WASHINGTON — Here’s how Virginia’s U.S. senators voted during the legislative week ending June 19. The House was in recess.
National parks repairs, public lands funding. Voting 73 for and 25 against, the Senate on June 17 passed a bill (HR 1957) that would authorize $9.5 billion over five years for repairing facilities at the National Park Service, other federal land agencies and Indian Education Service schools. In addition, the bill would permanently require an annual budget of at least $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides federal and non-federal agencies with revenue for acquiring undeveloped land for conservation and recreational purposes. All funding in the bill would come from royalties from oil and gas drilling operations on federal property. The bill would set aside about $6.5 billion over five years for long-neglected repairs at scores of national parks and related properties, generating tens of thousands of private-sector jobs and halving the park service’s $12.5 billion backlog of unfunded maintenance.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the House.
Voting yes: Mark R. Warner (D); Tim Kaine (D).
Deficit spending rule. The Senate on June 15 voted, 68 for and 30 against, to allow HR 1957 (above) to move forward as a deficit-spending measure. The bill is projected to add at least $17 billion to the national debt over 10 years, according to Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. On this vote, the Senate waived a pay-as-you-go budget requirement that increases in mandatory-spending programs must be offset by tax hikes or mandatory-spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
A yes vote was to exempt the bill from a "deficit neutral" budget rule.
Voting yes: Warner, Kaine.
Walker for appellate judge. Voting 51 for and 42 against, the Senate on June 18 confirmed Justin R. Walker, 38, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which is regarded as the second-most important U.S. court because it has jurisdiction over federal agencies and the regulations they issue. Walker’s judicial experience consists of nine months’ service as a federal district court judge in Kentucky. He is a former faculty member at the University of Louisville Law School and protege of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and his resume also includes clerkships for former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. appellate court.
A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.
Voting no: Warner, Kaine.