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Roll call - Congressional Voting

September 18, 2005|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes in the week ending Sept. 16.

HOUSE



Congressional Katrina probe


Members approved, 224 for and 188 against, Republican plans to assemble a special House committee for investigating the actions of federal, state and local officials in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Katrina. Democrats, opposing the measure (HJ Res 437), said an independent panel similar to the 9/11 Commission should conduct the probe instead.

A yes vote was to set up a House panel on Hurricane Katrina.

Maryland: Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania: Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes

Independent Katrina probe


On a party-line vote of 222 for and 193 against, Republicans blocked a Democratic call for establishing an independent, 9/11-style commission to examine how governments at all levels dealt with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

A yes vote opposed the establishment of an independent Katrina investigation.

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Maryland: Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania: Shuster, yes

West Virginia: Capito, yes

Sex crimes


Voting 371 for and 52 against, members on Sept. 14 passed a bill (HR 3132) requiring states to adopt tougher measures against sex offenders. Opponents were a mix of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. Now before the Senate, the bill sets mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenses; requires states to maintain Internet sites on the whereabouts of sex offenders; establishes a federal site for conducting searches to pinpoint where offenders live, and restricts federal court review of habeas corpus petitions challenging convictions in state court for killing a child.

Additionally, the bill requires closer police monitoring of known sex offenders and imposes stricter requirements for offenders to register and maintain contact with authorities. Also, the measure expands the types of crimes that qualify as sex offenses, adding, for example, the possession of child pornography.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland: Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania: Shuster, yes

West Virginia: Capito, yes

Hate crimes


Voting 223 for and 199 against, members on Sept. 14 added an expansion of the federal law against hate crimes to HR 3132. Existing law provides federal assistance to states and localities in prosecuting crimes based on the victim's race, religion or national origin. This amendment adds crimes based on sexual orientation, disability and gender. The issue now is before the Senate.

A yes vote was to expand the federal law against hate crimes.

Maryland: Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania: Shuster, no

West Virginia: Capito, no




SENATE



Independent Katrina probe


On a party-line vote of 44 for and 54 against, senators on Sept. 14 defeated a Democratic amendment to establish an independent commission - modeled after the 9/11 Commission - to probe the actions of federal, state and local authorities before and after Hurricane Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast. The vote occurred during debate on a fiscal 2006 spending bill (HR 2862) for the departments of Justice and Commerce and other agencies.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland: Paul Sarbanes, D, yes

Pennsylvania: Barbara Mikulski, D, yes ; Arlen Specter, R, no; Rick Santorum, R, no

West Virginia: Robert Byrd, D, yes ; John Rockefeller, D, yes

Police hiring, Katrina aid


Voting 41 for and 56 against, senators on Sept. 13 refused to add $1 billion nationwide in fiscal 2006 to the COPS program, begun in the Clinton administration to help local police departments add personnel and equipment. The amendment also proposed $10 million to care for Gulf Coast children exploited in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and $8 million to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in areas struck by Katrina. The added spending was offered to HR 2862.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland: Sarbanes, yes; Mikulski, yes

Pennsylvania: Specter, no; Santorum, no

West Virginia: Byrd, yes ; Rockefeller, not voting

Mercury pollution


Voting 47 for and 51 against, senators on Sept. 13 defeated a measure (SJ Res 20) to repeal the Bush administration's new rule on airborne mercury discharges. The rule sets overall caps on mercury emissions by coal- and oil-fired power plants, and allows plants that control discharges to sell credits to ones that do not. It replaces a Clinton administration approach that required utilities to limit mercury emissions on a plant-by-plant basis. A neurotoxin, mercury is particularly harmful to pregnant women and small children.

A yes vote was to repeal the administration's mercury rule.

Maryland: Sarbanes, yesp; Mikulski, yes

Pennsylvania: Specter, no; Santorum, no

West Virginia: Byrd, no ; Rockefeller, not voting




Key votes ahead


The House will take up an extension of the Head Start program for pre-school children through 2011, and also might debate Hurricane Katrina relief measures. The Senate will debate tax relief for Katrina victims.

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