National votes

January 28, 2008|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Jan. 25.


Children's health insurance

Voting 260 for and 152 against, the House on Jan. 23 failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to overturn President Bush's veto of a bill (HR 3963) expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The bill renewed SCHIP for five years at a cost of $60 billion, up $35 billion from current levels; raised federal tobacco taxes from 39 cents per pack to $1 per pack to pay the added costs; and expanded coverage from 6.6 million children to nearly 10 million children.

Additionally, the bill limited SCHIP enrollment to children from families earning up to three times the poverty level, or nearly $62,000 for a family of four; clarified that children of illegal immigrants are excluded from SCHIP; and phased out coverage for adults other than pregnant mothers.


SCHIP is a federally funded, state-run discretionary spending program designed mainly for children from families that are not poor enough to receive Medicaid, but lack means to buy private health insurance.

A yes vote was to override the veto.


Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, no


Bill Shuster, R-9, no

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes


Government surveillance

Voting 60 for and 36 against, the Senate on Jan. 24 tabled a Judiciary Committee bill to tighten court oversight of the government's warrantless surveillance program and allow lawsuits to proceed against telecommunications companies that allegedly cooperated with the secret program for several years after 9/11 outside the bounds of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This cleared the way for votes on a competing Intelligence Committee bill (S 2248). The latter bill would set stricter court review while granting AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications retroactive immunity against dozens of pending suits that charge them with illegal participation in program.

A yes vote was to kill the Judiciary Committee bill.


Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Benjamin Cardin, D, no


Arlen Specter, R, yes

Robert Casey Jr., D, no

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, no

John Rockefeller, D, yes

2008 defense budget

Voting 91 for and three against, the Senate on Jan. 22 sent President Bush a $649 billion military budget for fiscal 2008, including $190 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill (HR 4986) replaces an earlier version that Bush vetoed over language that could have subjected the post-invasion Iraqi government to claims resulting from terrorist acts by the Saddam Hussein regime.

The bill funds a 3.5 percent military pay raise retroactively to Jan. 1 and launches the Wounded Warriors Act to provide better health care and overall accommodations for injured service personnel.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.


Mikulski, yes

Cardin, yes


Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, yes

Key votes ahead

In the week of Jan. 28, the House might take up a $150 billion economic stimulus package, while the Senate will continue to debate changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The Herald-Mail Articles