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National votes

March 08, 2009

By Thomas Voting Reports

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

HOUSE

Bankruptcy, mortgages

Voting 234 for and 191 against, the House on March 5 passed a bill (HR 1106) empowering bankruptcy courts to lower the principal on mortgages on main residences after borrowers have exhausted other refinancing options. The bill, which applies to Chapter 13 proceedings, would permanently raise to $250,000 per depositor per institution the level of government insurance on checking, savings and money market accounts and certificates of deposit. That level of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection now is in effect temporarily.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, no

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, no

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West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, no

GOP bankruptcy plan

Voting 182 for and 242 against, the House on March 5 defeated a Republican motion to send HR 1106 back to committee for sweeping changes that Democrats said would kill the bill. In part, the motion sought to deny bankruptcy judges authority to change any mortgages where loan applicants stated false information about their earnings or lenders disregarded proper underwriting standards.

A yes vote backed the GOP motion.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

SENATE

Earmarks dispute

Voting 32 for and 63 against, the Senate on March 3 defeated an amendment to strip an estimated 8,570 earmarks totaling as much as $7.7 billion from a $410 billion appropriations bill (HR 1105) for the current fiscal year that remained in debate. The earmarks have originated in both chambers and are split about 60-40 between Democratic and Republican sponsorship. The amendment also sought to reduce the overall bill by $32 billion so as to freeze it at 2008 levels.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski, D, no

Benjamin Cardin, D, no

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, R, no

Robert Casey Jr., D, no

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, no

John Rockefeller, D, no

Endangered species

Voting 42 for and 52 against, the Senate on March 5 defeated an amendment to HR 1105 that sought to retain certain Bush administration changes in the Endangered Species Act. One change would lessen the weight of climate change science in protecting polar bears, and the other would deny the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine and Fisheries Service a voice in certain decisions. The underlying bill immediately would repeal the changes, which took effect a month before President Bush left office.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, no

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no

U.N. population fund

The Senate on March 5 rejected, 39 for and 55 against, an amendment to withhold U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund unless President Obama certifies none of the money would reach countries or groups that coerce abortions or require involuntary sterilizations. Opponents said the amendment to HR 1105 only duplicates existing law and harms programs that benefit women and girls in poor countries, including ones concerning genital mutilation and childhood marriage.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Mikulski, no

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, no

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, no

Key votes ahead

In the week of March 9, the House might take up voting rights in Congress for the District of Columbia, and the Senate will resume debate on a $410 billion budget bill for fiscal 2009.

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