Friday, November 20, 2009

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (11/20/09)

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 (most of last week's votes had to do with health care, which I realize I've posted on ad nauseum already - the vote to begin debate in the Senate happens tomorrow evening).


Democrats' health bill. Voting 220-215, the House passed a bill (HR 3962)] that would provide affordable medical insurance to about 36 million uncovered U.S. residents while overhauling insurance-industry practices in ways that benefit the sick, the well, the uninsured, and the insured. The bill, which awaits Senate action, would extend coverage to about 96 percent of the non-elderly population by 2019 while not adding to the national debt.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

Voting no: John Adler (D., N.J.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), 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.).

Republicans' health bill. Voting 176-258, the House defeated a Republican alternative to HR 3962 (above) that would grant states tens of billions of dollars over 10 years as an incentive for them to expand health-insurance coverage and reduce insurance premiums for their residents.

A yes vote backed the GOP alternative.

Voting yes: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
Holden and Adler could've supported the Repugs' joke of an alternative here, as long as they chose to bail on their party on the one that mattered - at least that would've been consistent.

Dispute over abortion. Voting 240-194, the House amended HR 3962 (above) to prohibit the bill's public option from funding abortions and bar those with premiums subsidized by taxpayers from buying private policies that contain abortion coverage. The amendment went beyond "Hyde Amendment" language already in the bill that would bar federal funding of abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Voting yes: Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

Voting no: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
So Tim Holden opposes health care, but supports the Stupak-Pitts pro-sepsis coathanger abortion amendment in spite of that.

I just want to make sure that we have that on the record, that's all.


Judge Andre Davis. Voting 72-16, the Senate confirmed federal Judge Andre M. Davis, 60, of the Maryland District Court, for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This gives Democratic appointees a 6-5 majority on the Richmond-based court, which hears appeals from federal courts in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Senate has confirmed seven of President Obama's district and appellate court nominees.

A yes vote was to confirm Davis.

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.).
As noted here about Judge Davis, he was nominated by former President Clinton in 2000, but under something called the "Thurmond Rule" that barred consideration of judicial appointments during an election year (dumb, but consider the source), the Senate couldn't act on his appointment. Well, Dubya came along and passed over Davis for eight years, leaving it up to President Obama to renominate Davis, which he did last April. Congratulations on your long-overdue confirmation, Judge Davis.

This week, the Senate took up health care and resumed debate on 2010 budgets for veterans' programs and military construction. The House schedule was to be announced.

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