Saturday, December 27, 2014

Area Votes in Congress

WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:


Streamlined job training. Voting 415-6, the House on Wednesday sent President Obama a bipartisan bill (HR 803) to consolidate dozens of federal programs for job training, adult education and literacy education into a single, broad-based workforce program to be administered by the states as they see fit rather than by Washington. The bill is a five-year renewal of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to be funded at $6 billion or more annually through block grants controlled by governors.

A yes vote was to give final congressional approval to the job-training bill.

Voting yes: Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Not voting: John Carney (D., Del.).

Bonus depreciation, national debt. Voting 258-160, the House on Friday sent the Senate a bill (HR 4718) to make "bonus depreciation" for businesses a permanent feature of the Internal Revenue Code. This would add $287 billion to federal deficits from fiscal 2014-2024, according to official projections. Historically, bonus depreciation has been enacted on a temporary basis during economic slumps to spur purchasing. It allows businesses to deduct 50 percent of the cost of qualified property in the year in which the item was bought.

A yes vote was to add bonus depreciation permanently to the tax code while adding $287 billion to national debt over 11 years.

Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Voting no: Brady, Cartwright, Fattah, and Schwartz.

Not voting: Carney.

2015 energy, water budget. Voting 253-170, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 4923) that would appropriate $30.4 billion for energy, water, and nuclear-safety programs in fiscal 2015. The bill increases spending for fossil-fuel research by $31 million to $593 million while reducing funds for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy programs by $112 million to $1.79 billion.

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

Voting yes: Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Voting no: Brady, Carney, Cartwright, and Schwartz.

Ban on climate-change funding. Voting 229-188, the House on Thursday prohibited HR 4923 (above) from funding Department of Energy or Army Corps of Engineers policies to combat climate-change that are based on "biased" science.

A yes vote was to bar funding of administration policies to address climate change.

Voting yes: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Voting no: Brady, Cartwright, Fattah, and Schwartz.

Not voting: Carney.

Clean energy vs. fossil fuels. Voting 172-245, the House on Wednesday defeated an amendment that would increase funding for renewable-energy and energy-efficiency programs in HR 4923 (above) by $111.6 million and decrease funding for fossil-fuels research by $161.9 million.

A yes vote was to spend more in fiscal 2015 on clean energy and less on fossil-fuels research.

Voting yes: Brady, Cartwright, Fattah, and Schwartz.

Voting no: Dent, Gerlach, Fitzpatrick, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.

Not voting: Carney.


HUD Secretary Julian Castro. By a vote of 71-26, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, Texas, as the 16th secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro, 39, replaces Shaun Donovan, who was confirmed the next day as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

A yes vote was to confirm Castro as HUD secretary.

Voting yes: Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).

Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act. By a vote of 41-56, the Senate on Friday failed to reach 60 votes needed to overcome GOP blockage of a bill (S 2363) that combines several outdoor recreation measures sponsored by senators from both parties into a single measure. The bill stalled because of disputes over the number and content of amendments to be considered. Many of the proposed amendments dealt with gun-limit and gun-rights issues.

A yes vote was to advance the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014, a bill that has already passed the House.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, and Coons.

Voting no: Booker, Menendez, and Toomey.

This week. The House will debate cuts in the Internal Revenue Service budget and a bill to replenish the Highway Trust Fund on a stopgap basis. The Senate will take up a bill to renew the post-9/11 Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.

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