Friday, March 27, 2009

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (3/27/09)

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 (more embarrassment with Pancake Joe, and our other senator needs a trip to the proverbial woodshed - and I also posted here).

Tax on bonuses. The House passed, 328-93, a bill (HR 1586) levying a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid since Jan. 1 to executives of American International Group (AIG) and other firms receiving at least $5 billion in taxpayer bailouts.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), 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.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.).
This was the bill sponsored by Dem Gary Peters of Michigan; though Obama ended up coming out against it, I would say that it galvanized the public’s opposition to the “banksters” (as Atrios calls them) and AIG in particular.

AmeriCorps expansion. The House passed, 321-105, a bill (HR 1388) that would more than triple the ranks of AmeriCorps, Volunteers in Service to America, and the National Civilian Community Corps while greatly expanding the agencies' missions.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

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

Voting no: Pitts.
See what I mean?


Public-lands conservation. Voting 77-20, the Senate passed a bill (HR 146) that would conserve tens of millions of acres of public land, mostly in the West.

A yes vote was to send the bill back to the House.

Voting yes: 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.).

Elena Kagan confirmation. Voting 61-31, the Senate confirmed Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan as U.S. solicitor general, a post that involves representing the United States before the Supreme Court. Kagan, 48, is the first woman to hold the post.

A yes vote was to confirm Kagan.

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

Voting no: Specter.
This tells us that Snarlin’ Arlen was unhappy with Ms. Kagan for the following reason…

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has recently criticized Ms. Kagan “for not providing ‘sufficient answers’ on issues ranging from the death penalty to habeas corpus rights for detainees suspected of terrorism,” Politico reports.

Specter’s criticism could be pivotal, since he is the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which sent Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Senate floor.

In a nine-page letter, Specter says Kagan’s views on an array of policy matters are important since the Supreme Court periodically asks for the solicitor general’s advice on whether to take up a case. Kagan is thought to be on Obama’s shortlist if there is a Supreme Court vacancy.

Specter also asked Kagan to explain her views on whether the president can circumvent federal law to conduct warrantless surveillance, and he wants her opinion on Second Amendment and eminent domain cases — all hot-button issues with conservatives.
“Not providing sufficient answers,” huh Arlen?

Remember the “Strip Search Sammy” Alito confirmation hearings? Remember how Ted Kennedy wanted to find out more information on the so-called ”Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that at the time (of Alito's enrollment) tried to limit entry to Princeton by minorities and women,” as the AP tells us here? (and remember how Huckleberry Graham asked if Alito was a bigot, reducing his wife to tears, though no Dem ever sought to ask such a question but merely wanted to know what Alito did with the "Concerned Alumni"?).

Remember how you went nuts, as follows?

(In December 2005) Kennedy sent a letter to Specter seeking a committee subpoena for private documents of William A. Rusher, a founder of the group, that Kennedy said might shed light on Alito’s membership when he attended Princeton.

Specter said he had not received the letter and bristled at Kennedy’s pledge to push repeatedly for a committee vote on a subpoena.

“I will not have you run this committee,” said Specter, who brushed aside Kennedy’s threats.

Kennedy later submitted for the record a letter from Specter’s staff responding to Kennedy’s letter.
And you’re lecturing our new Solicitor General about “not providing sufficient answers”?

As always, screw you, Arlen.

Update 4/8/09: And I guess you want Obama to fail also based on this, Snarlin' Arlen?

Ron Kirk confirmation. Voting 92-5, the Senate confirmed former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk as U.S. trade representative, putting him in charge of administering U.S. trade policies. Kirk, 54, is the first African American to hold the post.

A yes vote was to confirm Kirk.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
This week, the House took up a public-lands bill, while the Senate debated an expansion of AmeriCorps and other service programs.

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