Voter Education 7

Good Morning! Here is the reported voting record of Representative Martha McSally for the week ending last Friday (March 6).

  1. “Regular Budget for Homeland Security” [Bipartisan?] (HR 240) – This bill was a so-called “clean” funding bill for the department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. McSally voted FOR. I would also have voted for this bill; therefore she earns a PASS.
  2. “Rail-Passenger Budget” [Unknown] (HR 749) – According to The Arizona Daily Star, this bill authorized $7.2 billion through 2020 “for rail-passenger service between U.S. cities.” It also established the profitable Northeast Corridor service as a separate entity, meaning that surplus income from that service could no longer be used to subsidize money-losing routes elsewhere in the system. Additional provisions in the bill include a requirement to use American-made iron and steel for capital improvements; permit passengers to travel with dog and cat pets; allow short-cut environmental reviews of rail-passenger construction projects; and launch a study into the possible restoration of passenger service between New Orleans and Orlando. McSally voted AGAINST. Based on the Star’s summary, I would have had reservations about this bill. I don’t know why the profitable Northeast Corridor should be separated from the other parts of the system, unless the purpose is to kill off remaining passenger traffic in the nation. Requiring the use of American-made materials for capital-improvement projects seems protectionist to me, but generally I’m in favor of buying American, so I’d give that part a pass. I don’t know the overall effect of allowing passengers to travel with their pets – if there are requirements similar to the ones in place for flying with your pets (keeping them in a carrier, for example), that would be all right. I don’t think they should be allowed to run free, though. And the “short-cut environmental reviews” it allows? I don’t think that would be good. I like to think I’m not a fanatic about the environment (meaning I can see the need for tradeoffs), but not knowing exactly what the phrase means, I would be hesitant to allow them. Overall, I think I would have voted as McSally did, so I’ll give her a PASS on this vote, too.
  3. “Removal of Rail-Passenger Subsidies” [Unknown] (Amendment to HR 749) – The Star’s description: “Voting 147 for and 272 against, the House on March 4 refused to strip HR 749 of its subsidies of rail-passenger service, effectively killing the more than 15 money-losing Amtrak routes operating outside the Northeast Corridor. A yes vote was to end federal subsidies of rail-passenger service.” McSally voted FOR. To be honest, I had to read the Star’s description several times before I decided that what it meant was that if the amendment had passed, the subsidies would end, and the end of the subsidies would have killed the money-losing routes. At first, I thought (from the description) that the *refusal to pass the amendment* would kill those routes. I would have voted to continue the subsidies, so my verdict on McSally for this vote is FAIL.
  4. “Boost in Amtrak Security” [D] (Amendment to HR 749) – This amendment would have increased the Amtrak’s police force budget by $150 million annually and required them to give hiring preference to veterans. McSally voted AGAINST. Her vote surprises me, since she’s a veteran herself and would presumably be inclined to help her fellow vets get jobs. Also, I wonder why she would vote against an increased budget for the Amtrak police force. I did a brief search for this amendment but didn’t find anything; based solely on the Star’s description, I would have voted for this. My verdict: FAIL.

Of the four votes reported on by the Star, I give Representative McSally two passes and two fails. Her new totals are 21 Fails, 11 Passes, and 4 Abstains.

The only vote I could reasonably call “party line” or “independent” (she voted “party line”) is the last one, so her new totals are: Party Line – 30, Independent – 1, and Unknown – 5.

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