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National votes

November 19, 2007|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Nov. 16:

HOUSE



War funds, Iraq pullout



Voting 218 for and 203 against, the House on Nov. 14 sent the Senate a bill (HR 4156) that couples $50 billion in war appropriations with a nonbinding call for most U.S. troops to be removed from Iraq by Dec. 15, 2008. The bill requires U.S. civilian as well as military interrogators to obey the Army Field Manual's ban on the torture of prisoners. The $50 billion outlay, funding combat through Feb. 1, is an installment on President Bush's request of $196 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September 2008.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland


Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, no

Pennsylvania


Bill Shuster, R-9, no

West Virginia


Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, no




U.S. government surveillance



Voting 227 for and 189 against, the House on Nov. 15 passed a bill (HR 3773) giving federal judges a stronger role than the executive branch in approving electronic spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). A FISA rewrite enacted in August permits the U.S. attorney general or director of national intelligence to order warrantless surveillance of terrorism targets, even when one party in the communication is domestically based. This bill transfers final authority to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which would issue warrants for spying on domestic targets based on probable cause of terrorism activity. But in emergencies, the administration could begin spying immediately and obtain a warrant later.

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The bill allows the FISA court to issue blanket warrants for strictly foreign surveillance. The bill, which awaits Senate action, stops short of granting retroactive immunity to U.S. telecom companies that secretly helped the administration conduct warrantless surveillance.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland


Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania


Shuster, no

West Virginia


Capito, no




Easy-credit home mortgages



Voting 291 for and 127 against, the House on Nov. 15 sent the Senate a bill (HR 3915) to crack down on easy-credit practices that have devastated segments of the U.S. housing market. In part, the bill requires states to license all types of mortgage providers; gives borrowers standing to sue institutions that knowingly repackage unsound loans into securities; requires lenders to certify that borrowers have a reasonable ability to pay based on factors such as their credit rating, indebtedness and documented assets; scales back prepayment penalties on prime as well as subprime loans; bans commissions to brokers for steering borrowers to unaffordable mortgages; and requires states to toughen lending rules or submit to federal rules.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland


Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania


Shuster, no

West Virginia


Capito, yes




Bush veto upheld



Voting 277 for and 141 against, the House on Nov. 15 failed to reach a two-thirds majority for overriding President Bush's Nov. 13 veto of a bill (HR 3043) appropriating $606 billion in fiscal 2008 for the Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services. Bush called the bill undisciplined because it exceeded his budget request by $10 billion, while Democrats said it funded vital domestic programs that were shortchanged during Republican control of Congress. Congress now has upheld five of Bush's six legislative vetoes.

A yes vote was to override the veto.

Maryland


Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania


Shuster, no

West Virginia


Capito, yes




Senate



War funds, Iraq pullout



The Senate on Nov. 16 failed, 53 for and 45 against, to reach 60 votes needed to advance a House-passed bill (HR 4156) to appropriate an additional $50 billion for war in Iraq-Afghanistan while requiring troop withdrawals from Iraq to begin within 30 days of enactment. The bill set a goal of completing the pullout by Dec. 15, 2008, set training and equipment standards for Iraq-bound troops, and required U.S. civilian as well as military interrogators to obey the Army Field Manual's ban on the torture of prisoners.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Maryland


Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Benjamin Cardin, D, yes

Pennsylvania


Arlen Specter, R, no

Robert Casey Jr., D, yes

West Virginia


Robert Byrd, D, yes

John Rockefeller, D, yes




Republican war bill



Voting 45 for and 53 against, the Senate on Nov. 16 rejected a Republican alternative to HR 4156. The GOP measure sought to appropriate $70 billion for funding war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early months of fiscal 2008, but did not link the spending to actions such as troop withdrawals or training and equipment mandates.

A yes vote backed the Republican measure.

Maryland


Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania


Specter, yes

Casey, no

West Virginia


Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no




Five-year farm bill



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