Is it better for our representatives to keep us in the dark?

I am working to bring transparency to Congress, and part of that effort includes keeping you updated on what bills passed the House each week and how I voted on each piece of legislation.— Rep. Tenney (NY-22)

Some Members of Congress have regularly explained their votes. Former Representatives Justin Amash and Michael Capuano, and Rep. Claudia Tenney, currently a member, are examples.

Here is Rep. Amash’s explanation for his vote on an amendment to H.R. 4435 “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (114th Congress).”

I voted no on the Daines of MT Amendment 6 to #HR4435. The underlying bill requires that the United States’s 450 currently active intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos remain in warm status (i.e., fully functioning and operational) only until February 5, 2021. The amendment strikes a provision from the bill containing the sunset date. By eliminating the sunset, the amendment requires these ICBM silos to remain in warm status indefinitely. The sponsor of the amendment represents Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of three bases in the United States that maintain and operate ICBMs. This amendment makes it more difficult for the Pentagon to make sensible decisions about its budget and our national security needs. The amendment was agreed to (Roll 227) 222-196.

This was mostly a party-line vote–Rep. Amash was one of only seven Republicans to oppose it. Whether you agree with Rep. Amash or not, his explanation is reasoned and detailed.

On H.R. 5 “Student Success Act” (114th Congress), former Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) wrote:

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. This legislation reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through FY 2019. H.R. 5 funds ESEA programming at FY 2015 appropriated levels every year which doesn’t account for inevitable inflation or a projected increase in students. H.R. 5 takes all of the programs covered through Title I (Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged) and combines them into a single block grant program. It also voids an existing requirement ensuring Title I funds are spent on students living in high poverty areas. H.R. 5 underfunds education and diminishes protections currently in place so that available funds are directed where they are most needed.

While Rep. Capuano focuses on his objections to the bill, I find his explanation of his vote is informative.

Recently, on another bill, Rep. Tenney(R-NY) wrote:

I voted “No” on H.R. 2617, the bloated and inflation fueling omnibus government funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). I opposed the bill for many reasons, including several of the bill’s wasteful spending provisions and anti-Second Amendment measures. The bill also failed to address inflation, fix the crisis at our border, or expand American energy exploration. Among the many faults of the bill it hires only 300 Border Patrol agents and reduces the capacity of ICE detention centers, spends $2.4 billion to house illegal immigrants without appropriating any money to building the border wall, and it spends millions to encourage states to enact unconstitutional “red flag” laws. It is time to bring fiscal sanity back to congress so we can finally bring wage-killing inflation under control. This bill passed the House by a vote of 225-201 with 1 member voting present.

In contrast to her two predecessors, Rep. Tenney, rather than explaining, defends her position by telling her constituents what to think. I see many fighting words–bloated, inflation fueling, wasteful, unconstitutional, fiscal sanity, wage-killing. She opposed the bill for many reasons, listing some in general terms. The reader is presumed to believe that border walls are needed and red-flag laws are unwarranted. I find her explanation more inflammatory than explanatory.

I don’t know how many Representatives regularly explain their votes; not many I think. Perhaps it hurts chances for reelection. Both Justin Amash and Mike Capuano are no longer in Congress. Rep. Tenney was narrowly elected in NY-22 two times in three tries.

About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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2 Responses to Is it better for our representatives to keep us in the dark?

  1. GaryI Perry says:

    Representative transparency is always a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whungerford says:

    I agree Gary, but I do wonder why we see more photo-ops than useful information about legislation.


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