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

FEDERAL BOXING COMMISSION

For: 190 / Against: 233

Members defeated a bill (HR 1065) to begin federal regulation of professional boxing. The bill empowers the Department of Commerce to license boxers as a means of policing corruption and establishing the integrity of the sport.

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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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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DEFICIT REDUCTION

For: 217 / Against: 215

Members passed a bill (HR 4241) to achieve $50 billion in deficit reduction over the next five years by slowing entitlement spending and increasing revenue. About $11.9 billion of the spending curbs would come from Medicaid; $5.4 billion from child-support collection programs; $1 billion from farm supports; $844 million from food stamps; $760 million from farm conservation programs; $732 million from the Supplemental Security Income program for the elderly and blind and disabled people; and $577 million from foster care programs. Cuts and increases in student loan programs would yield net savings of $14.5 billion.

The bill would raise $8.7 billion by auctioning off spectrum freed by the emergence of digital television, $6.2 billion by increasing company premiums for federal pension insurance and $3.2 billion by redirecting receipts from anti-dumping duties from manufacturers to the Treasury.

The bill must be merged with a $35 billion Senate version that differs, in part, by curbing Medicare outlays and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration.

This vote set the stage for the House to take up about $54 billion in new tax cuts.

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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APPROPRIATIONS BILL REJECTION

For: 209 / Against: 224

Members defeated a bill (HR 3010) to appropriate $142.5 billion in fiscal 2006 for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Supporters blamed the bill's defeat, in part, on the fact that Republican leaders had stripped it of $1 billion in pork-barrel spending. But critics said the bill underfunded, at a time of tax cuts, areas such as elementary and secondary education, heating aid to the poor, disease control, rural health care and Pell Grants to help the poor pay college costs.

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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Senate Votes

2006 DEFENSE BUDGET

For: 98 / Against: 0

Senators approved a $441 billion fiscal 2006 military budget, up 4.7 percent from the comparable 2005 bill. The bill (S 1042) authorizes an additional $50 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, raising total spending on both fronts to more than $327 billion. The bill empowers the Pentagon to begin aerial surveillance of U.S. borders; funds a 3.1 percent military pay increase; raises Army strength nearly 4 percent to 522,400 troops; raises the military death benefit to $100,000; provides $7.8 billion for the National Missile Defense; and accelerates spending in Iraq to strengthen Humvee armor and better defend against roadside bombs.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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REPORTS ON IRAQ

For: 79 / Against: 19

Senators called on President Bush to publicly report every three months on the Iraq government's progress toward conditions that would enable U.S. troop withdrawal. The nonbinding language, drafted by Republicans, was added to S 1042 (above). The presidential reports are to cover unclassified military, economic, diplomatic and political developments that affect the length of the U.S. stay in Iraq.

A yes vote backed the GOP measure.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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RIVAL DEMOCRATIC PLAN

For: 40 / Against: 58

Senators defeated a nonbinding Democratic alternative to Republican language (S 1042, above) urging quarterly presidential reports on Iraq. The key difference was that Democrats wanted President Bush to estimate dates for drawing down troops and continually update the public on the conditions necessary for a phaseout to occur. Both parties specified 2006 as the year for Iraqis to take charge of the country.

A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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ENEMY COMBATANTS

For: 84 / Against: 14

Senators voted to tightly restrict access to U.S. courts by some 500 enemy combatants held without charges by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The amendment to S 1042 (above) allows the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, but not the Supreme Court, to review issues such as convictions by military tribunals.

The amendment would negate a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that permits Guantanamo prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions and suits challenging their incarceration. Enemy combatants are soldiers who do not fight for a specific nation and thus are not governed by the Geneva Conventions on prisoner treatment.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

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*

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HABEAS CORPUS

For: 44 / Against: 54

Senators rejected an amendment to S 1042 (above) granting enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay habeas corpus rights for a court to determine whether they are being held lawfully. Prisoners' habeas corpus petitions were to be consolidated at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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NEW TAX CUTS

For: 64 / Against: 33

Senators passed a bill (S 2020) to achieve tax cuts of at least $60 billion over the next five years. About half of the sum would result from steps to temporarily protect 14 million middle-income taxpayers against the creep of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT is designed to keep wealthy filers from using loopholes to avoid taxation. But because it is not indexed for inflation, it is moving down the income scale to affect unintended targets.

The bill uses a change in accounting rules for inventory to raise taxes on large oil companies by $4.3 billion.

The bill also provides specified tax relief to help businesses recover from Gulf Coast hurricanes and extends a tax credit worth $5 billion annually that benefits companies conducting research under government contracts.

A yes vote was to send the bill to House-Senate conference.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

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*

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Sarbanes (D)

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*

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OIL PROFITS VS. HOME HEAT

For: 50 / Against: 48

Senators failed to reach the three-fifths majority needed to impose a 2005 windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies and foreign oil firms doing substantial business in the United States. About $2.9 billion in receipts from the temporary tax was earmarked to more than double federal expenditures this winter for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The program helps the poor pay heating and cooling bills. The vote occurred during debate on S 2020 (above).

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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TAX CUTS VS. DEFICIT REDUCTION

For: 40 / Against: 59

Senators defeated an amendment to S 2020 (above) that sought to repeal certain Bush administration tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest filers until such time as Congress brings the annual federal budget into balance. The measure sought, in part, to restore 39.6 percent as the marginal rate for incomes above $1 million and to raise tax rates on capital gains and dividends to the 28 percent level that existed before 2003.

A yes vote backed the amendment.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Mikulski (D)

*

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Sarbanes (D)

*

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