For the Record

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

House Votes

U.S. PROGRESS IN IRAQ

For: 203 / Against: 227

Members rejected a Democratic request that President Bush set public benchmarks for measuring U.S. progress in Iraq in areas such as defeating the insurgency, establishing democratic institutions and bringing U.S. troops home. This occurred during debate on a bill (HR 2601, later passed) authorizing State Department activities and other foreign operations in fiscal 2006.

A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.

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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WITHDRAWING U.S. FORCES

For: 291 / Against: 137

Members approved a GOP-sponsored amendment to HR 2601 (above) declaring that the United States should withdraw its forces from Iraq only when it is clear that "national security and foreign policy goals relating to a free and stable Iraq have been or are about to be achieved."

A yes vote backed the GOP amendment.

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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*

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Wynn (D)

*

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WEAPONS IN SPACE

For: 124 / Against: 302

Members defeated an amendment to HR 2601 (above) requiring the United States to begin negotiations on an international treaty to ban weapons in space. The Pentagon is studying a possible U.S. launch of space weapons.

A yes vote backed a treaty to ban space weapons.

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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*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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FISTULA AND BIRTH CONTROL

For: 223 / Against: 205

The House removed birth control from the list of services funded by HR 2601 (above) for coping with obstetric fistula in the developing world. The condition occurs when soft pelvic tissue is damaged during labor, leading to incontinence and social isolation. The bill authorizes $7.5 million in U.S. aid for fistula programs in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

A yes vote was to remove contraceptive services from U.S.-funded fistula programs.

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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*

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PERMANENT PATRIOT ACT

For: 257 / Against: 171

The House passed a bill (HR 3199) to renew the USA Patriot Act and convert most of its key anti-terrorism provisions to permanent status. Like the original law, the renewal expands the power of police and intelligence agencies to keep watch on, probe and detain individuals suspected of terrorism and related activities with less judicial review than existed before Sept. 11, 2001. The only key provisions not made permanent by the renewal are ones authorizing roving wiretaps and secret searches of library and bookstore records, both of which would expire after 10 years. The bill awaits Senate action.

In part, the Patriot Act expands government power to monitor telephone, e-mail and Internet usage; permits secret, no-warrant searches of suspects' homes; allows extended jailing of non-citizens without the filing of charges; allows prosecutors to release secret grand jury testimony to intelligence agencies; treats those who conspire in terrorist crimes or harbor terrorists as severely as it does perpetrators; allows the FBI to issue subpoenas on a limited basis without prior court review; and makes it a federal crime to possess large quantities of biological agents or toxic chemicals.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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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*

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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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*

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Wynn (D)

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*

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TEMPORARY PATRIOT ACT

For: 209 / Against: 218

Members defeated a Democratic bid to extend the USA Patriot Act temporarily, subject to congressional renewal after four years. The House then passed HR 3199 (above).

A yes vote backed temporary status for the Patriot Act.

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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*

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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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LIBRARY SEARCHES

For: 402 / Against: 26

Members voted to require the FBI director to personally approve library and bookstore searches under HR 3199 (above). The bill renews authority for law enforcement agents, bearing secret warrants, to obtain customer records from libraries, bookstores and other entities.

Days earlier, the Republican leadership disallowed a direct vote on such searches. On June 16, the one occasion when members were allowed to vote directly on library and bookstore searches, they blocked funding for them. The Senate has not yet taken a position.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

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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NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS

For: 394 / Against: 32

Members adopted an amendment to HR 3199 (above) giving recipients of a "national security letter" access to counsel, standing to challenge the letter in court and freedom to publicly discuss it. These letters are subpoenas that the FBI can issue to obtain information without prior court review. Although the subpoenas must be relevant to a terrorism probe, there is no prior court check on whether that test has been met.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

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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Senate Votes

NUCLEAR POWER IN CHINA

For: 37 / Against: 62

Senators refused to bar Export-Import Bank financing of a bid by Westinghouse Electric Co. to build four nuclear reactors in China. The bank, which is backed by U.S. taxpayers, has tentatively provided Westinghouse, a property of the British government, with $5 billion in credit backing in its competition against French and Russian companies for the work. This vote occurred during debate on a foreign operations spending bill for fiscal 2006 (HR 3057). The bill was sent to conference with a House version that prohibits the Export-Import Bank financing.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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TV BROADCASTS TO CUBA

For: 33 / Against: 66

The Senate refused to terminate TV Marti broadcasts to Cuba by removing its $21 million budget from HR 3057 (above) and shifting the funds to the Peace Corps. The U.S. government produces TV Marti in an attempt to undermine the Fidel Castro regime. Critics say Cuba constantly jams the signal, while supporters say broadcasts from international flights sometimes get through to viewers.

A yes vote was to end TV Marti.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

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*

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RUSSIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS

For: 78 / Against: 19

Senators voted to streamline the Nunn-Lugar law, which pays Russia to destroy stockpiles of Soviet-era nuclear warheads and chemical and biological arms in order to keep the weaponry from terrorists. The amendment was added to a defense bill (S 1042, still in debate) that authorizes $415 million for Nunn-Lugar projects in fiscal 2006. The amendment targeted bureaucratic rules imposed by members of Congress leery of sending funds to Russia without strict controls. Critics say the rules foster delay and imperil U.S. security, while defenders say they are designed to impose accountability on Russia and protect U.S. taxpayer dollars.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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FDA COMMISSIONER

For: 78 / Against: 16

Senators confirmed Lester M. Crawford, 67, to head the Food and Drug Administration. His confirmation had been blocked, in part, by senators upset over FDA delay in deciding whether to allow over-the-counter sales of Plan B, a morning-after contraceptive pill. The agency says it will issue a Plan B decision by Sept. 1.

A yes vote was to confirm Crawford.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

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*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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