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National votes

September 26, 2009

By Votes in Congress Service

WASHINGTON - Here's how area members of Congress voted on major roll call votes in the week ending Sept. 25.

HOUSE



Extended jobless benefits

Voting 331 for and 83 against, the House on Sept. 22 passed a bill (HR 3548) providing 13 more weeks of jobless checks for those in high unemployment states whose current allotments have expired or soon will expire. The bill applies to at least 27 states with jobless rates of 8.5 percent or higher and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The bill would immediately benefit about 3 million long-term unemployed people and help another 1 million by year's end, with the $1.4 billion cost offset mainly by payroll taxes on employers. Jobless checks average $300 per week. The bill would extend total benefits to as long as 21 months in the highest unemployment states.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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Maryland

Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, yes

Pennsylvania

Bill Shuster, R-9, yes

West Virginia

Shelley Moore Capito, R-2, yes

Medicare premiums

Voting 406 for and 18 against, the House on Sept. 24 sent the Senate a bill (HR 3631) to freeze Medicare premiums in 2010 at the current level of about $96 per month. Medicare premiums are deducted from Social Security checks, and the rationale of this bill is since there will be no Social Security inflation adjustment in 2010, there should be no rise in Medicare premiums. About three-fourths of the 42 million Medicare recipients automatically will have their 2010 premiums frozen because there is no inflation this year. The bill covers the 11 Medicare participants who lack such automatic protection.

Medicare Part B covers doctor visits and other outpatient services. Medicare Part A (hospital costs) carries no premium for most participants. Seniors who opt for Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drugs) pay premiums to insurance firms.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Maryland

Bartlett, yes

Pennsylvania

Shuster, yes

West Virginia

Capito, yes

SENATE



National park system

Voting 79 for and 19 against, the Senate on Sept. 24 tabled an amendment to shift $420 million in the 2010 Interior Department budget (HR 2996) from land acquisition to maintenance in the National Park System. The $32.2 billion appropriations bill later was sent to conference with the House.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

Maryland

Barbara Mikulski, D, yes

Benjamin Cardin, D, yes

Pennsylvania

Arlen Specter, D, yes

Robert Casey Jr., D, yes

West Virginia

Robert Byrd, D, not voting

Jay Rockefeller, D, yes

Offshore drilling

Voting 56 for and 42 against, the Senate on Sept. 23 tabled a Republican bid to speed implementation of a new law to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. Although approved last year, the new drilling cannot begin until 2012 for contractual reasons. In part, the expansion authorizes Outer Continental Shelf drilling 100 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines and beyond. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rejected a Bush administration drilling plan and ordered a slower pace for planning the new drilling.

A yes vote was to kill the GOP motion.

Maryland

Mikulski, yes

Cardin, yes

Pennsylvania

Specter, yes

Casey, yes

West Virginia

Byrd, not voting

Rockefeller, yes

Key votes ahead

In the week of Sept. 28, the House will take up nonmilitary aid to Pakistan and energy and water spending, while the Senate will debate the 2010 defense budget.

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