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Home / AZ/DC / AZ’s congressional votes: Week ending March 18, 2011

AZ’s congressional votes: Week ending March 18, 2011

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HOUSE

STOPGAP 2011 BUDGET

YES: Paul Gosar, R-1, Ben Quayle, R-3, David Schweikert, R-5
NO: Trent Franks, R-2, Ed Pastor, D-4, Jeff Flake, R-6, Raul Grijalva, D-7
NOT VOTING: Gabrielle Giffords, D-8

Voting 271 for and 158 against, the House on March 15 passed a stopgap fiscal 2011 budget (HJ Res 48) to keep the government fully in operation between March 18 and April 8 while cutting spending by $6.1 billion over that period. The bill would cut $3.5 billion from 25 individual programs and rescind $2.6 billion in congressional earmarks abandoned by their sponsors. This is the sixth temporary budget Congress has passed for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. The bill was backed by 186 Republicans and 85 Democrats. Compared to a House vote two weeks earlier to pass the fifth stopgap budget, the bill drew the support of 37 fewer Republicans and 19 fewer Democrats.

Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said: “While short-term funding measures such as this are not the preferable way to fund the government, at this point, it’s vital.”

Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said the bill “continues the Republican strategy of cutting $2 billion every week from programs that support jobs and our families.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE

YES: Pastor, Grijalva
NO: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 190 for and 239 against, the House on March 15 defeated a Democratic motion to ensure that no funds in HJ Res 48 (above) could be used to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, privatize Social Security, or switch Medicare to a voucher plan.

Mark Crist, D-Pa., said the Social Security Trust Fund “actually has $2.6 trillion in it right now. So the people that are receiving Social Security now shouldn’t be worried about what it’s doing to the deficit.”

Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said the motion “doesn’t do anything” because “nothing in the (bill) would cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, nor would it privatize Social Security. We are totally committed in this bill to saving Social Security.”

A yes vote backed the motion.

FORECLOSED, ABANDONED HOMES

YES: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NO: Pastor, Grijalva
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 242 for and 182 against, the House on March 16 passed a Republican bill (HR 861) to repeal the three-year-old Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The program provides cities and non-profits with funds for buying, repairing and selling foreclosed, abandoned homes in order to keep neighborhoods intact. While government auditors have found waste in the program, its defenders say it should be improved, not ended. About $6 billion of the program’s $7 billion budget has been allocated. The bill awaits Senate action.

Judy Biggert, R-Ill., said: “We need to stop funding programs that don’t work with money we don’t have. (This program) doesn’t stabilize neighborhoods. It simply spends billions of taxpayer dollars to allow a few homes, scattered here and there, to be purchased, rehabilitated and resold.”

Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said the program “allows us to address those abandoned properties — where the lender has taken a walk, where the homeowner has taken a walk, where the servicer has taken a walk.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

RURAL-FUNDING PRIORITY

YES: Pastor, Grijalva
NO: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 153 for and 272 against, the House on March 16 defeated a Democratic motion to preserve the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (HR 861, above) while changing priorities so that its $1 billion balance is allocated mainly to rural communities.

Sponsor Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said his motion “will not kill this bill. It would simply give our rural communities the ability to weather the worst crisis they have faced in a generation.”

Gary Miller, R-Calif., asked: “Now, why would you impose a terrible program on rural America that you don’t want on urban America?”

A yes vote backed the motion.

ABANDONED-HOMES COUNT

YES: Pastor, Grijalva
NO: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert,
Flake
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 179 for and 246 against, the House on March 16 defeated an amendment requiring HR 861 (above) to publicly list the number of homes in each state that have been abandoned for 90 days or longer and could be eligible to be rehabilitated and occupied under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that the bill would terminate.

Sponsor Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said such a listing would “highlight the potential housing stock in this country that neighborhood-stabilization funds could be used to help.”

Gary Miller, R-Calif., said it would be impossible to conduct such a survey because the program lacks a clear definition of which properties are eligible for help as well as adequate controls on how local authorities can spend the federal funding.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL

YES: Pastor, Grijalva,
NO: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 93 for and 321 against, the House on March 17 defeated a measure (H Con Res 28) to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by Dec. 31 under the 1973 War Powers Act. That law requires presidents to end combat operations after 90 days unless Congress authorizes the deployment. Opponents of withdrawal argue that the action is legal under the “use of force” resolution enacted Sept. 18, 2001. The previous House attempt to end U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan occurred in March 2010 and failed on a vote of 65 for and 356 against.

Jared Polis, D-Colo., said: “There is a very real terrorist threat to our country that comes from the loosely knit al Qaeda terrorist network. But that threat…. is a stateless menace that goes wherever terrorists thrive on a lack of order. To effectively combat this menace, we need targeted, special operations, we need aggressive intelligence gathering….Being bogged down (in Afghanistan) is a waste of resources and not the best way to keep the nation safe.”

Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said: “We must allow our troops to remain in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda so that we can keep Americans safe here. We must continue to train and support local security forces because this will bring about the safe and successful full transition of the country’s security to the Afghan people. To withdraw now…would be to forfeit that progress and allow the Taliban and other extremists to regain their footing in Afghanistan.”

A yes vote backed the resolution.

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

YES: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NO: Pastor, Grijalva
NOT VOTING: Giffords

The House on March 17 voted, 228 for and 192 against, to permanently end federal funding of NPR, formerly known as National Public Radio. The bill (HR 1076) bars direct taxpayer funding of NPR while prohibiting its 400 member stations from using federal funds to buy programming from or pay dues to NPR. Republicans said the bill would save $64 million annually at present funding levels. The vote follows the recent release of a secretly recorded video in which a top NPR executive, since fired, is heard disparaging the Tea Party and downplaying NPR’s need for public funds.

Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said: “With the national debt over $13 trillion, the federal government simply cannot afford to fund non-essential services….I want NPR to grow on its own. I’d like to see it thrive. Just remove the taxpayers from the equation.”

Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said: “In 1934, when the Federal Communications Act was passed, people were given broadcast rights to serve in the public interest, convenience and necessity. The public owns the airwaves….This is about a basic public right, and if you take that right away, what you’ve done is totally capitulate to the corporations in America.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

AMBER ALERTS

YES: Pastor, Grijalva
NO: Gosar, Franks, Quayle, Schweikert, Flake
NOT VOTING: Giffords

Voting 184 for and 235 against, the House on March 17 defeated a motion by Democrats to ensure HR 1076 (above) will not impede AMBER Alerts on abducted children. The Department of Justice has designated NPR and its satellite as one of many nationwide components of the AMBER Alert system, in which law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and other participants issue urgent bulletins to the public soon after a child has gone missing.

Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, said: “Recklessly eliminating funding critical to the effective functioning of the AMBER Alert System would be a tragic mistake.”

Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said ‘there is nothing in (the bill) that would prohibit the AMBER Alert program. What we also know is that this is a procedural move by (Democrats) to try to derail” the bill.

A yes vote backed the motion.

SENATE

TEMPORARY 2011 BUDGET

YES: John McCain, R, Jon Kyl, R
NO: None
NOT VOTING: None

Voting 87 for and 13 against, the Senate on March 17 joined the House (above) in approving a stopgap budget that will expire April 8. This is the sixth temporary spending bill passed by Congress since fiscal 2011 began Oct. 1.

Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the Senate should pass the bill “then let’s come back and do $61 billion (more) and celebrate the first real step in decades to contain growth in spending, and promise that this is the beginning, that we’re going to review all of our financial situation…and we’re going to do it in an honest, above-board way.”

Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said: “Republicans want more than spending cuts. They want to impose their entire social agenda on the back of a must-pass budget. Those on the right are entitled to their policy views, but there’s a time and a place to debate those issues, and this ain’t it.”

A yes vote was to send the bill (HJ Res 48) to the White House.

SMALL-BUSINESS CONTRACTS

YES: McCain, Kyl
NO: None
NOT VOTING: None

The Senate on March 14 voted, 84 for and 12 against, to begin debate on a bill (S 493) extending two programs under which certain federal agencies set aside a portion of their research, development and technology contracts for small businesses. The bill extends the Small Business Innovation and Research Program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program at a cost of $150 million over five years in discretionary spending. Under the former, at least 2.5 percent of contracts must go to small businesses. Under the latter, the set-aside is 0.3 percent. The bill would gradually raise those shares over several years.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Copyright 2011, Thomas Voting Reports, Inc.

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