Friday, October 02, 2009

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (10/2/09)

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 (and once again, except for highlighting another particularly awful vote by Joe Pitts, I got nothin').


Extended jobless benefits. Voting 331-83, the House passed a bill (HR 3548) providing 13 more weeks of jobless checks for those in high-unemployment states whose current allotments have expired or soon will expire.

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.), 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.).

Not voting: Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.).
At this point, I need to back up a bit (and I'm sure Gerlach was busy trying to raise money so he could run for governor - heh, heh).

I’ve been doing these writeups on congressional votes for better than three and a half years (don’t mean to pat myself on the back here), and I’ve catalogued all kinds of bad votes by the mistake from PA’s 16th U.S. Congressional district.

However, this is in a wholly other league from the other awful “No” votes.

And that’s because (as noted here)…

There have been plenty of signs the recession is beginning to loosen its grip on the country: Consumer spending is up, new-home sales have risen sharply and orders for durable goods surged at their fastest pace in two years.

Just don't tell that to folks looking for work in Lancaster County.

The jobless rate here crept to its highest level in more than 26 years, to 7.4 percent in July, a new report shows.

That's up from June's 7.3 percent.

Nearly 20,000 people are out of work here, according to the state Department of Labor & Industry report.

"Things are still continuing to get worse," said Ryan Horner, an analyst with the state's Center for Workforce Information & Analysis.
And this is Lancaster County, Joe. Lancaster freaking County!

You lose Lancaster County, you’re done!

We can only hope.

Medicare premiums. Voting 406-18, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 3631) to freeze Medicare premiums in 2010 at the current level of about $96 per month. Medicare premiums are deducted from Social Security checks, and the rationale of this bill is that since there will be no Social Security inflation adjustment in 2010, there should be no rise in Medicare premiums.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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


National park system. Voting 79-19, the Senate tabled (killed) an amendment to shift $420 million in the 2010 Interior Department budget (HR 2996) from land acquisition to maintenance in the national park system. The $32.2 billion appropriations bill was later sent to conference with the House.

A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

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 (D., Pa.).

Offshore drilling. Voting 56-42, the Senate tabled (killed) a Republican bid to speed implementation of a law to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. Although approved last year, the new drilling cannot begin until 2012 for contractual reasons. In part, the expansion authorizes Outer Continental Shelf drilling 100 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines and beyond. This vote occurred during debate on HR 2996 (above).

A yes vote was to kill the GOP motion.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Kaufman, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.
This week, the House took up nonmilitary aid to Pakistan and energy and water spending, while the Senate debated the 2010 defense budget.

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