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WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on recent roll calls.


JOBS, BENEFITS SPENDING: Voting 217 for and 212 against, the House on Dec. 16 sent the Senate a bill (HR2847) to provide $74 billion to create or preserve publicly funded jobs in areas such as education, law enforcement, school and housing repairs and highway, airport and mass-transit construction. The bill also would appropriate $79 billion to fund unemployment checks and COBRA health benefits for the long-term jobless and help states meet Medicaid obligations, among other social-safety-net outlays.

About $75 billion in unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout funds would be used to help pay the bill’s $153 billion cost. All spending in the bill would be added to the national debt.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting no: Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.; Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.

2010 MILITARY APPROPRIATIONS: Voting 395 for and 34 against, the House on Dec. 16 approved the conference report on a $636.3 billion fiscal 2010 military appropriations bill that includes $128.3 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and $28.3 billion for service members’ health care. The bill (HR3326) funds a 3.4 percent military pay raise; caps production of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet; funds C-17 cargo jets over Pentagon objections; and appropriates $15 billion for procuring seven Navy ships and $6.3 billion for buying 6,600 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected all-terrain vehicles.

The bill extends certain expiring sections of the USA Patriot Act until March 1, delays deep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors until March 1 and extends jobless checks and COBRA health benefits for the long-term unemployed until March 1.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

Voting yes: Rehberg, Lummis.

NATIONAL DEBT LIMIT: The House on Dec. 16 voted, 218 for and 214 against, to raise the national debt limit by $290 billion to $12.39 trillion. Now awaiting Senate action, the bill (HR4314) would extend Treasury borrowing authority until about Feb. 11, at which time Congress would vote again to raise the debt ceiling.

A yes vote was to raise the national debt ceiling.

Voting no: Rehberg, Lummis.

PRESS FREEDOM, REPRESSION: Voting 403 for and 12 against, the House on Dec. 16 passed a bill (HR3714) requiring the Department of State to include reports on the freedom or repression of reporters around the globe in its annual country-by-country human rights reports. The bill is named the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act after a Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2002, a beheading recorded on videotape.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Rehberg.

Voting no: Lummis.


DRUG IMPORTATION: Voting 51 for and 48 against, the Senate on Dec. 15 failed to reach 60 votes needed to pass an amendment under which individuals and businesses could import U.S.-made, federally approved pharmaceuticals from Canada and other countries at retail costs much lower than in U.S. stores. This amendment was offered to a pending health care bill (HR 3590).

A yes vote backed drug importation.

Voting no: Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

HEALTH BILL TAXES: Voting 56 for and 41 against, the Senate on Dec. 16 tabled (killed) a Republican bid to delay until 2014 the start of new taxes that would help pay for HR3590 (above). While most of the bill’s new programs and benefits would be delayed until 2014, its taxes would begin before then, some as early as 2010.

A yes vote was to kill the Republican motion.

Voting yes: Baucus, Tester.

Voting no: Enzi, Barrasso.

CATCHALL 2010 BUDGET: Voting 57 for and 35 against, the Senate on Dec. 13 approved the conference report on a $447 billion catchall spending bill (HR3288) for 2010 comprised of six appropriations bills that Congress has failed to enact individually. Covering the budget year that began in October, the bill funds military construction projects; dozens of independent agencies in areas such as financial regulation and disaster relief; about 4,800 earmarks totaling $3.7 billion; and the budgets of the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, Commerce, State, Justice and Housing and Urban Development. The bill also clears $650 billion in fiscal 2010 entitlement spending for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

A yes vote was to send the bill to President Obama.

Voting yes: Baucus, Tester.

Voting no: Enzi, Barrasso.

Key votes ahead

This week, the House will be in recess and the Senate will continue to debate health care.