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US CAPITOL BUILDING

Here’s how members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation voted on major issues in the week ending May 26.

Note: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, did not vote. By custom, the speaker does not vote except in rare circumstances.

HOUSE

$717 Billion for Military in 2019: Voting 351-66, the House on May 24 authorized a $717 billion military budget for fiscal 2019, including $69 billion for war-fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other theaters and $57 billion for active-duty and retiree health care. The bill sets a 2.6 percent pay raise for uniformed personnel; adds a 12th aircraft carrier to the Navy fleet; bars detainee transfers from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison and funds a military parade in Washington requested by President Trump. A yes vote was to pass HR 5515.

Voting yes: Ron Kind, D-3, James Sensenbrenner, R-5, Glenn Grothman, R-6, Sean Duffy, R-7, Mike Gallagher, R-8

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

Developing Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons: Voting 188-226, the House on May 23 refused to restrict funding in HR 5515 (above) for a low-yield nuclear weapon — the W76-2 warhead — to be mounted on submarine-launched Trident ballistic missiles. Military planners say low-yield, or tactical, warheads are for use in limited conflicts, in contrast to strategic nuclear weapons, which are designed to obliterate targets far from the immediate battlefield. Supporters of developing tactical nuclear weapons say the United States needs to counter Russia’s extensive low-yield arsenal. Critics say the weapons heighten the risk of Armageddon because it is folly to think nuclear war can be waged on a limited basis. The amendment would have withheld half the money authorized for the program pending further studies of its strategic implications. A yes vote was to restrict funding in the 2019 military budget for developing low-yield nuclear weapons.

Voting yes: Pocan, Kind, Moore

Voting no: Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher

Background Checks on Gun Sales: Voting 224-191, the House on May 24 blocked a Democratic attempt to amend HR 5515 (above) to expand background checks on commercial gun transactions, requiring checks on sales over the Internet and between private parties at gun shows. The measure would plug loopholes that allow an estimated 40 percent of gun sales to avoid mandatory checks via the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This was the first congressional vote on gun issues since the May 18 shootings at a Santa Fe, Texas, high school that killed 10 people and wounded 10 others. A yes vote was in opposition to adding language on background checks to the 2019 military budget.

Voting yes: Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher

Voting no: Pocan, Kind

Not voting: Moore

Changes to Federal Penal System: Voting 360-59, the House on May 22 passed a bipartisan bill (HR 5682) intended to reduce overcrowding in the 180,000-inmate federal penal system, improve rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. In part, the bill would establish individually tailored programs to improve work and educational skills and encourage inmates to earn credits toward early release to halfway houses. A yes vote was to pass the bill over complaints that it fails to address rules on mandatory-minimum sentencing, which critics say are responsible for swelling populations and dysfunction in federal prisons.

Voting yes: Pocan, Kind, Moore, Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher

Relaxation of Banking Rules: Voting 258-159, the House on May 22 passed a bill that would largely exempt community banks and credit unions from the Dodd-Frank oversight law, while also scaling back federal regulation of the largest banks and mid-size regional banks. The bill would leave intact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority to operate as an independent agency largely free of congressional oversight. A yes vote was to send S 2155 to President Trump.

Voting yes: Kind, Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher

Voting no: Pocan, Moore

Access to Experimental Drugs: Voting 250-169, the House on May 22 passed a bill that would give the terminally ill access to experimental drugs unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration. Supporters said dying persons deserve access to high-risk medical interventions as a matter of personal freedom. Opponents said the bill would give false hopes to desperate individuals and undermine long-established FDA procedures. A yes vote was to send HR 5247 to President Trump.

Voting yes: Kind, Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Gallagher

Voting no: Pocan, Moore

SENATE

Veterans’ Healthcare Improvements: The Senate on May 23 voted, 92-5, to upgrade a 4-year-old “community care” program in which veterans who live far from Veterans Health Administration facilities or face lengthy waits for treatment can promptly receive publicly funded care from close-to-home providers in the private sector. The bill also would start a process to realign, consolidate or close some of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 1,200-plus medical centers and outpatient clinics. A yes vote was to pass S 2372.

Voting yes: Tammy Baldwin, D, Ron Johnson, R

Dana Baiocco, Consumer Product Regulator: Voting 50-45, the Senate on May 22 confirmed Dana Baiocco, an attorney in private practice, for a seat on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. An independent agency armed with recall authority, the commission regulates the manufacture and safety of thousands of everyday products for infants, youths and adults. Backers hailed Baiocco’s experience as a product-safety litigator, while critics said her specialty is to defend companies against consumer lawsuits. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Voting yes: Johnson

Voting no: Baldwin

KEY VOTES AHEAD

Congress is on Memorial Day recess in the week of May 28.

— Thomas Voting Reports

-- Thomas Voting Reports

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