Spending, Tax Cuts in Spotlight

Posted April 10, 2009, at 7:47 p.m.

House votes

Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree

Vote 1: Proposal to cut military spending, expand discretionary spending: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., to the 2010 budget resolution (HR 85) that would have cut military spending, eliminated various tax breaks and spent $991 billion on nondefense discretionary programs. Supporters said the amendment was “fundamentally changing the way our government allocates its resources” by proposing “an ambitious agenda to address the most pressing matters facing America today.” Opponents said it represented “a continuation of the problem that we are all focused on,” namely credit and the fact that “there really is a limit to how much you can spend.” The vote, on April 2, was 84 yeas to 348 nays.

YEAS: Pingree

NAYS: Michaud

Vote 2: Proposal to limit spending, introduce tax cuts: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to the 2010 budget resolution (HR 85) that would have set government spending at 20.7 percent of GDP, made the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent and suspended the capital gains tax through 2010. Supporters said the amendment offered “lower deficits, lower spending, lower taxes, lower debt and a lot more jobs” than the budget proposed by President Obama and would put “people on the path for prosperity so that we can leave the next generation better off.” Opponents called it “a shortsighted attempt to short-circuit essential investments in our economic recovery and long-term growth.” The vote, on April 2, was 137 yeas to 293 nays.

NAYS: Michaud, Pingree

Senate votes

Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins

Vote 1: Higher energy prices from climate change legislation: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to ensure that climate change legislation will not produce an increase in energy prices. Supporters said the amendment would prevent creation of “a climate change reserve fund that would lead to [much] higher electricity and gasoline prices.” The vote, on March 31, was 89 yeas to 8 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 2: Requiring supermajority for middle-class tax increases: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to require a three-fifths majority in the Senate to approve a point of order against legislation that would raise taxes on middle-income taxpayers. Supporters said the amendment would “protect middle-income Americans who are at risk from direct and indirect taxes” by securing “a commitment that Congress will not raise taxes on middle-income families.” The vote, on April 1, was 98 yeas to 0 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 3: Means testing for Medicare prescription drug benefit: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13), that would have created a means test to determine if recipients of the Medicare prescription drug benefit will pay higher premiums for their coverage. Supporters said the amendment would save $3 billion that could be dedicated “toward deficit reduction so we do not continue to put a huge burden on our children and our grandchildren.” Opponents said it “will make health care reform more difficult” by disrupting efforts to reform health care policy. The vote, on April 2, was 37 yeas to 60 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: Snowe

Vote 4: Requiring information about aid to financial institutions: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to require the Federal Reserve to disclose details about its emergency aid to various financial institutions. Supporters said the current secrecy surrounding the aid was wrong and it was unacceptable for Americans not to “know who is receiving that money, and what the terms are” for dispersing aid. Opponents said the amendment “may create financial instability by unnecessarily raising concerns about institutions that accessed these facilities.” The vote, on April 2, was 59 yeas to 39 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 5: Using remaining TARP funds to aid consumers: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to create a reserve fund in the Troubled Asset Relief Program that would be dedicated to supporting consumers while also changing oversight of the program. Supporters said the amendment would use funds for “supporting small businesses, saving homeowners from foreclosure, helping the bond market, and making credit more widely available.” Opponents said it failed to change flaws in “everything that has been done under TARP and how it has been done.” The vote, on April 2, was 56 yeas to 42 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 6: Returning troubled asset relief funds to treasury: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) that would have returned $272 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to the Treasury to reduce the size of the U.S. debt. Supporters said the amendment ensured that the program “will actually be about troubled asset relief” rather than allow the Treasury “to do other things on an ad hoc basis.” Opponents said approving it would deprive the Treasury of the “flexibility to make that program work more effectively.” The vote, on April 2, was 28 yeas to 70 nays.

YEAS: Collins

NAYS: Snowe

Vote 7: Barring energy tax burden on the middle class: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to direct the Senate not to consider legislation that would create an energy tax with widespread applicability on the middle class. Supporters warned against raising energy costs for “our middle-class families who are struggling to get by.” The vote, on April 2, was 65 yeas to 33 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 8: Requiring supermajority to lower charitable giving deduction: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) to require a three-fifths majority in the Senate to approve a point of order on legislation that would cut the tax deduction for charitable donations. Supporters said the amendment would safeguard against passage of a budget proposal to “reduce the amount people could claim as a tax benefit for a charitable donation.” The vote, on April 2, was 94 yeas to 3 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 9: Extending minimum tax exemption to 2014: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) that would have exempted middle-income taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax in 2013 and 2014. Supporters said the amendment “would provide tax relief to 18 million families” and ensure “honest budgeting” moving forward as well as financial certainty to families. Opponents said it “would add $117 billion to the debt” and was not needed. The vote, on April 2, was 40 yeas to 58 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 10: Requiring supermajority to pass climate change legislation: The Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13), to require a three-fifths majority in the Senate to approve any legislation that would significantly cut jobs in regions dependant on manufacturing or coal resources. Supporters warned that climate change legislation could create an energy tax killing “jobs in energy-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, auto assembly, steel, cement, plastics, glass, and fertilizer.” The vote, on April 2, was 54 yeas to 44 nays.

YEAS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 11: Affirming physicians’ right to refuse medical treatments: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) that would have allowed health care providers to decline to perform medical procedures due to their ethical objections to the procedures. Supporters said the amendment protected the right of physicians to use “what they think in their conscience is right” as a guide to their medical practices. Opponents said it “puts ideology ahead of science” and “ignores the needs of patients and denies women reproductive health care services.” The vote, on April 2, was 41 yeas to 56 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Vote 12: Requiring drug testing of welfare recipients: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to the 2010 budget resolution (SR 13) that would have required drug testing of recipients of welfare assistance and treatment of those who tested positive for drug use. Supporters said the amendment would never deny benefits to chil-dren and would provide “help” to “folks who have drug problems.” Opponents criticized it as “a mean-spirited amendment” that would establish “an unfunded mandate” for states who currently governed their own welfare distribution programs. The vote, on April 2, was 18 yeas to 79 nays.

NAYS: Collins, Snowe

Compiled for the Bangor Daily News by Target News Service.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in State