Monday, January 28, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (01/28/08)

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer on January 20th, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes for that prior week.

(Also, posting is going to be messed up for the foreseeable future.)


Defense budget. Members approved, 369-46, a $649 billion defense budget for fiscal 2008. The bill replaces a version vetoed by President Bush over language subjecting today's Iraqi government to lawsuits based on acts by Saddam Hussein.

A yes vote was to send HR 4986 to the Senate.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.) Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jim Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.).
Because President George W. Milhous Bush refused to sign this original bill last year, in addition to thwarting the lawsuits against Hussein, Air Force reenlistments were held up and some bonus programs for airmen expired (as noted here).

Mine safety. Members passed, 214-199, a bill to impose new health and safety rules on U.S. mine operators. The bill also would launch a study into whether to begin federal licensing of mines and set the stage for the possible drug and alcohol testing of miners.

A yes vote backed HR 2768.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Voting no: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Pitts and Saxton.
This tells you that, in addition to updating the federal mining law, Pennsylvania’s state senate advanced its own legislation out of a senate committee recently with a floor vote upcoming shortly. The bill would allow for fines to be imposed on mine owners instead of supervisors (surprising that wasn’t law already, particularly after the Quecreek near-disaster), establish a seven-member safety board, and require a greater distance between a planned mine and an abandoned mine to protect against a breech (which is what happened at Quecreek).

And of course, we witness the sorry spectacle of Joe Pitts and his fellow Repugs fighting these life-saving measures; gee, I wonder if Gerlach’s “No” vote here will make Smerky reconsider his stated desire to trot to the polls this November like the good Repug sheep that he is, bleat out loud and then pull the lever, as he noted here (at the very end)? But I guess I don’t have to ask, do I (and I realize he didn't literally say that, but just try reading that sentence any other way).

I’ll have last week’s wrapup (from yesterday's Inquirer) this Friday as usual.

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