Friday, March 07, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (3/7/08)

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.


Energy-tax changes. In a 236-182 vote, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 5351) to raise taxes on the five largest oil companies by $13.6 billion over 10 years and use the revenue to fund tax breaks that would spur the development of renewable fuels and promote energy efficiencies.

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.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.) and and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) and Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.).
In this area, all of the Dems and most of the Repugs did the right thing minus the usual characters, as you can see (including you-know-who; and speaking of which, to help Bruce Slater, click here; he has more on Pitts and this vote).

And for those of you living outside the Philly metro area who may be reading this, here is a link to the Sierra Club that I received from a friend of mine (many thanks) pertaining to a related bill that passed in December last year; you need only enter your zip code and/or state name to find out how your rep voted on this bill also (never a doubt about Patrick on this one either).


Subprime mortgage relief. In a 48-46 vote, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to advance a Democratic bill (HR 3221) enabling holders of shaky subprime mortgages to rework payment terms in bankruptcy court.

A yes vote was to start debating the bill.

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

Voting no: Arlen Specter (R., Pa.)
So just remember how the Repugs decided to pull their obstruction act again here, all of you stuck out there with those ARMs adjusting upwards again while our inflated home equity plummets as well, even though foreclosing on a home usually costs more than restructuring the terms of a mortgage.

And as always, screw you, Arlen (who obviously didn’t read this).

Iraq pullout mandate. The Senate voted, 70-24, to advance a bill (S 2633) that would require the administration to start withdrawing most U.S. forces from Iraq within 120 days and cut off most war funding by the same deadline.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Voting yes: Menendez, Lautenberg and Specter.

Voting no: Carper and Casey.

Not voting: Biden.
Before I say anything about this, I should point out that I am definitely not an expert on the inner workings of the United States Congress. I’m just a Google monkey trying to make sense of our chaotic life and times. If I happen to stumble upon the nut more often than not, it is attributed more to divine providence than any expertise I may ever claim to have.

And the reason for that disclaimer is because I simply could not figure out what the hell was going on with this vote this week, but luckily I stumbled upon this individual who was equally surprised. The reason is because cloture motions on the war that have anything to do with troop withdrawal tied to funding always fail.

However, this one passed (I mean, it would get vetoed anyway by President Nutball – and by the way, did anybody besides me happen to catch that goofy dance he did while waiting for John McCain’s car to pull up to the White House yesterday? One day, one of those weasels in his administration is going to spill the beans, and when that happens, all those “values voters” out there still in the “19 Percent” crowd won’t know whether to listen to Rush Limbaugh or wind their watch.)

I think the reason Carper and Casey voted no is because they objected to the time limit and wanted to continue debate (I can’t possibly imagine any other way that Carper would do something logical concerning the war, though I think Casey would).

And I think Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter all wanted to bring it to a vote so it could go down in flames…again.

If anyone else out there has any insight into this and wants to offer an explanation, be my guest.

War-strategy shift. Voting 89-3, the Senate advanced a bill (S 2634) requiring the administration to report to Congress within 60 days on its broad strategy for confronting al-Qaeda in countries in addition to Iraq.

A yes vote was to debate the bill.

Voting yes: Biden, Carper, Casey, Menendez, Lautenberg and Specter.
Yep, I can see Dubya reaching for his veto crayon and scribbling a big X over this one too (this is the other bill besides 2633 sponsored by Russ Feingold – the three Nos were from Repugs John Barrasso and Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, as noted here…by the way, anybody besides me notice how quiet Hagel has been on the war for a little while now? I don’t know why, with him leaving and all…).

Indian health care. Voting 83-10, the Senate passed a bill (S 1200) to renew through 2017 an array of federally funded health-care programs for American Indians and native Alaskans.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Biden, Carper, Casey, Menendez, Lautenberg and Specter.
I’m sure there’ll be more fun next week, so stay tuned.

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