Friday, March 13, 2009

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (3/13/09)

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 (not a lot happening...and I also posted over here).


Bankruptcy, mortgages. Voting 234-191, the House passed a bill (HR 1106) empowering bankruptcy courts to lower the principal on mortgages on main residences after borrowers have exhausted other refinancing options. The bill, which applies to Chapter 13 proceedings, would permanently raise to $250,000 per depositor per institution the level of government insurance on checking, savings, and money market accounts and certificates of deposit. That level of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protection is now in effect temporarily.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), 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.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
As far as I’m concerned (echoing the opinion of those smarter in economics than yours truly), a big part of the reason for our current mess, in addition to the inflation of the housing bubble, helped in no small part by this guy who I featured on Wednesday (Greenspan advocated home buyers taking out adjustable rate mortgages, not realizing – or not caring about – what would happen when the rates started ticking upwards)…well, another reason is the fraud Bankruptcy Bill of 2005, which make it more onerous for us to escape credit card debt, forcing us to skimp on mortgage payments or get over-leveraged borrowing against our equity.

So I went back to find out which members of Congress from our area voted for the bill, and here they are (noted here):

Castle (at least he cast the right vote this time around)
Holden (what a joke)
Pitts (of course)
Schwartz (I would say that atonement is in order)
All of these individuals bear some responsibility for the pain faced by homeowners due to their votes in favor of that awful bill (with Castle and the Dems at least realizing their mistake).

Wait, I spoke too soon – not all Dems realized their mistake.

Is there anyone out there who can give me a reason why this guy continues to take up space in the Democratic Party?

God, I’d love to see somebody “primary” Tim Holden next year. If so, I promise to provide whatever there is at my disposal to assist this person.


Earmarks dispute. Voting 32-63, the Senate defeated an amendment to strip an estimated 8,570 earmarks totaling as much as $7.7 billion from a $410 billion appropriations bill (HR 1105) for the current fiscal year that remained in debate. The earmarks have originated in both chambers and are split about 60-40 between Democratic and Republican sponsorship. The amendment also sought to reduce the overall bill by $32 billion so as to freeze it at 2008 levels.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting no: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Ted Kaufman (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Endangered species. Voting 42-52, the Senate defeated an amendment to HR 1105 (above) that sought to retain certain Bush administration changes in the Endangered Species Act. One change would lessen the weight of climate-change science in protecting polar bears, and the other would deny the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine and Fisheries Service a voice in certain decisions. The underlying bill would immediately repeal the changes, which took effect a month before President George W. Bush left office.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Specter.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
As always, screw you Arlen (and by the way, stay out of our party).

U.N. population fund. The Senate rejected, 39-55, an amendment to withhold U.S. contributions to the U.N. Population Fund unless President Obama certifies that none of the money would reach countries or groups that coerce abortions or require involuntary sterilizations. Opponents said the amendment to HR 1105 (above) only duplicates existing law and harms programs that benefit women and girls in poor countries, including ones concerning genital mutilation and childhood marriage.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

Voting yes: Casey.

Voting no: Carper, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
Still waiting to hear from Bob about his awful pro-gun vote last week, by the way (and this doesn't exactly enhance his rep either).

This week, the House may have taken up voting rights in Congress for the District of Columbia, and the Senate resumed debate on a $410 billion budget bill for fiscal 2009.


Anonymous said...

If you go after Tim Holden, he'll use your opposition to get reelected in a predominantly conservative district. Better to leave well enough alone.

doomsy said...

I know you're right, but it still disgusts me to no end that we have to tolerate his antics.