HouseAs you can see, Joe Pitts did the best thing he could for his constituents this week (and to help Bruce Slater, by the way, click here).
$170 billion stimulus: In a 380-34 vote, the House sent President Bush an economic stimulus package that will deliver one-time payments in the hundreds of dollars to 137 million U.S. households. The bill also will provide at least $46 billion in one-time business tax breaks.
A yes vote was to approve the package (HR 5140).
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.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Not voting: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.).
Higher education: In a 354-58 vote, the House passed a bill renewing the Higher Education Act through 2012 at a cost of $97.4 billion. The bill would use federal Web sites and other publicity to hold schools publicly accountable for their overall costs and tuition increases. It would also seek to control textbook costs and penalize states that reduce student aid.More about Patrick Murphy’s involvement with this bill is noted here (a post from earlier this week).
A yes vote was to pass the bill (HR 4137).
Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.
Not voting: Pitts.
SenateBut the Senate version removed the 13-week unemployment extension approved in the House, as noted here (heckuva job, Harry).
$170 billion stimulus: In a 81-16 vote, the Senate passed a $170 billion antirecession bill that will provide 137 million households with one-time payments of $300 or $600 plus $300 for each dependent child. The bill also will grant $46 billion in business-tax breaks.
A yes vote was to approve the economic stimulus package (HR 5140).
Voting yes: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).
Four-year FISA extension: In a 49-46 vote, the Senate failed to get 60 votes for advancing a bid to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for four years rather than six years.Here is more on this amendment; I believe it was the first FISA-related amendment voted on in the Senate as part of the process that led to passage of that rotten bill that received Jay Rockefeller’s approval before it was returned to the House (a hazmat bag would have been appropriate for it).
A yes vote backed a four-year sunset.
Voting yes: Biden, Carper, Casey, Menendez and Lautenberg.
Voting no: Specter.
This week, both chambers sought to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before it expired on Friday. At week's end, Congress began a weeklong Presidents' Day recess.