Veterans, medical marijuana: The House on April 30 refused 195-222 to permit the Veterans Health Administration to counsel patients on the use of medical marijuana for treating ills such as post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. A yes vote was to authorize federal veterans’ doctors to counsel on medical marijuana but not to write prescriptions for its use. (HR 4486)

Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd: YES

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Jon Runyan, R-3rd: NO

Fiscal 2015 Veterans Affairs budget: The House on April 30 voted 416-1 to appropriate $64.7 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs and $6.6 billion for military construction in fiscal 2015. A yes vote was to pass a bill, HR 4486, containing extra funds to reduce a backlog of veterans’ medical claims and expedite a project that combines active-duty and veteran medical records into a single electronic file.

LoBiondo: YES

Runyan: YES

Technology advice to Congress: The House on May 1 refused 164-248 to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment, which existed from 1972 to 1995 to advise members and staff on the technological aspects of pending issues. A yes vote was to bring back the OTA on a $2.5 million annual budget. (HR 4487)

LoBiondo: YES

Runyan: NO

Lawmakers’ leased vehicles: The House on May 1 refused, 196-221, to end the use of publicly funded leased vehicles by about 60 of its members. A yes vote was to include the entire House membership in a system under which lawmakers use personal (not leased) vehicles for official business and receive per-mile reimbursement for their expenses. (HR 4487)

LoBiondo: YES

Runyan: NO

Expatriates’ health insurance: The House on April 29 voted 268-150 to exempt Americans abroad and foreigners in the U.S. from requirements of the Affordable Care Act. A yes vote was to pass the bill over arguments it would undercut the 2010 health law in order to generate business for certain U.S. insurance companies. (HR 4414)

LoBiondo: YES

Runyan: YES


Federal minimum wage: The Senate on April 30 failed 54-42 to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill to increase the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour over two years. A yes vote backed a bill also raising the “tipped minimum wage” received by restaurant workers, hotel valets and others. (S 2223)

Robert Menendez, D: YES

Cory Booker, D: YES

Judge Michelle Friedland: The Senate on April 30 confirmed 51-40 Michelle T. Friedland, 42, for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from federal trial-level courts in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. A yes vote was to confirm Judge Friedland.

Menendez: YES

Booker: YES

Source: Voterama in Congress

More than 30 years’ experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines in Illinois, Colorado, Texas and New Jersey and 1985 winner of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association’s John Murphy Award for copy editing.

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