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Votes in Congress

February 09, 2009|By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Feb. 6.

HOUSE



Children's health insurance



Voting 290 for and 135 against, the House on Feb. 4 sent President Obama a bill (HR 2) expanding State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage from 6.6 million children to about 11 million children. The bill would renew SCHIP for five years at a cost of $60 billion, up nearly $35 billion from current levels, and raise federal tobacco taxes from 39 cents per pack to $1 per pack to pay the added costs. The bill would enable children of legal immigrants and legal immigrants who are pregnant to qualify immediately for SCHIP coverage, ending a five-year wait requirement for both groups.

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

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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, yes

Digital TV delay



Voting 264 for and 158 against, the House on Feb. 4 sent President Obama a bill (S 352) that would delay from Feb. 17 to June 12 the deadline for converting over-the-air U.S. television signals from analog to digital. But the bill allows individual stations to switch before the new deadline, and many have announced they will do so. An estimated 6.5 million households still have not installed digital converter boxes on their sets.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, no




SENATE



Holder confirmation



Voting 75 for and 21 against, senators on Feb. 2 confirmed Eric H. Holder Jr., as the 82nd U.S. attorney general and the first black in that post. Supporters said Holder would restore professionalism to a Department of Justice tainted by scandal in the Bush administration, while critics challenged his views on handling terrorists and faulted his role eight years ago in President Clinton's pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

A yes vote was to confirm Holder.

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

'Buy American'



Voting 31 for and 65 against, the Senate on Feb. 4 refused to strip a pending $900 billion-plus economic stimulus measure (HR 1) of a "Buy American" requirement for public works projects funded by the bill. But the Senate stipulated the requirement can be waived if it violates U.S. trade treaties or pushes the cost of a given project too high.

A yes vote opposed the "Buy American" requirement.

Maryland

Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, no

Casey, no

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no

Republican tax cuts



Voting 40 for and 57 against, the Senate on Feb. 5 defeated the main Republican alternative to the Democrats' stimulus bill (HR 1). The GOP measure was projected to cost $420 billion, including $275 billion in tax cuts. The amendment sought a one-year reduction of the top corporate rate, from 35 percent to 25 percent, and one-year cuts of 5 percent each in the two lowest personal brackets. The measure also sought to suspend federal payroll taxes for one year, provide extended jobless benefits and fund steps to avert foreclosures and rejuvenate housing sales.

A yes vote backed the GOP alternative.

Maryland

Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, no

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no

Earmarks rule



Voting 32 for and 65 against, the House on Feb. 5 refused to establish a new Senate rule that 60 votes are needed to include unauthorized earmarks in appropriations bills. The underlying bill (HR 1) contains no earmarks. The amendment also required recipients of federal funds to publicly report their lobbying expenses.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, no

Casey, no

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no




Key votes ahead



In the week of Feb. 9, the House will take up a bill to conserve public lands and both chambers will vote on an economic stimulus conference report. At week's end, Congress begins a Presidents Day recess until Feb. 23.

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