HOMELAND SECURITY AGENCY

For: 90 / Against: 9

The Senate approved legislation to establish the Department of Homeland Security. In part, the 170,000-employee department will absorb the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Border Patrol, Secret Service and Transportation Security Administration, and the enforcement side of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The bill empowers presidents to waive civil service protections and collective-bargaining rights for specified employees, and puts most departmental information out of reach of the Freedom of Information Act.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Yes No NV

Mikulski (D)

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Sarbanes (D)

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VIRGINIA

Yes No NV

Allen (R)

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Warner (R)

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SPECIAL-INTERESTS OPPOSITION

For: 47 / Against: 52

The Senate refused to remove seven pro-business, special-interest items from a bill establishing the Department of Homeland Security.

One provision allows the government to award homeland security contracts to companies that have reincorporated offshore to dodge U.S. taxes. It was included in the bill despite earlier House and Senate votes by wide margins to ban such contracts. Another disputed item, sponsored by House Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) establishes a homeland security research center at Texas A&M University. Another, sponsored by House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.), protects the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company against lawsuits over a mercury-based vaccine preservative alleged to have caused autism in children.

The other contested items protect companies that manufacture faulty anti-terrorism technology from product-liability suits; give protections against lawsuits to firms producing certain vaccines; make it more difficult for the new department to issue certain passenger-safety rules; and allow industry advisers to confer secretly with department officials, notwithstanding federal open-meeting rules.

A yes vote was to remove the seven provisions from the bill.

MARYLAND

Yes No NV

Mikulski (D)

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Sarbanes (D)

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VIRGINIA

Yes No NV

Allen (R)

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Warner (R)

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INSURANCE BAILOUT

For: 86 / Against: 11

The Senate approved the conference report on legislation using taxpayer funds to help the commercial property and casualty insurance industry cover high losses resulting from any future terrorist attacks. Following House approval on a non-record vote, this vote sent the bill to President Bush for his promised signature.

For each terrorist incident, the bill obligates taxpayers to cover 90 percent of claims between $10 billion and $100 billion in the first two years of the law, and between $15 billion and $100 billion in the law's third year. Insurance companies would pay a large share of the first $10 billion in claims resulting from a single incident.

As a reference point, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks are projected to have generated $50 billion in claims. If the bill had been in effect at that time, the Treasury payout would have totaled at least $36 billion. The bill is not retroactive.

Lawsuits against insurers would be consolidated in a single federal court but tried under the laws of the state that was attacked. The conference report protects taxpayers against paying punitive damages in terror-related litigation but omits a House-passed ban on punitive damages against insurers and businesses.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

MARYLAND

Yes No NV

Mikulski (D)

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Sarbanes (D)

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VIRGINIA

Yes No NV

Allen (R)

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Warner (R)

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JUDGE SHEDD CONFIRMATION

For: 55 / Against: 44

The Senate confirmed the elevation of U.S. District Court Judge Dennis W. Shedd, 49, of South Carolina to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond. The court hears cases from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland.

A yes vote was to confirm Shedd.

MARYLAND

Yes No NV

Mikulski (D)

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Sarbanes (D)

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VIRGINIA

Yes No NV

Allen (R)

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Warner (R)

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STOPGAP BUDGET

For: 92 / Against: 2

The Senate approved a fiscal 2003 spending measure to fund the government at 2002 levels until Jan. 11, when the 108th Congress is expected to resume work on permanent budget bills for the fiscal year. This stopgap measure is needed because Congress failed to enact all but two of the 13 appropriations bills for fiscal 2003, which began Oct. 1.

A yes vote approved spending at last year's levels.

MARYLAND

Yes No NV

Mikulski (D)

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Sarbanes (D)

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VIRGINIA

Yes No NV

Allen (R)

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Warner (R)

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