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Roll Call

November 30, 1999|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON ­ Here's how area members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes in the week ending March 10.

HOUSE



Food labeling, safety



The House on March 8 passed, 283 for and 139 against, a bill (HR 4167) to federalize and make uniform the food safety and labeling laws of the 50 states. The federal standards on health warnings on packaged foods would override any stricter state or local requirements, but states could petition for exemptions or to establish tougher federal standards. The bill awaits Senate action.

Backers said the bill would add much-needed nationwide uniformity to food handling and labeling, while opponents said it would undermine consumer and health protections, particularly in states such as California with strict labeling requirements.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes

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Bioterror exemption



Voting 164 for and 255 against, the House on March 8 rejected an amendment to HR 4167 to exempt state measures for protecting food supplies from bioterrorism attacks.

Opponents said the bill already had safeguards to protect public safety during such crises.

A yes vote backed a bioterrorism exemption.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

Carcinogen warnings



Voting 161 for and 259 against, the House on March 8 defeated an amendment to keep HR 4167 from overriding state-required label warnings that food products contain unhealthy agents such as carcinogens, chemicals that could cause birth defects or reproductive problems, and sulfites associated with allergies. The bill would automatically pre-empt state food-labeling requirements tougher than those of the federal government, but allow states to petition to keep their laws or establish new, stricter national standards.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

"Gag order" challenges



Voting 280 for and 138 against, the House on March 7 sent President Bush a bill (S 2271) adding civil liberties protections to the USA Patriot Act. In part, the bill gives libraries, medical offices, businesses and other targets of secret government subpoenas standing to challenge ? in secret court proceedings ? the "gag orders" that prevent them from discussing the investigations. The bill also drops the present requirement that targets of probes disclose their attorneys' names to the government. This vote cleared the way for President Bush to sign separate legislation renewing the Patriot Act.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Anti-drug agency



Voting 399 for and five against, the House on March 9 passed a bill (HR 2829) to renew through 2011 the Office of National Drug Control, which coordinates the executive branch's many programs to combat illegal drugs. The bill, which awaits Senate action, requires countermeasures against border tunnels used by drug smugglers; gives the agency one year to host an international summit on the methamphetamine epidemic; requires at least ten percent of the agency's advertising budget to be spent to counter meth trafficking, and allocates funds to help local law enforcement deal with the meth scourge.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

SENATE



Ethics, lobbying



On a party-line vote of 44 for and 55 against, Republicans on March 8 defeated a Democratic proposal to tighten Senate ethics rules and restrain lobbyists. The amendment was offered to a bi-partisan ethics bill (S 2349) that remained in debate.

The Democratic measure sought to bar senators and their staffs from accepting gifts from lobbyists, including meals; prohibit businesses and other supplicants from providing privately-financed travel for senators and their staffs; make it a felony for lawmakers to use their position to influence hiring decisions by lobbyists; bar senators and their staffs from negotiating private-sector jobs with those over whom they legislate; and require House-Senate conference committees to meet publicly, vote openly and allow minority-party participation.

A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

Maryland

Paul Sarbanes, D, yes

Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, R, no

Rick Santorum, R, no

West Virginia

John Rockefeller, D, yes

Robert Byrd, D, not voting

Key Votes Ahead



In the week of March 13, the House will take up an Iraq-Afghanistan spending bill. The Senate will debate an increase in the national debt ceiling as well as new ethics and lobbying rules. The Senate may consider the fiscal 2007 budget resolution.

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