Cline’s “under the radar” votes

Last week Congressman Cline cast three votes in the House of Representatives which– in the rush of other news– most of his constituents missed, but which deserve attention and follow-up inquiries from residents of the Sixth District.

Cline voted “no” on three measures approved by the House majority. They are:

• HR 4344: The Investor Protection and Capital Markets Fairness Act. This bill would “help the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hold criminals accountable and help Main Street investors who are victims of fraud recover their financial losses.”

Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga, one of the bill’s sponsors, said it “strikes a delicate balance to solve this by ensuring the SEC has the necessary tools to go after bad actors and prevent these sophisticated fraudsters from keeping the money they have stolen from our teachers, military service personnel, seniors, and religious-affiliated groups.”

• HR 737: The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. This bill would “prohibit the sale, purchase, and possession of shark fins in the United States, helping to curb an inhumane global trade that claims the lives of 73 million sharks each year.”

Shark finning is a cruel practice that entails cutting off a shark’s fins—often while the shark is still alive—and throwing the mutilated body in the ocean, where the helplessly immobile shark will suffocate, bleed to death, or succumb to an attack by a predator.

Combined with Cline’s vote against a measure aimed at eliminating the cruel practice of soring horses, this raises serious doubts about his commitment to animal welfare.

• HR 1309: The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. This bill would “provide employers one year to develop a provisional plan for protecting health care workers, and 42 months to develop and implement a final plan for investigating incidents of violence, educating staff on risk management, meeting specific recording requirements, and creating a safe space for health care workers to report acts of violence or threats.”

The measure followed rising attention to the dangers many health professionals face just by showing up at work. Over 75 percent of the 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually in the United States took place in hospitals and other health care and social services settings, according to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The average health care worker was 20 percent more likely to experience violence at work than the average employee, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, while the American Nurses Association reported that 1 in 4 nurses had been physically assaulted by a patient or a patient’s family member.

I have written to Congressman Cline asking why he voted against these important protections. I will report any response I receive.

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