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

FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC

For: 331 / Against: 90

The House voted to tighten regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federally chartered companies that provide liquidity to the housing market by buying home loans from lenders and packaging and selling them as securities. Both firms have had accounting scandals recently. The bill (HR 1461) would establish the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which also would regulate the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, which lend to community banks, credit unions and thrifts.

The bill also would create a fund that organizations could tap to finance affordable housing for the poor, with areas struck by Hurricane Katrina getting priority. The Affordable Housing Fund would be closed to nonprofit entities, including churches, that conduct voter registration and turn-out-the-vote drives (next issue).

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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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS

For: 200 / Against: 220

Members voted not to allow churches and other nonprofit organizations that conduct voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives to draw on the Affordable Housing Fund created by HR 1461 (above). The underlying bill bars such groups from tapping the fund to finance housing for the poor, elderly and disabled.

A yes vote was to remove the ban from 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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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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MILITARY BASE CLOSINGS

For: 85 / Against: 324

Members refused to override Pentagon plans to close or revamp more than 160 U.S. military bases over six years at a projected savings of $15 billion over 20 years. Among major bases, 22 would be closed and 33 realigned. By defeating this resolution (HJ Res 65), the House formally joined the Senate in accepting recommendations submitted to President Bush in September by the Base Realignment and Closing Commission.

A yes vote was to reject the base closing plan.

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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*

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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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LAWSUIT CURBS

For: 228 / Against: 184

Members passed a Republican bill (HR 420) imposing mandatory sanctions, including financial penalties, on lawyers and plaintiffs found by a judge to have repeatedly filed frivolous lawsuits in federal court. The bill seeks to limit "forum shopping" in civil tort cases by requiring plaintiffs to file the suit in jurisdictions where they live or were injured or where the defendant's business is primarily located. The bill awaits Senate action.

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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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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PRICE GOUGING

For: 196 / Against: 217

Members rejected a bid by Democrats to waive HR 420 (above) in cases alleging price gouging by federal contractors engaged in disaster relief. Under the motion, such suits could continue to be filed in any jurisdiction in compliance with state laws and the U.S. Constitution.

A yes vote backed the 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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Senate Votes

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

For: 44 / Against: 51

Senators refused to increase funding by $5 billion, or nearly 40 percent, for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in fiscal 2006. Title I payments go mainly to poor districts and are the main funding source for the No Child Left Behind Act. The underlying bill (HR 3010, later passed) appropriates $12.8 billion for Title I in 2006, about $10 billion less than Congress authorized. The $5 billion add-on was to have been deficit spending.

A yes vote was to increase Title I funding.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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HEAD START FUNDING

For: 47 / Against: 52

Senators refused to increase Head Start funding by $153 million, or nearly 3 percent, in fiscal 2006. The underlying bill (HR 3010) would provide more than $6 billion for Head Start, which conducts pre-kindergarten schooling for about 900,000 disadvantaged children. The amendment was designed to allow the Head Start budget to keep pace with inflation, with the additional funding added to the 2006 deficit.

A yes vote was to increase Head Start funding.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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PELL GRANTS

For: 48 / Against: 51

Senators refused to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $200, to $4,250 per academic year, at a cost of more than $800 million annually in deficit spending. Pell Grants are the main federal program to help the needy pay for higher education. The vote occurred during debate on HR 3010 (above).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDS

For: 46 / Against: 53

Senators refused to increase fiscal 2006 funding for the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by $4 billion, to nearly $15 billion. The amendment to HR 3010 sought to bring Congress closer to its promise to cover 40 percent of the special-education costs it imposes each year on local school districts. This bill would bring the federal share to about 19 percent of IDEA-mandated costs.

A yes vote was to raise the IDEA budget by $4 billion in deficit spending.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS

For: 41 / Against: 56

Senators refused to add $51.9 million in deficit spending to the fiscal 2006 budget for after-school programs. The amendment to HR 3010 (above) sought to raise Department of Education spending for these programs to about $1 billion.

A yes vote was to increase spending for after-school programs.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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