Friday, October 26, 2007

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (10/26/07)

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.

(This has been one nutty week for your humble narrator, by the way - it's a miracle I've been able to post anything or answer a single comment...yeah yeah, I know, I got 'yer cryin' towel right here, ya' wuss.)

Children's health insurance. In a 273-156 vote, the House failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would have renewed the State Children's Health Insurance Program through 2012 at a cost of $60 billion, up $35 billion from current levels.

A yes vote was to override the veto and enact the bill (HR 976).

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.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.) and H. James Saxton (R., N.J.).
Yeah, I seem to recall saying something about this here (and this guy is talking to you, Pitts and Saxton).

Confidential news sources. The House passed, 398-21, and sent to the Senate a bill that would protect reporters from most attempts by federal authorities to compel them to reveal confidential sources. The shield would not apply when disclosure would help to solve a crime or probe national-security leaks.

All Philadelphia-area representatives voted for HR 2102.
Even Pancake Joe supported this? Jinkies - color me shocked!

This is definitely a step in the right direction, but as nearly as I can figure, the bill seems to draw a line between bloggers such as my "A"-list betters who are able to scratch out some kind of a living doing this sort of thing and people like yours truly who, in our masochism, insist on doing this without compensation. I don't completely understand that, but then again, I guess that's why I'm not an "A" lister, among other reasons.

Railroad safety. The House passed, 377-38, and sent to the Senate a bill that would set tougher railroad-safety standards, including a 12-hour maximum workday for train and signal personnel.

A yes vote was to pass HR 2095.

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

Voting no: Pitts.
That list of people/constituencies/inanimate objects that Joe Pitts doesn't like just keeps getting longer every week; now he's got it in for choo-choos?

Oy (and by the way, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii was the only Dem who voted agains this).


Mine safety. Senators voted, 89-4, to increase the Mine Safety and Health Administration's 2008 budget by $10 million so it can more quickly get caught up on coal-mine inspections. The vote, which amended a 2008 appropriations bill for the Labor Department and other agencies, raised the MSHA's budget to $340 million.

A yes vote backed the amendment to HR 3043.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (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 by the way, if it seems like the Senate doesn't do much (though it does), this might be the reason why.

This week, the House considered bills on workplace discrimination and small-business contracting. The Senate continued to debate fiscal 2008 budgets for the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

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