Conservative First

August 7, 2012

Bennet, Udall, and Perlmutter Watch 8-6-12: Recent Votes

From MegaVote at

Recent Senate Votes
Cybersecurity – Cloture – Vote Rejected (52-46, 2 Not Voting)

A week after successfully invoking cloture to proceed to cybersecurity legislation, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill itself. Bill sponsor Joe Lieberman, I-Ct. and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. had expressed hope that a compromise could be reached on the amendments to be considered, but Democratic and Republican leaders could not reach an agreement. Even if an amendment agreement had been reached, however, it is still not clear that the bill would muster enough support to pass the Senate. John McCain, R-Ariz. has taken the lead in championing alternative legislation that is backed by business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and supporters of the McCain approach have shown no signs of moving toward a compromise position. A handful of Republicans and Democrats on each side crossed party lines with their votes, including Reid, whose “no” vote allows him to ask for the bill’s reconsideration at a later stage. Reid and Lieberman have vowed to keep pushing the bill, but the legislative calendar has few days remaining before the election, which means the issue may be pushed into a lame-duck session.

Sen. Mark Udall voted YES……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Michael Bennet voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

African and Caribbean Trade Preferences/Myanmar Sanctions – Amendment – Vote Rejected (40-58, 2 Not Voting)

Congress cleared legislation last week that would renew a program of trade preferences for certain African countries, make technical corrections to free trade agreements with the Dominican Republic and Central America, and extend sanctions on Myanmar for one year. The provisions had bipartisan, bicameral support, but Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. objected to the “pay-fors” in the bill, which he said covered only five years’ worth of spending over a period twice as long. Coburn placed a hold on the bill and insisted on a vote for his amendment before releasing the hold. By unanimous consent it was agreed that the Senate would vote on the Coburn amendment to the Senate version of the bill, and if it failed the Senate would then automatically clear the House-passed version (H.R. 5986), which was exactly the same as the Senate version. The Coburn substitute would have removed the Dominican-Central America and Myanmar provisions and paid for the bill by eliminating trade programs worth $192 million over two years. (The offset in the original bill moved up the due-date for certain corporate taxes.) The amendment failed, thus triggering automatic passage of the House bill, which now awaits the president’s signature.

Sen. Mark Udall voted NO……send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Michael Bennet voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Recent House Votes
Senate Confirmation Process – Suspension – Vote Passed (261-116, 54 Not Voting)

The House cleared a bill under suspension of the rules that will reduce by 169 the number of executive branch positions requiring Senate confirmation. The bill passed the Senate in June 2011 as part of an effort to streamline Senate operations. The bill also establishes an executive branch study group to report on improving the confirmation process. President Obama will sign it into law.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Tax Debts – Suspension – Vote Passed (263-114, 54 Not Voting)

The House also cleared under suspension this bill, which would make individuals with seriously delinquent tax debts (defined here as one for which a notice of lien has been publicly filed) ineligible for federal employment beginning nine months from the bill’s passage. Current federal employees would be included in the ban. The bill now heads to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. A similar measure was introduced early last year by Sen. Coburn, but it has been stuck in committee.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

District of Columbia Abortion Restriction – Suspension – Vote Failed (220-154, 2 Present, 55 Not Voting)

The House fell 30 votes shy of passing a measure that would have banned abortions in our nation’s capital after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when the life of the mother is endangered. Abortion providers who violated the ban would be subject to fines and up to two years’ imprisonment. They would be required to provide a report on each abortion to the D.C. health agency. Women who seek an abortion would not be subject to prosecution under the bill; however, providers could be sued by such women at a later date. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah has introduced a companion measure, but it is unlikely to receive a vote.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Tax Cut Extension – Passage – Vote Passed (256-171, 3 Not Voting)

In a rejoinder to the Democratic Senate, the House passed this bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for all levels of income for one year. One week prior, the Senate had passed a bill (S. 3412) to extend Bush-era rates only for income up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for joint filers. Immediately prior to the vote on H.R. 8, the House rejected two Democratic alternatives – one a companion to the Senate-passed measure (Roll Call 543), and another that would set the cutoff for raising rates at $1 million (Roll Call 544). All 19 Democrats who voted for the measure hail from competitive/conservative-leaning districts.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Iran Sanctions – Suspension – Vote Passed (421-6, 3 Not Voting)

In their ongoing attempt to tighten the noose on Iran in order to prevent that country from obtaining nuclear weapons, the House adopted a resolution last week to concur in the Senate amendment to a bill (H.R. 1905) that had previously passed the House last December. The bill would expand the list of sanctionable activities for third parties to include insuring oil transport vessels and purchasing Iranian debt, among others. The bill also expands sanctions against Syria for human rights abuses. Congressional action came at the same time the Obama administration announced it was sanctioning two banks – one Chinese, one Iraqi – for engaging in business with Iran. After passing H. Res. 750, the Senate immediately agreed to the House amendment and cleared H.R. 1905 by voice vote, sending the underlying bill to the president.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Federal Employee Retirement Savings Accounts – Suspension – Vote Passed (414-6, 1 Present, 9 Not Voting)

Yet another suspension bill that passed the House last week would clarify that retirement savings accounts in the Thrift Savings Fund – a sort of 401(k) for federal employees – is subject to taxation by the IRS. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Tax Code Overhaul – Passage – Vote Passed (232-189, 9 Not Voting)

As a companion of sorts to the extension of the Bush tax cuts, the House also passed a bill to expedite consideration of a tax overhaul bill between now and April 30 of next year. Republicans in both chambers have said an overhaul of the tax code is one of their top priorities in the next Congress. The bill provides a specific definition for what a “tax reform” bill would look like, specifying that it may contain only two individual tax brackets of 10 and no more than 25 percent; a maximum corporate tax of 25 percent; a repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax; broaden the tax base to bring revenue up to 18-19 percent of GDP annually; and a change to a “territorial” tax system, whereby only income earned within U.S. borders would be subject to taxation. Prior to passage, the House rejected a Democratic substitute that would have struck the underlying bill text and replaced it with a series of Congressional findings such as the importance of a progressive tax system and the elimination of tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas (Roll Call 550); and a motion to recommit that would have added a prohibition on eliminating the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions to the definition of a “tax reform” bill. Upon passage of H.R. 6169, the bill text thereof was inserted into H.R. 8 and the combined bill was sent to the Senate.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted NO……send e-mail or see bio

Drought Assistance – Passage – Vote Passed (223-197, 10 Not Voting)

Amidst one of the worst droughts to hit the U.S. in decades, the House passed a narrowly-tailored bill last week to provide emergency assistance to livestock owners. Opponents argue the bill provides no relief for growers of commodities such as corn and wheat while supporters contend those losses are covered by crop insurance. Critics also complained about the plan to offset the $383 million cost of the bill with cuts to two conservation programs. The Senate did not clear the bill prior to recessing. Agriculture Committee leaders from both chambers will reportedly meet in August to discuss a comprehensive overhaul.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter voted NO……send e-mail or see bio


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