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Roll call

October 23, 2005|By Thomas Voting Reports

HOUSE



Gun industry immunity

Voting 283 for and 144 against, members on Oct. 20 sent President Bush a bill (S 397) giving manufacturers and dealers of guns and ammunition immunity against most civil lawsuits based on the illegal use of their wares by others. Plaintiffs in such actions are mainly state and local governments and crime victims. The bill, which would ban pending as well as future litigation, contains exemptions to allow suits in such instances as breach of contract and the making of defective products.

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

Obesity lawsuits

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Voting 306 for and 120 against, members on Oct. 19 passed a bill (HR 554) to shield the fast-food industry against state and federal claims that its meals cause obesity and illnesses related to weight gain. Backers said obesity is the customer's fault, while foes said it was the role of the courts, not Congress, to judge the validity of legal claims.

The bill, which awaits Senate action, affects present and future claims and would allow obesity-related suits only when the defendant has broken the law or violated a contract or warranty.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Children's exemption

Voting 129 for and 298 against, members on Oct. 19 defeated an amendment to HR 554 that sought to allow obesity suits against fast-food chains on behalf of children younger than 8.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

SENATE



Congressional pay raise

Senators on Oct. 18 voted, 92 for and six against, to block a 1.9 percent pay raise, totaling $3,100, scheduled for members of Congress in January. But the raise from $162,100 to $165,200 appears certain because the House has voted to accept it; it takes actions by both chambers to block congressional pay raises.

This vote occurred during debate on a fiscal 2006 budget bill (HR 3058) for the Treasury Department and other agencies.

Barring a House reversal, rank-and-file lawmakers will receive $165,200 next year, the House speaker and secretary of the Senate will be paid $212,100, and the majority and minority leaders of both chambers will receive $183,500.

A yes vote was to block a congressional pay raise.

Maryland

Paul Sarbanes, D, no

Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, R, yes

Rick Santorum, R, yes

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, yes

John Rockefeller, D, yes

Minimum wage increase

Voting 47 for and 51 against, senators on Oct. 19 defeated an amendment to HR 3058 to raise the minimum wage by $1.10 per hour over 18 months - from the present $5.15 per hour to $6.25 per hour. This would be the first increase in the minimum wage since 1997.

A yes vote was to raise the minimum wage.

Maryland

Sarbanes, yes

Mikulski, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Santorum, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, yes

Alaska, Louisiana bridges

Voting 15 for and 82 against, senators on Oct. 20 refused to shift $75 million from two bridge projects in Alaska to the rebuilding of the hurricane-destroyed Interstate 10 twin span near New Orleans. In part, the amendment would have derailed spending of at least $223 million to connect Ketchikan, population 8,900, with an airport on Gravina Island, population 50. Also targeted was a $230 million down payment on the planned "Don Young Way" near Anchorage, named after the Alaska congressman who secured its funding in the House.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Sarbanes, no

Mikulski, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, no

Santorum, no

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no

Home-heating aid

Voting 53 for and 46 against, senators on Oct. 20 failed to reach a supermajority needed to more than double federal aid to help the poor heat their homes this winter. The amendment to HR 3058 sought to raise fiscal 2006 spending for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from $2 billion to $5.1 billion.

A yes vote was to increase LIHEAP spending.

Maryland

Sarbanes, yes

Mikulski, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Santorum, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, yes

Key votes ahead

In the week of Oct. 24, the House will vote on closing military bases, as well as budget cuts to pay for hurricane recovery. The Senate will consider fiscal 2006 budgets for the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

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