WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted in the week ending July 31.
2010 military appropriations: On a 400-30 vote, the House approved $636.3 billion in military appropriations for fiscal 2010, including $128.2 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan and $29.9 billion for service members’ health care. The bill (HR 3326) funds a 3.4 percent military pay raise; bars the military’s use of torture and prohibits permanent U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, while omitting the administration’s request for funds to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill grants the administration’s request to cap production of the F-22 Raptor fighter jets at 187 planes but funds other large weapons programs targeted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, such as a new VH-71 presidential helicopter fleet, an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and production of three more C-17 cargo jets.
Voting yes: Jay Inslee, D-1; Rick Larsen, D-2; Brian Baird, D-3; Doc Hastings, R-4; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-5; Norm Dicks, D-6; Dave Reichert, R-8; Adam Smith, D-9
Voting no: Jim McDermott, D-7
Food-safety regulation: Voting 283-142, the House passed a bill greatly expanding the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over firms that handle raw and processed foods, including certain farms. The bill (HR 2749) would require an estimated hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign facilities to pay $500 annual registration fees to the FDA, subject them to periodic inspections and require measures to prevent contamination. The bill gives the FDA power to recall contaminated foods and quarantine areas that produced them. The bill would be financed by registration and inspection fees along with congressional appropriations projected at $2 billion over five years.
Voting yes: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Dicks, Reichert, Smith
Voting no: McDermott
Republican food motion: On a 240-186 vote, the House rejected a Republican motion to HR 2749 (above). The measure required half of the funds raised from the food-processing industry to be spent on food inspections and half on indemnifying companies against government errors such as erroneous product recalls.
Voting yes: Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert
Voting no: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott, Smith
Highway trust fund: Voting 363-68, the House passed a bill (HR 3357) shifting $7 billion from general revenues to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent for the next few months. Supported by the federal gasoline tax, the fund pays for congressionally approved road projects, but it is running low as Americans drive less to cope with recession and high fuel prices.
Voting yes: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott, Reichert, Smith
Voting no: Hastings, McMorris Rodgers
President Obama’s birthplace: Voting 378-0, the House adopted a measure (HR 593) recognizing Aug. 21, 2009, as Hawaii’s 50th anniversary of statehood and noting that President Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961. The vote drew attention because at least 10 House Republicans have sponsored a bill (HR 1503) casting doubt on Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
Voting yes: Inslee, Baird, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Dicks, McDermott, Reichert
Voting no: None
Not voting: Larsen, Smith
Executive compensation: On a 237-185 vote, the House passed a bill (HR 3269) giving federal regulators power to curb the payment of lucrative executive bonuses by financial institutions. The bill also requires public corporations to give shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive compensation, including “golden parachute” packages, and stipulates that corporate directors who set executive-compensation levels cannot be employed by the company.
Voting yes: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott, Smith
Voting no: Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert
Energy, water appropriations: Voting 85-9, the Senate passed a bill (HR 3183) to appropriate $34.3 billion for energy, water and nuclear programs in fiscal 2010 with $6.5 billion for maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile; $5.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers; $4.9 billion for the Department of Energy’s scientific research; $2.2 billion for developing renewable energy and energy efficiencies; $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation; and $160 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D
GM, Chrysler Ownership: Voting 59-38, the Senate defeated a plan to require the Treasury to distribute the government’s stock in General Motors and Chrysler to U.S. taxpayers. The amendment to HR 3183 (above) also sought to bar the Treasury from investing any more Troubled Asset Relief Corp. funds in the automakers, both of which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reduced in size, stripped of excessive debt and under new managements.
Voting no: Cantwell, Murray
Highway Trust Fund: Voting 79-17, the Senate sent President Obama a bill (HR 3357, above) that would allocate billions of dollars in Treasury funds to keeping the Highway Trust Fund and federal and state unemployment funds solvent. Because the bill requires repayment to the Treasury, among other offsets, the Congressional Budget Office has ruled it deficit-neutral.
Voting yes: Cantwell, D; Murray, D
Economic Stimulus: On a 56-41 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment to HR 3357 (above) that sought to use economic-stimulus appropriations rather than Treasury funds to replenish federal and state funds that pay jobless benefits. To date, the administration has spent about 25 percent of the $787 billion stimulus program, which was enacted in February to spur economic recovery and has about two years to run.
Voting no: Cantwell, Murray
Key votes ahead
In the week of Aug. 3, the Senate will debate agriculture appropriations bills and Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The House is in recess until the week of Sept. 7.
Votes in Congress Service
Thomas Voting Reports Inc.
Thomas Voting Reports Inc.