Friday, February 23, 2007

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (2/23/07)

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.


Iraq troop increase. The House adopted, 246-182, and sent to the Senate a nonbinding measure (H Con Res 63) opposing President Bush's decision to add 21,500 combat troops to Iraq and pledging congressional support of troops deployed there as well as veterans of the war.

A yes vote was to pass the resolution.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.) and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.) and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Not voting: Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.).
As great as it is that this resolution passed so decisively, I have to throw cold water on this even though I hate to do so and link to this post by Prof. Marcus regarding Iraq, where Bushco (and Billion Dollar Cheney in particular) wants us to stay for years and years regardless of any resolution or anything anyone has to say.

We should hound our politicians on this and make all the noise that we can until the tide eventually turns, and the more shrill, the better.

Tax breaks, minimum wage. The House approved, 360-45, business tax breaks worth $1.8 billion over 10 years, a key step toward forging a congressional compromise on increasing the minimum wage from the current $5.15 to $7.25 over two years. The measure (HR 2) now goes to conference with the Senate.

A yes vote was to approve the tax breaks.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, Murphy, Pitts, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Not voting: LoBiondo.
I hate this, but the minimum wage bill has no shot at passing without it. However, this should be the only accommodation to the Repugs – if they come back with any more favors for their handlers in the corpocracy, then tell them to drop dead. If we have to, we’ll get this done the right way after ’08 when more of those Repug Senate clowns are booted because they’re tethered to Dubya and company on Iraq.


2007 budget. Voting 81-15, the Senate gave final congressional approval to $463.5 billion in fiscal 2007 appropriations for departments and agencies lacking regular annual budgets. The measure (HJ Res 20) keeps most spending at 2006 levels but increases spending for such programs as veterans' health care, housing subsidies and Pell Grants for needy college students, and for such agencies as the FBI, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

A yes vote was to pass the budget resolution.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey Jr. (D., Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Not voting: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.).
And as you can see, the Senate has been too busy trying to derail the work of the first 100 hours of the House to do much else.

The Inquirer reported that Congress is now officially in recess until Feb. 26.

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