The following is a report of how some major bills fared last week in Congress and how Southern Maryland's representative, Steny H. Hoyer (D-5th District), and Democratic Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes voted.
FETUS AS LEGAL ENTITY
The House on Thursday passed legislation (HR 2436) recognizing the fetus as a legal entity for the first time. The bill gives fetuses the same protection as the mother under federal criminal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It makes it a federal crime to injure or terminate a fetus when committing a crime against the mother. Judges could impose an equivalent punishment for the fetal crime, excluding the death penalty. The bill exempts abortions that occur with the consent of the mother. A yes vote supported the bill.
The House on Thursday rejected an alternative to HR 2436 (above) that was backed by pro-choice members. The amendment established a new federal crime for an assault on a pregnant woman that injured or terminated the fetus. But it stopped short of establishing the fetus as a legal entity. A yes vote supported the pro-choice alternative.
The House on Tuesday passed a non-binding measure (H Res 292) expressing support for United Nations security forces in East Timor. It commended the East Timorese on their referendum to declare independence from Indonesia, and condemned the Indonesian military and other forces that have committed violence and atrocities against them. Although carrying no force of law, the resolution drew opposition because of its support for the U.N. occupying force, which is led by Australia and includes Americans. A yes vote backed the resolution on East Timor.
HOYER-DID NOT VOTE
The House on Tuesday approved a stopgap spending bill (HJ Res 68) to keep the government fully in operation until Oct. 21. By that time, leaders of the GOP majority hope to gain enactment of the 13 regular appropriations bills for fiscal 2000. When the budget year began Oct. 1, five of the 13 had cleared Congress, and one had been signed into law. A yes vote backed stopgap spending for the first three weeks of the new fiscal year.
HOYER-DID NOT VOTE
The Senate on Wednesday blocked a bid by Democrats to fund the second annual installment of President Clinton's program to help local school districts hire 100,000 teachers. The vote during debate on S 1650 killed an amendment seeking $1.4 billion for the program in fiscal 2000. About 30,000 teachers already have been hired, supporters said. Republicans said they want to delay a decision on expanding the program until Congress takes up a renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. A yes vote opposed new funding at this time for the Democrats' teacher hiring program.
The Senate on Tuesday approved a temporary spending bill to fund the government until Oct. 21. The measure (HJ Res 68) provides funding at 1999 levels for 12 of the 13 regular appropriations bills for fiscal 2000 that have not yet been enacted. The year began Oct. 1. A yes vote was to approve the stopgap budget.