WASHINGTON — Here’s a look at how Maine members of Congress voted from July 28 through Thursday.

The House was in recess last week.

Along with roll call votes, the Senate also passed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act (S. 114), to appropriate amounts for the Veterans Choice Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (S. 178), to prevent elder abuse and exploitation and improve the justice system’s response to victims in elder abuse and exploitation cases; the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (H.R. 2288), to reform the rights and processes relating to appeals of decisions regarding claims for benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and passed the Power Act (S. 717), to promote pro bono legal services as a critical way to empower survivors of domestic violence.


FBI DIRECTOR: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Christopher A. Wray to serve as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a 10-year term. A supporter, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., cited Wray’s lengthy tenure at the Justice Department, including as a prosecutor, and said Wray “will do the right thing at the right time in all places.” The vote, on Tuesday, was 92 yeas to 5 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Kevin Christopher Newsom to serve as a judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

A supporter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cited Newsom’s 20 years of experience in various parts of the legal system. The vote, on Tuesday, was 66 yeas to 31 nays.

YEA: Collins, NAY: King

LABOR RELATIONS BOARD: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Marvin Kaplan to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board for a term ending in 2020. Kaplan, currently chief counsel for the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, was previously counsel for two House education and oversight committees.

A supporter, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., cited Kaplan’s “admirable record of public service,” and said his confirmation was needed to fill a long-standing vacancy at the NLRB and return the Board to a position of neutral umpire in employer-employee disputes.

An opponent, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said Kaplan would further politicize the board, and lacked adequate knowledge and experience in labor law. The vote, on Tuesday, was 50 yeas to 48 nays.

YEA: Collins, NAY: King

DEPUTY ENERGY SECRETARY: The Senate confirmed the nomination of Dan Brouillette to serve as deputy secretary of energy. A supporter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, noted Brouillette’s experience in the Energy Department, as a House energy committee aide and as a private-sector executive. Murkowski said Brouillette understood the importance of maximizing the research efforts of Energy Department scientists under budgetary constraints. The vote, on Thursday, was 79 yeas to 17 nays.

YEAS: Collins and King

REAUTHORIZING THE FDA: The Senate passed the FDA Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2430), sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. The bill would revise and extend, through fiscal 2022, the Food and Drug Administration’s user-fee programs for prescription and generic drugs, medical devices, and biosimilar biological products. A supporter, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the bill’s reforms should decrease costs for generic drugs and streamline the drug approval process, making it easier for promising therapies to reach the general public. The vote, on Thursday, was 94 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Collins and King

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