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National votes

August 03, 2008|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Aug. 1.

HOUSE

Tobacco regulation

Voting 326 for and 102 against, the House on July 30 sent the Senate a bill (HR 1108) to begin Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco products. The bill empowers the FDA to regulate cigarette content, require disclosure of product ingredients, ban cigarette marketing to children and require more prominent health warnings. The bill would pre-empt state tobacco laws and impose fees on cigarette manufacturers and importers to pay the cost of FDA tobacco regulation.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia

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Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes

Oil market speculation

Voting 276 for and 151 against, the House on July 30 failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill (HR 6604) directing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to curb "excessive speculation" in the oil futures market, in part by setting higher margin requirements, limiting investment positions and requiring more public disclosure. The bill was aimed at pure speculators rather than companies such as transportation firms that trade in oil futures as a business decision.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Voting 424 for and one against, the House on July 30 approved the conference report on a bill (HR 4040) to expand powers of the Consumer Product Safety Commission while nearly doubling the agency's annual budget over 10 years and beefing up its staff and testing capabilities. The bill would ban lead and chemicals known as phthalates from children's products, require new toy safety standards and empower state attorneys general to file injunctions to ban the sale of unsafe products.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Higher Education Act

Voting 380 for and 49 against, the House on July 31 approved the conference report on a bill (HR 4137) renewing the Higher Education Act at a cost of at least $142 billion in discretionary spending through fiscal 2013. The bill would expand federal aid to minorities, veterans, military families and the disabled; use Web sites and other publicity to hold schools publicly accountable for their overall costs and tuition increases; induce publishers to rein in textbook costs; and make Pell Grants for poor students available for year-round attendance.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Gender-based pay bias

Voting 247 for and 178 against, the House on July 31 sent the Senate a bill (HR 1338) to bolster the federal law that bans pay discrimination based on gender. The bill empowers women alleging pay bias to sue for recovery of back pay and receive punitive and compensatory damages; bans employer retaliation against those who share salary data with co-workers; and establishes a grant program to teach negotiating skills to girls and women.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

Pay bias study

Voting 188 for and 240 against, the House on July 31 defeated an amendment to HR 1338 requiring a Department of Labor study of whether the bill would hinder the ability of employers to recruit their work forces. If the study found that would be the case, the expanded legal rights in HR 1338 would be delayed or nullified. Supporters said the amendment would help employers to effectively manage their work force, while critics called it an attempt to kill the bill.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

SENATE

Journalists' shield law

Voting 51 for and 43 against, the Senate on July 30 failed to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a House-passed bill (S 2035) to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources in civil and criminal cases in federal court. The protection would be waived in cases where the government shows that revealing sources would help it solve a crime or investigate leaks of national security secrets, or when the reporter witnessed or committed a crime, among other exemptions. The federal measure would be similar to shield laws now on the books in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

A yes vote was to advance 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, not voting

Higher Education Act

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