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Roll call

December 11, 2005|By Thomas Voting Reports

HOUSE



Investors' tax cuts



Members on Dec. 8 voted, 234 for and 197 against, to cut taxes by $56 billion over five years. The bill (HR 4297) would extend through 2010 the 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, at a cost of $20 billion, and provide small businesses with $7.2 billion in enhanced equipment write-offs. Among other provisions, the bill provides incentives for economic development of Indian reservations and the District of Columbia, along with enhanced deductions for higher education expenses, nonfederal income tax payments, Medical Savings Accounts and the hiring of former welfare recipients.

This vote brought to $95 billion over five years the total tax cuts approved recently by the House, against $51 billion in newly passed five-year spending curbs, adding a projected $44 billion to national debt. Both the tax and spending measures now are subject to House-Senate negotiations.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes




Democratic alternative



Voting 192 for and 239 against, members on Dec. 8 defeated a deficit-neutral Democratic alternative to HR 4297. Democrats kept many of the GOP-sponsored cuts., but they sought to block an extension of lower taxes on capital gains and dividends and use the $20 billion gained to further cushion the impact of the Alternative Minimum Tax. The $45 billion, five-year cost of the Democratic plan was to be offset by raising taxes on single incomes of more than $500,000 and joint incomes of more than $1 million.

A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no




Alternative Minimum Tax



Members on Dec. 7 passed, 414 for and four aqainst, a bill (HR 4096) to keep the Alternative Minimum Tax from ensnaring an additional 15 million middle-income taxpayers next year. The bill would add $30 billion to the annual deficit. The AMT was enacted in 1970 to keep wealthy filers from avoiding income taxes, in part by limiting personal exemptions and disallowing deductions for state and local income taxes. But because the AMT is not indexed for inflation, it has crept into middle-income brackets, prompting Congress to repeatedly pass temporary fixes.

Congress has avoided a permanent correction because to do so without offsets would add nearly $1 trillion to national debt over 10 years. Even with this bill, the AMT will apply to an estimated 3 million middle-income filers in 2006.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes




Terrorism insurance backstop



The House on Dec. 7 voted, 371 for and 49 against, to extend for two years a post-9/11 law using taxpayer aid to help the property and casualty insurance industry cover losses from terrorist attacks. Under the bill (S 467), federal payments would be triggered when aggregate industry losses reach $50 million in 2006 and $100 million in 2007. Assuming they remain solvent, companies would be required to repay their taxpayer bailout.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes




Katrina recovery



Voting 415 for and four against, members on Dec. 7 passed a bill (HR 4440) that provides $7.1 billion in tax incentives to spur recovery from Hurricane Katrina in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. In part, the bill expands housing and commercial redevelopment tax credits, provides accelerated depreciation for businesses, expands state and local authority to issue tax-exempt bonds and waives penalties for early IRA withdrawals. However, the benefits are not available for rebuilding concerns such as casinos, racetracks, liquor stores and massage parlors.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes




Key votes ahead



The House will take up defense appropriations and a bill to curb illegal immigration, and might vote on the administration's policy on torture. Both chambers will vote on extending the USA Patriot Act.

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