For the Record

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

House Votes

NEW TAX CUTS

For: 339 / Against: 65

The House passed a bill (HR 1308) that provides tax relief to corporations, temporarily eases the alternative minimum tax on personal returns and extends three middle-class tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. Nearly all of the $146 billion, 10-year cost of the measure would be added to the national debt.

The bill provides $13 billion annually in corporate cuts. It extends relief for married couples filing jointly through 2008, expands the 10 percent bracket for personal returns through 2010 and extends the $1,000-per-child tax credit through 2009. However, the bill raises the family-income thresholds for receiving the child credit, denying the benefit to 4.3 million minimum-wage families that now receive it.

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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FAMILY TRAVEL TO CUBA

For: 225 / Against: 174

The House blocked new administration limits on visits to Cuba by Cuban Americans with family members there. Treasury Department rules would have permitted one 14-day visit every three years and redefined "family" as only parents and siblings. The previous rules allow annual visits to aunts, uncles and cousins. The vote occurred as the House passed a fiscal 2005 spending bill (HR 5025) for Treasury and other agencies.

A yes vote was to repeal new limits on family travel to Cuba.

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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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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CUBAN TRADE

For: 188 / Against: 225

The House refused to end U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba and thus allow free, two-way trade with the communist state. Under a 43-year embargo, only U.S. medicine and food can be exported to Cuba, but public or private U.S. financing cannot be used for those sales. The vote occurred during debate on HR 5025 (above).

A yes vote backed free, two-way trade with Cuba.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

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*

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Cardin (D)

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*

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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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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

For: 247 / Against: 173

The House passed a bill (HR 2028) to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over constitutional issues involving the Pledge of Allegiance. This gives state courts the sole right to determine whether "under God" can be included in the pledge. Critics said that, under the separation-of-powers doctrine, it is unconstitutional for Congress to limit the federal judiciary in this manner.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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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*

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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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SUPREME COURT JURISDICTION

For: 202 / Against: 217

The House defeated an amendment to HR 2028 (above) to allow the Supreme Court but not lower federal courts to review state rulings involving the Pledge of Allegiance and the Constitution.

A yes vote backed Supreme Court jurisdiction.

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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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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Senate Votes

GOSS CONFIRMATION

For: 77 / Against: 17

The Senate confirmed Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), 65, as director of central intelligence. The eight-term congressman has been chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and is a former CIA agent.

A yes vote was to confirm Goss.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

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*

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$3.6 BILLION CONGRESS

For: 94 / Against: 2

The Senate approved a $3.6 billion legislative branch budget for fiscal 2005. The bill provides $1.04 billion for operating the House, up 3.6 percent from 2004; $725 million for the Senate, up 2 percent; and $1.8 billion-plus for agencies such as the Library of Congress and Architect of the Capitol. The bill funds a study into adding dental and vision benefits to the health plan for members of Congress and executive branch employees.

A yes vote was to approve the legislative branch budget.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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NEW TAX CUTS

For: 92 / Against: 3

The Senate sent President Bush the conference report on a bill (HR 1308) extending three middle-class tax cuts set to expire this year, continuing about two dozen business breaks and temporarily easing the impact of the alternative minimum tax on personal returns. The bill is projected to add $146 billion to the $7 trillion-plus national debt over 10 years.

A yes vote was to approve the report.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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