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National votes

February 18, 2008|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Feb. 15.

HOUSE



Bolten, Miers citations



The House on Feb. 14 approved, 223 for and 32 against, the filing of criminal contempt-of-Congress citations in federal court against Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, over their refusal to comply with House subpoenas concerning the alleged systematic infusion of partisan politics into hiring, firing and prosecutorial decisions at several U.S. attorney offices. This vote was to pass H Res 982.

A yes vote backed the contempt citations.

Maryland


Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, not voting

Pennsylvania


Bill Shuster, R-9, no

West Virginia


Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, not voting




Spy act extension



Voting 191 for and 229 against, the House on Feb. 13 defeated a 21-day renewal (HR 5349) of a version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) enacted last August. That temporary measure then expired as House leaders refused to accept a Senate bill (S 2248) to extend FISA for six years. There was general agreement that the government's electronic spying on terrorists would continue as before under other laws and also under long-term FISA warrants still in effect.

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A yes vote backed a 21-day FISA extension.

Maryland


Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania


Shuster, no

West Virginia


Capito, no




SENATE



Torture ban, intelligence budget



Voting 51 for and 45 against, the Senate on Feb. 13 sent President Bush the conference report on a fiscal 2008 intelligence budget (HR 2082) that requires CIA personnel to obey the Army Field Manual's ban on torture of prisoners. The manual authorizes 19 interrogation methods and, by implication, outlaws harsh techniques such as waterboarding used by the CIA since 9/11. The bill, which sets an estimated $48 billion intelligence budget, also requires U.S. adherence to Geneva Conventions rules for handling prisoners of war.

A yes vote backed the conference report.

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




Government spy powers



Voting 68 for and 29 against, the Senate on Feb. 12 passed a bill (S 2248) to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and grant retroactive immunity to certain telecommunications firms. The bill would permit warrantless surveillance on totally foreign communications passing through U.S. switching points; authorize the secret FISA court to issue blanket warrants for surveillance of communications between U.S. and foreign locations; and continue the existing requirement that strictly domestic spying be authorized by the FISA court on a case-by-case basis.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland


Mikulski, yes

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania


Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia


Byrd, no

Rockefeller, yes




Telecoms' retroactive immunity



Voting 31 for and 67 against, the Senate on Feb. 12 rejected an amendment to S 2248 to allow lawsuits against telecommunications firms that helped the government spy on Americans after 9/11 without court warrants. The vote affirmed the bill's voiding of dozens of invasion-of-privacy suits pending against AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications.

A yes vote opposed retroactive immunity.

Maryland


Mikulski, no

Cardin, yes

Pennsylvania


Specter, no

Casey, yes

West Virginia


Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, no




Key votes ahead



Congress is in Presidents Day recess until the week of Feb. 25, when both chambers will resume efforts to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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