Informed Voting #4
This is the fourth installment of the current “Path to Informed Voting” series, covering Representative McSally’s reported votes for the week ending February 6. This’ll bring me up to date for two reasons: First, the next column in the Arizona Daily Star won’t be published until Sunday; and second, Congress is in recess this week so (as far as I know) there won’t be any votes to report on anyway.
At the end of four weeks of votes, Representative McSally has a cumulative total of 13 fails, 5 passes and 1 abstain, based on how I would vote if I were able to. The Star reported on four votes this week; let’s see how she does:
- “Repeal of Affordable Care Act” (HR 596) [R] – This bill was an out-and-out repeal of the ACA (for the fourth time since 2011), as opposed to the 50 or so other votes since then to weaken it or cancel parts of it. McSally voted FOR. The Republicans have repeatedly voted to repeal or otherwise weaken / emasculate the ACA without once promoting any kind of alternative – let alone a *viable* alternative. Is the ACA flawed? Yes. Does it need changes? Yes. Is repealing the whole thing the right way to go? No. My verdict: FAIL.
- “Drug Costs, Gender Bias, Pre-existing Conditions” (amendment to HR 596) [D] – This amendment to the “Repeal the ACA Act,” above, would have prevented the repeal from taking effect if it would (a) raise Medicare Part D drug costs, (b) allow gender bias by insurers, or (c) permit insurers to deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. McSally voted AGAINST. My verdict: FAIL.
- “Rules by Independent Agencies” (HR 50) [R] – This bill (according to the Star) “would expand a 1995 law designed to prevent US departments and agencies from putting ‘unfunded mandates’ on state, local and tribal governments or the private sector. At present, if a new regulation is projected to impose a total cost of at least $100 million on those it covers, the government must either fund compliance costs, draft an alternative or slash the cost. This bill would expand the law to cover independent agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Securities and Exchange Commission, subjecting their rules to executive-branch oversight. In addition, the bill would allow courts to intervene while proposed rules are still in the drafting stage and require agencies to retroactively justify certain regulations already in force.” McSally voted FOR. I can see expanding the law to cover more agencies, because the Federal Government *does* have a history of imposing “unfunded mandates” on the states (and, I assume, on local and tribal governments, too, as well as the private sector). However, I don’t think the law should be retroactive. If an agency suddenly has to justify [x] years of regulations, that could be an overwhelming task. I honestly can’t say how I would have voted; I assume I would have had sufficient information to make an informed decision on this bill had I been a Representative. My verdict: ABSTAIN.
- “Domestic Violence, Background Checks, Rape” (amendment to HR 50) [D] – This amendment to the “Rules” Act, above, would prevent HR 50 from “interfering with federal regulations designed to prevent sex offenses against minors, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault or [federal regulations] that enable schools to conduct criminal background checks on prospective employees.” McSally voted AGAINST. The reporting by the Star doesn’t make it clear to me whether this amendment would block HR 50 from affecting *existing* regulations, or if it would exempt *new* regulations from the $100 million provision (or both). If the former, I would have voted FOR. If the latter, I think I might have voted AGAINST because schools (for example) are already typically cash-strapped, and to impose a new unfunded mandate on them, no matter how worthy the cause, might be worse in some respects than not imposing it. Because of this ambiguity in the reporting, my verdict will have to be ABSTAIN.
So there you have it. Four votes for the week ending Feb. 6, resulting in two fails and two abstains. The totals, so far, are 15 fails, 5 passes, and 3 abstains. At this point I’m not impressed with her record. Of the 23 votes on which the Star has reported so far, McSally has voted in the Republican column 21 times. She voted against them once (the vote regarding defunding the “Dreamers” Program). For the final vote, HR 351 (“Expedited Exports of Natural Gas”), I don’t know who sponsored the bill. Add to that the fact that two of the Arizona Democrats also voted for this bill, and (for me) it becomes a tossup as to whether McSally voted the Republican line or if she truly voted her conscience. So her score this way is: Party Line – 21; Independent – 1; Unknown – 1.
For someone who claimed to be an “independent” voice during the campaign, she’s only bucked her party line one time that I’m sure of. On the other hand, it *is* only four weeks into the first year of the 114th Congress. She still has almost two years to prove she’s independent and that she listens to the Democrats and the Independents, who together make up a majority of the state’s registered voters.
*sigh* I hope she does.