Thursday, September 14, 2006

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (9/14)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (light agenda of stuff).


Horse slaughter. The House passed, 263-146, and sent to the Senate a bill (HR 503) to outlaw the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption overseas. The bill sets fines up to $5,000 and maximum jail time of two years.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.), Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.) and Curt Weldon (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Tim Holden (D., Pa.).
Holden is currently assigned to the House Agriculture Committee, where, according to the Open Secrets link, “…active donors with business before the committee include the poultry and forestry interests, ranchers, and agribusiness giants like Archer-Daniels-Midland.”

I’m glad that we’re not going to be sending the remains of Mr. Ed or My Friend Flicka to some other country – I mean, if somebody in Azerbaijan wants to do that, for example, then let them kill their own damn horse. And Holden stands up for a constituency here in what turned out to be a losing cause, which makes him look like a winner for the next time his committee hears a proposal for legislation and “one back needs to scratch the other,” if you know what I mean.

By the way, with elections looming, look for our esteemed members of Congress to debate pabulum such as this as they work extra hard to keep lulling voters to sleep before November 7th.


Defense spending. Senators passed, 98-0, a bill to appropriate $470 billion for defense in fiscal 2007. The bill funds a 2.2 percent military pay raise and includes $50 billion for six months of actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill (HR 5631) goes to conference with the House.

All Philadelphia-area senators voted for the bill.
I wonder what the "over-under" is on how quickly Dubya comes back for a supplemental appropriation to this one?

Iraq. Senators killed, 54-44, an amendment to HR 5631 (above) requiring the administration to report to Congress every three months on whether Iraq is in civil war and, if so, to detail plans for protecting U.S. troops from the cross fire.

A yes vote opposed the amendment.

Voting yes: Santorum and Specter.

Voting no: Biden, Carper and Lautenberg.

Not voting: Menendez.
Oh, but Arlen and Ricky had to oppose this, you see; it was sponsored by Ted Kennedy, and after all, what does he know about military service, right?

(And by the way, Senator, welcome to the fight for Net Neutrality!)

Your Republican congress hard at work, doing the people’s business as always...

Cluster bombs. Senators rejected, 70-30, an amendment to HR 5631 (above) that would have barred spending for producing or selling cluster bombs until such time as the Pentagon sets rules to prevent their use near civilians.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper and Menendez.

Voting no: Biden, Lautenberg, Santorum and Specter.
Great idea sponsored by Rep. Dianne Feinstein (maybe a message to Israel also since they used them in the recent war with Hezbollah?), but once again, Biden casts a bad vote (how lame is it that Carper actually looks good this time), and I think Lautenberg understood that this could be a black eye against a core constituency, so...

Osama bin Laden. Senators approved, 96-0, an amendment to reactivate a CIA unit set up after 9/11 to hunt down Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders. The vote added $200 million to HR 5631 (above) to reactivate the unit.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Biden, Carper, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.

Not voting: Santorum.
How about an amendment telling Dubya he’s got 90 days to get him or he’ll be impeached for sure (hey, I can dream, can’t I?).

Iraq public relations. Senators killed, 51-44, an amendment to bar the Pentagon from spending funds in HR 5631 (above) on a $20 million public relations contract it has awarded to generate positive news coverage about Iraq.

A yes vote was to allow the contract to go forward.

Voting yes: Specter.

Voting no: Biden, Carper, Lautenberg and Menendez.

Not voting: Santorum.
Menendez was actually the sponsor of this amendment; hats off to him for trying to maintain fiscal sanity from this plutocracy (and I would accuse Arlen Specter of doing a “two-step” again, but with his nearly-successful attempt at legalizing Dubya’s warrantless spying, unfortunately, I don’t think he’s even bothering to “shift to the left” at all – kind of the real-world version of Chancellor Palpatine turning into Darth Sidious for good in “Revenge Of The Sith”…obligatory geeky “Star Wars” rant mode off.)

Besides, maybe this will be a good thing at that, since I heard that “Baghdad Bob” needs to find permanent work once and for all.

This week. The House will consider a bill on prison industries, while the Senate will debate port security.
For information on how to contact your member of Congress, go here.

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