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National votes

September 22, 2008|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Sept. 19.

HOUSE



Offshore drilling, renewable energy



Voting 236 for and 189 against, the House on Sept. 16 passed a bill (HR 6899) that would open additional areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling and devote a large share of the royalties to developing renewable fuels. The bill would permit drilling beyond 100 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines, or as close as 50 miles with permission of the adjacent state.

Additionally, the bill would rescind $18 billion in tax breaks granted to large oil companies in 2004 to keep U.S. jobs at home; require President Bush to gradually release 10 percent of the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; allow oil-shale exploration on public lands in the West with state approval; and require utilities to eventually generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.

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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 drilling plan



Voting 191 for 226 against, the House on Sept. 16 defeated a Republican alternative to HR 6899 that, in part, sought to allow drilling as close as 25 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts with permission of the adjacent state; expanded drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico; provided coastal states with a share of drilling royalties; spurred nuclear and clean-coal energy technologies; and provided tax incentives to speed the development of renewable fuels.

A yes vote backed the GOP drilling bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

D.C. guns



Voting 266 for and 152 against, the House on Sept. 17 sent the Senate a bill (HR 6842) removing most restrictions on gun possession in the District of Columbia. The bill is a response to a Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the city's ban on handgun ownership by residents other than law enforcement officers and its requirement that rifles, shotguns and other firearms be stored unloaded and locked or encased. The bill awaits Senate action.

The bill adds gun rights beyond those required by the court ruling, in part by removing restrictions on the ownership of military-style firearms such as .50-caliber sniper rifles and semiautomatic assault weapons; barring any D.C. law that would "unduly burden" gun ownership; permitting D.C. residents to cross state lines to buy firearms; and repealing the city's registration requirement for firearms.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Environmental education



Voting 293 for and 109 against, the House on Sept. 18 passed a bill to upgrade environmental education in U.S. schools. The bill (HR 3036) authorizes $14 million for education and training programs conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency as well as $10 million in Department of Education grants to help states and localities expand environmental curricula and attract teachers to the field.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, yes




SENATE



2009 military budget



Voting 88 for and eight against, the Senate on Sept. 17 approved $612.5 billion in 2009 military spending, including $70 billion to fund war in Afghanistan and Iraq for part of the fiscal year. The bill (S 3001) sets a 3.9 percent military pay raise, bars permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, bans premium or co-pay increases in the military health plan known as TRICARE and provides $5 billion in earmarks for senators' pet projects. The bill slightly raises active-duty personnel levels to 532,400 for the Army, 325,300 for the Navy, 316,770 for the Air Force and 194,000 for the Marines.

A yes vote was to pass 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, no

John Rockefeller, D, yes




Key votes ahead



In the week of Sept. 22, the House will debate the 2009 defense budget and the rights of credit card holders, while the Senate will consider bills on offshore drilling and renewable-energy tax breaks. Both chambers will debate stopgap spending bills for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

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