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National votes

June 30, 2008|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending June 27:

HOUSE



Alternative minimum tax



Voting 233 for and 189 against, the House on June 25 sent the Senate a bill (HR 6275) to exempt 22 million middle-income households from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) this year. To offset the Treasury's loss of $61.5 billion in revenue, the bill would, in part, repeal certain tax breaks for oil and gas companies; change "carried interest" rules so that managers of investment partnerships and hedge funds would pay taxes at a 35 percent rather than 15 percent rate; and set the stage for more timely tax collection on payments from credit card firms to merchants.

The AMT was enacted in 1969 to prevent a few wealthy filers from using deductions, exemptions and shelters to avoid income taxes. Not indexed for inflation, the AMT has crept into middle-income brackets. Even with this fix, the AMT will add a projected $2,400 per return to the 2008 tax bills of 4 million middle-income filers.

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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

GOP tax plan



Voting 199 for and 222 against, the House on June 25 defeated a GOP bid to strip HR 6275 of $61.5 billion in tax increases on certain equity managers and corporations, including oil companies. Democrats proposed the increases to "pay for" the bill's fix of the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2008. The GOP motion also sought to raise the mileage deduction for the use of personal vehicles for charitable purposes.

A yes vote backed the GOP motion.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Disabilities Act expansion



Voting 402 for and 17 against, the House on June 25 passed a bill (HR 3195) to negate Supreme Court decisions that have narrowed the types of disabilities and number of disabled workers protected by the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The court has denied protection, for example, to people who have taught themselves to perform their jobs and conduct other major activities even though afflicted by diseases such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer and diabetes. The bill awaits Senate action.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Child-abuse programs



Voting 318 for and 103 against, the House on June 25 passed a bill (HR 6358) that would authorize nearly $1 billion through fiscal 2013 for federal programs to prevent and deal with the consequences of child abuse. The bill would set federal health and safety standards for residential treatment facilities that oversee teenagers with behavioral or emotional problems or mental-health disorders. The bill now is before the Senate.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Medicare doctor payments



Voting 355 for and 59 against, the House on June 24 passed a bill (HR 6331) that would avert the administration's 10.6 percent cut in Medicare payments set for July 1. The bill would increase those payments by 1.1 percent in January. The bill also would lower the co-payment rate for mental-health coverage from 50 percent to 20 percent, the same rate as for physical care. The bill's projected $19.8 billion, six-year cost mainly would be offset by cuts in the privately run, federally subsidized Medicare Advantage program.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes




SENATE



Housing recovery package



Voting 83 for and nine against, the Senate on June 24 agreed to debate a housing recovery package (HR 3221) that would enable lenders to refinance hundreds of thousands of at-risk mortgages in return for government backing of the new loans. The bill also would grant refundable tax credits of $8,000 to first-time buyers of unoccupied homes; allow taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to treat up to $700 of their 2008 property taxes as a federal tax deduction; and provide at least $4 billion in grants to help communities and nonprofit groups buy foreclosed homes for sale or rental to families below the region's median-income level.

The bill also would authorize local housing authorities to issue billions in tax-exempt bonds to be used to refinance subprime loans and provide low-income rental housing; authorize $150 million for communities' hiring of credit counselers; create the Federal Housing Finance Agency to oversee the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and establish an Affordable Housing Fund - financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - to help individuals and families buy and retain homes.

A yes vote was to debate the bill.

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Benjamin Cardin, D, yes

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, R, yes

Robert Casey Jr., D, yes

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, yes

John Rockefeller, D, yes




Key votes ahead



Congress is in Independence Day recess until the week of July 7.

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