no: Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Petri, Duffy, Ribble

Not voting: Moore

SENATE

CURBS ON DOMESTIC SPYING: By a vote of 58 for and 42 against, the Senate on Tuesday failed to reach 60 votes needed to end Republican blockage of a bill (S 2685) that would strip the National Security Agency of its authority to collect bulk data on Americans’ phone calls and other telecommunications under federal laws such as Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Under the bill, when the NSA requests authority from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge to search telecommunications involving U.S. citizens, it must provide details short of probable cause to identify its target in the context of a terrorism investigation. And the bill would require the secretive court to hear counter arguments from voices advocating civil liberties.

Existing law allows the NSA to collect and store bulk data such as phone numbers and the duration of calls but not the content of what is said. This bill changes that procedure by keeping electronic records in the possession of telecom companies for up to 18 months, with the NSA-allowed access only by an intelligence-court warrant based on “specific selection” criteria.

A yes vote was to send the bill to conference with a similar House-passed measure.

Voting yes: Tammy Baldwin, D

Voting no: Ron Johnson, R

KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE: Voting 59 for and 41 against, the Senate on Tuesday failed to end Democratic-led blockage of a bill (S 2280) to bypass environmental laws and approve the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline between the Canadian border and Steele City, Nebraska.

Under the bill, Congress would usurp authority over the international project from the Department of State and White House, which after years of study are non-committal on the proposed 1,179-mile conduit through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. This would be the final leg of a nearly 4,000-mile Keystone network for shipping tar-sands oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries . In addition to overriding executive-branch authority over the pipeline, the bill “deems” that certain environmental and safety hurdles have been cleared and that federal permits for construction, operation and maintenance must be issued. 

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Voting yes: Johnson

Voting no: Baldwin

CHILD-CARE BLOCK GRANTS: By a vote of 88 for and one against, the Senate on Monday gave final approval to a bill (S 1086) that would extend the Child Care and Block Grant Development Program through fiscal 2019 at a cost of $13.1 billion. 

Under the bill, states must publish online basic consumer information about specific day care providers, including the results of on-site inspections; conduct annual fire, health and safety inspections of day care providers and spend at least 13 percent of their federal funds on activities that improve the quality of child care. In addition, the bill requires criminal background checks of day care staff members when they are hired and every five years after that .

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Obama.

Voting yes: Baldwin, Johnson

Thomas Voting Reports

— Thomas Voting Reports

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