What our pols did for us in DC this week

Here's a look at how our area members of Congress voted over the previous week
Mostly a "Yes week" for our Mr. Bill, even on "Freedom of the Press", Kirk a "No show"

HOUSE VOTES:

House Vote 1:
REQUIRING AUDITS BY PUBLIC COMPANIES: The House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) that would have struck provisions in the bill exempting some public companies from a requirement to submit to external audits of internal controls. Proponents said "almost half of the publicly traded companies in this country will be exempt from these basic transparency requirements" without the amendment. Opponents said it would "put even greater burdens on small business, the job engine of America." The vote, on Dec. 11, was 153 yeas to 271 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)
NAYS: Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd)

House Vote 2:
REPAYING TARP SHORTFALLS: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) that would authorize the FDIC to make assessments of financial institutions to repay shortfalls in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Proponents said the amendment "gives the American taxpayer certainty that all TARP funds will be recouped from the large financial companies that caused this financial crisis." Opponents said it would "make capital less available and more expensive to our small businesses." The vote, on Dec. 11, was 228 yeas to 198 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 3:
HELPING FAMILIES AVOID FORECLOSURE: The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) that would have adjusted the principal balance of mortgages to fair market value and would have facilitated mortgage modifications with the help of federal agencies. Proponents said that the language and purpose of the amendment was identical to that of a legislation which passed the House in March of 2009. Opponents said that the amendment would result in higher mortgage costs and more stringent standards for mortgage applicants in the future. The vote, on Dec. 11, was 188 ayes to 241 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 4:
REGULATING REVERSE MORTGAGES: The House has approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) that would authorize the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate reverse mortgages. Proponents said the regulations "will make sure that reverse mortgage transactions are not unfair, deceptive, or abusive." Opponents said the amendment would "increase the power of the unelected czar to ban and ration credit." The vote, on Dec. 11, was 277 yeas to 149 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 5:
CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION COUNCIL: The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Walter Minnick, D-Idaho, to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173) that would have created a new Consumer Financial Protection Council to ensure safety and soundness of financial institutions and consumer protections for all financial products. Proponents said the amendment would streamline the legislation by placing the new Council within the Treasury Department, instead of creating an entirely new agency for it, which would be expensive. Opponents said: "Like our parents and grandparents who gave us Federal Deposit Insurance following the Great Depression, now is the time to give our children and grandchildren strong consumer protections and create the CFPA." The vote, on December 11, was 208 ayes and 223 noes.
NAYS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 6:
FINANCIAL REFORM PROPOSAL: The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., that proposed alternative ways to reach the same goals as the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). Proponents said: "If bankruptcy is good enough for American citizens, if it's good enough for small businesses, if it's good enough for 999 of America's corporations, it ought to be good enough for the largest "too big to fail" institutions, and that the amendment would create a level playing field by making everyone equally responsible for their financial risks. Opponents said: "We have funds that come not from the taxpayers, but from an assessment on large financial institutions which can be used explicitly [when] institutions are being put out of business in case it is necessary to prevent that failure from having negative destabilizing effects." The vote, on Dec. 11, was 175 ayes to 251 nays.
NAYS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 7:
FINANCIAL REGULATORY REFORM: The House has approved the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173), sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to regulate the over-the-counter derivatives market and make other financial regulatory reforms. Proponents said the legislation would protect against over-leveraged institutions and addressed "the lack of regulation over many years [that] allowed big problems to grow up." Opponents said that "empowering a new agency with nearly limitless power to deem almost any product or service of financial activity is questionable at best and tyrannical at worse." The vote, on Dec. 11, was 223 yeas to 202 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)
NOT VOTING: Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th)

House Vote 8:

DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS: The House agreed to the Senate version of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 3326), sponsored by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., that allowed for $636.3 billion in appropriations for the Defense Department for fiscal 2010. The legislation, as amended by the Senate, included $29.2 billion for the Defense Department Health Program, $5 billion for defense personnel to perform departmental functions, rather than outside contractors, and $472.4 million for Family Advocacy programs to help provide support to military families through quality child care, job training for spouses and expanded counseling and outreach to families after the separation and stress of war. Under the legislation servicemembers would also receive a 3.4 percent pay raise. Proponents said: "This bill keeps faith with our troops and provides the funding needed to ensure they are the best trained, best prepared, best equipped, and best cared for fighting force in the history of t
he world" and that it would meet important national security and domestic policy needs. Opponents said the legislation was simply another increase in the cost of war adding another $11 billion to an "already bloated" Defense budget. The vote, on Dec. 16, was 395 yeas to 34 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 9:
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS FINANCED: The House passed legislation (H.R. 4314), sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., to permit continued financing of governmental operations by raising the debt limit by $290 billion, to last through Feb. 11, 2010. Proponents said raising the debt limit would deal with bills already incurred and would make a difference in important financial obligations such as getting Social Security checks out on time as well as providing support for troops and keeping museums and parks open and that the U.S. would be in danger of defaulting if Congress didn't act. Opponents said that raising the debt limit was a last-minute attempt to increase spending with approval so Congress could close session and go home and that the Federal government was a spending "fat cat" sticking Americans with the bill. The vote, on Dec. 16 was 218 yeas to 214 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

House Vote 10:
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: The House passed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act (H.R. 3714), sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to include information about freedom of the press in foreign countries in the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices such as what initiatives are being taken to preserve, improve or support press freedoms and identifying which countries violate freedom of the press. The legislation would also establish a grant program to promote freedom of the press worldwide. Proponents said "A free press is indispensable to an informed public, to government accountability, and to the efficiency and integrity of public and commercial institutions" and that the legislation would reinforce and broaden the United States' commitment to media freedom around the world. The vote, on Dec. 16, was 403 yeas to 12 nays.
YEAS: Rep. Michael E. Capuano D-MA (8th), Rep. William D. Delahunt D-MA (10th), Rep. Barney Frank D-MA (4th), Rep. Stephen F. Lynch D-MA (9th), Rep. Edward J. Markey D-MA (7th), Rep. James P. McGovern D-MA (3rd), Rep. Richard E. Neal D-MA (2nd), Rep. John W. Olver D-MA (1st), Rep. John F. Tierney D-MA (6th), Rep. Niki Tsongas D-MA (5th)

SENATE VOTES:

Senate Vote 1:
CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT: The Senate approved the conference report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288), sponsored by Rep. John Olver, D-Mass., to fund various government agencies. Proponents said the legislation would take unprecedented steps to expand health insurance coverage to the majority of Americans, while cracking down on "the abusive practices of the health insurance industry." Opponents said it was "more proof that Washington is out of control in its spending and that the leadership on the other side of the aisle is wanting to spend our children's money." The vote, on Dec. 13, was 57 yeas to 35 nays.
YEAS: Sen. John F. Kerry D-MA

Senate Vote 2:
PREVENTING TAX INCREASES ON MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES: The Senate approved an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act (H.R. 3590) to express the sense of the Senate that it will reject procedural measures to the legislation that would raise taxes on middle class families. Proponents said the amendment would keep a promise by President Obama "not to raise taxes on Americans who earn less than $200,000 a year or American families who earn less than $250,000 a year." The vote, on Dec. 15, was 97 yeas to 1 nay.
YEAS: Sen. John F. Kerry D-MA

Senate Vote 3:
IMPORTING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act (H.R. 3590), that would have authorized the importation of prescription drugs. Proponents said "we should not be paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs" and that the amendment would give the American people the opportunity for fair pricing. Opponents cited concerns over potentially importing fake drugs and said the amendment would undermine efforts to close "the doughnut hole" in health in coverage. The vote, on Dec. 15, was 51 yeas to 48 nays, and the amendment was withdrawn because it failed to receive a 60-vote majority.
NAYS: Sen. John F. Kerry D-MA

Senate Vote 4:
IMPORTING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., to the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act (H.R. 3590), that would have authorized the importation of prescription drugs from other countries. Proponents said the amendment would ensure the drugs are safe and affordable because it would require their "certification by health expers" at the FDA. Opponents said that the amendment would do nothing" to cut prescription drug costs. The vote, on Dec. 15, was 56 yeas to 43 nays, and the amendment was withdrawn because it failed to receive a 60-vote majority.
YEAS: Sen. John F. Kerry D-MA

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.