Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON — Here's how area members of Congress were recorded on recent major roll call votes.

House

HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS: Voting 207 for and 191 against, the House on June 6 blocked consideration of a Democratic amendment to add $750 million for Department of Homeland Security grants to high-threat cities such as New York and Washington. The amendment sought to add the funds to HR 5441, the department's fiscal 2007 budget, to ensure that no high-risk jurisdiction receives less in DHS grants money than in previous years. The $750 million was to have been obtained by scaling back tax cuts for incomes over $1 million.

A yes vote was to block the amendment.

Voting yes: Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.; Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo.

SANCTUARY POLICIES: Voting 218 for and 179 against, the House on June 6 adopted an amendment to HR 5441 (above) denying Department of Homeland Security funding to any state or locality with a "sanctuary policy" for illegal immigrants. Such policies enable undocumented aliens to report crimes and appear as witnesses without having their illegal status reported to federal authorities.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

MINUTEMEN ON THE BORDER: The House on May 6 voted, 293 for and 107 against, to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from disclosing information about Minutemen operations to Mexico, except when disclosure is required by treaty. This occurred as the House sent HR 5441 to the Senate. The Minutemen Project is a self-appointed civilian patrol on the Southwest border claiming about 7,000 members.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

OIL REFINERY CONSTRUCTION: Voting 238 for and 179 against, the House on June 7 passed a bill (HR 5254) expanding the government's power to coordinate the approval of federal and nonfederal permits for new oil refineries and pipelines. The bill was opposed mainly on environmental grounds and because it was debated under a GOP rule barring amendments. The bill directs the president to identify at least three abandoned military bases as possible refinery sites.

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

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

DEMOCRATIC REFINERY PLAN: Voting 195 for and 223 against, the House on June 7 rejected a Democratic alternative to HR 5254 (above) that sought to establish an Oil Refinery Reserve patterned after the Strategic Oil Reserve. The Department of Energy refineries would have capacity to meet 5 percent of U.S. demand for oil products. During normal times, the reserve would operate below capacity and fuel the Naval fleet, but would be cranked up in emergencies and used to stabilize commercial markets.

A yes vote was to establish an Oil Refinery Reserve.

Voting no: Rehberg, Cubin.

AID TO EGYPT: Voting 198 for and 225 against, the House on June 8 refused to cut aid to Egypt by $100 million next year. The amendment was proposed to a $21.3 billion foreign aid bill for fiscal 2007 (HR 5522) that includes $1.7 billion for Egypt and $2.3 billion for Israel. Backers called the amendment a message to the Egyptian government to stop suppressing dissent and jailing political opponents, while foes said the United States should not pick such a public fight with one of its few allies in the Middle East.

A yes vote was to cut aid to Egypt.

Voting no: Rehberg, Cubin.

BROADCAST INDECENCY: Voting 379 for and 35 against, the House on June 6 approved a tenfold increase — from $32,500 per violation to $325,000 per violation — in Federal Communications Commission fines on over-the-air broadcasters for airing indecent material. The bill does not define indecency. This vote sent the bill (S 193) to President Bush.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

MINE SAFETY: Voting 381 for and 37 against, the House on June 7 sent President Bush a bill (S 2803) that sets new rules to give trapped coal miners a better chance of survival and increases financial penalties on mine operators who violate federal safety regulations.

In part, the bill raises from one to two hours the required oxygen supply along escape routes, sets higher reliability standards for emergency oxygen packs, gives companies three years to establish wireless underground-to-surface communications, upgrades structural requirements for sealing off abandoned shafts, requires federal authorities to be notified within 15 minutes of an explosion and requires rescue teams to be located within an hour's drive of the mine.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

INTERNET SERVICES: Voting 321 for and 101 against, the House on June 8 sent the Senate a bill (HR 5252) enabling the Federal Communications Commission to supercede local authority in the award of franchises for delivering video, broadband, voice and other Internet services to the public. Approximately 30,000 local agencies now make these decisions.

The bill would make it easier for the nation's largest telephone companies to begin competing against existing cable and satellite franchise holders.

While supporters said more competition would result in lower monthly bills and better service, opponents said the bill would strip away consumer protections as well as local requirements of equal service to all neighborhoods.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Cubin.

NETWORK NEUTRALITY: Voting 152 for and 269 against, the House on June 8 defeated an amendment to HR 5252 (above) to prevent telecommunications firms from setting varying speeds and service levels in the delivery of broadband services. The "net neutrality" amendment sought to preserve the egalitarian nature of the Internet. In part, it sought to prevent companies that control "the last mile" into homes from establishing different service tiers, with companies required to pay a premium for faster transmission of their commercial services.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting no: Rehberg, Cubin.

Senate

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AMENDMENT: Voting 49 for and 48 against, the Senate on June 7 failed to reach the 60 votes needed to advance a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages (SJ Res 1).

The amendment states: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

A yes vote backed the constitutional amendment.

Voting yes: Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.; Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo.; Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

Voting no: Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

ESTATE TAX REPEAL: Voting 57 for and 41 against, the Senate on June 8 failed to reach 60 votes needed to end a filibuster and advance a Republican bill (HR 8) to permanently repeal the estate tax. Under administration tax cuts, the levy will be phased out by 2010 but reinstated in 2011 at 2001 levels.

The Internal Revenue Service says that because of exclusions, more than 98 percent of estates are exempt from the federal tax. At present, the first $4 million of a couple's estate is excluded from taxation.

Repeal advocates say the levy too often amounts to double-taxation and is particularly unfair to farms and family businesses. Those opposed to repeal said it is wrong to grant the wealthiest Americans another tax cut during times of war and mounting national debt.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Voting yes: Baucus, Burns, Thomas, Enzi.

Key votes ahead

This week, the House will take up 2007 spending bills and the Senate will debate the fiscal 2007 defense budget. Both chambers plan final votes on a bill providing $94.5 billion for war and hurricane recovery.

0
0
0
0
0