Stimulus, children’s health in spotlight

Posted Feb. 06, 2009, at 6:59 p.m.

HOW THEY VOTED:

MAINE’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION, JAN. 30-FEB. 5, 2009

House votes

Democratic Reps. Michael Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Children’s health insurance program: The House passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (HR 2) sponsored by Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to reauthorize and expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Supporters called it a “fiscally responsible way” to expand health coverage and reduce emergency room visits by children. Opponents said it will shift 2.4 million children from private insurance to inferior government-run health care, and fails to ensure that only “U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants are allowed to access taxpayer-funded benefits.” The vote, on Feb. 4, was 290 yeas to 135 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 2: Transition to digital TV: The House passed the DTV Delay Act (S 352) sponsored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., to move the mandated transition from broadcast to digital television from the scheduled deadline of Feb. 17 to June 12. Supporters said as of late January there were 6.5 million households “totally unprepared for the transition” to digital TV, and argued that the delay would ensure a smooth transition for both consumers and broadcasters. Opponents contended that the difficulty of the transition had been overstated, and a delay would hurt both TV stations already broadcasting digitally and other parties who had planned on the Feb. 17 transition date. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 264 yeas to 158 nays.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Vote 3: Reporting of deaths in police custody: The House passed a bill (HR 738) sponsored by Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., to strengthen the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 to require federal, state and local governments to report fatalities of individuals held in police custody to the U.S. Attorney General in order to receive certain grants from the federal government. Supporters said the bill will aid the adoption of programs effective at preventing deaths in custody from both violent and health-related causes. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 407 yeas to 1 nay.

YEAS: Michaud, Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins

Vote 1: Removal of $35 billion from economic stimulus bill: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have eliminated $35 billion of spending from the economic stimulus package and removed Davis-Bacon language stipulating employee pay for projects funded by the bill. Supporters said the amendment canceled wasteful spending that represented “some of the clearly nonstimulative parts of this bill.” The vote, on Feb. 4, was 32 yeas to 65 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 2: Ban on programs in stimulus bill: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have eliminated funding for new spending programs from the economic stimulus package. Supporters said creating new programs would defeat the stated goal of being tempo-rary, targeted and timely and instead authorize “slow and unfocused and unending” spending. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 35 yeas to 62 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 3: $5.2 billion in military spending in stimulus bill: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have authorized $5.2 billion of spending on Defense Department programs and offset that spending with a similar level of spending cuts in non-military pro-grams. Supporters said spending on “a strong national defense“ would aid the economy and enhance security interests. Opponents argued that the amendment violated the 1974 Congressional Budget Act. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 38 yeas to 59 nays, with a three-fifths majority required for approval.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 4: Reduction in lowest income tax bracket: The Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have cut the lowest income tax bracket from 10 percent to 5 percent in place of a low-income tax credit. Supporters said the amendment would provide “tax relief for taxpayers” in-stead of reward those “who don’t pay income taxes in the first place” and provide “the most efficient way to get our economy moving again.” Opponents said it would punish those who pay payroll taxes but not income taxes and was in fact a less effective way to stimulate the economy. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 37 yeas to 60 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 5: Suspension of tax on Social Security Benefits: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have suspended an income tax on 85 percent of Social Security benefits for senior citizens above a certain income level and made spending cuts to offset the lower resulting tax revenue. Supporters argued that the suspension would immediately begin stimulating the economy and help more than 12 million seniors who face a rising cost of living. Opponents said the amendment was not “a wise course of action to take” because it would cut funding for programs to “create jobs.” The vote, on Feb. 4, was 39 yeas to 57 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 6: Buy American provision in stimulus bill: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have eliminated the Buy American provision from the economic stimulus package. Supporters said the provision would threaten global trade by barring foreign coun-tries from supplying the U.S. with goods to be used in projects funded by the legislation. They warned of resulting retaliation by those countries against U.S. exports and the risk of “economic disaster” if the provision was not removed. The vote, on Feb. 4, was 31 yeas to 65 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 7: Campus stimulus funds restrict religion: The Senate rejected an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) that would have provided for the free exercise of religion at higher education institutions that are recipients of funding under the Act. Proponents of the amendment said the bill as it is written would “intimidate the free speech of freedom-loving Americans” through the manipulative wording of the bill that technically provides funding for the modernization and repair of campus facilities while requiring a ban on religious or sectarian activities of any kind. Opponents denied any arbitrary language and said the religious caveat only applied to schools in which “a substantial portion of the functions of the building are involved in a religious mission.” The vote, on Feb. 5, was 43 yeas to 54 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in State