Friday, June 20, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (6/20/08)

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.

(I have to be honest; at this moment, I feel like doing this as much as I feel like sticking my head in the microwave and turning it on, but there you are…I was planning to walk away from this for a few days anyway, but I especially feel that way now after this post.)


Bush impeachment bid. The House voted, 251-166, to send to committee, or shelve, a resolution (H Res 1258) sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) presenting 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush. As a privileged resolution, the measure was not debatable.

A yes vote was to shelve the impeachment bid.

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.), Allyson Y. 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.).
And as I’ve already said, Kucinich (who voted against the FISA sellout, by the way) is not going to go away on this…

You know, it’s really bad when this Congress does virtually nothing about impeaching the pirates in control of the executive branch (afraid of getting hooted down by the Repugs? That will happen anyway). It’s also terrible when they refuse to remain steadfast on the matter of timelines for troop withdrawal as a condition of funding the Iraq war.

Now, because, apparently, they were absolutely wetting their pants over the matter of the existing surveillance law expiring on August 4th that they believe they must do something by then, this con of a bill engineered by Steny Hoyer has now passed the House.

Do me a favor, ladies and gentlemen of that body who voted for this fraud (including Patrick and Admiral Joe). Please read this post by Glenn Greenwald, in particular the graphic half way down showing a poll by Faux News.

What the poll states is that the 110th Congress, simply put, is more popular with Republicans (23 percent) than Democrats (18 percent).

What does that tell you? Think really hard now, OK?

Extended jobless benefits. Voting 274-137, the House passed a bill (HR 5749) providing 13 additional weeks of jobless checks for those who have used up their initial allotments, or 26 more weeks in states with at least a 6 percent unemployment rate.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

Voting no: Pitts and Saxton.
This then moved on to the Senate, where, of course, it was blocked by Repug Jon Kyl (and by the way, to help Bruce Slater, click here).

Amtrak spending boost. Voting 311-104, the House authorized a $14.9 billion passenger-rail budget for fiscal 2009-2013. Now before the Senate, the bill (HR 6003) would provide nearly $10 billion for Amtrak, about twice the agency's pre-2007 rate of spending, and $5 billion for state intercity projects.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

Voting no: Pitts.
Guess PA 16 doesn’t need mass transit funding or any revenue for “intercity projects.” Lucky them (and again, to vote for Bruce Slater, click here).


Windfall profits. Voting 51-43, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes to end GOP blockage of a bill (S 3044) that would levy a 25 percent tax on profits generated by the five largest oil companies that are judged unreasonable by historical standards and that are not invested in expanding refinery capacity or developing renewable sources of energy.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

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

Voting no: Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).
Guess a windfall profits tax isn’t “worth considering” any more as far as Arlen is concerned (here).

Energy and business tax breaks. Voting 50-44, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill (HR 6049) providing $55.5 billion in business, education, personal and energy tax breaks.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

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

Voting no: Specter.
As stated here…

Originally, additional taxes on oil companies was proposed as a way to pay for the credits. But the Republicans balked at that and defeated the cloture motion to bring the bill to a vote.

The bill was then revised to draw its revenue by closing offshore loopholes that benefits hedge fund managers. And again, the Republicans couldn’t stomach it and blocked the cloture motion. It seems that the idea of “Pay as you go” government isn’t something the Republicans can accept.
And they never will; another good reason to vote for Dems (particularly those who oppose telco immunity, even if it means holding your nose and pressing the button or pulling the switch for those who do).

This week, the House took up the space budget, war funding, and a child-abuse measure, and they sold us down the river on FISA. The Senate debated tax breaks for developing renewable energy, paying college tuition, and other purposes.

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