Here’s how U.S. House members voted on major issues during the legislative week of May 22-26. The Senate was in recess.

The floor of the U.S. House of Representatives



Voting 218 for and 203 against, the House on May 25, 2023, endorsed repeal of a Biden administration policy that would forgive up to $10,000 or $20,000 of debt for an estimated 43 million low- to middle-income individuals who received student loans from the federal government for undergraduate education. The executive order does not affect loans by private lenders. Legal challenges have prevented the nine-month-old directive from taking effect, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on its constitutionality. On this vote, the House adopted a resolution of disapproval (HJ Res 45) that would kill the program.

Under the Biden policy, recipients of Pell grants for low-income students could receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness, and other eligible borrowers from the government could receive up to $10,000 in relief. No individual making more than $125,000 or who has household income above $250,000 is eligible for forgiveness.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said the Biden administration “is simply transferring the debt from borrowers who willingly took out student loans to hardworking taxpayers who did not. The 87 percent of Americans who hold no federal student debt are paying for the 13 percent who do. On top of that, the bailout is inflationary…a regressive working-class tax.”

Opponent Robert Scott, D-Va., said those “impacted the most are not the wealthy and well-connected. Ninety percent of the relief would go to borrowers earning less than $75,000 a year. You are not even eligible if you are making over $125,000 a year. That is in stark contrast…to the Trump tax scam, where 80 percent of the benefits went to the top 1 percent and corporations.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.


Voting 289 for and 133 against, the House on May 26, 2023, passed a bill (HR 467) that would increase regulation of compounds used in making fentanyl in order to give law enforcement more tools and a lower standard of evidence for prosecuting traffickers. The bill would permanently classify precursors to fentanyl in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, where they are now temporarily placed. Of the CSA’s several categories of dangerous substances, Schedule I, the most severe, is reserved for substances highly subject to abuse with no medical value. Prison terms are longest for Schedule I convictions, and the bill would continue mandatory minimum sentences. Schedule II substances have accepted medical use along with a high potential for abuse. The bill does not change fentanyl’s classification as a Schedule II drug.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said: “Illicit drug manufacturers are diverting precursor chemicals from some of China’s 160,000 chemical plants and shipping them to Mexico, where cartels are producing mass quantities of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances….We must make sure that law enforcement has the permanent tools that they need to seize these extremely lethal poisons….Without [the bill], drug traffickers being sourced from China will be emboldened to push deadlier and deadlier drugs across the border.”

Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., said the bill “doesn’t address the humanitarian crisis we are facing at our southern border. It doesn’t address the epidemic of substance abuse….The majority of people who are dying from fentanyl are dying because they are taking it illegally. They are buying and searching for illicit drugs. It is not about prosecution….The issue is substance abuse. That is what we should be addressing …rather than continuing to scapegoat the same people that you have scapegoated for years and years to no end.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.


Voting 190 for and 233 against, the House on May 25, 2023, defeated an amendment that sought to prevent HR 467 (above) from taking effect until the attorney general and secretary of health and human services certify it would lead to a reduction in opioid overdose deaths. The amendment expressed Democratic criticism that the bill focuses too much on prosecuting traffickers and too little on addressing the causes and treatment of opioid addiction.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Sponsor Brittany Pettersen, D-Colo., said: “This is a public health crisis. We need to come together to address it like that. We need to go after the cartels. We need to go after the dealers. We need to make sure that we are supporting people who are struggling with addiction.”

Opponent Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., said: “Permanently placing fentanyl-related substances into Schedule I is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s top legislative priority. The numbers are heartbreaking. We need to act now…to keep fentanyl-related substances off our streets and out of our communities.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.


The House on May 23, 2023, voted to nullify a four-month-old Environmental Protection Agency rule placing stricter emission standards on buses and heavy-duty trucks ranging from full-size pickups to 18-wheelers. The rule is designed to reduce emissions of ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants starting with the 2027 model year in the first upgrade of clean-air standards for heavy-duty vehicles in 20 years. The rule is projected to achieve a nearly 50 percent cut by 2045 in vehicle emissions of nitrogen oxide formed by the burning of fossil fuels. The resolution of disapproval (SJ Res 11), adopted by a vote of 221 for and 203 against, would kill the rule.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Supporter Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, called the rule “just the latest step by the Biden administration to electrify the transportation sector and burden American families in the process….The cost of these senseless regulations would inevitably be passed on to the American consumer through higher retail prices and increased inflation.”

Opponent Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said: “Think about your friends and family members with asthma or heart disease or some kind of lung infection….It is important to tackle the problem of heavy-duty trucks and buses. Why? They constitute about 6 percent of the vehicles on the road but 59 percent of smog-producing elements….nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the Senate, where its prospects were uncertain.


Voting 214 for and 205 against, the House on May 25, 2023, failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto issued by President Biden to protect the administration’s solar-energy policies. The veto blocked a congressional resolution (HJ Res 39) nullifying an executive order designed to spur imports of equipment used in manufacturing solar panels. The order suspended for two years tariffs on solar gear that originates in China before assembly in Southeast Asia and shipment to America. Biden said the suspension is necessary to meet demand for U.S. solar expansion resulting from his green-energy policies. Critics said it is wrong to import solar products that might be linked to forced labor in China.

Floor Debate, Pro & Con:

Jason Smith, R-Mo., who voted to override the veto, said China has devised “a solar panel export scheme that cheats American workers and consumers. Instead of standing up for American manufacturers and workers, the White House rewarded China for exploiting them by issuing a proclamation that allows the [Chinese Communist Party] to continue to avoid paying the tariffs they owe for an additional two years.”

Opponent Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said the tariff suspension gives the U.S. solar industry time “to reorient supply chains away from China to produce panels domestically. That is why the president’s position is supported by leaders who do the work: Organized labor…the environmental community and the National Taxpayers Union. The solar industry itself strongly supports the administration’s position….”

A yes vote was to override the presidential veto.