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National votes

May 03, 2009

By Thomas Voting Reports

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

HOUSE

2010-14 federal budget

Voting 233 for and 193 against, the House on April 29 adopted the conference report on a five-year Democratic budget (S Con Res 13) that for 2010 projects $3.4 trillion in spending, a $1.2 trillion deficit, $284 billion in interest payments on federal debt and $130 billion for war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The budget sets "reconciliation" rules allowing President Obama's health-care and student loan initiatives to pass the Senate with 51 votes if agreements with Republicans are not reached by Oct. 15. The fiscal plan puts caps on discretionary spending and applies pay-as-you-go rules to entitlement spending increases and new tax cuts.

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A yes vote was to adopt the Democratic budget.

Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, no

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, no

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, no

Hate crimes prosecutions

Members on April 29 voted, 249 for and 175 against, to expand the federal law against hate crimes to include offenses based on sexual orientation, gender or disability, as well as the existing categories of race, color, religion and national origin. The bill (HR 1913), which awaits Senate action, authorizes federal grants and law enforcement resources to help state and local officials combat hate crimes. The law targets crimes of violence, but not free speech.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

Death penalty

Voting 185 for and 241 against, the House on April 29 defeated a bid to add offenses against members of the armed services, law enforcement officers and the elderly to the list of hate crimes covered by HR 1913 and to require the execution of those convicted of committing hate crimes.

A yes vote was to adopt the GOP motion.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Credit card rules

Voting 357 for and 70 against, the House on April 30 sent the Senate a bill (HR 627) imposing pro-consumer rules on credit cards. The bill bans due-date gimmickry; allows cardholders to set personal credit limits above which transactions cannot be processed; sets 18 as the minimum age for obtaining a card in most circumstances; prohibits changes in contract terms until renewal; and requires 45 days' notice of rate increases while allowing existing balances to be paid at the previous rate.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

GOP study request

Voting 164 for and 263 against, the House on April 30 defeated a Republican bid to delay the effective date of HR 627 until the Federal Reserve certifies it would not reduce the flow of credit to small businesses.

A yes vote was to delay the bill pending a Federal Reserve study.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

SENATE

2010-14 federal budget

Voting 53 for and 43 against, the Senate on April 29 gave final approval to a five-year Democratic budget (S Con Res 13) that accommodates most of President Obama's requests, including his proposals for revamping health care, student loans and energy policies. The budget projects $3.4 trillion in spending and a $1.2 trillion deficit for 2010. The plan did not require a presidential signature and took effect immediately.

The budget extends President Obama's middle-class tax cuts as well as Bush-era cuts such as expanded child tax credits and relief from the marriage penalty, while allowing President Bush's cuts for wealthy taxpayers to expire. The budget is designed to cut this year's deficit of $1.75 trillion to $523 billion by 2013, but relies on not-yet-specified revenue to do so.

A yes vote was to adopt the budget plan.

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Benjamin Cardin, D, yes

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, D, no

Robert Casey Jr., D, yes

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, no

John Rockefeller, D, not voting

Sebelius confirmation

The Senate on April 28 confirmed, 65 for and 31 against, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Sebelius, a Democrat, was backed by all 56 Democrats and independents who voted and by nine Republicans.

A yes vote was to confirm Sebelius,

Maryland

Mikulski, yes

Cardin, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, not voting

Bankruptcy, mortgages

Voting 45 for and 51 against, the Senate on April 30 refused to permit bankruptcy judges in Chapter 13 proceedings to rework delinquent mortgages on main residences. The amendment allowed intervention if the mortgage was issued no later than 2008 on a home valued at less than $729,000 and borrower-lender attempts at refinancing had failed. The vote occurred during debate on a bill (S 896) still in debate that is aimed at saving millions of troubled mortgages. This amendment would have applied to up to 1.7 million mortgages.

A yes vote was to allow mortgage intervention by bankruptcy judges.

Maryland

Mikulski, yes

Cardin, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, no

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, no

Rockefeller, not voting

Financial crimes

Voting 92 for and four against, the Senate on April 28 passed a bill (S 386) toughening federal laws against financial crimes such as mortgage and securities fraud. The bill also broadens the False Claims Act, under which private citizens can file fraud suits on behalf of the government and receive a large share of any recovered funds. The bill awaits House action.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Mikulski, yes

Cardin, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, not voting

Key votes ahead

In the week of May 4, the House will consider a bill to rein in predatory home lending, while the Senate will debate bills on saving troubled mortgages and changing credit card practices.

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