Voterama In Congress

WASHINGTON — Here’s how Minnesota’s members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Nov. 20.

HOUSE Expanding federally funded apprenticeships

Voting 246 for and 140 against, the House on Nov 20 passed a bill (HR 8294) that would authorize $3.5 billion over five years to expand federally funded apprenticeship programs. While the bill would prepare workers for jobs in traditional industries such as manufacturing, transportation and construction, it also would fund instruction and on-the-job training for specialized fields such as early childhood education, advanced health care and green energy. In addition, the bill would promote work opportunities for persons with diverse backgrounds and criminal records traditionally left out of apprenticeship programs. The bill drew Republican opposition, in part, because it quashed the Trump administration’s Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs), which receive federal funding but operate with few regulations and are not welcoming to unions.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.


Voting yes: Angie Craig, D-2; Dean Phillips, D-3; Betty McCollum, D-4; Ilhan Omar, D-5; Tom Emmer, R-6; Collin Peterson, D-7; Pete Stauber, R-8

Voting no: Jim Hagedorn, R-1

Not voting: None

Defeating GOP apprenticeship plan

Voting 142 for and 243 against, the House on Nov. 20 defeated a Republican alternative to HR 8294 (above). The amendment sought to shift the focus of federally funded apprenticeships from Department of Labor-registered programs, which issue nationally recognized work credentials and allow extensive union involvement, toward regional business-run Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, which receive taxpayer funding but operate with few federal rules and diminished or non-existent union participation. The GOP measure also would slash funding levels in the underlying bill and end coordination between the departments of labor and education in structuring apprenticeships.

A yes vote was to adopt the GOP plan.


Voting yes: Hagedorn, Emmer

Voting no: Craig, Phillips, McCollum, Omar, Peterson, Stauber

SENATE Blocking Judy Shelton as Fed governor

Voting 47 for and 50 against, the Senate on Nov. 17 failed to advance the nomination of libertarian economist Judy L. Shelton, 66, to the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors. But Republicans left open the possibility of a revote this year on her appointment to the seven-member board that sets U.S. monetary policy. Shelton served under President Trump as U.S. envoy to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She has been affiliated with conservative organizations including the Hoover Institution and the Atlas Network and numerous “sound money” and free-market causes.

Although Shelton presented herself to the Senate as an orthodox economist, she has endorsed a return to the gold standard; called for abolishing the Fed; questioned whether the Fed should remain independent; doubted the accuracy of government statistics; advocated a single North American currency; urged the elimination of federal deposit insurance; and both supported and opposed the central bank’s use of low interest rates and bond purchases to fight recessions. She has walked back some of her most provocative comments on economic policy.

A yes vote was to advance the nomination to a final vote.


Voting yes: None

Voting no: Tina Smith, D; Amy Klobuchar, D

Not voting: None

Confirming Stephen Vaden as U.S. trade judge

Voting 49 for and 43 against, the Senate on Nov. 18 confirmed Stephen A. Vaden, 38, the Department of Agriculture general counsel, for a lifetime appointment to the United States Court of International Trade. A specialized unit of the federal judiciary, the nine-judge panel adjudicates trade and customs-law disputes involving federal agencies, corporations, labor unions, private citizens, foreign governments and other litigants.


Voting yes: None

Voting no: Smith, Klobuchar

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