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National votes

May 17, 2009

By Thomas Voting Reports

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending May 15.

HOUSE

War appropriations

Voting 368 for and 60 against, the House on May 14 approved $84.3 billion to fund U.S. combat operations through Sept. 30 and $12 billion for nonmilitary programs. The bill provides $47.7 billion for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan; $23 billion for repairing or replacing military equipment; $4.8 billion for acquiring explosion-resistant vehicles; $3.6 billion for training Afghan security forces; $400 million for bolstering Pakistani counterinsurgency efforts; and $1.3 billion for developing defenses against roadside bombs.

Now awaiting Senate action, the bill (HR 2346) provides special payments to 170,000 troops whose enlistments were extended against their will after Sept. 11, awarding $500 for every month served under these "stop-loss" orders.

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The bill also appropriates $4.4 billion to help Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan develop their economies and build rule-of-law institutions; $3.2 billion for upgrading the U.S. military's hospital and family facilities; $3.1 billion for acquiring C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft; and $1.1 billion for assigning more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Additionally, the bill appropriates $4 billion for dealing with pandemic flu epidemics, $1.4 billion for international humanitarian and refugee programs; $400 million to boost Mexico's war against drug traffickers; and $100 million for fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. The bill appropriates economic and security aid totaling $665 million for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, $555 million for Israel, $360 million for Egypt, $250 million for Jordan and $74 billion for Lebanon.

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

Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes

Republican motion

Voting 191 for and 237 against, the House on May 14 defeated a Republican motion designed, in part, to transfer $200 million in HR 2346 from foreign aid to the Department of Justice's war against narco-trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A yes vote backed the GOP motion.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

Green school renovations

Voting 275 for and 155 against, the House on May 14 passed a bill (HR 2187) authorizing $6.4 billion in fiscal 2010 for public school renovations that use mostly "green" building materials and increase energy efficiency. The multiyear program would funnel grants and low-cost loans through state agencies mainly to schools in poor areas. The bill also authorizes $600 million over six years for repairing Gulf Coast schools damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Backers said the bill would upgrade unhealthy classrooms while creating jobs and saving energy. Opponents called the bill unaffordable and said it was not a federal responsibility to finance local school construction.

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

Maryland

Bartlett, no

Pennsylvania

Shuster, no

West Virginia

Capito, no

SENATE

Credit card interest cap

Voting 33 for and 60 against, the Senate on May 13 refused to place a statutory cap on credit card interest rates. The amendment to HR 627 sought to impose the same 15 percent usury limit on credit cards that has applied to credit unions for the past 29 years. The underlying bill remained in debate.

A yes vote was to limit interest rates.

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski, D, not voting

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

Gun rights in parks

The Senate on May 12 voted, 67 for and 29 against, to affirm Bush administration regulations ensuring the right to bear loaded guns in the National Park System and National Wildlife Refuge System. The amendment to HR 627 seeks to counter a federal judge's recent ruling to block the regulations.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Maryland

Mikulski, not voting

Cardin, no

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, yes

Rockefeller, not voting

Key votes ahead

In the week of May 18, the Senate will resume debate on new rules for credit cards, while the House will take up the Transportation Security Administration budget and a bill to reduce home foreclosures. At week's end, Congress will begin a weeklong Memorial Day recess.

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