For the Record

Here's how some major bills fared recently in Congress, and how local members voted, as provided by Thomas's Roll Call Syndicate. NV means Not Voting.

House Votes

IRAQI PRISONER ABUSE

For: 365 / Against: 50

The House condemned U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners, urged "swift justice" for the military personnel found responsible and praised the overall U.S. military effort in Iraq. The measure (HR 627) was a nonbinding expression rather than a legislative measure. Its opponents, mostly Democrats, called it an insufficient response to disclosures that included the apparent torture of detainees. A yes vote backed the resolution.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

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*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

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*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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VIRGINIA

Y

N

NV

Cantor (R)

*

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J. Davis (R)

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*

T. Davis (R)

*

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Moran (D)

*

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Wolf (R)

*

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CONGRESSIONAL PROBE

For: 218 / Against: 201

During debate on HR 627 (above), Republicans blocked a procedural bid by Democrats for a congressional investigation of the Iraqi prisoner scandal. If the Democrats had prevailed, they would have gained standing to introduce a measure seeking a bipartisan congressional investigation of the prisoner abuse. A yes vote opposed a Democratic bid for a congressional probe.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

*

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Cardin (D)

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*

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Cummings (D)

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*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

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*

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Ruppersberger (D)

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*

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Van Hollen (D)

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*

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Wynn (D)

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*

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VIRGINIA

Y

N

NV

Cantor (R)

*

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J. Davis (R)

*

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T. Davis (R)

*

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Moran (D)

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*

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Wolf (R)

*

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ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

For: 333 / Against: 89

The House passed a bill (HR 4227) to help some couples and individuals temporarily avoid the alternative minimum tax. The bill, which awaits Senate action, would affect only 2005. For joint filers, it would increase income exempt from the AMT from $58,000 in 2004 to $58,950 in 2005; for individuals, it would raise the exemption from $40,250 in 2004 to $40,900 in 2005. Its cost of $17.8 billion would be added to the national debt.

The AMT was enacted in 1970 to keep wealthy filers from paying no income taxes. Because its brackets and deductions are not indexed for inflation, it has gradually moved down the income scale. President Bush's 2001 tax cuts also have been a factor in subjecting millions of additional payers to the minimum tax. The AMT covered 19,000 taxpayers in 1970 and 2.6 million in 2002. It is projected to cover 33 million filers -- one-third of all returns -- by 2010 if Congress fails to reform it. Congress has avoided permanent reforms because that would increase annual deficits by tens of billions of dollars annually, according to debates. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

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*

Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

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*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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VIRGINIA

Y

N

NV

Cantor (R)

*

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J. Davis (R)

*

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T. Davis (R)

*

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Moran (D)

*

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Wolf (R)

*

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PERMANENT FIX

For: 197 / Against: 228

House members rejected a Democratic substitute to HR 4227 (above) that called for a prompt, permanent fix of the alternative minimum tax. While waiting for that to occur, singles earning less than $125,000 and couples earning less than $250,000 would be exempt from the tax. Democrats said they would use a crackdown on corporate tax abuses to keep their measure deficit-neutral.

A yes vote backed the Democratic substitute.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

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*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

*

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Gilchrest (R)

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*

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Hoyer (D)

*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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VIRGINIA

Y

N

NV

Cantor (R)

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*

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J. Davis (R)

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*

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T. Davis (R)

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*

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Moran (D)

*

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Wolf (R)

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*

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Senate Votes

OVERTIME DISPUTE

For: 52 / Against: 47

The Senate voted to prevent the administration from denying overtime to any worker now eligible to receive the added pay. The vote, during debate on S 1637, which remained in debate, concerned Department of Labor overtime proposals scheduled to take effect in August.

Democrats say the changes could take overtime pay away from up to 4 million workers now eligible to receive it. But the administration says that only about 100,000 workers with professional duties, most if not all of whom earn above $100,000, would lose eligibility. The rules expand eligibility for low-income workers. Federal law guarantees overtime pay of time and a half above 40 hours per week.

A yes vote was to block new overtime rules.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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VIRGINIA

Yes

No

NV

Allen (R)

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*

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Warner (R)

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*

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OFFSHORE PROFITS

For: 60 / Against: 39

Senators upheld a subsidy in the tax code that enables U.S. corporations to defer taxes on profits resulting from sales by foreign subsidiaries in the United States. The vote killed an amendment to HR 1637 (above). The amendment sought to end deferral in cases where a company moves operations overseas, makes the same product, then sells the product in the United States just as it did before going offshore. A yes vote was to kill the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

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*

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Sarbanes (D)

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*

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VIRGINIA

Yes

No

NV

Allen (R)

*

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Warner (R)

*

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